Tag Archives: Kathe Koja

Baby by Kathe Koja

Overview
Image result for teeth ellen datlow terri windling book cover

Title: Baby
Author: Kathe Koja
In: Teeth: Vampire Tales (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Horror, Vampires
Dates read: 18th August 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Harper
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: I was pretty scared, and pretty mad, when I got home.

Synopsis

She’s growing up and leaving the past toys of her childhood behind. But in this case, that’s a little bit more difficult and dark than expected…

Thoughts

I find dolls creepy (I hope to god I don’t have a doll obsessed kid)… and, once I realised that the vampire like creature in this was, in fact, a creepy doll.. ick.

Honestly, I didn’t really love this story. I didn’t hate it… but it wasn’t my favourite. Probably the doll thing. There is just something about them that is… nope nope nope. Especially ones with glass eyes.

I did like the take on vampires, magic and familiars in this. It was a little dark and twisty, kind of convoluted and not what I expected at all. Which is what I truly love in a short story.

<- SunbleachedIn the Future When All’s Well ->

Image source: HarperCollins

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for queen victoria's book of spells ellen datlow book cover

Title: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Delia Sherman, Jeffrey Ford, Genevieve Valentine, Maureen McHugh, Kathe Koja, Elizabeth Wein, Elizabeth Bear, James P. Blaylock, Kaaron Warren, Leanna Renee Hieber, Dale Bailey, Veronica Schanoes, Catherynne M. Valente, Ellen Kushner, Caroline Stevermer, Jane Yolen, Gregory Maguire, Tanith Lee & Theodora Goss
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, GaslampShort story collections
Dates read: 8th June – 6th November 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: The sisters and I said nothing to one another, as I speak no German and they no English, but we watched the flames together until they seemed satisfied and departed, I know not where.

Synopsis

Gaslamp fantasy, or historical fantasy set in a magical version of the nineteenth century, has long been popular with readers and writers alike. Many wonderful novels, such as Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Prestige by Christopher Priest, ower their inspiration to works by nineteenth-century writers, including Jane Austen, the Brontes, Charles Dickens, and Anthony Trollope. And, of course, the entire steampunk genre and subculture owes more than a little to literature from and inspired by this period.

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells is an anthology for everyone who loves neo-Victorian fiction and modern fantasists using vintage settings, characters, and themes. Their approaches stretch from steampunk fiction to the Austen- and Trollope- inspired works known as fantasy of manners. The result is eighteen stories by experts from the fantasy, horror, main-stream, and young-adult fields, including both bestselling writers and exciting new talents, who present a bewitching vision of a nineteenth century enhance (or cursed!) with magic.

Thoughts

This is an absolutely brilliant collection. One that I didn’t want to put down and introduced me to a whole new genre. It’s my first ever Gaslamp collection, and although I found some of the stories throughout a little weird and intense… I also loved the vast majority of them. Enough so that I plan to read this again and again in the future.

I was expecting a pretty simple and balanced collection. I really wasn’t expecting such a convoluted and twisted set of stories. But, as I’ve often found in life, it’s those unexpected surprises are the best and most exciting aspects of life. They’re the moments that you don’t want to forget because they were unplanned. And this anthology kind of felt like that.

I tend to read a lot of short stories late at night. Or when I’m just needing a quick little break from the many complexities of my PhD. This is not the collection that does that for me. It’s seriously intense, completely unexpected and very full on. The kind of short stories that you want to read when you have your concentrating brain working… not when it’s late at night and you just want some easy entertainment…

<- PoeQueen Victoria’s Book of Spells ->

Image source: Amazon

La Reine d’Enfer by Kathe Koja

Overview
Image result for queen victoria's book of spells ellen datlow book cover

Title: La Reine d’Enfer
Author: Kathe Koja
In: Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, GaslampLGBTQI
Dates read: 12th July 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tor
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: I grabbed up whatever I could put my hand to, a silver spoon from the table, a bottle of gin; then threw it all down again, my head a-swim like being drunk.

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Synopsis

He’s been trapped in a life that isn’t one of his own making. Davey is hunting him, but all he wants to do is act on stage. Will he finally get what he wants?

Thoughts

When I sat down to write this review, I couldn’t quite remember what this short story was even about. There was a vague memory of enjoying the story and thinking it was very good, but I just couldn’t remember what happened in it. So I had to have a quick look at the pages again. And then it all came flooding back to me. And I’m really not sure why I didn’t remember this much clearer from the very beginning. There was a bit of an Oliver Twist feel to this story, with a great sense of darkness and brutality.

I like that there was a subtle feeling of magic to this story. It felt more about the magic of theatre than the casting of a spell. More about magics that we make others believe in (some might say manipulate) than that of the Fair Folk. It created a nice, dreary, mystical affect to the storyline that made you not want to put it down. Although, it’s this same shrouded mystery-effect which also made it quite difficult to remember exactly what it was that I had just read..

 <- The Memory Book ReviewFor the Briar Rose Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Snow White, Blood Red edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for snow white, blood red book cover

Title: Snow White, Blood Red
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Susan Wade, Charles de Lint, Gahan Wilson, Nancy Kress, Tanith Lee, Wendy Wheeler, Kathe Koja, Gregory Frost, Elizabeth A. Lynn, Harvey Jacobs, Steve Rasnic Tem, Melanie Tem, Caroline Stevermer, Ryan Edmonds, Neil Gaiman, Leonard Rysdyk, Esther M. Friesner, Jack Dann, Jane Yolen, Patricia A. McKillip & Lisa Goldstein
Series: Adult Fairy Tales #1
In: Snow White, Blood Red (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
Dates read: 17th December 2018 – 12th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: It’ll still mean that I’m willing to let someone die, just so I can have my own way.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Snow White, Blood Red is a brand new collection of fairy tales. But be warned. It is not a collection for the faint-hearted. Or even one to lull the innocent towards the sleeping realms of dreams. For Snow White, Blood Red is a modern book of wonders: a boundless expanse of nightmares, lusts and fables for the grown-up child in us all.

Through richly imaginative retellings of existing fairy tales, twenty-one of the world’s top fantasy authors recreate the full mythical, magical, mind-bending power of humankind’s oldest fables. Prepare to be seduced by stories that bite – stories that are frightening, erotic, dark and compelling. Because as Terri Windling reminds us in the introduction: ‘Something still stirs inside us when we hear those old, evocative words: Once upon a time.’ Only this time, in this world, there is no happy ending…

Thoughts

I’ve had this book on my wish list for a very, very long time. So, when I finally managed to find a second hand copy and get it delivered to my door, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. After all, I love fairy tales, I like stories with a dark twist, and I’m fascinated by retellings and the ways in which people are able to twist and turn classic themes to fit a more contemporary or recognisable setting. Which makes this kind of the perfect short story collection to sit on my shelves.

Some of the stories in this collection are kind of dark and twisted. Some are incredibly sexual. And some are just a great, contemporary retelling that makes childish fairy tales far more relatable. I got goosebumps reading some of these stories. While others left a smile on my face. You know it’s a fantastic collection when it takes you through the rollercoaster of emotions and leaves you feeling incredibly happy at the close of the last page.

Anybody who loves fantasy, horror or fairy tales, this is a great collection to add to your shelves. It is one that I won’t be getting out of my head anytime soon, that’s for sure…

<- Taking LoupLike a Red, Red Rose ->

Image source: Amazon

I Shall Do Thee Mischief in the Wood by Kathe Koja

Overview

Image result for snow white, blood red book coverTitle: I Shall Do Thee Mischief in the Wood
Author: Kathe Koja
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Villains
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: The inn-tavern was hot, hot almost as the departed day, crowded with those with something to sell, vice or service, proferring to the retinue what did not first interest their lord.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

Red Riding Hood is poor, young and, too many, a little simple. So when a predator from another town fixates on her, and follows her into the woods, you think you know what’s going to happen. But you don’t. Because this is a very twisted fairy tale retelling.

Thoughts

In the collection, Snow White, Blood Red, I Shall Do Thee Mischief follows directly after Little Red. And I had to put this book down after Little Red because of the ick factor. So when I found out that there was a second story based on this fairy tale. Also with a sexual component… I’ll admit that I was kind of concerned. And uncomfortable. There is only so much ick I can read before I have to change over to the happy and carefree stories. Luckily for me, although the sexuality was still there, it wasn’t so intense. Or icky.

I did have to read the last page of this short story twice to feel like I fully understood what happened. And I’m still not entirely sure if my take is “correct”. But from what I absorbed… the young girl was completely able to turn the tables on her would-be predator. And, since that’s the kind of ending that I like… I’m going to stick with it.

 <- Little Red ReviewThe Root of the Matter Review ->
Image source: Amazon