Margaret K. McElderry, March 2011
Trade Paperback, 224 pages
Grades: 9 and up
A dark and fantastic collection of stories from the author of Tithe and The Spiderwick Chronicles.
Is the smiling girl on the cover responsible for the death of the boy in the bottom left corner? (Yes, I thought it was a boy but after reading the story, I know I was wrong.)
Holly Black is one macabre, twisted author...and I like it!
Two of the stories are original to this collection, the others having been previously printed in various compilations. But let me tell you, Holly Black leaves no supernatural stone unturned here. Lovestruck faeries, vampires, werewolves are just a few of the characters featured in The Poison Eaters. My favourite story involved a young man looking for his girlfriend in an unusual place. I like books, I mean I really like them, but perhaps not as much as this woman did!
For me, I liked the constant change of pace. You were never in the same location twice; one story was somewhere in the Philippines then another in the underbelly of a big city, and so on. The characters were surprising and, sometimes, quite dark.
I think the short story is an excellent platform for this author in particular. While some of the stories told an entire tale and ended with a satisfactory conclusion, others left enough mystery about the eventual outcome of the people involved to make you want more. Ms. Black leaves you mystified but most definitely sated.