Thirteen of YA’s most celebrated names reimagine Edgar Allan Poe’s most surprising, unsettling, and popular tales for a new generation.
Edgar Allan Poe may be a hundred and fifty years beyond this world, but the themes of his beloved works have much in common with modern young adult fiction. Whether the stories are familiar to readers or discovered for the first time, readers will revel in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tales, and how they’ve been brought to life in 13 unique and unforgettable ways.
Contributors include Kendare Blake (reimagining “Metzengerstein”), Rin Chupeco (“The Murders in the Rue Morge”), Lamar Giles (“The Oval Portrait”), Tessa Gratton (“Annabel Lee”), Tiffany D. Jackson (“The Cask of Amontillado”), Stephanie Kuehn (“The Tell-Tale Heart”), Emily Lloyd-Jones (“The Purloined Letter”), Hillary Monahan (“The Masque of the Red Death”), Marieke Nijkamp (“Hop-Frog”), Caleb Roehrig (“The Pit and the Pendulum”), and Fran Wilde (“The Fall of the House of Usher”).
Dark, diverse, feminist, eerie, memorable, and twisted—welcome to the new generation of Edgar Allan Poe. It’s a lot of fun in here.
In His Hideous Heart, editor Dahlia Adler has compiled a truly impressive shortlist of some of Poe’s most famous tales, reimagined for a 2019 audience. I couldn’t believe how nuanced and imaginative these retellings were, and how eerily similar they felt to their original inspirations. Having the original Poe tales in the back of the collection was such a good call—I actually read each tale in tandem, from new reimagining to old inspiration to compare and contrast each entry.
To keep this review shorter than its original anthology, here are my quick thoughts and ratings on each of the 13 tales:
She Rode a Horse of Fire (Metzengerstein) by Kendare Blake Rating: ★★★★★ The perfect opener to this anthology, this historically-minded tale about a manor house experiencing the entrancement and death of its lord was the PERFECT amount of spooky.
It’s Carnival! (The Cask of Amontillado) by Tiffany D. Jackson Rating: ★★★★ A tale twisted to a diverse feminist revenge story, this entry watches the narrator as she exacts a clinical end to the man who mocked her and her family for not being Jamacian enough with deadly results in modern-day New Orleans.
Night-Tide (Annabelle Lee) by Tessa Gratton Rating ★★★★★ Tied as my favorite, this prose retelling of the poem follows the summer seaside hypnotic reality of the narrator as she questions whether her illicit love for Annabelle Lee was the cause of Annabelle’s death in this historic New England tale perfect for fans of f/f star-crossed lovers.
The Glittering Death (The Pit and the Pendulum) by Caleb Roehrig Rating: ★★★★ A modern tale of a serial killer who targets women, and the girl who finds herself a live captive in need of escape—extremely gritty, and another parable on modern-day feminism.
A Drop of Stolen Ink (The Purloined Letter) by Emily Lloyd-Jones Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 Edgar Allan Poe meets the future in a world where information is coded in biometric tattoos and one girl is sent to uncover a CEO’s treachery in the high-stakes world of the tattoo-data black market.
Happy Days, Sweetheart (The Tell-Tale Heart) by Stephanie Kuehn Rating: ★★★★★ A high-achieving diverse female student always comes in second to the mediocrity of her white male competitor at their private school—so she decides to balance the scales of justice and eliminate him in this gruesome tale of cold revenge.
The Raven (Remix) by Amanda Lovelace Rating: ★★★ The poem The Raven, blacked out to create a new narrative, remained cool in concept by struggled to shine in between such impressive prose entries.
Changeling (Hop-Frog) by Marieke Nijkamp Rating: ★★★★ Set in 1832, this tale of the Fae is reimagined as a vigilante group of former disabled and neglected abused children who receive a glorious second chance at a happy life or a vengeful one in a dark tale of one girl questing to retrieve those who deserve more than what the mortal world can give them by transporting them to the kingdom of the Fae and punishing their perpetrators.
The Oval Filter (The Oval Portrait) by Lamar Giles Rating: ★★★★★ A college football star’s dead girlfriend shows up in his Instagram feed trapped in an oval filter that appears to be suffocating her behind the screen—can Tariq solve the mystery behind her appearance before it drives him mad?
Red (The Masque of the Red Death) by Hillary Monahan Rating: ★★ My least favorite in the collection, this tale should be read for the aesthetic and not for the narrative as it is essentially a color-coded picture show with a dark conclusion.
Lygia (Ligeia) by Dahlia Adler Rating: ★★★ 1/2 A f/f tale of loss and mourning gone too far, the narrator mourns her dead girlfriend, Lygia, and tries to remake her presence in her new girlfriend with dark results.
The Fall of the Bank of Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher) by Fran Wilde Rating: ★★★★★ Tied as my favorite, this masterful blend of futuristic nanotech with old-school English manor joins the heist trope in this tale of (potentially) gender-fluid twins who take the job of hacking the unhackable Bank of Usher in an old manor house guarded by semi-sentient computerized mold. (I hear you saying “wtf”—just read it. It’s amazing.)
The Murders in Rue Apartelle, Boracay (The Murders in the Rue Morgue) by Rin Chupeco Rating: ★★★ Confusing and at times overly complicated given its length, this tale was a modern blend of magical realism in the Philippines told by the female narrator as she recounts the tale of her mysterious rich boyfriend who may or may not be too knowledgeable about a murder case.
Original notes: Ahhhh! So thrilled to be a part of the blog tour for His Hideous Heart. Stay tuned for my review on September 5! This is one of my most anticipated releases for 2019 so I am HYPED.
Thank you so much to Flatiron Books for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
I'm so excited at how soon this book will be out in the world, and thank you to everyone who's looking forward to it! It is, of course, on the horror side, so, CWs below in the spoiler tags, but, uh, assume a lot of death/murder/revenge; I'm not gonna put those tags in because it's basically every story. (Please note that these are intentional facets of the stories in which they appear. YMMV on how you receive that, but you aren't going to find these things "checked" on the page, only...dealt with, shall we say.)
Animal death: Homophobia: Suicide: Implied transphobia: Ableism and related abuse: Torture: Misogyny: Implied partner death: Substance abuse (mild):
I have to admit it, my 3 stars rating is me being kind and appreciating young authors for trying, not because I'm happy with the stories.
Okay, there are plenty of stories which are decent, but they are only just this, decent, not outstanding or chilling, like tales inspired by Poe should. Therefore, if this book managed to encourage more people to read those classical Poe's weird tales at the last half of the book, then I'm more than glad. Poe's masterpieces never disappointed.
There are a few stories which I found to be better than the rest of the bunch, there are some really boring, uninspiring stories, plus I didn't manage to even finish the last two stories because I can only take that much boredom at one time.
(1) Night-Tide by Tessa Gratton: Annabel Lee's retelling in a hotel resort setting with same-sex romance? Interesting! 4 stars
(2) Happy Days, Sweetheart does add new things to the old story, I like it! 4 stars.
(3) Raven (Remix) is really a clever idea, and with some good result. 4 stars.
(4) The Changeling has interesting setting about the fae myth, but the ending part is rather uneventful. 2.5 stars.
(5) In this story Lygia Does Lygia becomes the girl's ? I honestly have no idea whatsoever. 2.5 stars.
(6) Kendare Blake, probably the most well known YA author among the bunch and she is also one of my favorite novelists, wrote a short story about wronged servant girl and some heartless baron, it's an okay-ish story and it fits its Poe-inspired role just fine, but that's it. 3.2 stars.
Most of the stories in this are amazing! I read the original Poe story (included in this collection) each time before reading the re-telling. It was an excellent way to experience and evaluate both Poe’s story and the new one. The story that stuck with me the most is the retelling that takes place at Mardi Gras/Carnival. It felt like revenge/justice in an ironic way that I think Poe would have also loved.
This book includes both the retelling and the Poe originals. I’ve decided to read the original story/poem first before the retelling and therefore listed them below in the order I read them (not the order they are listed in the book).
Metzengeragein by Poe I remember now why Poe and I are rarely friends. While gothic and awesome; his inability to show a story or even tell it without muddling it all up in wording makes me crazy. I know it’s ‘another time periods English’ but I can read Shakespeare better than his stuff somedays. Here’s hoping Kendare Blake’s retelling brings me some semblance of the real story to light.
She Rode a Horse of Fire by Kendare Blake inspired by Poe’s story Metzengerstein Without a doubt Blake’s take on this story is by far more readable, and the use of the tapestry is clever. Overall I still say meh to this story. I know what Poe was going for in terms of karma coming back to bite you; but just didn’t find either version all that compelling.
Cask of Amontillo by Poe AND Carnival by Tiffany D. Jackson inspired by Cask of Amontillo by Poe I’m confident I’m going to hell. As I took great pleasure (and even kind of laughed) at the cleverness of each character that walls in the other in each story. Jackson uses the cover of the noise of Carnival in a very clever way; and gives satisfaction to anyone bullied in a mere 10 pages. Enjoyed both these stories immensely. *After reading all of the Poe and retellings in this anthology I can confidently say this is the best set of stories of them all. I love the revenge being so dark and despicable; while also clever and concise.
The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig inspired by The Pit and the Pendulum by Poe Just wow. I’m slightly shivering after reading this. In my house, safe, my husband and 80lb pit-bull terrier in the room with me, it’s night which might add a bit of creep factor. It’s only as I finish this story I realize how rapt it had my attention. Certainly as a teen I did not understand the true impossibility of the decision between the pit and the pendulum. I thought that the pit was always the better choice back then. Today I would merely say that both suck equally and as they both end in death then what real difference is there?
The Purloined Letter by Poe Sure… nothing nefarious or horrific here. Just the argument that hiding in plain site is clever. I’d like to think in todays world our investigators, officers, military, etc. are trained to ensure this doesn’t happen. But people tend to work based on pre-conceived notions far too often…
A Drop of Stolen Ink by Emily Lloyd-Jones inspired by The Purloined Letter Really liked the science fiction element of IDs being integrated into your skin. Overall this story suffers from the same thing as Poe’s original; it’s a bit boring. Maybe in its day this story was unique; but now the ‘hidden in plain sight’ concept has been done to death. Just no real pizazz here for me.
The Tell-Tale Heart by Poe One Poe’s most famous short stories. In a mere 7 pages Poe manages to convince you that the killer was right. Perhaps I’m too jaded by todays media consumption but this feels tame compared with shows like GoT, Witcher, and other fantasy gothic movies like ‘Crimson Peak’. And of course the last line of this story inspired the title of this anthology.
Happy Days Sweetheart by Stephanie Luehn inspired by The Tell-Tale Heart Not a lot to say here; but the complete 360 twist in the end is great. Loved it!
The Raven by Poe I have no doubt the best part of this poem is the cadence with which Poe constructs his rhymes. It flows off the tongue (even when said in your mind and out loud) and makes you want to continue; even if the Nevermore has you wanting to end. A classic and truly deserved of being loved, nevermore.
The Raven (remix) by Amanda Lovelace inspired by The Raven by Poe Very very clever. Right up the last word. Redacted to select only certain words or letters. Lovelace brilliantly changes the tone of the story using only Poe’s words that were already on the page.
Hop-Frog by Poe I can’t help but wonder how bullied, belittled, or abused Poe was in his relatively short life. Whether for being: unattractive, often poor or unintelligent remains to be seen. But I surmise as so many of his stories enact revenge. It may also be he saw injustices of the world and felt empathy and rage because of them. Either way he clearly understood the need to get even.
Channeling by Marilee Nijkamp inspired by Hop-frog by Poe Excellent use of the fae and their history of ‘stealing’ or saving unwanted deformed children.
The Oval Portrait by Poe Feels like a bit of a Dorian Grey homage with the use of the painting. I don’t even know which came first! How embarrassing. Lol. I gotta say paintings can be both beautiful and haunting. Really liked this one.
The Oval Filter by Lamar Giles inspired by Poe’s Oval Portrait Very clever to incorporate the Poe story into an Instagram modern day based one. Enjoyed how the death of the girlfriend felt very Poe on it own; even without the creepy Instagram/phone activity added in. The creepiness of the phone doing things just heightened the overall gothic, supernatural, and disturbing feel.
The Masque of Red Death by Poe A bit too flowery and lengthy in its descriptions for me; but the overall message to avoid greed is powerful.
Red by Hillary Monahan inspired by Poe’s Masque of Red Death Pretty much the exact same story. The setting is changed; but the descriptions of the rooms, the chimes of the clock, almost all the details are identical. It didn’t feel different enough for me.
Ligeia by Poe OMG boring. Overly descriptive, takes too long for something interesting to happen, and just not that shocking or big a reveal. The worst Poe one in the collection so far for me.
Lygia by Dahlia Adler inspired by Ligeia by Poe Love the lesbians; but just as the original story is too romantic and overdone for my tastes; so is this one. I can’t fault the author as what they had to work with was already brutal. Proof that I love gothic works but without the horror, historical setting, etc; only the romance, it’s not for me.
The Fall of the House of Usher by Poe A little bit anticlimactic as I’ve read many retellings including Silvia Morena-Garcia’s amazing novel, Mexican Gothic. That said, it is a clever story and adaptable in many ways. I love the biology used. Be it the mess incest makes of lineage, or the fungus that ultimately shadows everyone and thing in the House of Usher. I’m glad to have finally read the original.
The Fall of the Bank of Usher by Fran Wilde inspired by The Fall of the House of Usher by Poe Wow!! Brilliant!! There is no doubt in my mind that Mexican Gothic is still the penultimate retelling of House of Usher. However, Wilde’s short story treatment is just as smart and sharp; and in a totally different way. I can’t say anymore for fear of giving away the idea; but let’s just say it’s a doozy!"
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Poe Poe wrote an entire story basically about statistical probability with large numbers (aka: mathematical/scientific proof coincidences don’t exist). The beginning was painful but the last half flew by as the murders motive, perpetrator, etc. were being revealed. It’s absurd and yet falls into place eloquently. Poe really was a very sharp, astute man.
The Murders in the Rue Apartwlle, Boracay by Rin Chupeco inspired by The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Poe One of my most anticipated stories of the book! The trans representation is excellent here (as I would expect from Chupeco); however the overall story doesn’t quite follow Poe’s story the way most of our others have. I don’t mind a different ending; but it just didn’t feel quite right. Super disappointing as I usually enjoy Chupeco's works.
Overall, I wasn't disappointed by this . . . but I thought it would be better?? Feel more Poe-inspired? Some stories hit that vibe just right though, which is why I don't feel completely let down by this.
These stories were a lot of fun to listen to. Creepy but satisfying.
Kind of wish I listened to His Hideous Heart back in October.. but eh, details. Why not start off November with a horror bang - right? In this book, you will hear 13 different short stories about Edgar Allen Poe's classic tales.
Luckily for me, I haven't really listened to or read any of this work. Unless it was for school.. which has been a while for me. So it was really interesting to get these unique stories a try. Then on top of that, we also get to hear the originals as well. Still creepy but I definitely like the first ones instead. Maybe it's because I spent countless hours listening to them that the originals were just meh to me?
Like my soul was already too dark that they seemed a bit fluffy? Who knows - but I still enjoyed listening to both of them. I, low-key, do not have a favorite. Which is a bit weird for me because after listening to 26 short stories you'd think I would've have one - or five. Yet, I didn't because they were all so freaking good.
Some really creeped me out and others kind of felt like child's play. In the end, definitely happy that I dove into it and can't wait to dive into more short stories written by these authors!
I absolutely loved everything about this collection of short stories, from start to finish! I was a little hesitant to read it at first because I love Poe so much and I was worried about what would be done to his stories. Those fears were completely unfounded and I adored it. The authors did such a good job of breathing new life into Poe’s classics and making them feminist and diverse and inclusive and it was just breathtaking. It's difficult for me to pick a favourite story out of the bunch, each of them was unique and captivating in its own way and I thoroughly enjoyed them all. And I really loved that the original stories were included in the back so I could read the original and refresh my memory before diving into the reimagined version. I can’t stress enough how could this collection is, it is a must read for any Poe fan!
So I wrote some notes for each story as I was reading, but when I got to the end I realised most of them said the same kind of things: boring/flat/forgettable. Maybe it would’ve gone over better if I was a huge Poe fan, but I’ve only read a few of his works. Despite this, I still felt like there was something missing from many of these stories. Not a single one was scary — even the serial killer one, which was downright cartoonish and made me laugh (this clown literally wears dark robes and calls himself The Judge like he’s some kind of comic book villain).
The only story I enjoyed was Night-Tide by Tessa Gratton, a retelling of Annabel Lee and by far my favourite in the collection. It follows Jaclyn, a young girl who falls in love with her best friend, Annabel Lee, until Annabel's tragic death. The story was beautiful and the writing was even better. Made me definitely wanna pick up The Queens of Innis Lear by her even more.
Overall, not great. I wouldn’t really recommend this unless you’re a massive Poe fan. And if you’re looking for scary or even spooky, this ain’t it.
No rating for now.. wasn't in the mood to read Poe's stories so will put up a full review when I get to them:).
See my status updates for my ratings (DNFed the last story). I enjoyed the stories for the most part but only a handful stuck out for me, with only one that annoyed me and had me wondering how it made it in the collection.
Would recommend, there's a nice variety of stories in here.
1.5 (FULL DISCLAIMER: I AM an edgar allen poe stan)
Oof! i hated it! There are exactly two good things in this book, Kendare Blake and Edgar Allen Poe. Thank god this shitty book includes all his original works, because I need to cleanse my pallet after gargling this shit storm for days straight.
Breakdown: She Rode a Horse of Fire: 4.5⭐️ It’s Carnival: 3.5⭐️ Night-Tide: 3⭐️ The Glittering Death: 3.5⭐️ A Drop of Stolen Ink: 2⭐️ Happy Days, Sweetheart: DNF 0/5 The Raven (Remix): 1⭐️ Changeling: 1.5⭐️ The Oval Filter: 1.5⭐️ Red: 2⭐️ Lygia: 3⭐️ The Fall of the Bank of Usher: DNF The Murders in the Rus Apartelle, Boracay: 2⭐️
the DNFs: Okay, let me just say that i was going through this whole book most excited for The Telltale Heart and The Raven. Happy Days, Sweetheart was the reimagining of The Telltale Heart, so I was pretty excited when I got to it. Boy, was i disappointed. If there’s one thing that turns me off more then anything it’s inserting your shitty political opinion into a book. When the story started out with the narrator discussing how Hillary lost to Trump I knew I couldn’t do it. It’s so unnecessary to bring politics into an anthology for Edgar Allen Poe. I hate everyone who approved this decision and I hate the author (whoever they are) for briefly ruining The Telltale Heart for me (like i said, thank god for the original tales in the back). Okay and my second DNF was The Fall of the Bank is Usher because it was boring... NEXT!
My 1-2 Star ratings: None of these were good. They were all boring and not the least bit scary. Shoutout to The Raven remix for being particularly pretentious and bad! The Oval Filter? you also sucked don’t think your getting out of this without an honorable mention! Not scary, not even a HINT of the brilliance Poe displayed in his writings
The 3 Stars: They weren’t great but they weren’t bad, okay. Lygia was kinda unsettling and The Glittering Death was creative enough (though incredibly unrealistic (needles need to be inserted into VEINS for them to work YA authors!! you can’t just shove them in anywhere and have the character pass out for ages!!)) But honestly, I can’t complain- compared to the other dumpster fires these were good
The Lone 4 Star: Shoutout to my girl Kendare Blake!! You’re cool, you’re amazing, you’re the best writer out of all these authors combined... we been knew. Thank you for blessing me with your story first, you rocked it. Killed the game with an actually creepy story that didn’t completely abandon Poe’s classic work. I love you, never stop writing
All together, Kendare Blake and the 3 stars earned this book an extra .5 on my rating. If I could burn the other stories out of my brain forever, I would!
**** Huge thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me with a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review ****
General Trigger Warnings: Violence, Gore, Murder, & Death Story specific triggers will be listed with the story below!
I have to say when I first heard about an anthology of contemporary Edgar Allan Poe retellings, I was absolutely pumped! And while there were definitely a few stories in here that I didn’t completely fall in love with there were also a few winners. Some of the stories really dragged on and felt too long and thus it took me a while to finish but the stories I did love really stuck out. Overall I feel like this is a fantastic way to introduce Edgar Allan Poe stories to younger readers and a modern audience in general. It’s always fun to see modernized versions of the classic stories you know and love!
Fun fact: all of the original Poe tales are included in this collection as well so if you have’t read them yet or need a quick brush up, they’re handy! I know I loved reading the originals and comparing them to the retellings while reading.
There’s also quite a bit of diversity in these stories ranging from POC characters, to LGTBQ+ romances, and disabled characters.
I will be reviewing each individual story but for those of you keen to know which were my favorites I’ll just leave them right here….
She Rode a Horse of Fire by Kendare Black It’s Carnival by Tiffany D. Jackson The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig The Murders in the Rue Apartelle, Boracay by Rin Chupeco
She Rode a Horse of Fire by Kendare Blake – ★★★★ Retold: Metzengerstein
I have to say this was a story by Poe I wasn’t completely familiar with but after reading both I have to say this was a very good retelling, keeping close to the original while switching things up a bit. The story is told from the POV of a maid working in a mansion on a lavish estate under the care of a young, wealthy man named Friedrich. After his most recent lover perishes in a fire on the property it’s discovered she was in fact the daughter of another family with whom his has feuded for generations. Friedrich then begins spending time with a strange new woman that suddenly appears, who also happens to look like a woman in a tapestry in the mansion….
As I said the similarities with this retelling and the original were on point! I thought it was a lot of fun drawing comparisons with this one. Although I will say it would have been nice to get a little but “more” from the characters, more insight or more personality.
It’s Carnival by Tiffany D. Jackson – ★★★★ Retold: The Cask of Amantillado
I’m not sure why but this one was just a lot of fun to read, and yes I do realize I just called “murder” fun to read. This story also follows the original quite well but at the same time had its own unique feel. We have a diverse main character named Cindy who is of Caribbean/Barbadian ethnicity and plans to exact her revenge on a boy named Darrel using the cover of the West Indian Day Carnival in Brooklyn to do it. As I already mentioned it follows the original tale very closely so it unfolds much in the same way but I just really enjoyed this modern spin on it and the writing style just pulled me along!
Night Tide by Tessa Gratton – ★★ Retold: Annabel Lee
I really wanted to like this story more but sadly I was left feeling cold and confused. This retells Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” which is one of my favorites and puts an F/F romance spin on things. This story follows a young girl and her family at resort they always vacation at and how she is excited to see the girl she loves again, however, she soon learns that the girl had fallen gravely ill and passed away. She then reminisces about her time with Annabel Lee.
The writing in this one was very beautiful but I just could not get into it. I felt things were way too vague and left me feeling confused and distant from the story. The characters were bland and I just didn’t feel anything for them. I wanted to feel that longing and sadness present in the poem but found this story to be quite forgettable for me.
The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig – ★★★★ (4.5) Retold: The Pit & the Pendulum
Trigger Warnings: Abduction, Abuse, & Torture
I would like to start off by saying this was one of the more disturbing stories but also one of my favorites because it was so dark and addictive. This one is about a teen girl who is abducted by a serial killer called “The Judge” who is known for taking girls he has deemed “sinners”. He attempts to get her to “confess her sins” before killing her by torturing her.
I loved how clever the MC was but I won’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil it! I would say this one was definitely action-packed and kept me turning pages, I wouldn’t mind reading this as a whole novel to be honest!
A Drop of Stolen Ink by Emily Lloyd-Jones – ★★★ (3.5) Retold: The Purloined Letter
This story followed the general plot points of the original but definitely gave it its own very unique story which I was really enjoying. It’s futuristic with a very sci-fi feel to it about a girl who needs a new start and is in a precarious position with the government who “hires” her for a mission of sorts. In this world everyone’s identity comes in the form of a tattoo on their body making identity theft nigh impossible. When one of these tattoos is stolen it’s our MC’s job to find it.
I actually really liked the characterization in this one, we actually got backstory and got to know the characters. I also really loved the whole “heist” kind of theme and of course all the sci-fi tech. There’s also a bit of an F/F romance but I think it’s mostly just platonic. The reason I didn’t give this one a full 4 or 5 stars is because the pacing was a bit off and it felt way too long. Happy Days, Sweetheart by Stephanie Kuehn – ★★★ Retold: The Tell-Tale Heart
This is definitely a pretty unique retelling as the only real connection it has to the original is the “hearing the beating heart” bit in my opinion. This is about a girl who has always tried very hard to the “best” at everything in school, but she ultimately struggles due to her minority status (she is half black and half Mexican). There is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed wealthy white boy that gets all the attention and awards, he’s essentially handed everything. She strikes up a relationship with him but when the end of her senior year comes around she will do anything to be the class valedictorian.
I liked how there was a deeper theme and message revolving around privilege and race in this one and loved Kuehn’s writing style. My only issue with this one was that the ending felt a little lackluster and abrupt.
The Raven (Remix) by Amanda Lovelace – N/A Retold: The Raven
So I did not realize this right away but apparently the eARC I received was not formatted correctly. This is supposed to be “The Raven” retold by blacking out parts in order to tell another story/poem. However, since I had no way of reading this in it’s proper format I won’t be reviewing or rating it. Changeling by Marieke Nijkamp – ★★★ Retold: Hop-Frog
Trigger Warnings: Abuse & Ableism
“Hop-Frog” isn’t one of my favorite stories but this retelling was alright, I’m always up for a good revenge story. This is told in a split timeline by one MC, a “before” being rescued by a Fae and an “after”. The Fae come for children that are disfigured or disabled because they are horribly mistreated and give them a choice to come with them to the Unseelie realm and to take revenge on the people that tormented them.
I loved the Fae aspect in this story but overall it was a bit slow and failed to grasp my attention fully. The Oval Filter by Lamar Giles – ★★ (2.5) Retold: The Oval Portrait
I have a lot of conflicted feelings about this story, it had really great potential but I felt the ending was….not great. It did follow the original tale in an interesting way and definitely put a modernized spin on it though.
It follows Tariq, a young African American boy nursing a football injury, whose girlfriend is haunting him through an oval-shaped filter on Instagram in order to have him find who killed her. It started off pretty creepy but after a while it lost that bit of flair. And that ending? What? It made zero sense to me and was very abrupt, it left me feeling pretty unsatisfied overall.
Red by Hillary Monahan – ★★ Retold: The Masque of the Red Death
I really enjoy Hillary Monahan’s stories because they always creep me out and the writing is great. However, I was very disappointed with this story. I liked how it followed a certain path set in the original tale and subtle references were fun to pick out but overall this story was confusing as hell.
It follows a “girl” with red hair walking out through the dark streets of Boston on her way to a club where she seeks out revenge on a man. However, we got zero explanations as to who or what she is (supernatural entity of some kind maybe?) and why she seeks revenge. While this added a certain aura of mystery that I liked, I felt a few things could have been explained in order to enjoy the story more. I was left with a “what?” expression and a completely forgettable story due to my lack of understanding it.
Lygia by Dahlia Adler – ★★ Retold: Ligeia
Trigger Warnings: Cancer Related Death & Homophobic Statements
This felt very similar to the story “Night-Tide” which retold “Annabel Lee”, and I understand the stories both deal with lost love and grief but…..it just felt too similar for me. This is about a girl who lost her lover to cancer and finds herself entering into a relationship with a new girl at school. She slowly begins to transform her into the spitting image of her lost love.
It is very similar to the original tale and it’s a good retelling in that sense but it’s just not my cup of tea. The Fall of the Bank of Usher by Fran Wilde – ★ Retold: The Fall of the House of Usher
Okay. This is my least favorite story in the entire collection and to be perfectly honest I was so bored that I skimmed quite a bit. I didn’t think it was all that creative and I just could have cared less about anything with the story or characters.
It’s about twins who are hired to try and hack an “un-hackable” bank. It’s full of very futuristic tech etc. I just quite caring after that.
The Murders in the Rue Apartelle, Boracay by Rin Chupeco – ★★★★★ Retold: The Murders in the Rue Morgue
I have always loved Rin Chupeco and I was NOT disappointed with this story, definitely my favorite in the whole collection hands down. I loved the inclusion of all the Asian mythology and supernatural creatures, it kept my interest. It also follows the original tale very well too and even with prior knowledge of the original nothing is really spoiled either. I was surprised by the ending and loved how there was some characterization in such a short story too. I wouldn’t mind this being a full length novel!
Overall there were a few stories I found worth the read but there were more misses than hits for me unfortunately. However, I would still recommend this book if you’re a fan of retellings and Edgar Allan Poe, there’s something for every fan here I believe!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
“Once upon a midnight dreary, I received a review query, About this very quaint and curious volume of Poe’s retold lore…”
First off, I have to start by saying I was incredibly tempted to write this entire review as a poem in the style of “The Raven” but, unfortunately (…or perhaps fortunately), I think that far exceeds my creative writing talents.
I know I am pointing out the obvious at this point, but this is a collection of thirteen YA authors’ contemporary retellings of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s most famous works. The authors have taken these chilling stories and reimagined them for a new generation of readers. These modernized versions are hauntingly unique yet still retain much of Poe’s signature tone and style while paying homage to the beloved originals. Thrills and chills, love, heartbreak, and revenge can all be found within these pages, forming a collection that further immortalizes these classic tales.
As a lover of all things dark and creepy, I immediately fell in love with Edgar Allan Poe’s work when we first studied him back in middle school. So when I heard about this collection, I absolutely had to give it a read—and I was not disappointed. As with any anthology with multiple authors, you’re going to have some hits and some misses. However, I found that the focus here on Poe retellings helped to unify the stories quite a lot more than other short story collections I have read. Each story possesses the vividly eerie, peculiar, longing, and vengeful qualities found in the originals and stays very faithful to Poe’s visions for them.
My favorite stories from the collection were:
Night-Tide by Tessa Gratton Lygia by Dahlia Adler The Oval Filter by Lamar Giles A Drop of Stolen Ink by Emily Lloyd-Jones The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig The Fall of the Bank of Usher by Fran Wilde
Now, I’ll go into some specifics about each of the individual stories and my thoughts on them.
She Rode a Horse of Fire by Kendare Blake (3.5/5) Inspired by “Metzengerstein”
In this story, we follow a girl who works in a mansion. The young master of the estate, Friedrich Baron, loses his most recent girlfriend in a fire on his property. It turns out that she was the daughter of another wealthy family who has a centuries-long feud with Friedrich’s. Then, out of nowhere one day, a young woman appears and Friedrich begins to spend all his time with her. And, somehow, this young woman has a striking resemblance to a figure in a mysterious tapestry found in the Baron estate. Though it was an interesting story, it just felt like it needed something more. I would have liked a little more clarity about who the characters are—particularly the main character—and what their relationships to each other were. The way the story is told, it makes it seem necessary to have a few more of those details. Other than that, it is a splendid update of the original story—very faithful to all the elements of the plot with a more modern twist to them!
It’s Carnival! by Tiffany D. Jackson (3/5) Inspired by “The Cask of Amontillado”
In this story, a girl named Cindy plans to get her revenge on a man named Darrell using Brooklyn’s West Indian Day Carnival to cover her tracks. It is clear that Darrel has been harassing her and her family relentlessly for years, though not much detail is given. The Cask of Amontillado is one of my favorite Poe tales and I felt that this was a pretty accurate depiction of the general idea of the story. It unfolds in much the same way as the original and that holding back of details is similar to how Poe tells his version. I think my only real issue was that I couldn’t quite get into Jackson’s writing style. It just didn’t click with me and I felt like there was a little something missing, but overall, it is an accurate retelling.
Night-Tide by Tessa Gratton (5/5) Inspired by “Annabel Lee”
Gratton transforms this classic poem into a short story about lost lovers. A young lady tells of a girl she loves who has tragically fallen ill and passed away. The narrator mourns her Annabel Lee, reminisces of better times, and feels anger at the intolerant whispers of the locals in this beach town. This was my favorite story in the whole collection—I absolutely adored it. It is both beautiful and utterly heartbreaking and is such a brilliant take on the original poem. Gratton did an amazing job of capturing those feelings of loss and longing that emanate from Poe’s writing. A wholly unique and imaginative retelling!
The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig (4.25/5) Inspired by “The Pit and the Pendulum”
In this story, a young girl is captured by an infamous serial killer named “The Judge”. He is going to kill her because he believes she has committed many sins and he wants her to confess them before her time comes. While trapped in a cage in his basement, she realizes she will have to determine how to beat him at his own game if she wants to get out alive. This is just begging to be turned into a full-length psychological thriller novel! The one thing I felt it was lacking was a bit more backstory for the main character. There were a number of plot points, specifically about her relationships with a couple other characters, that were only vaguely touched on. The fact that these plot points were brought up in the first place made some more detail necessary in order to fully develop the story.
A Drop of Stolen Ink by Emily Lloyd-Jones (4.5/5) Inspired by “The Purloined Letter”
In this story, society has reached a point where our entire identities are written in a tattoo on our bodies that can be scanned whenever our details are needed. This makes it nearly impossible for a person’s identity to be stolen. However, that very thing has happened, and it is up to our main character to find the missing tattoo. Classic mystery/thriller style plot meets futuristic tech? Sign me up! I absolutely loved this story—it was definitely my kind of thing. Once again, this is another story that I would absolutely love seeing turned into a full novel!
Happy Days, Sweetheart by Stephanie Kuehn (2/5) Inspired by “The Tell-Tale Heart”
In this story, we follow a girl who is dealing with a lot of pressure from herself to be the best but is struggling with being a minority in her school. She continuously loses out to a rich, white boy who does not put the same effort into things as she does. As the end of senior year approaches, she will do anything to become valedictorian. The Tell-Tale Heart is another one of my favorite Poe stories. However, I ended up not really liking this retelling. I do think it was very accurate and featured many of the important plot elements from the original. And, while I definitely understand the message Kuehn is trying to convey, I feel that this particular story is just not the right one to use in order to do that. I wasn’t entirely sure how to feel about this one.
The Raven (Remix) by Amanda Lovelace (N/A) Inspired by “The Raven”
This is a blackout poetry version of “The Raven” (one of my favorite poems of all time). Essentially, Lovelace takes the original poem and blacks out portions of the text in order to reveal a new poem that she has created from Poe’s words. Unfortunately, there was an error here with the digital ARC and nothing was blacked out, so I cannot give a rating or review on this one. However, I absolutely love Amanda Lovelace and her poetry is always so beautiful and creative. I am certain I will enjoy reading this when the collection officially releases.
Changeling by Marieke Nijkamp (4/5) Inspired by “Hop-Frog”
In this story, the children in society who are deemed “crippled” are either being treated unfairly or just left to fend for themselves. There is a tale of the fae coming to gather these children and bring them to a better life that many of them are hopeful is true. We follow a character who was once found and taken in by the fae and who now does the same for others—while also aiding them if they wish to take revenge on those who have wronged them. This one felt like a dark fairytale and I loved that. It was definitely an interesting and unique take on the original story.
The Oval Filter by Lamar Giles (5/5) Inspired by “The Oval Portrait”
This is the story of a guy named Tariq whose girlfriend has recently been murdered. Suddenly, she is haunting his Instagram feed, her constantly changing image in the oval profile picture helping lead Tariq to discover who has killed her. I had not read The Oval Portrait prior to this but I ended up absolutely loving both versions. Giles definitely captures the highly unsettling nature of the original work using our modern-day portraits—profile pictures. The changing image in the oval filter is described so vividly and the way it is used is truly creepy. Giles did a fantastic job of setting a clear and intense tone and atmosphere in a short amount of time.
Red by Hillary Monahan (2/5) Inspired by “The Masque of the Red Death”
Despite being familiar with and having studied The Masque of the Red Death, I was honestly quite confused by this story. I couldn’t really figure out what was happening. We follow this mysterious girl with red hair and it is clear that she is some sort of otherworldly being out for revenge. But that’s about all I figured out. There are many references to names used within the original story, such as the bar the girl ends up at having the same name and distinct internal color scheme as the home where the guests are hiding from the plague in Poe’s version. The ending produces the same result as the original text. However, I could not figure out why anything was happening or anything about the girl and what exactly she is. I do have to give Monahan credit for making such a fascinatingly atmosphere setting, though.
Lygia by Dahlia Adler (5/5) Inspired by “Ligeia”
In this story, our main character loses the girl she is deeply in love with to cancer. Then one day at school, she passes Lygia’s locker only to see a new girl who is somewhat reminiscent of Lygia—reminiscent enough that the narrator begins to do everything she can to make her the spitting image of Lygia. This is exactly the type of story that I love and I desperately wish this was a full-length novel. And that ending! I totally want to hear more of this story. I read the original “Ligeia” alongside this one as I had not read it before and felt that it was a very unique yet accurate retelling.
The Fall of the Bank of Usher by Fran Wilde (4/5) Inspired by “The Fall of the House of Usher”
Here, we follow twins who, together, are the hacker phenom “Madrik”. They receive an email inviting them to a bank in need of their skills to test their new security system. Once the twins arrive, however, it is clear that something much more sinister is at play. The sci-fi/hacker story nerd in me was very pleased with this one. The only “complaint” I had was that I wish this had been longer. There were so many fascinating pieces of technology I wanted more details on, and I would have loved to hear more of the twins’ backstory. Nevertheless, I thought this was an absolutely brilliant modernization of the original tale. Taking the creepy and inexplicable things that ensnare the house in the original story and transforming them into things like biotech and robotics was so great!
The Murders in the Rue Apartelle, Boracay by Rin Chupeco (3/5) Inspired by “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”
In this story, we follow a transgender girl as she falls in love with a man who takes her on a wild journey. She marvels at his attention to detail and remarkable powers of deduction. After spending days together exploring the area, they find out that a double murder has taken place and they are swept up into the investigation. This kind of had some Sherlock Holmes vibes, which I liked. It was an interesting story, but I never felt like I was all that invested in it or the characters. I think part of it was the writing style. I have read and enjoyed Rin Chupeco’s work in the past, but have also found her writing style a bit difficult to get in to. It was a very faithful retelling of the original, however, with a neat, fantastical twist!
Overall, I had a really great time reading this. I definitely very highly recommend giving this collection a go if you are a fan of Edgar Allan Poe or any of these wonderful YA authors!
Edgar Allan Poe being one of my favorite authors, I couldn't not get this book. Although I'm always wary when it comes to retellings of one of my favorite book or of stories of one of my favorites authors, I still really wanted to read that one. While I haven't been absolutely enchanted by it, it's still a good book, with a nice idea behind it, and I'm pretty sure many people (including others Poe fans) will love it more than I did. Edgar Allan Poe was an amazing writer who influenced so many people, and it does warm my heart to see those authors coming together to celebrate his work. Just for that, this anthology does have merit.
The format is very nice, because it's in two parts: The Tales Retold first and then The Original Tales. You can read it as you want: the retelling and then the original tale, or like I did all the retellings and then enjoy once more the original tales. For those who haven't read Poe before, it's also a great opportunity for them to discover his writing without buying one of his books if they were never interested before. For those who love Poe, it's a great opportunity to read those new authors and to read once more the tales they already love. Basically, it's a win-win for everyone.
Among those 13 tales, I had a hard time with some of them, but that's to be expected in general with an anthology. You have the stories you love, the ones you don't like, the ones that are just all right, which makes for me an overall rating of three stars.
Night-Tide by Tessa Gratton, a retelling inspired by Annabelle Lee, is my favorite. The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig (inspired by The Pit and the Pendulum), Happy Days, Sweetheart by Stephanie Kuehn (inspired by The Tell-Tale Heart), Changeling by Marieke Nijkamp (inspired by Hop-Frog) were also really good. That makes 4 stories out of 13 that I really liked.
On the other hand, I wasn't convinced at all by the The Raven (Remix) by Amanda Lovelace, where the original tale has parts covered in black to create a new tale. I found it more annoying than anything, but it's a matter of personal taste. A Drop of Stolen Ink by Emily Lloyd-Jones (inspired by The Purloined Letter) and The Fall of the Bank of Usher by Fran Wilde (inspired by The Fall of the House of Usher) are futuristic stories, which unfortunately isn't for me ; once again, it's really a matter of personal taste. The Oval Filter by Lamar Giles (inspired by The Oval Portrait) wasn't for me either (I get the use of technology like Instagram is now popular in horror movies and books, but it just doesn't work for me). So also 4 stories out of 13 that I didn't like.
The 5 stories left, She Rode a Horse of Fire by Kendare Blake (inspired by Metzengerstein), It’s Carnival! by Tiffany D. Jackson (inspired by The Cask of Amontillado), Red by Hillary Monahan (inspired by The Masque of the Red Death), Lygia by Dahlia Adler (inspired by Ligeia), and The Murders in Rue Apartelle, Boracay by Rin Chupeco (inspired by The Murders in the Rue Morgue) were okay.
All in all, this anthology is a very good October read if you're looking for one, with some tales definitely worth reading.
I'm not rating this anthology, because it ended up being so entirely not a Christina thing, and I read it under a mistaken assumption. See, in high school, I remember really enjoying the Poe our teacher would read to us on Halloween, but apparently it was either the teacher's oratory skills or he only read a selection, because it turns out I super dislike the work of Edgar Allan Poe to the degree that even retellings of Poe don't work for me.
Admittedly, if I hadn't read the original tales, I might have enjoyed this more, because the Poe stories inevitably left me bored to tears, grumpy, and in-no-way in the mood for a retelling. But since they're there and since retellings are generally more interesting if you know what choices they've made (I stand by this), that's the decision I made.
So anyway, His Hideous Heart was not for me, BUT if you are into Poe, then absolutely read this, because the retellings go in some interesting directions. You get Poe's basic ideas fleshed out and full of diversity and feminism. Poe tends to go low on detail, so it was interesting to see how people built onto his narrow framework.
It's not you, it's me, basically. Or, actually, it's not you or me, it's Poe.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
I couldn't imagine a book that was more on brand for me. Edgar Allen Poe re-tellings, edited by a fantastic human, full of some of my favorite and most anticipated authors? His Hideous Heart is made for me. I was unbelievably lucky to get an early copy and I devoured it whole. His Hideous Heart retains the magic of anthology, while bringing new life to Edgar Allen Poe. Part of why I love anthologies, is that not only do they offer you experiences to become closer to your favorite authors, but also to discover new loves. And what a subject. I can remember my first experiences with Edgar Allen Poe in middle school. Being absolutely transfixed by his writing, his characters, the atmosphere. Obsessed with the Gothic imagery and haunting desires.
These stories retain the eeriness, the creepiness, the same feeling of curiosity, and breathes new settings, characters, and technology. Nothing is as it seems and it only makes me want to go re-read the originals. Re-tellings will consistently captivate me - how much you retain from the original, what themes you bring forth, and which elements you eliminate. This anthology was like watching my wildest fantasies come true.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler is an anthology of thirteen classic Edgar Allan Poe tales as reimagined by top YA authors. Needless to say, Edgar Allan Poe is one of my all time favorites so I had incredibly high expectations for this collection with an all new audience in mind. I loved that these talented authors have created such unique takes on these classics, some of which are quite unexpected. It was so much fun to be surprised by where some of the stories were so cleverly taken while still being able to recognize them at their core. My favorites included The Fall of the Bank of Usher by Fran Wilde (The Fall of the House of Usher), The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig (The Pit and the Pendulum), It’s Carnival! by Tiffany D. Jackson (The Cask of Amontillado), A Drop of Stolen Ink by Emily Lloyd-Jones (The Purloined Letter), Changeling by Marieke Nijkamp (Hop-Frog), and The Oval Filter by Lamar Giles (The Oval Portrait). Of all of these retellings, I was the most excited to see what Fran Wilde made of The Fall of the House of Usher as it's been a long time favorite and luckily her short tops my list of all thirteen retellings. I can't say I was expecting a sci-fi hacker heist, but it totally worked for me. Also, out of all of the self-contained stories in this anthology, this is the one where I wouldn't mind a longer novella or even a full-length novel of Mad and Rik's exploits. Overall, if you enjoy Edgar Allan Poe as much as I do, this collection of some of his most well known tales retold is well worth picking up. Don't worry if you aren't familiar with the original stories featured here because they are actually included at the back of the book for your enjoyment. Now I feel like watching some of Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe adaptations featuring Vincent Price!
"His Hideous Heart" Edited by Dahlia Adler is a collection of 13 short stories that are retold and inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. The overall themes include Love and Loss, Grief and Death, Rivalry and Revenge. Edgar Allan Poe's works continue to inspire Young Adults and every reader to this day, even after more than 150 years later. I remember reading Poe in high school and remembering how I felt reading his works. I enjoyed this collection and it is very well curated by Adler. Some of my favorites are the following: THE NIGHT-TIDE By Tessa Gratton which was inspired by "Annabel Lee" and THE GLITTERING DEATH by Caleb Roehrig inspired by "The Pit and The Pendulum". I recommend this very much for a wonderful collection of short stories with amazing inspiration.
Thank you NetGalley, Flatiron Books and authors for sending me a free copy in exchange for my objective and honest review.
I am obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe, have been since the 7th grade when my English teacher insisted that we learn The Raven and The Tale-Tell Heart. I remember I felt the urge to write the first two stanzas of The Raven on everything. In the sand, on paper, when I was practicing my typing skills. I loved it so much.
As a biased lover of Poe I immediately was excited for this collection of re-tellings. Here's a secret...growing up I have wanted everything Poe and yet, I had not read his collected works. How can one claim to be a fan of something/someone without being familiar with everything about that thing or person. So it is shameful that I went into this book only having ever read 4/13 stories. Now, I did try to brush up on my Poe with another collection last month. and so I can add 2 more stories to the total. I now have read 6/13. But I've also read by Gordon McAlpine and with this trilogy I had been introduced to 2 more stories. So now the total is 8/13 not bad. I've either read the story outright or a shorter version of each. This of course isn't all of Poe's works. I still have to go about reading all of them eventually. What did I think about these original stories? What did I think about the re-tellings?
Typically when I write a review about a collection of short stories, I tell you a few that I loved and a few that I hated and the reasons why. In this review, I think I'm going to touch on each story individually so that you may get a feel for each and whether you want to borrow or buy this book to read the re-tellings. The star ratings is for both the original and the re-telling.
Metzengerstein/She Rode a Horse of Fire by Kendare Blake. I had not previously read the original story. The name is very difficult to pronounce, for me anyway. Basically what this story is about is two families that hate each other. They are cordial when they need to be (parties and the like), but typically stick to their own. Now our main character is a young man around 18 and his family's fortune is left to him, along with the mansion and responsibilities. Our main character isn't interested in continuing with the family "business" and hides away in a forgotten room in the large estate. There is a painting that intrigues the young man and he dwells on this painting day and night. One day something terrible happens. I enjoyed both stories, however the modern re-telling made it easier to understand. 3/3 stars. I have read Kendare Blake before with her Anna Dressed in Bloodand found her writing to be okay.
The Cask of Amontillado/It's Carnival by Tiffany D. Jackson. I really enjoyed the original story. It is easy to follow and the way the story plays out, the reader feels sorry for the person being walled up. Tiffany did an amazing job with the re-telling. Not only did she gender swap the main character, but she made it vengeful because of the way the man treated her self and her family. In the original the main character hates the man for a small slight....at least that is how I read it. My favorite line from the story is this, "I'm telling you this because it brings me great amusement knowing he's still down there..." such a deliciously creepy ending. 5/5 stars. I've never read Tiffany Jackson before, but with this awesome short story I'm definitely wanting to get into her other books: White Smokebeing the first one on my list. A re-telling of a modern day haunted house that is due to be released in Sept 2021.
Annabel Lee/Night-Tide by Tessa Gratton. The original poem I had read back in 7th grade and I found it so sad and chilling. I as a child didn't really understand the poem and as an adult re-reading it just made me again sad for the narrator of the poem. I think Tessa did a great job in her re-telling. Again we see a gender reversal in this story. We follow a lesbian couple on the cusp of their discovery. The main character goes to Kingdom by the Sea a resort every summer with the same set of families. When her lovers family finds out the girls are a lot closer than they have originally thought they put a stop to it. The re-telling still gives off a sad and chilling vibe which I loved. 4/4 stars. I own Tessa Gratton's Blood Journal duology Blood Magicthat I still need to read. But her writing speaks to me, so I'm hoping to get to it sooner rather than later.
The Pit and the Pendulum/The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig. The original is long winded. The first few pages of the story is hard to follow, but perhaps that is the point because the man has been put in a cell of some sort alone. I did read an adaption of this story like I said above in a children's book. So I got the jist of the story. However the re-telling....the re-telling is so much more scary than the original. Which I absolutely loved. It did keep me on edge. In the original the prisoner never sees his "judge" he never sees who put him in the pit. In the re-telling its a serial killer who passes judgement on people he deems sinful. 3/5 stars I wanted to read his other book The Fell of Darkwhich is a humorous vampire book. Caleb has a great writing style that gets you hooked.
The Purloined Letter/A Drop of Stolen Ink by Emily Lloyd-Jones. Another long winded original. In the original there is a letter that needs to be found that has information that will help with an investigation. The police have other people searching for this letter. The other agency can't find the letter even though they have searched high and low in everything possible. The one in charge of the investigation is somewhat of a Holmes in that he uses deduction and obviousness to find and locate the letter in plain sight. In the re-telling we get a sci-fi story of a girl who is a hacker extraordinaire. She works for like the FBI and needs to continue to work for them until she can pay off her "debt" which she didn't ask for. Everyone in this world has a tattoo barcode that has everything about the person embedded into their skin using a special kind of ink that can not be duplicated. The theory is with this tattoo no one can have their identity stolen. Until.... our main character has to find a certain someone that did just that. I'm not usually into "heist" books, but this one was good. 3/4 stars. I've heard of this author before. I put her 'The Hearts We Sold' on my most anticipated reads list years ago because it's about demons. The Bone Houses her most recent book is about zombie like creatures. But both have mixed reviews and so I'm uncertain if I want to pick up anymore by her. I think I need to read another short story to convince myself. If you like this story with the sci-fi element... Emily did write a sci-fi series starting with Illusive that follows teens with super powers after they are vaccinated for a MK virus pandemic.
The Tell-Tale Heart/Happy Days, Sweetheart by Stephanie Kuehn. I absolutely love the original and have read it many, many times in my life. I love the author Stephanie Kuehn and own several of her books. In the original, the narrator lives with an old man who has a cataract in one eye. The narrator becomes increasingly agitated by this curious eye and ends up killing the old man. However his madness doesn't stop there and eventually when the cops come knocking he confesses, even though he wouldn't have gotten caught. I loved the re-telling. It's about a high school girl who is half Black and half Mexican and she is trying to win something in school. Every opportunity to be the captain, leader, president, chairman anything at the top so that she can get into a good college. At every turn this "wholesome" White boy wins in everything she tries out for. He doesn't even want the win. It gets hairy at the end. My favorite quote from this story..."No, his hideous heart simply wanted what every man wanted form the brash, pushy, outspoken women in their lives. For me to shut the hell up." 5/4 stars. Like I said I have read Stephanie before and I'm looking forward to reading the other books I own by her
The Raven/The Raven (Remix) by amanda lovelace. I love the poem The Raven. That is why I have a giant raven tattoo on my right shoulder/chest and back. So to cut it up like she did, made me sad. Its like she took out all the heart of the story and left the skeleton. I guess she made her point on what the poem was about. Most of the poem is redacted. I didn't get to see how she writes. Where her mind wanders is uncertain to me. What is the symbolism of keeping her name in lowercase? 5/2 stars. This was my least favorite re-telling. Apparently she writes poetry. I'm not a huge fan of poetry. The old stuff is great, but modern poetry is pretty terrible in my opinion. So I won't be picking up anything else by amanda. Sean Barrs wrote a telling review on her Princess Saves Herself poetry book. I'd read his thoughts.
Hop Frog/Changeling by Marieke Nijkamp. I've been wanting to read this author and I'm happy I was able to in this collection. The original is about a dwarf that is belittled by the kind so much that he finally gets his revenge. In the re-telling it's a girl who has been left to the fae that is our narrator. She is "A crooked child whose back was bent, whose hands were clawed, whose tread was always too slow too stumbling, too insecure." The fae are supposed to take these broken children and raise them in a better place. It takes a long time before her fae comes for her. They seek revenge for the wrong doings that had been done to our narrator. They continue looking for broken children. I really liked this fairy-tale. 3/4 stars. is the most recent book that I'm excited to pick up.
The Oval Portrait/The Oval Filter by Lamar Giles. Another original Poe story that I had not picked up previously. This one is about a man that stays at a chateau. In the room he stays in he finds a small oval portrait of a beautiful young woman. He can't take his eyes off the portrait. He finds a book that has the information about all the paintings throughout the room. When he finds the picture that he seeks he learns that the woman in the painting died right after this picture was painted. It reminded me a bit of 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'. In the re-telling we follow a football player who is just getting back into practice after an injury. He needs to be able to play because the scouts are coming and that is the only way he will be picked up for the pros. A girl that looks like Rihanna that Tariq has admired from a distance keeps popping up on his phone. Instagram pics and such. He can't understand why these pictures keep appearing on his phone, until he figures out her message. Nice ghosty story. 3/3 stars. This author has a nice handful of books out, but none of the books look interesting to me. I'm not interested in YA books with romance. He does have two thrillers that kind of look interesting, but again they are on subjects that don't interest me. I will keep an eye out on more books by him in the future and hopefully I'll find one that matches my buzzwords.
The Masque of the Red Death/Red by Hillary Monahan. Hillary Monahan wrote my favorite Bloody Mary re-telling and so I was looking forward to reading this latest re-telling. In the original there is a pandemic of death and a very rich man invites a bunch of his friends to stay in his mansion/castle to keep from getting sick. But then death comes for them all anyway. In the re-telling we follow a protagonist on Halloween night. She is on a mission. She is heading to Prospero's house and his seven immaculately decorated rooms. In the original we follow the POV of the guests and Prospero the rich man. In this story we get the POV from death herself. 3/3 stars. I know Hillary can do better. She did a great job of re-telling this story, but it's not as good as her fellow authors were they took the story and made it their own. This one still feels like the same story, albeit in the antagonists POV. I'm looking forward to her latest book that is still in the works. It's called there's still no cover and it was supposed to come out last year, but a re-telling of Great Expectations sounds awesome. At least that's what I'm hoping the book is going to be about.
Ligeia/Lygia by Dahlia Adler. This story I have never heard of before. In the original, there is a man that loves a woman (not sure if the woman knows the man, or if he "loves" her from afar) the woman that the man is in love with dies and he starts pinning over another woman, but can't seem to get the memory of the other woman Ligeia out of his mind. And is never fully content with the new girls attention. In the re-telling, we are still on the same kind of story. This short story is written in 2nd person and what the narrator does to the newest love interest is super creepy. Our lesbian couple is preparing to go to prom, but Roberta the new love interest has been drifting further away even though she was the one that wanted to go. The ending is looney and maybe its because our narrator is mad or just a pill popper. You decide. 4/4 stars. Dahlia is known for her romance YA lit and so I will be skipping those, however, I am interested in the other anthologies that she has been in. which is re-tellings of Shakespeare and which is a re-telling of fairy-tales that comes out next year.
The Fall of the House of Usher/The Fall of the Bank of Usher by Fran Wilde. I love the original which is a haunted house story with twins. A brother and sister that are stuck in the house and getting sicker and sicker. The protagonist is a friend of the brother and is called to the mansion to help. In the re-telling which I actually really liked is about twin hackers. Brother and Sister are so good at hacking they have been recruited to an "evil" corporation. They are still teens and what to escape and be on their own. They have been on the run for a few months when the brother Rik decides one more gig before they really go into hiding. He wants the motherlode and he thinks he has found it in the Bank of Usher. Mad his sister is reluctant and wants out already, but she follows her brother. When they finally arrive at the Bank, they find themselves locked in and must fight their way out. It was still creepy with it's A.I. and locked rooms. I enjoyed it. 5/4 stars.
The Murders in the Rue Morgue/The Murders in the Rue Apartelle, Boracay by Rin Chupeco. 5/5 stars. I loved the original and the re-telling which is set in the Philippines. Loved how Rin was able to do the deduction scene. Perfect! Running out of room here. I have read Rin before. Love!
Now that my Secret Santa knows what I got her for Christmas, I can share that I was reading this book to find out if it was going to be a good gift for a fellow Poe lover. Full review to come soon!
Full story-by-story breakdown. If I had just read the original story in October, I didn't reread it for this comparison, but the ones I had only read in high school I revisited to create a more current opinion. I loved that the original tales were in the back of the book, and I would read the retellings first and then swap back and immediately read the original. I think it worked well for me. Often the retellings made me excited to read the originals for the ones I hadn't read already. This was a really fun book, and it added several authors to my TBR.
"She Rode a Horse on Fire" by Kendare Blakebased on "Metzengerstein" 4 stars I had not read the original tale prior to reading this one, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. There was an aspect of it that kind of reminded me of a DND campaign I played a while back. :-P
"Metzengerstein" 4 stars Enjoyed the original tale about the same as the retelling. They were quite similar.
"It's Carnival" by Tiffany Jacksonbased on "The Cask of Amontillado" 5 stars LOVED the vibe of this one! I felt it gave a little more context to the original tale while still keeping the essence of the original intact. I am curious to read this author's other books (which I know I have seen all over Instagram!).
"The Cask of Amontillado" 5 stars
"Night-Tide" by Tessa Grattonbased on "Annabel Lee" 2.5 stars I was rather bored with this one. It actually reminded me a little of that movie "Lost and Delirious" in some ways. I much prefer the original poem.
"Annabel Lee" 5 stars
"The Glittering Death" by Caleb Roehrigbased on "The Pit and the Pendulum" 5 stars I felt this had the fewest connections to the original tale (other than maybe the Annabel Lee one), but this was SOOO GOOD! Definitely going to be looking for more by this author.
"The Pit and the Pendulum" 4.5 stars
"A Stolen Drop of Ink" by Emily Lloyd-Jonesbased on "The Purloined Letter" 4 stars I had read one of the Dupin mysteries prior to this one, but this was a new one for me. I really liked the weird, futuristic setting this author took. It was almost sci-fi, yet it still had some of those gothic vibes. Really fascinating! I'll be keeping an eye out for this author's future books.
"The Purloined Letter" 3 stars This was a new Dupin tale for me. It was okay. I think I like the few Sherlock tales I've read more, but I'm curious to read the other stories in this series.
"Happy Days, Sweetheart" by Stephanie Keuhnbased on "The Tell-Tale Heart" 4 stars VERY interesting spin on the tale. I loved the discussion on "fairness" that the author generated. Another author to watch!
"The Tell-Tale Heart" 4 stars
"The Raven Remix" by Amanda Lovelacebased on "The Raven" 2.5 stars Too short to make much of an impact for me.
"The Raven" 5 stars
"Changeling" by Marieke Nijkampbased on "Hopfrog" 3 stars I didn't see many comparisons to the original tale, which I read in October and loved. Fell kind of flat.
"Hopfrog" 4 stars
"The Oval Filter" by Lamar Gilesbased on "The Oval Portrait" 3.5 stars I hadn't read the original before this one either. It was very interesting! Had great "Poe vibes." Curious to read more from this author!
"The Oval Portrait" 3 stars Ending felt rather abrupt, otherwise okay.
"Red" by Hillary Monahanbased on "The Masque of the Red Death" 3.5 stars This one, while feeling similar to the original tale, seemed to be lacking the "Poe vibes" some of the others captured so well. It felt a little lackluster as a result. (But I also didn't love "Masque" when I first read it.)
"The Masque of the Red Death" 3 stars
"Lygia" by Dahlia Adlerbased on "Legeia" 5 stars Oh my goodness, this was great!! I hadn't read the original yet, but this hyped me up so much for it! I will be watching for more Dahlia Adler books and stories in the future!
"Legeia" 4.5 stars After the Dahlia Adler version, this one felt just a little lacking, but still so good!
"The Fall of the Bank of Usher" by Fran Wildebased on "The Fall of the House of Usher" 3 stars Hackers have the potential to fascinate me, but these ones didn't. I was kind of bored. Curious to see if I would like this author's other stories though.
"The Fall of the House of Usher" 4 stars
"The Murders in the Rue Apartelle" by Rin Chupecobased on "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" 5 stars This one was so fun! It felt more Poe-like compared to the other Dupin retelling, and I will definitely be looking up more by this author!
This anthology was the perfect combination of creepy and purposeful. Each story had a message reflected in its horrors that wonderfully mirrored Poe's orginal tales (which are included in the book as well). It was well worth the wait to read these hauntungly reimagined stories by such wonderful authors.
Average Rating: 3.61 stars
Most Excited For: She Rode a Horse of Fire by Kendare Blake; Night Tale by Tessa Gratton; A Drop pf Stolen Ink by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Favorites: Night Tide by Tessa Gratton; The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig; Lygia by Dahlia Adler
Least Favorites: The Raven (Remix) by Amanda Lovelace; The Fall of the Bank of Usher by Fran Wilde
She Rode a Horse of Fire by Kendare Blake | ★★★☆☆ I thought this story had great atmosphere and set the tone for the anthology. It was so rich and really felt morphed from the orignal story, but I loved how it was updated - even thought it kept a historical setting.
It's Carnival by Tiffany D. Jackson | ★★★★☆ The vibrant Carnical parade setting was the perfect cover for this sadistic and remorseless story. I'm am all here for unapologetic vengeance against abuseres and overall shitty people so I thought this story was wonderfull and had a surprisingly brighter tone that lifted the anthology after the darker introduction
Night-Tide by Tessa Gratton | ★★★★★ This was a beautifully sad and heartfelt story about love and loss. We seeJaclyn learn more about herself through Annabel's death. But I completely felt the connection between the two and I felt Jaclyn's pain and it being over.
The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig | ★★★★★ I loved how greusome this story was, it felt like an episode of some kind of crime show (which I absolutely love). We have a character fighting against an abductor who has already killed people - it's tense and makes your heart race in the best way.
A Drop of Stolen Ink by Emily Lloyd-Jones | ★★★★☆ I thought it was nice to get a little science fiction elements introduced here to break up some of the other styles. The skin tattos and wraith/Prefect relationship was definitely intriguing, but I do think it ended too soon. I would have loved for this to be a bit more fleshed out.
Happy Days, Sweetheart by Stephanie Keuhn | ★★★☆☆ This was a retelling of The Tell-Tale Heart and all of the elements were totally there - the building resentment and cathartic release. The main characters is a better-qualifie outsider who consistently comes in second to an apathetic oponent. The parallels to the 2016 election were a little on the nose for me, but I liked the story overall.
The Raven (Remix) by Amanda Lovelace | ★☆☆☆☆ This one did absolutely nothing for me. I thought backling out Poe's original story was a really smart idea, but it ended up being so short and the message was better delivered in "Night-Tide" or "Lygia"
Changeling by Marieke Nijkamp | ★★★★☆ "Hop Frog" was one of Poe's stories that I wasn't familiar with, but it grabbed when when I read the originals in preparation for the retellings. I loved how magic, the Fae, and revenge were woven into this story that showcased solidarity.
The Oval Filter by Lamar Giles | ★★★☆☆ (3.5 Stars) Tariq is recovering from a football injury and is still mourning the unexepcted (and unsolved death) of his girlfriend, Courtney. We're with him as he starts to see her reappear on social media (after all of her accounts were deleted. The reveal is weak, but I liked Tariq's journey.
Red by Hillary Monahan | ★★★★☆ I liked this story, but if was so short. We could have easily had another 100 pages to really flesh out the world. But our main character has some sort of magic or power that other fear and uses that to her advantage. It's a story about asserting yourself into where others reject you and demanding you belong. It was empowering.
Lygia by Dahlia Adler | ★★★★★ This was a hauntingly beautiful story reminising about a lost love. There's realy not much else to say about it, besides the fact that I loved it.
The Fall of the Bank of Usher by Fran Wilde | ★★☆☆☆ I don't know if I was getting reading fatigue, but this one was a little hard to follw. I get the overall structure, but I feel like the smaller details were lost on me. THis story followed sibling hackers and thiefs as they try and steal from an impenetrable bank.
The Murders in the Rue Apartelle, Boracay by Rin Chupeco | ★★★☆☆ (3.5 Stars) I thought this story has possibly the best potential. If this was a full length novel, I'd 100% want to pick it up. The writing style was different that all the other stories - it was like a letter written to you so there was in instant personal connection, and I loved the Filipino culture included.
Overall this anthology was great and I had a lot more hits than misses. If you're even a casual fan of Poe, I think you'd enjoy this.
As with any anthology, some will be hits and some will be misses for any reader. I found the strongest pieces to be the ones that really carried the haunting, gothic, atmospheric aspects of Poe into their retelling -- Tiffany D. Jackson, Stephanie Kuehn, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, and Dahlia Adler all did this so well. The ones that didn't quite capture the feel of Poe were the ones I was less enthusiastic about.
I expected more of a horror vibe, knowing Poe's original pieces, but there are fewer horror retellings in here than anticipated. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially for readers who want to see how you can take a story and give it an entirely different spin. But my reader heart wanted the horror, and the strong pieces stood out for capturing that essence.
All of the original pieces are the second half of the collection. Readers can read back and forth or straight through either set of pieces. Or, like me, you know enough Poe to skip those entirely. It's a nice resource for the collection.
Content Warnings: Animal death, fire, ableist comments, blood, death (cancer), abuse of a child/teenager
Rep: F/F (Night-Tide), disabled MC (Changeling), MOC/WOC MCs (The Oval Portrait), Portuguese LI (Lygia), trans girl MC & French-Filipino LI (The Murders in the Rue Apartelle, Boracay)
This list may not be 100% complete, but is compiled to the best of my knowledge.
If you're looking for the perfect collection of stories to curl up with, to haunt you into the wee hours of the morning and beyond, look no further than this: His Hideous Heart, edited by Dahlia Adler and contributed to by many more names from across the literary world.
Taking inspiration from some of Edgar Allan Poe's most well known works, and from some possibly not so well known, each story or poem collected and reimagined therein is one sure to inspire chilling thoughts as you wonder about where the story will go, what will have changed, and just who you might be cheering for in the end.
Thank you to Cat from Flatiron Books for having me on the His Hideous Hearts blog tour. It's been a blast. :)
What I Enjoyed
The authors within His Hideous Heart took inspiration from a classic source and brought that into modern places. There were elements of desperation and terror and anger and the need for justice that many feel and need. Whether it's someone getting a privilege or an absolution they don't deserve, or another person tearing a character down because of their accent, their heritage...a fragment of a Poe story waits for them within.
The eeriness, the elements of the supernatural, the depths of depravity that humans themselves are capable of, all of these facets combine to weave an intense tapestry of stories.
I loved how I was able to find satisfaction in the crafting of these stories. I won't say that they're 100% faithful to the originals, as I haven't read all of the Poe versions, but let's say that the contributors to His Hideous Heart were able to find endings that twisted the themes of the stories, embodied the soul of them, and found wicked beauteous finales.
The diversity of the tales was also terrific, much improved over the originals. From the Philippines to Barbadian immigrants to trans girls and more, there was so much to find within these pages.
An exceptionally helpful facet of the book, if you've never read the original Poe tales before or if you need a refresher, if that His Hideous Heart includes the corresponding works at the back of this anthology. They're well worth a look because what would this collection be without Poe's classics?
What I Didn't Enjoy
While normally of fan of amanda lovelace, I wasn't entirely taken with her rendition of The Raven, here entitled The Raven (Remix). It didn't flow smoothly for me and made it difficult to take in amongst all the other stories.
To Sum It Up
This was one of my favorite anthologies in memory. How often can you say that you enjoyed almost every entry and cannot wait to go back for a reread? I look forward to the publication date of this book and the opportunity to secure the audiobook and experience these tales from a whole new perspective.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.
Anthologies are fun. Oftentimes they are a miss, some stories lacking the power of the others. Rarely do I find myself completely obsessed with a book of short stories. And retellings? They’re hard to do. This book managed to hold my interest from start to finish and by the end I discovered authors I had never known about before, but now would hopelessly and utterly read more of their work. That is the true sign of a good anthology.
‘The marquee behind me proclaims Prospero’s dominion across the night sky. I do not bother proclaiming mine. ‘
We all are familiar with Edgar Allan Poe’s work but of course there are stories more well known than others. In His Hideous Heart we get a mix of the known and the unknown and the combination is delicious. It’s stark and so well written.
The authors and the characters are diverse in all factions. They tell you their story through their stories. There are a handful of narratives that are modernized as they mention Hayley Kiyoko, Iphones, and new slang. They work so very well because each author is fantastic in their own right and while you may think you know the ending, you never do.
Some of my favorites are: • The Oval Filter by Lamar Giles • It’s Carnival! by Tiffany D. Jackson • The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig • Happy Days, Sweetheart by Stephanie Kuehn
All of the stories are great however. You won’t be disappointed in any of the work. Whether its modernized, set in the past, or includes mythical creatures such as fae, eldritches, and monsters, they are all well written and leave you hungry for more. And there is more.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this copy of my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.