Master creepologist Holly Black has collected some of her greatest short story hits (and a few new tunes) into a gleefully gruesome mix tape for your reading pleasure. Here you will meet Matilda, â€œThe Coldest Girl in Cold Town,â€ who runs towards vampires instead of away from them. But when she tries to save her lover from a horrible fate, he betrays her in the coldest way possible. Nikki finds herself in an eating competition with Satan in â€œReversal of Fortune,â€ while Tomasa tries to bargain with an evil elf for her sisterâ€™s life in â€œThe Night Market.â€ Thereâ€™s a nice ode to librarians and the Dewey Decimal system in â€œPaper Cuts Scissorsâ€ while tailors get props in â€œThe Coat of Stars,â€ about an NYC costume designer who whips up gorgeous wraps in order to tempt a reluctant faery Queen into returning his kidnapped boyfriend. But my favorites were the ones featuring clever lads fighting their animal natures. In a totally Twilight Zone turn, Blackâ€™s â€œThe Boy Who Cried Wolfâ€ will warn you not to believe everything you read when Alex becomes convinced after reading it in a book that smelling a certain posy will cause his canines to grow. And â€œThe Dog Kingâ€ is a marvelous medieval tale about a monarch who shouldâ€™ve kept a tighter rein on his beloved tamed wolf, as the natural predator ends up being much smarter than his scruffy nature would suggest. Then there was the story that brought me to tearsâ€”â€œVirginâ€ about a lonely homeless boy and his pet unicornâ€”and the one that left me snickering on the subwayâ€”â€œIn Vodka Veritas,â€ about an â€œaccidentalâ€ boarding school orgy. Good stuff, all. Black doesnâ€™t strike a sour note in the bunch. Plus, the small, detailed pen and ink illustrations by Blackâ€™s hub Theo add a distinctly melancholic touch. So go ahead drink some Poisonâ€”itâ€™s good for you!
One thought on “The Poison Eaters and other stories by Holly Black”
I read “The Coldest Girl in Town” a few months back and loved it. I’ve been a fan of Black’s other books for a long while and am super stoked to get my hands on this volume. As a fan of short stories, it’s really nice to see such amazing entries as Black’s collection and Laini Taylor’s amazing Lips Touch not go unnoticed. Thanks again for pointing out the authors we should be reading/recommending.