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The Poison Eaters and Other Stories

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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  5,070 ratings  ·  592 reviews
Pick your poison: Vampires, devils, werewolves, faeries, or . . . ? Find them all here in Holly Black’s amazing first collection.

In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and anothe
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Hardcover, 212 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Big Mouth House (first published February 9th 2010)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Kendare Blake
Dec 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
There are too few short story collections by single authors, and this one is incredible. It came highly recommended by Caitlin R Kiernan (herself a master of short fiction) and certainly didn't disappoint. These stories are sharp, with varied styles and tones ranging from gritty to ethereal to satirical.

"A Reversal of Fortune" about a deal with the devil and a wounded dog, was probably my favorite. But "The Night Market" about a girl trying to free her sister from an elf curse and "Paper Cuts S
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Candace Robinson
I'm not the biggest short story collection fan! I can maybe name less than five collections on the top of my hand that I really enjoyed.  This one was decent. I loved some and thought some of the others were okay. I definitely prefer Black's novels so much more!

Let me start by saying my fave was the one that featured the character's from Tithe! I could read about those characters for the rest of my life! All of the stories had fabulous writing and original character qualities. However, a few of
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Helena of Eretz ✰
These stories were so fun! I especially enjoyed the one with Roiben and Corny! :)
Mauoijenn
A couple of these stories were enjoyable. The rest just fell flat.
Stephanie (Bookfever)
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown:
I'm not sure what to think about this story. At first I was wondering where this would go and thinking it was a bit odd, even for me. But when the vampires started getting into the story, it was then that it started getting more interesting. Also, Belgium was mentioned, which is always funny since I'm from Belgium; 'So many of Belgium's citizens were vampires that shops barely opened their doors until nightfall.' -3/5

A Reversal of Fortune:
This story was quite dark, i
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Kirstine
After reading, and really liking, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I kind of wanted to read more of Holly Black. And as I was researching what to read next, I realized I already owned something by her. This book, which I've had for, umh, a few years.

I'm not good with short story anthologies, switching from one story to the next after only a few pages is really difficult for me. But it wasn't a problem here. Each story was a delight in its own way, and all where properly magical, and blended realit
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Amy
Jun 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short story collection written solely by Holly Black. There is everything you could ever hope for from a paranormal book packed into this small but entertaining set of stories.

A few favourites of mine include -

'The Night Market' which is about a girl called Tomasa who tries to save her sister from a elf's curse but ends up falling for him in all the wrong ways. Tomasa wasn't afraid to stand up to the elf even though he had alluring qualities.

'In Vodka Veritas' Which is about a boy wh
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TL
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
For me, a couple of the stories were mildly interesting but I found myself mostly bored. Not Miss Black"s fault, she's very talented but I just couldn't continue with this one.
Gemma
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Until now, I was convinced that short stories really weren't my thing.

I mean, Lips Touch Three Times was okay; the writing was pretty and I enjoyed it. But other short story collections (see: Kelly Link's highly disappointing Pretty Monsters) just leave me scratching my head and wondering why someone would bother to write that out at all.

Short stories are hard. You have to develop a plot, a setting and characters, and you don't have a huge number of words to do that. And with a lot of them, the
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Jackie (faerytalereader)
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
So, after reading "The Cruel Prince" and "The Wicked King" (multiple times) earlier this year. I've been re-reading/reading pretty much all of Holly Black's books.

"Virgin", "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", "In Vodka Veritas" and "A Reversal of Fortune" fell short. But the rest of the stories are absolute gems!

Here are the highlights:

"The Land of Heart's Desire"
I loved catching up with characters from "Tithe" and "Ironside" and learning about Roiben's childhood. Apparently, not everything is a fairy ta
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Nicole Field
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This anthology packs a punch. An amazing first story to pulls you in, an amazing final story leaves you thinking.

I had many things to say through the course of reading this book. Let me summarise some of them now:

The main reason I read this book was in the lead up to Holly's release of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown as a novel. That was the first story in this anthology and, boy, is it powerful. A completely different story than what I'm given to understand from the spoilers out at the moment, but
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Stacey
Apr 06, 2010 rated it liked it
A collection of short stories by one of my very favorite authors (although that list seems to get longer and longer...Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire, Meg Cabot... you see where I'm going with this...?)

Anyhow, most of these stories have been printed in other anthologies, but it's definitely much easier in this one volume. I like this trend of collecting previously-anthologized stories; especially when it's in the context of the Sookie or Dresden books... I think my two favorites here we
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Cillian

Delightful.
All the stories carry Holly's inherent magic and gorgeous storytelling.
I was also glad to get a glimpse of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Now I know that my impulsive decision to purchase that book was the right one.
Every mythological creature you can think of is fused in this collection; the stories are short and sweet. Some were creepy, some were extremely dark, and some were just fun.
Holly Black has a wonderful imagination and all those crazy ideas that live inside her head shine t
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Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)
My average rating for the stories in this book was 3.63 stars (see my reading updates on this book for the ratings of individual stories), and overall I'm very happy with it. Only two of the twelve stories got meh ratings, and there were quite a few stories I loved.

I know I'm prejudiced against short story collections because of my bad experiences with anthologies by multiple authors, but I'm still so surprised when I read a collection and enjoy almost every story. There's definitely something t
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Devann
actual rating: 3.5

This was a pretty good collection of stories. I had read one of them before - the one that was in the Sympathy for the Devil anthology - but the rest of them were new to me. There was one that was a precursor to The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and a few that took place in her Modern Faerie Tales series and then several that were just random one-off stories. Definitely a good read if you like her novels.
Anna
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
i like the stories and the writing is much better than the last holly black short story anthology i read, but they were all so similar.
Cyna
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Poison Eaters is a collection of short stories, most of which have been published in various anthologies over the years. They are all supernatural in nature, though the subjects vary wildly, from faeries to werewolves to normal human beings with extraordinary abilities. I'm a fan of short story compilations, because you're almost always guaranteed to find at least one that suits your taste (plus, they fly by). I was lucky this time - there were several stories I thought were exceptional, and ...more
Elena
4.5 stars. Absolutely brilliant. From the opening story, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," in which a desperate girl chooses to become a vampire in order to enact a rescue, to the final, titular story "The Poison Eaters," which stars three dead girls created as poisonous weapons, I was enthralled. This book had so many gems that it was easy to overlook the few stories that fell flat. Other favorites include "The Night Market," set in the Phillippines with a simultaneously endearing and terrifying ...more
Jocie
Nov 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
The Poison Eaters: And Other Stories is made up of twelve short stories. Three stories I liked but didn't really get that into (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, A Reversal of Fortune,& The Land of Heart's Desire). Five stories I was indifferent to (The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Virgin, In Vodka Veritas, Going Ironside,& The Poison Eaters). Three stories really caught my interest and I wish they would be turned into novels of their own (The Night Market, The Dog King,& The Coat of Stars). And one story I ...more
elizabeth tobey
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
My only sadness with this short story collection was that the first tale, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, was hands down the best of the entire book. I could read an entire novel around that concept.

That being said, every story was strong, felt distinct and fresh, and had its own voice. I appreciate that, particularly since novelists can so frequently rehash the same concepts and themes in a collection of this length.

If you are into faeries and otherworldly beings, read this. You'll like it.
Nina
I will have thoughts of the rest of the stories up on my blog this coming week, but right now I need to find the average rating... Not looking too good right now...

Update:
-After doing some calculations this book and anthology cam to the final, average rating of 2.3 stars (rounded to 2)
- Overall, this book was alright, but I would only recommend it to those looking for an anthology that is easy to get through and if you don't mind some (okay a lot) of weird stuff (In Vodka Veritas... like what?)

F
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Valerie
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read this book, and it’s still my favorite collection of short stories! Don’t get me wrong, I truly adore Black’s full length novels. She’s a top contender for my favorite YA author. (Tamora Pierce reins supreme, but Holly’s giving her a serious run for her money!) I am fully incapable of talking more about this book in a non-spoilery way. Anyone want to gush about it, message me! There’s a hope in my heart that a second volume of Poison Eaters is somewhere ...more
Kattie
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a great collection of short stories. It is definitely one to check out if you read the Tithe series, as that world is revisited. The stories are gritty and believable, even though they are full of mythical creatures and places, much as I've come to expect from Holly Black. This is the first anthology I have read that was all by the same author, but all of the stories are varied, which I was worried about.


Liliana
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
A collection of short stories inspired by Holly Black's favourite mythical creatures: the fae.
I picked this up because I am reading her extended fae universe in preparation for The Queen of Nothing. Besides most of these stories containing some fae inspiration, and assumedly being set in the same universe, one of the stories here features characters from The Modern Faerie Tales: Tithe; Valiant; Ironside. That was reason enough for me!

This is one of the most balanced short story collections I hav
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Kristen
I don't usually make it all the way through short story collections. Most of the time, I'll hit a story I don't like that much and put the book down, intending to go back, but never following through on that. Even though the stories in this one weren't all good, I read them all, so that says something, I guess.

My favorites were "A Reversal of Fortune" (I seem to be in the minority here, but whomst among us would not (view spoiler) for
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Alicia
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Holly Black- the queen of faeries and fantasylands. While it was short (I didn't expect it to be that short), the stories were okay and of course some were wonderful and I connected with them either in the characters and motivations or the storyline itself or just in awe of how well Black writes.

As a librarian- of course I enjoyed Paper Cuts Scissors and the realm of magical books and library science colliding. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" was also a neat little short story and who wouldn't dream o
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Lexi
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
The collection have almost all been published elsewhere (all but 2) so most of them were familiar to me. It was interesting to read the precursor to Coldtown and see how much the story and characters have changed to the full length book. I liked the one about the night market with the elf and the somewhat retelling of "East of the Sun and West of the Moon." I enjoy Holly Black's writing but many of these were predictable or worked because they reminded me of her longer works.
Erin With the Classics
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very solid collection of short stories. I would recommend these to people who are already fans of Holly Black or Neil Gaiman. They have a great dark fairy tale vibe. A couple of the stories are related to Black’s early novels, but most are unique.
As is usual with short story collections, I enjoyed some more than others, although I thought all of them were good. My favorites were “The Poison Eaters,” “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” and “Paper Cuts Scissors.”
Stacie
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Massive Holly Black fan and I read this because I had run out of things of her’s to read. There a couple of really good stories but (and this is a risk of the format) a lot of the times I found myself not caring about the characters.
Emily
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I just couldn't really enjoy this collection. And that's disappointing to me because normally, I love everything Holly Black writes. I found myself jumping around from story to story, and not really paying attention to the events that happened in each story. In some of them I honestly just didn't really get what the story was and in others I was bored. Even the two short stories that were a connection to her Modern Faerie Tale series didn't interest me. All I can think in connection to this book ...more
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Holly Black is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over thirty fantasy novels for kids and teens. She has been a finalist for an Eisner Award and the Lodestar Award, and the recipient of the Mythopoeic Award, a Nebula, and a Newbery Honor. Her books have been translated into 32 languages worldwide and adapted for film. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house ...more

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