Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories- Review

Its been an  exceedingly busy few reading weeks for me, I've received a bundle of ARC's plus there has been the release of Artemis Fowl the Atlantis Complex, Mockingjay and now Clockwork Angel on Tuesday.  I've been reading full out to get everything in (of course enjoying every minute of it too!), but once in awhile I find I've got a day or a day and a bit before a new release and after wrapping my current book.  So I've been picking up Holly Black's short story collection The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories

I'm not generally a lover of the short story, but the hubby found The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories while we were making one of our many visits to The Strand in New York, and I just couldn't turn it down since it promised stories linking into Valiant, Tithe and Ironside.  Now first off, I have to say, only one of the stories actually linked into her characters from Valiant, Tithe and Ironside. One of the other stories (called going Ironside) was about elves so I suppose it tied in via subject matter, but it really had nothing to do with her previous faerie books.

A whole mix of stories from sudo-fairy tales, a vampire story, a competition with the devil and of course a variety of faerie stories made for a good mix.  My only complaint is I find Holly's gritty style doesn't work as well on the extreme short stories. Going Ironside was about 3 pages long and was so gritty with no relief (i mean it's 3 pages after all!) that it was just depressing and slightly horrifying.  The longer stories fared much better and in fact some were so enjoyable I would like to read more about them.  On the bonus side, the book is extremely pretty, black hard cover with green foiled lettering across the front with a green foil scull and cross bones underneath, and lovely matching green end pages, makes this one of the prettiest Holly Black books I've ever picked up (outside, of course, of the spectacularly pretty Spiderwick books).

Be warned, if you haven't read Holly's YA before, this is no Spiderwick.  She likes to write from a very gritty and intense angle often following runaways, teens who are so beyond caring that they abuse their bodies via sex and drugs, teens tangled up in hopeless lives where their mother sleeps with their boyfriend or they're struggling with their sexuality in all the wrong places etc, etc.  This isn't your usual YA fare, which is part of what makes it great, but if that's not your cup of tea and you want a generic teen love triangle with the good girl and two gorgeous guys then she's not the writer for you!

The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories, By Holly Black
Published by Big Mouth House, February 2010


  1. Great review. I poted it on Twitter to my followers as my "selfless pick of the day" under the hashmark #helpotherbookblogs (

    If you like someone else's book review, please do the same using the hashmark

  2. Thanks! umm, if i ever cave to twitter I'll have to do the same. Until then I try to give shouts out on the blog.