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review 2018-09-09 22:05
A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales - Ellen Datlow,Terri Windling
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I love retellings, especially fairy tale retellings. I have a whole shelf on Goodreads dedicated to retellings and parodies. However, this one was kind of a let down. With big names like Neil Gaiman, Nancy Farmer, and Gregory Maguire, I thought I was in for an amazing trip into fairy tale retelling-dom. 

Unfortunately, most of the stories fell flat for me. Many of the authors took most of the magic out of the stories, creating a version of the story set in modern or quasi-modern times. This essentially took everything I love about fairy tales out of the actual fairy tale. I love reading about far off places in times long past with elements of strange magic. So these modern, realistic tales kind of took all the fun out of reading fairy tales. 

I did like a few of the pieces. Nancy Farmer's "Falada: The Goose Girl's Horse" was my favorite. I liked the changes she made to the original story. I also thought Michael Cadnum's "Mrs. Big" and Garth Nix's "Hansel's Eyes" had unique and interesting retellings. And Neil Gaiman's "Instructions" was a cute way of tying together a bunch of stories. 

But many of the stories just felt a little boring to me. Not enough fairies in said fairy tales. 

Not sure if it's because it was written 18 years ago or if the authors just tried simplifying their stories too much for their target audience, but I did not like this book as much as I thought I would. It was still decent with some interesting ideas in it so I still gave it 3 stars. Unique mash-up of sci-fi, fantasy, and realism.
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review 2018-03-22 22:00
THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP edited by Ellen Datlow
The Devil and the Deep - Ellen Datlow

An anthology built around the theme of the ocean? How could I say no to that? Not all of the stories resonated with me, but many did. And the ones that did- resonated deeply.

 

FODDER'S JIG by Lee Thomas. Sea monsters, a gay couple and a gold-digging relative. Every time I thought this tale was nothing special, something special happened. I need to read more Lee Thomas!

 

WHAT MY MOTHER LEFT ME by Alyssa Wong blew me away. Imaginative and bold, I already purchased another story from this author. This was my favorite tale in the book.

 

SISTER, DEAREST SISTER, LET ME SHOW YOU TO THE SEA by Seanan McGuire. I always wanted a sister. Now, I know I was better off alone.

 

SHIT HAPPENS by Michael Marshall Smith. I laughed my butt off. Then I became nauseated and then I laughed some more. This is one of the grossest and funniest stories I've ever read.

 

HE SINGS OF SALT AND WORMWOOD by Brian Hodge. Even though they weren't the main crux of the story, I never knew ship-worms existed and now I may never go into the ocean again.

 

A SHIP OF THE SOUTH WIND by Bradley Denton. This one wasn't about the sea as we know it, but instead, a sea that dried up long ago. It also features the coolest ship I've ever read about.

 

With a few more notable stories by Christopher Golden and Steve Rasnic Tem, I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology and can honestly say that I highly recommend it!

 

You can get your copy here: THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP

 

*A big thank you to Marion Schwaner at Night Shade Books for the free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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text 2018-03-16 15:00
#Fridayreads
Blanky - Kealan Patrick Burke
The Devil and the Deep - Ellen Datlow
Saga, Volume 1 - Brian K. Vaughan,Fiona Staples
Mystery Walk - Robert McCammon

 

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review 2018-03-02 00:00
The Devil and the Deep
The Devil and the Deep - Ellen Datlow Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this from Edelweiss for review consideration. If you think that affects my review, you don't know me very well.

The Devil and the Deep was an anthology that sounded kind of interesting to me, but I had no true desire to read it. Mostly because I'm still a bit biased against anthologies, even though I've had some pleasant experiences lately. However, when I saw that it was available on Edelweiss  for immediate download, I figured there was no harm in giving it a look-see.

I liked it. Maybe I didn't love it, but I really liked it. It wasn't until I was looking back over the book for this review that I realized exactly how much I had liked it.


Deadwater by Simon Bestwick - the opening story in The Devil and the Deep - immediately got me. I've read Bestwick before, and was as impressed with his ability to make sympathetic characters and handle difficult situations in Feast of All Souls as I was in Deadwater.


Fodder's Jig by Lee Thomas - This was an interesting one. I didn't like most of it because hit on one of my pet peeves. (I can't tell you what it is for spoiling an important part of the story.) However, it was a delightfully open-ended tale, and I liked the whole idea of it.


The Curious Allure of the Sea by Christopher Golden - I normally make neat little notes to remind myself of what I liked about the story on Goodreads. My note for this one was a simple "Hoooooooooooooooooooolllllllllllllllllyyyyyyy Ssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!" So, that's all I'm going to say about that one.


What My Mother Left Me by Alyssa Wong -  I like the take on Selkies, though I suppose that's not quite the word. It's a much darker, more gruesome thing than the seal-pelts I'm used to reading about. This was deliciously dark, though I do think the acrylic nails thing was overdone a bit.


Sister, Dearest Sister, Let Me Show You to the Sea by Seanan McGuire was a absolutely fantastic re-telling of the Little Mermaid. It'll send shivers down your spine. (And no, it's not related to her Into the Drowning Deep book.) I absolutely loved this story from beginning to end. Never a misstep!


Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith - This was well-written, completely gross, and fun to read. If you're put off by the idea of reading about bodily functions, I highly suggest you avoid this story.


And, of course, the offering of Broken Record by Stephen Graham Jones was the straight up level of weird that I'm coming to expect from him.  That man has an odd, odd mind.


Favorite Quotes (Quotes may change in final copy):
"It's the absences that get you, with any death. The gaps, the depths, the holes people leave behind: they're what we mean by ghosts." - Simon Bestwick, Deadwater

"I've watched enough horror movies to know that if we sleep here, it's going to murder the f*ck out of us." - Alyssa Wong, What My Mother Gave Me

"The problem with social media is that it'll recycle bullsh*t without anybody stopping to check it has any basis in reality-" Michael Marshall Smith, Shit Happens

Overall, while it wasn't my favorite anthology, The Devil and the Deep had a strong showing. There are a few stories in here, such as Golden's, that should emit a siren's call for any horror fans. Definitely one worth checking out.
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review 2018-02-15 17:46
Perhaps one day in the future...
Haunted Nights - Lisa Morton,Ellen Datlow

I have learned a few things about myself as a reader over the course of last year. Anthologies, for me, are either a complete hit or a definite miss...and usually it's the latter. I got to page 129 of this book before I decided to give it a pass. I read the first 7 short stories and it wasn't the writing that was putting me off (that was quite good) it was more that I just wasn't in the mood to continue. This may have been due in part because I had inundated myself with way too many supernatural books (it was Halloween time if you recall) and the short story collection Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods blew me away SO hard. The common thread running through the stories in Haunted Nights was that they were all set on Halloween night which was a really cool idea.

 

I want to give a shout out to the story "The Seven Year Itch" because that one was SUPER creepy and was my favorite of the few that I read. I'll most likely check out some of the writers from this anthology in the future. :-)

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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