Like many other readers, I wanted to read this purely for some of my favourite authors - it's great to have a collection with so many novellas (14 is pretty good going for a collection like this), from so many great writers. If you're wanting to know if some of the popular series in YA at the moment are for you then this is the perfect teaser. If you're already a fan, you'll also love the extra additions to some new and pre-existing storylines. I also loved the creepy introduction from Carrie Ryan!
1. Gentlemen Send Phantoms by Laini Taylor:- This was a great start to the collection. I've only recently discovered this author and I love how she writes. This story tells the tale of a supposed myth that happens once a year - the ghost/phantom since they're not dead, of your true love appears in front of you on this day so you can find out who you're supposed to be with. I usually hate this kind of thing, but the story is woven wonderfully and I really loved the sweet-natured relationships within. 4/5.
2. Burned Bright by Diana Peterfreund:- This is a unusual story. I've wanted to read a book by this author - For Darkness Shows The Stars - for ages so I thought this would be a nice taster of her work. It was. I enjoyed the writing style immensely; she sucked me right in. This story features Bright, a daughter of a preacher. Now, I'm not religious, but I was desperate to find out what they were talking about - how were they going to get into Heaven? Why were they leaving? Why did Bright's father lie? There's definitely some unusual twists going on here. I definitely will read her other work now. 4/5.
3.The Angriest Man by Lisa McMann:- This is ostensibly a werewolf story. But it has a pretty deep message. I loved the way McMann portrayed the inner workings of quite a turmoil-ridden young person. Unfortunately it isn't especially exciting, or gripping, so it didn't grab me as much as the previous stories. 3/5.
4. Out Of The Blue by Meg Cabot:- An interesting alien story told in interview format; two siblings have unusual blue "moles" on their skin they claim was placed on them by a man in a spaceship. Initially this reads as quite a young, young adult tale but it does mature as the story progresses and each of the narrators has a unique, interesting voice. An interesting concept but not much fun to read. 3/5.
5. One True Love by Malinda Lo:- A unique, slightly medieval, tale of prophecies and curses. I liked the story of the child who was deemed deadly because she "killed" her mother in child birth. This sort of story opens up so many questions, moral and ethically, and I liked that the author made me think - even amongst all the talk of prophecy. She did this more so with the concept of forced marriage - I thought she explored this nicely. Not a brilliantly strong narrative though, I did struggle to connect with the characters. 3/5.
6. This Is A Mortal Wound by Michael Grant:- The narrator for this novella has a fantastically witty voice laced with just the right amount of sarcasm. I loved him. I didn't so much like the story - it's a bit of a slow burner and centres mostly around a school teacher. Nevertheless, it's a fun read and I think I'll have a read of Grant's other books.
7. Misery by Heather Brewer:- A story of a town called Misery, which is anything but miserable, and the antics of the strangely colourful characters within it. I didn't like this one. I found that I couldn't connect with the characters, despite their weirdly wonderful eyes, and the general moral of the story fell a bit flat for me. 2/5.
8. The Mind Is A Powerful Thing by Matt De La Pena:- This was a creepy, eerie short story. I was on the edge of my seat looking for a murderer the whole time. A great read. 4/5.
9. The Chosen One by Shaundra Mitchell:- A mysterious romp through the life of a royal family, namely the unimportant prince and his perfectly princess-y sister. Some elements of prophecy, and more importantly magic, were exciting, but the story was incredibly slow. Despite this, I love the narrative voice and I kept reading; I wish it had been longer! 4/5.
10. Improbable Futures by Kami Garcia:- Tales of fortune telling but from a really witty perspective. I love to see stories of gawky little guys and girls becoming something bigger and defying expectations; the fortune telling was a nice twist. I've recently read another novella by this author and was really impressed; I'll definitely check out her bigger series now. 5/5.
11. Death For The Deathless by Margaret Stohl:- I LOVE prophecies about the end of the world. In book form anyway. It's a can of worms and Margaret Stohl teases the reader into wanting to discover every single worm and choose their favourite one. I don't always like the outcome of her writing, but the build up is always exciting. A good read about predictions and the effects they have on people. 4/5.
12. Fate by Simone Elkeles:- Typical new kid on the block story. Everyone loves a mysterious new neighbour right? I do too, but it has been a little bit done to death. Effectively this is a slightly twisty love story. I think YA romance readers will love this. But it doesn't break the mould or offer anything especially exciting compared to some of the bestsellers. 2/5.
13. The Killing Garden by Carrie Ryan:- This is the best book of this collection. Easily a 5/5. It tells the tale of the Gardener to the Emperor, well his daughter, and how she will take over her fathers role as the Gardener one day. If she can run fast enough, It's a story of earning parental approval, striving for your best, upholding traditions and being ruthless. I LOVE it. If you only read one story from here, read this one! 5/5.
14. Homecoming by Richelle Mead:- Do you love the vampire academy? Yes? Oh, so you love Dimitri and Rose then? You'll read this regardless of what I say if you answered yes to those questions. This is a nice little insight aimed at fans of the pre-existing series into the vulnerability of Dimitri and some cute Rose/Dimitri exchanges. I don't think it will resonate particularly with readers unfamiliar with the series unfortunately.
Overall, a much better collection of original stories than I anticipated. Fans of these authors will love these extra pieces, mostly set in brand new worlds. However I hadn't read anything by a majority of these authors and I loved it all the same - it was great to find some new favourites amongst some older ones.
on 10 November 2012
I bought this anthology simply for the last short story, Homecoming.
While Homecoming wasn't quite as brilliant as I had hoped (I had high hopes), the rest of the short stories are equally as awesome. Every single one is different and engaging. Well worth a read, whether you have read other stuff by the authors or not.