Starting this story, I was really intrigued to find out where the “bitter draught” was going to come from. I was honestly expecting something that dealt with prejudice or the difficulties in realising that you are LGBTQI+. But, it wasn’t that at all. Like the first few short stories in this collection, the fact that Simeon was gay wasn’t even dealt with in any way expect to say that he had a significant other who was also male. I love this acceptance and simplicity in the writing. What I wasn’t sure on though was what the “bitter draught” would then end up being…
This was a seriously tripped out story. I did enjoy it. But I can’t really remember much of what happened… I suppose many of the more trippy stories that I read are like that though. They have this ethereal quality that makes you feel like you’ve forgotten what you’ve read… even though you only just turned the last page. And it’s kind of suited that a story about chaos does this so well…
I just finished reading this short story and I can’t get the rhyme “you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man!” out of my head. There is something very lyrical and stuck-in-the head about it all. And now I’m going to spend the rest of the night chanting that to my dogs and just generally freaking them out…
You know that a story is going to be kind of funny and really interesting when it starts out with someone telling another character to stop eating human flesh. Because it gives him bad breath. And that he can’t have that when acting. It’s a pretty interesting and funny start to a story. One that I was giggling about from the very beginning of this very short story.
Any story that starts off talking about an escort and a famous woman is going to be a little interesting… especially when it’s in a collection such as Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers. Then you just know that there is going to be FAR more to this story that initially assumed… after all, it’s a collection about lust and romance in the shadier sides of the supernatural world.
This short story had a great… quality about it. There was the sense of another (non-Anglo Saxon) culture about it. Although, it was a little vague on exactly which culture was inspiring the mythical woman in this story. I also loved the imagery of the garden and the rain. There is nothing like having a beautiful garden. And the sound and scent of rain surrounding it? Also stunningly beautiful. It worked well with a random, half-dressed woman strolling through the plants.
This is an “oh my heart” book. And it’s like that from the very beginning. I’ve been putting off reading it for a while since I always get ridiculously hooked on Maas’ writing. Normally that’s not such an issue because I can read the whole book cover to cover in just a day… this book is a little longer, and I had to be an adult. But I finally put aside a day to read it. And… oh my heart.
I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that mines are kind of terrifying places. The passage of time is also terrifying, but in a more abstract way. So a story that somehow combines these two things? It actually worked out incredibly well as a scary short story. Nothing terrifying, not like the Stephen King books I’ve been reading lately… but still not a comfortable story.
There’s something about tales of obsessive love that really pull me in. I never like the people / characters who have this tendency. I always find it annoying and want to smack the moron who is being so intense… but I also always love them. Not sure why. Don’t want to know what that says about me. And this was one such story. I hated the lead character (he’s a villain, I think that you should hate him). I felt sorry for his victims. I couldn’t put this story down.
As an ending to the Red as Blood collection, this short story was completely on point. It was, interestingly enough, also the only romantic story in the whole collection. So, I kind of liked that it ended on this note. Don’t get me wrong, it was still super and dark like all of the other fairy tale retellings in the collection, but the romantic aspect made it a little more bittersweet and somehow nostalgic… I slightly (but only slightly) softer note to end on.