Tag Archives: Garth Nix

Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow & Lisa Morton

Overview
Image result for book cover haunted nights ellen datlow

Title: Haunted Nights
Author: Ellen Datlow, Lisa Morton, Seanan McGuire, Stephen Graham Jones, Jonathan Maberry, Joanna Parypinski, Garth Nix, Kate Jonez, Jeffrey Ford, Kelley Armstrong, S. P. Miskowski, Brian Evenson, Elise Forier Edie, Eric J. Guignard, Paul Kane, Pat Cadigan, John Langan & John R. Little
In: Haunted Nights (Lisa Morton & Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Horror, Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections
Dates read: 2nd November – 30th December 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Blumhouse
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: “Very good,” said I.

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Synopsis

Halloween is the night the monsters come out to play. Long before its traditions became defined by mass-produced masks, blood-soaked horror films, and carved pumpkins, the murky origins of All Hallows’ Eve lay rooted in dark festivals and black magick, in old fables of diabolical tricksters and murderous pranks, and in tales of cursed souls lost in purgatory, of vengeance and changelings.

From sly modern narratives to haunting traditional stories, from the brutal to the experimental, these sixteen stories brilliantly and terrifyingly explore the many facets, cultures, and traditions of our most provocative holiday.

Thoughts

This selection is super creepy, intense and wonderful. I absolutely adored it. Even if I spent a lot of the time reading it with my feet curled under me feeling incredibly overwhelmed and somewhat horrified. A whole new world was introduced as I read through this. This might be why I’m starting to get into the horror genre though…

A few of the stories in this did make me laugh. But, mostly they were haunting. Not outright scary like a Stephen King novel, but this lingering feeling of overwhelming discomfort due to something in these stories. I can’t even put my finger on the cause of my discomfort… but after reading one of these short stories I was almost always left feeling like I was just slightly haunted… which was interesting.

Although this collection did make me understand America’s obsession with Halloween a little more. I still don’t like the holiday. There is just something about it that doesn’t sit well with me. So whilst this bought a great new light to a holiday I know basically nothing about… I’m still not convinced that it’s one that I want anything to do with.

<- The Folding Man ReviewWith Graveyard Weeds and Wolfsbane Seeds ->

Image source: Amazon

The Seventeen-Year Itch by Garth Nix

Overview
Image result for book cover haunted nights ellen datlow

Title: The Seventeen-Year Itch
Author: Garth Nix
In: Haunted Nights (Lisa Morton & Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Horror, Mental health
Dates read: 18th November 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Blumhouse
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: He tried to smile, but inside McIndoe felt cold, and old, and frightened.

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Synopsis

Every seventeen-years the itch reaches its peak and Stubbsy locks himself in a container. But the new manager of the psych ward doesn’t want him to be put in such an inhuman container. The consequences are nothing like she anticipated and will carry on to the next generation.

Thoughts

From the title of this story, I was completely expecting a story of a husband and wife which do something horrible to each other. Because, you know… it was in a collection of horrifying Halloween stories. It’s still completely horrifying. Still a creepy Halloween story… but not about a husband and wife. Not really about anything that I expected from the title. Which, of course, made me love it even more… since you know, the joys of a collection of Halloween horror tales.

We’ve all felt itchy. Actually, as I write this and reflect on the short story, I’m wearing a woollen jumper. Which five seconds ago didn’t feel so damn itchy… and now… nope, nope, nope. Expand that by ten thousand and you have the feeling that is described in this story. I think that fact that we’ve all felt the insane urge to itch makes it much easier to relate to this story. And therefore feel WAY more creeped out by it than any other story which you can’t relate to so closely.

The only thing I would say about this story – don’t read it before bed. It’s kind of creepy and full on. I’m so glad that I read this earlier in the day and had enough time to finish other stories before falling into bed. Just don’t read it before you fall asleep…

 <- Wick’s End ReviewA Flicker of Night on Devil’s Night Review ->

Image source: Amazon

Troll’s-Eye View edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for troll's-eye view book cover

Title: Troll’s-Eye View
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Delia Sherman, Garth Nix, Wendy Froud, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Peter S. Beagle, Ellen Kushner, Joseph Stanton, Holly Black, Jane Yolen, Nancy Farmer, Michael Cadnum, Catherynne M. Valente, Midori Snyder, Neil Gaiman & Kelly Link
In: Troll’s-Eye View (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Retellings, Short story collections, Villains
Dates read: 12th December 2018 – 1st March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: I could have wept.

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Synopsis

Everyone thinks they know the real story behind the villains in fairy tales – evil, no two ways about it. But the villains themselves beg to differ. In this book you’ll hear from:
the Giant’s wife from “Jack and the Beanstalk”
the oldest of the Twelve Dancing Princesses
Rumpelstiltskin
the witch from “Hansel and Gretel”
someone called Evil Cinderella

Just watch these old stories do new tricks!

Thoughts

This is an incredibly easy, fun and engaging short story collection. It takes some brilliant authors who take you on journeys through well known fairy tales. The fact that these retellings all focus on the villains of the stories just made me love it even more. I always love the highlighting of grey areas and alternate tellings.

Troll’s-Eye View is a collection that is written for a very young age group. It’s simple and quaint. Easily accessible and fun. But, that doesn’t mean that as an adult you can’t enjoy it. There was nothing I enjoyed more than sitting down at the end of a long day and reading one of these short stories or poems. It was a great, fun and quick escape from the real world at a time when I’ve been really quite overwhelmed and stressed.

Most of my anthologies and collections contain only novellas and short stories. Troll’s-Eye View also has poems. They were enough to break up the flow throughout the story and leave you with a smile on your face.

 <- Why Light? ReviewWizard’s Apprentice Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix

Overview

Drowned WednesdayTitle: Drowned Wednesday
Author: Garth Nix
Series: Keys to the Kingdom #3
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Easy readingFantasy
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: Arthur heard a muffled bang come from behind them and looked astern, just in time to see the flash of the Shiver’s bowchasers, followed by that same whistling screech.

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Synopsis

Arthur Penhaligon has a broken leg and a bad attack of asthma, but there’s no time for recovery. Drowned Wednesday has sent a ship to pluck him from the safety of his bed, miles from any ocean, and sail him back to the House.

From hospital room to high seas, Arthur must battle pirates, storms, monsters made of Nothing and a vast beast that can’t stop eating. Arthur struggles to unravel the mystery of the Architect’s disappearance and the plotting of the Trustees. For the sake of all that dwell in the Secondary Realms, he must discover the third part of the Will and claim the Third Key.

But first… can Arthur trust the Raised Rats? Where are Leaf and Suzy? And how will he survive life aboard the ship on the treacherous Border Sea?

Thoughts

It’s taken me this long in the series to realise that each of the Trustees has one of the seven sins as their driver… Monday was Sloth, Tuesday – Greed and Wednesday is Gluttony. It makes me want to dive into the series even more since it is so subtly and beautifully done. The idea of Drowned Wednesday being a gluttonous whale and everything that follows worked beautifully in this nautical adventure, and I think that the twists and turns of this story were some of the most surprising yet!

After his first two ‘days’ of fighting for the good of the house and the future and blah blah blah, Arthur is finally realising that he must fight back. He is unable to just sit and wait for the Trustees to attack, and he must take things into his own hands. I actually really enjoyed this change in attitude. Although I liked his refusal to lose his humanity in the first two books, it was starting to feel a little childish and whiney. Working him into the realisation that he doesn’t have a choice was far more interesting, and it also showed the spine and strength of the character. Something that was subtly implied, but never investigated as much.

I don’t know much about life on the oceans, boats or really anything to do with living on a ship. But, after reading this, I almost feel like I could understand aspects of it – Nix obviously did his research and the fluidity with which this setting fits in amongst the series really helped to emphasise this aspect of his writing. Although, since I know nothing of life on the ocean, it could just sound impressively realistic…

<- Grim Tuesday Review Sir Thursday Review ->
Image source: Wikipedia

Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix

Overview

Grim TuesdayTitle: Grim Tuesday
Author: Garth Nix
Series: Keys to the Kingdom #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Easy readingFantasy
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: But no bright ideas flared.

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Synopsis

Arthur Penhaligon is supposed to be in bed – after all, it’s only twelve hours since he saved the world. But there’s no time to rest. Grim Tuesday has laid claim to the Lower House and the First Key, and now his misshapen servants are repossessing Arthur’s world and plunging it into financial disaster. To stop them, Arthur must venture back into the House – that surreal, unpredictable realm where he almost met his death.

With companions old and new, Arthur embarks on a heart-stopping adventure that will take him from the dismal Pit of the Far Reaches, all the way to the heart of a sun and back. Racing furiously against time, Arthur must find the second piece of the Will, claim the Second Key, and save both his own world and the House from the destructive greed of Grim Tuesday.

Thoughts

It took me a long time to get to Mister Monday’s sequel – partly because I got distracted by other series, and partly because I got halfway through it and then got distracted the first time around. But, that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a thoroughly enjoyable book, just back when I read this for the first time, it wasn’t quite fast paced and racy enough for me.

Less than twenty-four hours after his adventures in Mister Monday, Arthur is again required to go into the house and fight one of the evil and greedy overseers. This time, it’s the financial health and wellbeing of his family that is at risk, and even though it is a different threat, he is still willing to do anything for them. Grim Tuesday’s greed isn’t just about threatening Arthur and his family, it is also threatening the very foundation of the house.

Although it took a lot longer to find, I actually preferred the Will in this story. It was crabby, difficult and not in the slightest bit helpful. Which not only gave a new spin to the characterisation, but it also helped to create greater problems for Arthur. When he thought that he was about to triumph, the Will’s inability to be flexible (and, well, useful) throws another fun little curveball in the way. Which is always one of my favourite things about reading – the unexpected curveballs that someone else’s left-of-centre minds can throw up.

<- Mister Monday Review Drowned Wednesday Review ->
Image source: Wikipedia

Under My Hat edited by Jonathan Strahan

Overview

Under My HatTitle: Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron
Author: Jonathan Strahan, Diana Peterfreund, Frances Hardinge, Garth Nix, Holly Black, Charles de Lint, Tanith Lee, Neil Gaiman, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Patricia A. McKillip, Tim Pratt, M. Rickert, Isobelle Carmody, Jane Yolen, Peter S. Beagle, Margo Lanagan
In: Under My Hat (Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Easy readingShort story collections, Witches
Pace: Medium
Format: Collection
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “Was he?” asked Mari.

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Synopsis

Broomsticks.
Black Cats.
Pointy Hats.

They can mean only one thing – somewhere nearby, there must be a witch. From fairy tales to fims to fiction, witches cast their spells and capture our imaginations.

Now the biggest names in fantasy and young adult literature have come together to make a little magic of their own. Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Diana Peterfreund, Margo Lanagan, Peter S. Beagle, and Garth Nix are just a few of the authors who have toiled over their cauldrons and conjured up bewitching new creations inspired by and celebrating the might and mystery of the witch. Assembled by one of the most well-regarded anthologists in the science fiction/fantasy world, this rich, intelligent collection will enchant readers of all ages.

Thoughts

Short story collections are always good fun. They’re a great way to discover new authors, and the common thread through them can be so unique and different. Sometimes I even struggle to find the common thread! Not with this amazing collection though. It’s simple. Witches.

Strahan did a great job of putting together this fun and cute little collection of witch-y tales and I’m actually kind of disappointed that it’s over. Although I bought it to read B is for Bigfoot by Jim Butcher, the rest of the stories really jumped out at me. It’s actually difficult to pick an absolute favourite – they all had this twisted, fun, unexpected adventure that they took me on. Closing the cover of the book, I feel like I’ve gone on journeys through distant lands (and realms) and come back to land squarely on earth. Which is actually kind of disappointing… time to find my next epic journey of witchcraft and wings…

<- Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow Review Stray Magic Review ->
Image source: Frances Hardinge

Legends of Australian Fantasy edited by Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan

Overview

Legends of Australian FantasyTitle: Legends of Australian Fantasy
Editors: Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan
Authors: Garth Nix, Trudi Canavan, Juliet Marillier, Isobelle Carmody, Kim Wilkins, Sean Williams, D.M. Cornish, Ian Irvine, John Birmingham, Jennifer Fallon & Cecilia Dart-Thornton
In: Legends of Australian Fantasy (Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Fantasy, Short story collections
Pace: Fast
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘And… and from the Charter, milady.’

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Synopsis

From two of the best editors working today … These are the legends of Australian fantasy – eleven of Australia’s best-loved and most widely read writers … Gathered together by equally legendary editors Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan to produce an entirely original compilation … Celebrate the legends of Australian fantasy. Extraordinary voices … extraordinary worlds. Come to Erith, to a faerie tale with a sting, or to Obernewtyn, long before the Seeker was born. Revisit a dark pocket of history for the Magician’s Guild or get caught up in the confusion of an endlessly repeating day in the Citadel. Cross the wall, where Charter magic is all that lies between you and death. A trip with a graverobber can be gruesome, and it’s hard to share the fear of a woman who must kill her husband if her child is to rule … A mysterious tale plays out in Sevenwaters. Catch up with Ros and Adi as they prepare for the greatest change of all. Other twists in these fabulous tales bring us to demonic destiny and an alternate WWII.

Thoughts

I love pursuing Australian authors – after all, I would love to be one one day, and they are my people. So, discovering that there is a book that features not one, not two, but nine of these phenomenal people made me break out in a huge grin. And I wasn’t disappointed. Actually, the main disappointment came when I finished the last novella and had to find a new anthology to go and read.

The pace of each of these nine novellas was entirely unique and, in most cases, quite unexpected. The only tie that they had to one another was that they are all fantasy stories, and they tied into a series or world created by the author. Which, ultimately means that I have another seven series to go out and buy (I already owned two). Sometimes, this kind of variety doesn’t really work. The stories don’t flow well and it is really just feels haphazard in how they’re collected. But, the short author introduction at the beginning of each story and the rationale behind the story worked brilliantly and made it a cohesive whole.

If you want a taste of the brilliance that some of Australia’s finest fantasy authors have to offer, I’d definitely recommend that you buy this book. Or borrow it, whatever tickles your fantasy. It was a fantastic welcome to a few new worlds and I’ve got a couple of new books to add to my shelves now.

 <- The Enchanted Review To Hold the Bridge Review ->
Image source: Harper Collins Australia

An Unwelcome Guest by Garth Nix

Overview

To Hold the BridgeTitle: An Unwelcome Guest
Author: Garth Nix
In: To Hold the Bridge (Garth Nix) & Troll’s-Eye View (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Easy readingFantasyWitches
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: ‘Won’t do any good, but I’ll call,’ said Jenny.

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Synopsis

Garth Nix has a brilliant spin on the traditional tale of Rapunzel… and how to get rid of spoilt brats.

Thoughts

I love new spins on old stories. After all, there is something about faery tales that brings us back again and again and again. And An Unwelcome Guest is a brilliant way to reimagine Rapunzel. Nix’s spin on such a classic left me outright laughing and grinning. It was cute, funny and not at all what I was expecting.

Like the well-known Wicked, An Unwelcome Guest takes the villain of the tale of Rapunzel (the wicked witch) and makes her good. It then twists Rapunzel into a spoilt brat under some kind of weird compulsion. Her rescue into an attempt to kick her out. And the happy ending a small girl running away in tears with her soccer boots still on. Like I said, it was a great way to twist and turn a well-known faery tale into something more and in my opinion, thoroughly enjoyable. Certainly much more humorous than the original tale anyway.

<- The Curious Case of the Moondawn Daffodil Murder Review The Highest Justice Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Stop! by Garth Nix

Overview

To Hold the BridgeTitle: Stop!
Author: Garth Nix
In: To Hold the Bridge (Garth Nix)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authorsFantasy
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: Ah, how I long to shed this vile form, the I may join him in heaven!

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Synopsis

An alien breaks into a top-secret nuclear facility. Why? To see if he can end his life?

Thoughts

It was a little difficult to get into the flow of this short story. Not so much because of the style of writing, or even the militant background, but just because in the creation of these short stories, it was quite a change of pace. A strange demon like creature walks out of the middle of nowhere and heads off towards a nuclear testing site. Not sure what couldn’t go wrong there really.

I loved the near suicidal tendencies of the lead scientist, and Nix’s ability to compress three in-depth backstories into only a handful of pages. The amount of information squished into this makes the story seem that much longer and more complex. Yet, in actual length, it was one of the shorter stories in the To Hold the Bridge collection. It’s also been one of the more confusing and confronting stories….

<- The Big Question Review Infestation Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

A Sidekick of Mars by Garth Nix

Overview

To Hold the BridgeTitle: A Sidekick of Mars
Author: Garth Nix
In: To Hold the Bridge (Garth Nix)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Australian authorsScience fiction
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: It was Indians that done this, leastways one particular Indian.

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Synopsis

Mars might get all of the credit, but his sidekick helped him conquer worlds again and again.

Thoughts

This short story kind of reminds me of Firefly – cowboys and spaceships.

Lam’s unique way of initially travelling between planets was kind of confusing. Although, that may be more due to his incredibly different voice. Normally, I love stories written in the first person. After all, what better way to immerse yourself in a character? But, there was something about the jumpy, pithy way in which this story was narrated that was both really enjoyable and incredibly frustrating. The tone was fantastic and satirical. But the actual tale in itself was kind of…meh. For lack of a better word.

One thing that this story did leave me feeling was the fact that there are so many worlds beyond our own. And it is such a weird, wonderful and just different place to explore. No wonder places like Mars have inspired so many writers (of both stories and film).

<- Master Haddad’s Holiday Review Peace in Our Time Review ->
Image source: Goodreads