Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff

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From acclaimed YA authors Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff comes The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories.

- A vampire locked in a cage in the basement, for good luck.
- Bad guys, clever girls, and the various reasons why the guys have to stop breathing.
- A world where fires never go out (with references to vanilla ice cream).

These are but a few of the curiosities collected in this volume of short stories by three acclaimed practitioners of paranormal fiction.

But The Curiosities is more than the stories. Since 2008, Maggie, Tessa, and Brenna have posted more than 250 works of short fiction to their website merryfates.com. Their goal was simple: create a space for experimentation and improvisation in their writing—all in public and without a backspace key. In that spirit, The Curiosities includes the stories and each author's comments, critiques, and kudos in the margins. Think of it as a guided tour of the creative processes of three acclaimed authors.

So, are you curious now?

I have mentioned multiple times that I am not a fan of short stories.  But two out of three anthologies I have read this year have blown me away.  This is one of them*.  I initially requested this from Netgalley because it contained one name that is an auto-read for me – my girl crush,Maggie Stiefvater. 

But here is the kicker.  I requested this book because I was excited to read Maggie.  And now that I have finished?  I can’t wait to read Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff. 

Holy Smokes are these ladies crazy talented.  This is an amazing collection of stories that cover everything from vampires to zombies to fey to Vikings to straight up crazy murderous humans.   There wasn’t a single story that I did not enjoy.  Each one sucks you in and then spits you out.  Sometimes it’s enjoyable and other times you are left gaping at your Nook wondering if it’s worth the cost of replacement if you vented your frustration by throwing it across the room. 

The other lovely thing about this book is that each short story is preceded by an introduction from the author as to where the idea for the story came from.  Then another of the three authors weighs in with their opinion on the story too.  Don’t worry. There are no spoilers in these introductions.  On top of the introductions there are handwritten notes through out the stories.  Some notes explain the creative process.  Other notes allow the reader to see how these authors help each other through encouragement and humor.  These intros and notes were a lot of fun to read and I can only imagine will be super informative and encouraging to young writers.  

As I said, I enjoyed every story in this book but here are some that stood out for me:

Scheherazade by Brenna Yovanoff – A girl walks into her home and is assaulted by a young man.  Let’s just say the evening doesn’t end the way he thinks it will.   

The Bone-Tender by Brenna Yovanoff – A boy has the power to heal broken bones.  But according to Brenna, all magic – even the good - comes with a price. 

The Madness of Lancelot by Brenna – This story is about a boy thinking he has found someone that understands his loss only to find that what she feels isn’t the same.  Brenna ends each section with telling us what the story is by saying that it isn’t.  Complete genius in my opinion.   

Death Ship by Tessa Gratton – A young woman learns that her husband has died at sea.  Nightly she visits the stone ships to mourn his death.  Until an unlikely person reminds her that she has to decide if she will go on living or die from grief.   

Ash-Tree Spell to Break Your Heart by Tessa Gratton – A magician creates a girl and sends her to his rival and commands her to rip out his heart.  A truly heartbreaking story.   

The Deadlier of the Species by Maggie Stiefvater – I hate zombie movies and stories.  Okay.  That’s not true. I am fascinated by them but I stopped watching years ago because they are the only kind of story that gives me nightmares.  This one is scary and funny and does not have a happy ending yet I loved it anyway.  AND I didn’t have any nightmares.  WIN! 

Heart Shaped Box by Maggie Stiefvater – This is full of the angst that Maggie does so well.  York St. James is sick and the only cure is contained in the silver boxes that are sold on the street.  But is it worth the money and guilt to take advantage of what those boxes contain?

So the consensus?  Yep, you guessed it.  I highly recommend that you buy this book.   

The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories will be released on October 1, 2012

*The other is Boys of Summer.


1 comment:

  1. I absolutely loved this book as well. What I enjoy about your post is that we had completely different favorites from each author. I think that says a lot about their range.