This was a very intense, family-secrets way too real kind of story. But it was brilliant. And gorgeous. And seriously put me in my happy place. Again, not going to delve too far into the fact that a freaky story with a pretty twisted family secret puts me in my happy place… there are just some questions we probably shouldn’t ask.
This was a seriously creepy story. I mean, I knew it was going to be fairly uncomfortable, because all of the short stories in The Monstrous collection kind of are. But, it’s all written in the voice of a little girl…. I think I kind of hoped it would be a little less… insanely intense. And uncomfortable. And gruesome.
There seem to be a few Jewish / war / prisoner of war stories popping up in my reading at the moment. And although they’re completely heart-wrenching, kind of devastating and seriously intense… they’re also kind of completely amazing. And I am definitely in love with them. What I didn’t expect was to find one such story in a collection of monstrous fantasy stories…
This short story starts right in the action. Or at least, right in the waiting for the action and the creepy imagery of an old man just waiting… waiting to kill something. It’s all written from his kind of intense point of view and you just sit there in awe throughout the entire story. Anything that you expect to happen… it quickly doesn’t quite happen the way that you expect it to.
The start of this story is seriously creepy and horrific. It starts with Clutch knowing that he has killed someone recently. That he always knows this. He just doesn’t know who or why. He does know how… he literally “clutches” them to death. And then he walks into a dinner and you think that things are just going to get worse. It’s a spinetingling way to start a story. And the imagery of the blood still lingering on his clothes… just seems to make it all that much worse.
So this story is seriously disturbed.
This short story seriously reminds me of another story that I’ve read. Something about the nine pre-gods of ancient times. But I can’t quite pinpoint which story it was… I did love that feeling of aching familiarity that I felt though. It was kind of fun, definitely intriguing. And something that I will continue to think about, long after I’ve turned the final page of this story.
There is something dark and intriguing about this short story. Which I’m starting to recognise as a bit of a hallmark of Kiernan’s writing. There is a sense of vagueness in the story, but one which worked brilliantly. It gave an even darker, more mystical feel to the storyline.
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 really enjoyed this short story. it was a great introduction to the idea of monsters in a monster collection, and that sometimes they’re not always as they seem. I think if I was a bit more familiar with Japanese folklore, I would have picked up more in this story and a bit more of the symbolism. But even without that understanding, this was a great, fun and engaging read. One that I was kind of sad to see finished. And especially sad to find out that it’s not part of a greater series.