The Poison Eaters And Other Stories
Author: Holly Black
Holly Black, the queen of fae, and probably best known for her Modern Faerie Tales trilogy, brings forth a collection of twelve short stories ranging from a prom gone wild because of the Latin club invoking Bacchus (also known as Dionysus) to a tale about a group of girls with poisonous kisses of deadly proportions. Magic comes in all shapes and sizes and variations in this book.
Whether this is the first book you’ve read by Holly Black or just one of the many, you’re in for a treat. All of the stories were magnificently written. They range from many different settings—a trailer park, medieval castle, to a fae café. And I really loved the specific details so subtly added to the characters. Each story was beautifully constructed with the right amount of imagery and struck me with wonder.
While one or two of the stories can be connected back to Modern Faerie Tales, all of them can stand alone so you don’t need to worry about whether you’ll be missing important parts from her other novels or not.
For me, the most interesting stories were In Vodka Veritas, Paper Cut Scissors, and The Land of Heart’s Desire.
In Vodka Veritas followed a kid shipped off to boarding school. He’s discovers that not everything is as it seems and he’ll have to decide whether he wants to save his best friend from the effects of a wild prom turned Bacchanalia (crazy, violent, orgy; season two of True Blood anyone?).
The lore of Dionysus and Maenads have always been fascinating and to come across a story dedicated to that was an utter joy. I may have squeed. Holly Black didn’t have to get extremely vulgar and revealing to get across what kind of parties the god liked to throw. I loved the odd anti-hero coming to the rescue. Really showed the great debate of a teenager knowing what kind of person they really are. It’s a debate that follows a person for the rest of their life.
Paper Cut Scissors is unlike anything I’ve ever read when it comes to complete originality. My bookworm nerdiness and love for libraries really came to the surface. Imagine being able to change an entire book by putting something in it. Imagine being able to put yourself into any book. What about an epic party with characters from books all over? As I read this, it was like a dream come true. I wanted to be in this story. From Dr. Watson to Anne of Green Gables to Wolverine, this is a party I would definitely attend.
The Land of Heart’s Desire. I was instantly taken back to a place I know well and that I was more than happy to return to. Back to Modern Faerie Tales (Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside). In a fae run café, Moon in a Cup, which is also populated by fae patrons among the good ol’ fashioned human ones, Corny puts out a little advertising to get some business. And he gets just that albeit not in the way he expected. Roiben, the faerie king, is put work with the overflow of customers. The two have an unexpected conversation.
If I’m honest, Valiant is my favorite out of the trilogy and I know that isn’t the case for a lot of people who are fans of it. I loved Val and Luis and Ravus. To see Val and Luis again and the other characters of Ironside made me all giddy. My eyes did a little bugging out. This story really gave a great overview of how far each of them had come since the trilogy. There was heartache, struggle, and a bit of funny.
This book was a delightful read. It definitely left me wanting to read more. Not one story was similar to another. Something different for every occasion. That little book for when you want magic and by now you should know that I love magic.
I could see a Netflix show taking this book on like The Twilight Zone or Black Mirror, shows that have new stories every episode. It would be invigorating to see a new POV of the fae world. Faeries aren’t all light and sweet. They can get nasty if you aren’t careful and I love that Holly Black shows this while making it fun. It would be interesting to see on the screen.
“I’m a collector. I have to have the whole set—complete. All souls. They’re going to look spectacular all lined up.” (A Reversal of Fortune-The Devil to Nikki, p. 41)
“A crow doesn’t rip out the eyes of another crow. Nice.” (In Vodka Veritas, p. 113)
“The Latin Club is totally evil.” (In Vodka Veritas, p. 118)
“He was just a read and readers can’t do anything to make the story stop—except close the book.” (Paper Cut Scissors-Justin, p. 152)
“I don’t think people usually have terrible secrets the way characters do, but people often aren’t amazing, either. We’re watered down.” (Paper Cut Scissors-Justin to Sarah, p. 164)
“I envy what I fear and hate what I envy.” (The Land of Heart’s Desire-Corny to Roiben, p. 178)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? The Great Escape by Boys Like Girls.