The Poison Eaters

Title: The Poison Eaters
Author: Holly Black
Pub Date: 2010
Pages: 212
Genre: Short Stories, Paranormal, Young Adult
Challenges: NTMA

"Let me tell you something about unicorns - they're faeries and faeries aren't to be trusted. Read your storybooks. But maybe you can't get past the rainbows and pastel crap. That's your problem." - from "Virgin", 91

OoooKaaay! I walked by this book whilst visiting the humongous library in our downtown area. The YA Lit department is eye candy and filled with coolness. As I was roaming my eye caught on the cover of Black's short story collection. Creepy! I ended up not checking it out that day - forgot my card. (In my defense, it was a last minute decision to go and my destination was actually the library book sale).

Soooo, Poison Eaters stayed with me for a few days later even though I told myself over and over and OVER again that I would not check out any more books. I had tons on my way and since my birthday was nearing (it's since passed, wh00t) I knew that I would have more than enough books coming into my household. Still, the cover. Haunting! I commenced to request it.

And man alive (or dead, in many of these stories) was I not disappointed. Ya know, folks, I'm not a short story kinda gal, but maybe with the exception of two, these did it for me. Let me share:

We open with (perhaps stereotypical of these times) vampire short, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown". Our heroine opens drunk. Blasted drunk. We find out that she's been infected with the virus and has to fight the urge to feast for a couple of months before the virus leaves her body. If she feeds, the undead is her fate. Matilda (of course her name is Matilda!) has found if she binge drinks she numbs the urge. Makes sense. 'Course, in this tale, vampirism is a bit more accepted because Coldtown is the coolest place to be for those vampire-lovin' humans. Matilda ends up getting pulled into a search to find two loved ones who want to turn. I have to admit, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" was only mediocre but did not cause me to shut the book.

Now the second one - oh ho ho what fun! "A Reversal of Fortune" was like this clever little modern day fairy tale wherein our heroine, Nikki, is to outsmart the devil. I loved this story and would love to teach it in my class. It's clever and funny and gross. I don't want to give away too many details or it might not be as fun for ya'll if you pick it up. Suffice to say, it's not an original tale, but the spin on it makes it worthy. "The Night Market" is very similar in the retelling. In this case a young sister is sick and a curse has to be removed, so the elder sister goes off in the marketplace to find the cure and comes across some wicked little being who likes to manipulate and play.

I would move along and pass over "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". One of the two that did not impress me AT ALL!

Aiight. That's about a little under half of the short stories found in this collection. I could review them all, but (a) I'm sure you don't want to read much more and (b) I'm feelin' kinda lazy.

Now run out and pick this book up. I haven't read anything else by Holly Black, but I'm surely interested.

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