Tag Archives: Peter Straub

The Monstrous edited by Ellen Datlow

Overview
Image result for the monstrous ellen datlow book cover

Title: The Monstrous
Author: Ellen Datlow, Jeffrey Ford, Peter Straub, Dale Bailey, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Gemma Files, Livia Llewellyn, Adam-Troy Castro, Kim Newman, Jack Dann, Gardner Dozois, Carole Johnstone, Brian Hodge, Stephen Graham Jones, Adam L. G. Nevill, Sofia Samatar, Terry Dowling, Glen Hirshberg, A.C. Wise, Steve Rasnic Tem, Christopher Fowler & John Langan
In: The Monstrous (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Horror, Short story collections
Dates read: 8th January – 3rd June 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: “I supppose I do,” I reply.

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Synopsis

Horror’s most acclaimed editor reveals twenty riveting tales of the Other gone wrong. Monsters who suffer from heartbreak, betrayal, ungrateful kids, and unpaid overtime. Creatures of darkness that struggle to adapt to modern living. Ordinary folks who find themselves inexplicably transformed. 88 But if you dare, come a bit closer and discover the most terrifying of beings – those who are living under your own skin and peering out from behind your eyes.

Thoughts

This collection is brilliant. It is dark, creepy and intense. It is fun. It gave me goose bumps. And it is filled with monsters who come in ALL shapes and sizes. And I mean ALL. A wonderful, fantastic and seriously enjoyable collection filled with the things that go bump in the night. The things that you really hope aren’t hiding under your bed.

Although this anthology sits in my horror shelf, it isn’t really all that scary. Sure, there are multiple moments of discomfort throughout. But they’re that, you have to think a little too much, or consider the many moments of confusion throughout this story that you really don’t necessarily want to think too much about. And, honestly, it’s not the things that jump out and yell BOO that make me love horror. It’s that underlying discomfort that makes you look at your own life that I am quickly becoming obsessed with.

I absolutely adored this collection. It was filled with some familiar names and new ones. Each and every story made me stop and really think about what the storyline was saying. And even now, when I have still finished the whole collection… I am still thinking about some of the stories that I read.

<- Run, Rabbit, RunA Natural History of Autumn ->

Image source: Amazon

Black Thorn, White Rose edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for black thorn white rose book cover

Title: Black Thorn, White Rose
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Nancy Kress, Patricia C. Wrede, Ann Downer, Daniel Quinn, M.E. Beckett, Michael Kandel, Michael Cadnum, Lawrence Schimel, Isabel Cole, Tim Wynne-Jones, Midori Snyder, Jane Yolen, Howard Waldrop, Roger Zelazny, Peter Straub, Ellen Steiber, Storm Constantine & Susan Wade
Series: Adult Fairy Tales #2
In: Black Thorn, White Rose (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: 12th February – 25th May 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Prime Books
Year: 1994
5th sentence, 74th page: Thank you for your last letter, which reached me before I set off.

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Synopsis

The award-winning editors of II Snow White, Blood Red II return us to distinctly adult realms of myth and the fantastic with eighteen wondrous works. From Roger Zelazny’s delightful tale of Death’s disobedient godson to Peter Straub’s blood-chilling look at a gargantuan Cinderella, here are stories strange and miraculous that remold our most cherished childhood fables into things sexier, more sinister… and more appealing to grown-up tastes and sensibilities.

Thoughts

After reading Snow White, Blood Red, I knew that I needed the other books which were edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling featuring fairy tale retellings. Because these aren’t the retellings that you would expect. And they’re not the kinds of retellings that make you feel all nice and fluffy on the inside. They’re dark and twisted in places. Sexual in others. And just downright make you think most of the time.

Many of the authors in this collection are ones that I have already come across. Which is something I most certainly enjoyed. A few were totally new to me. Enough to make me wonder who I would be coming across next, but not so much that I felt like I had a whole slew of new people to add to my shelves. Rather, it was a fair few authors who are already in my wishlist…

I love the constant returning to fairy tales that were reminiscent of the Grimm Brothers. It’s a nice little departure from the more common fairy tales that I find. And other than Rumpelstiltskin and Red Riding Hood, the vast majority of these fairy tales were of the lesser known variety. Which suited me perfectly. I like those more abstract stories at times.

<- Mr. Simonelli or the Fairy WidowerWords Like Pale Stones ->

Image source: Goodreads

Ashputtle by Peter Straub

Overview
Image result for the monstrous ellen datlow book cover

Title: Ashputtle
Author: Peter Straub
In: The Monstrous (Ellen Datlow) & Black Thorn, White Rose (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Horror, Retellings
Dates read: 8th January 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Tachyon
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: She was loved.

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

Synopsis

Ashputtle is the newest version of Cinderella. With a much darker, far more disturbing twist…

Thoughts

This is an incredibly insane version of Cinderella. Like, seriously insane. One that I absolutely adored. And couldn’t get enough of. And just seriously enjoyed… but it was dark, and made me think of Cinderella (or in this case Ashputtle) as more of a monster than a victim. Which is probably why I loved it so much. Nothing like a sick, disturbing story to make my crazy brain happy.

I found some of the points made about fat people really interesting. The idea that they’re presumed to be stupid or just plain ignored. It was painfully true. But also helped to create a cloak behind which Ashputtle could hide her atrocities. It’s a little bit scary how spot on these moments were and made me stop and think about how I deal with other people.

My biggest question about this short story is – what was done to the children? I know the culprit. I know that they went missing. And I even know why they were the selected victims. But what I don’t know is what was done with them? And my imagination is not leading me to nice, happy places with that…

<- A Natural History of AutumnGiants in the Earth ->

Image source: Amazon