The Poison Eaters: And Other Stories

The Poison Eaters: And Other Stories

by Holly Black

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The Poison Eaters: And Other Stories 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
MarmaladeLibby More than 1 year ago
**Originally posted on Libby Blog** One touch from a Poison Eater and you will drop dead at her feet. Within 88 days of a bite from a Cold one you'll become so hungry for blood and warmth you will bite anyone nearby you. If you ever meet the Devil, be sure to be just as clever and cheating as he is or your soul will certainly be his. When dealing with an Elf who wants to curse you, be sure to wear gold. And most of all...don't keep your secrets or your secrets will keep eventually you... My thoughts: This was a delicious break from the normalcy of life around me. I adored the darkness and pain that Holly Black turns into beautiful stories. I will freely admit that there were a couple that I was both completely turned off by and/or didn't "get" at all. On the other hand, there were many that I adored and will be reading again. In some of the stories you can almost see or feel the original Grimm's Fairytale that they blossomed from, and others are completely new and untouched stories like Coldtown. One of my favorites of course was The Land of Heart's Desires where I got to peek back in on all of my favorites from Black's Modern Faerie Tale series. Loved that series! So dark and raw and real while also completely fantasy! My favorites: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Night Market, The Coat of Stars, and The Land of Heart's Desire. My absolute favorite was The Night Market though. It made me think of the magic, beauty and love that seeped into my soul while reading Valiant (my favorite Holly Black book.) If you're looking for something different, or don't have time for a full book right now then this is for you! It was great because I could read a story while I waited for a video to load on YOUTube or while the dryer was finishing up. This is why I love short story collections. Give them a try and let me know what you think. Which ones are your favorites?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The title story is fantastic & amazing. Much like Stephen King's The Long Walk, sometimes the short stories are the best ones. This collection is a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some stories are better than others but they are all great. Holly Black is a truly amazing writer in my opinion. I loved this book and wish some of the stories had been much longer.
RosaleenDhu More than 1 year ago
Fantastic collection and a good introduction to Ms. Black's work.
witchdresses More than 1 year ago
This is by far, one of my favorite short story collections. If you are a fan of Black's young adult books, specifically the Tithe series, this is a *MUST* read- but honestly, I think anyone could enjoy these stories. GREAT BOOK.
fayeflame on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Short of It:I don¿t usually like to review anthologies,mainly because I like the depth in stories but I've ALWAYS loved Holly Blacks writing. This book is "Wicked Lovely" i really enjoyed the way Holly played with the different roles of characters. I seriously think that all these stories need a book.My faves were "Paper Cuts Scissors," "The Dog King," and "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown."Holly has always been a edgy,dark,beautiful writer. She's the black widow of words, She does an amazing weaving life into her stories,you can't help but get sucked right in.
dcoward on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I gave this a fairly low rating because although a few of the stories are fantastic, there are a few stinkers here as well.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a collection of Holly Black's short stories. Overall it is a decent collection. It you are a huge Holly Black fan, like I am, beware that many of these stories appear in other anthologies. So, I had already read some of them. There is a nice publication history in the back of the book just in case you want to check and see which stories you may have already read.The stories tend to be dark and follow paranormal/urban fantasy themes. Most of the stories are a bit ironic and have some sense of dark humor to them. There are a number of stories that touch on fairies, a couple that touch on werewolves, a story that deals with characters in books coming alive, one that deals with vampires, and a couple that deal with mythology. There is one story that takes place in the world that Black's Modern Tales of Fairie is in. There are twelve stories in all, they vary quite a bit in length.I tended to like the stories towards the back of the book better. Among my favorites were: The Night Market about a girl who saves her sister from a fairy by braving the strange Night Market, Virgin a story about unicorns, The Coat of Stars a story about a costume designer fighting the fairy Queen for his lover's return, Paper Cuts Scissors at story about characters coming out of books and mingling, and The Poison Eaters a story about poisonous sisters.There were also some stories that were a bit weak. The Land of Heart's Desire, which uses the characters from the Tithe series, wasn't the most interesting. Overall though I enjoyed the majority of stories and am glad I read the book. It is a quick read, but if you are a Holly Black fan...or an urban fantasy fan in general you should enjoy this collection. Now I am looking forward to reading the start of Black's Curse Worker series "The White Cat".
DonnerLibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Let me preface this review by saying that I am not generally a huge fan of short story collections. I enjoy spending a good amount of time reading and I find that short stories are better for small bits of time as I cannot move from one directly into the next as I can with chapters of a novel. I think good short stories are also incredibly difficult to write as the author must convey enough background information to the reader for the story to make sense while also keeping the narrative short.With that said, I did enjoy most of the stories in this book. My favorite by far was Paper Cuts Scissors about a library student who discovers that the characters in the books can come out of them and change their own stories. My least favorite was actually the very next story, Going Ironside, because it felt like an incomplete writing exercise. Maybe I just didn't get that one. Each story in the book is very different from all of the others and Black does show a great range in her writing. The characters were unique, although some felt a bit underdeveloped. Unfortunately, nothing about this book really stood out for me positively or negatively and I've found that I've already forgotten the majority of the stories.
bluesalamanders on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was like reading a book of fables, but I couldn't work out what the morals were supposed to be (which may be a plus, actually). There was a real mixture of stores I liked and stories I didn't care for but regardless, it was a fun little book and a quick read.
PureImagination on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't usually like short stories. They are too short! I know, that's the point but I like to connect with characters and spend a lot of time with them. That's why I don't usually like short stories. I can honestly say that I really really enjoyed this batch though.I tried to read Tithe by Holly Black a long time ago and could not get into it. I'm thinking after reading The Poison Eaters that I really need to give it another chance! There is something for everyone in this collection of stories. Vampires, elves, shapeshifters, and of course faeries. I liked some of the stories more than others but I enjoyed all of them. The thing that stands out the most though, is Holly Black's gritty and honest writing. She doesn't pretty it up for anyone. I love that! Her writing is very dark at times but it's always beautiful. She weaves a web with her words and you get sucked right in.I really recommend this collection to any supernatural/paranormal fan. Like I said, there's something for everyone!
Alliebeth927 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Poison Eaters was as almost all collections of short stories are- a mixed bag. Some of them¿such as The Night Market, In Vodka Veritas, and The Coat of Stars¿were great and made me wish for more than just a few short pages. On the other hand, some of the stories were downright confusing and mildly disturbing. Virgin and Ironside were the two that left me scratching my head and wondering what the point was. But, as in all Holly Black books, the good outweighs the bad. The standouts in this collection were Paper Cuts Scissors and The Poison Eaters. The first brings to life the dream that so many book lovers have¿seeing all your favorite characters leap out of their pages and interact with one another. Not to mention the ability to fold yourself into your favorite volumes and live there. The latter reads like a traditional, though twisted, fairytale. Of all the stories, it felt as though it would make the best stand alone book. I enjoy short story collections, and this was no exception, though I think I prefer those that have selections from different authors. By the end I knew what to expect from each story since Black has such a distinctive style and way of storytelling. Overall, I liked this book, and would recommend it to any fan of dark paranormal literature.
Ziaria on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a quick, enjoyable read full of delicious wickedness and strange tales. Holly does an amazing job weaving life into her stories. I can honestly say I enjoyed all of the stories in this collection and wish there were more to be read. From vampires to unicorns, to characters from books coming to life there's a story for all tastes within these pages.If you're looking for a quick story to bide you over between appointments or just before bed, this would be the perfect book.(I received this from the Library Things Early Reviewer program.)
DARKANG3L on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is composed of short stories. The book is entertaining and easy to read. Great for wanting to read a book that is short and passes the time. Some parts can be a bit confusing and weird, but it's a new way to read.
ealaindraoi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved this! There was only one story I didn¿t really care for: Going Ironside ¿ it didn¿t seem to actually go anywhere. The other stories were dark in topic as well as tone. Many of the stories fit into the Tithe world, and some seemed like they¿d fit into the Spiderwick world, but not all the stories are appropriate for younger teens. I especially loved Paper Cuts Scissors for this Jasper Fforde-ish tale.Recommended for anyone who likes short stories on ¿.the dark side. (cue music!)
skstiles612 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Most of these stories appear in other anthologies. Some of them a humorous. Most of them are on the dark side. Maybe that is what I liked about them. My favorites by far were "The Night Market" where we discover what love really is and at what length we will go to obtain it," The Coldest Girl in Coldtown" a twisted vampire story, "The Poison Eaters" a story of revenge, and "A Reversal of Fortune" a story of beating the Devil at his own game. This book has something for everyone. Not all of the stories were as good as I would have liked. I will say there was enough here for everyone to find something for their taste in short stories.
storyteller1020 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Best Holly Black to date! Very original.
thediaryofabookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Its been an exceedingly busy few reading weeks for me, I've received a bundle of ARC's plus there has been the release of Artemis Fowl the Atlantis Complex, Mockingjay and now Clockwork Angel on Tuesday. I've been reading full out to get everything in (of course enjoying every minute of it too!), but once in awhile I find I've got a day or a day and a bit before a new release and after wrapping my current book. So I've been picking up Holly Black's short story collection The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories. I'm not generally a lover of the short story, but the hubby found The Poison Eaters: and Other Stories while we were making one of our many visits to The Strand in New York, and I just couldn't turn it down since it promised stories linking into Valiant, Tithe and Ironside. Now first off, I have to say, only one of the stories actually linked into her characters from Valiant, Tithe and Ironside. One of the other stories (called going Ironside) was about elves so I suppose it tied in via subject matter, but it really had nothing to do with her previous faerie books.A whole mix of stories from sudo-fairy tales, a vampire story, a competition with the devil and of course a variety of faerie stories made for a good mix. My only complaint is I find Holly's gritty style doesn't work as well on the extreme short stories. Going Ironside was about 3 pages long and was so gritty with no relief (i mean it's 3 pages after all!) that it was just depressing and slightly horrifying. The longer stories fared much better and in fact some were so enjoyable I would like to read more about them. On the bonus side, the book is extremely pretty, black hard cover with green foiled lettering across the front with a green foil scull and cross bones underneath, and lovely matching green end pages, makes this one of the prettiest Holly Black books I've ever picked up (outside, of course, of the spectacularly pretty Spiderwick books).Be warned, if you haven't read Holly's YA before, this is no Spiderwick. She likes to write from a very gritty and intense angle often following runaways, teens who are so beyond caring that they abuse their bodies via sex and drugs, teens tangled up in hopeless lives where their mother sleeps with their boyfriend or they're struggling with their sexuality in all the wrong places etc, etc. This isn't your usual YA fare, which is part of what makes it great, but if that's not your cup of tea and you want a generic teen love triangle with the good girl and two gorgeous guys then she's not the writer for you!
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This fantasy anthology of 12 stories is definitely meant for an older audience. Due to the content (mature themes AND use of profanity, I definitely would NOT recommend this book to middle school students. Some of the stories were just a bit too strange for my liking, but others were easier to follow. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was an interesting read. Coldtown is an isolated area where folks who have been afflicted with vampirism go to survive. They keep humans as sources of blood. If you enter Coldtown, you don't get to leave. Matilda wants to rescue her boyfriend. She believes he has gone to Coldtown to save her, but that's not actually the case. Won't tell you what happens when she figures out the truth. In Reversal of Fortune, a girl makes a deal with the devil. He cheats, and she knows she's going to lose her soul to him, so she cheats as well, and manages to outsmart him. I quite liked that, although how she wins is a bit disgusting. Overall, some interesting stories, but definitely meant for older teens.
carlienichole on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For me, this book was a mixture of like an dislike. Some of the stories I absolutley loved an thought were great such as The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Night Market, The Dog King, Paper Cuts Scissors, and The Posion Eaters. All of these I really liked. But some of the other ones were very confusing and a little out there like Virgin and Going Ironside. I din't like these at all.
book_in_hand on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I Loved this book!!! All the stories made me want to read more. If I had to complain at all it would be about the short story a coat of stars. I sometimes wonder if people write about homosexuals to tell the world that they're not against them. Like blatantly saying see I'm not racist I have black friends. But over all the book was wonderful.
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Poision Eaters and Other Short Stories was my introduction to the awesomeness that is Holly Black. In it you'll find a variety of stories written by Holly (most have been previously published in other anthologies). But in this volume you'll find them all in one place. Fans of paranormal will rejoice in this book. There is a little bit of everything thrown in here - vampires, shape-shifters, elves, and, my favorite... faeries. These stories are dark, edgy and even show a flair for the macabre, but I could easily see Holly's humor interwoven throughout. For a collection of stories, I was really impressed by the world building and character development found in such brief entries. Among my favorites were The Night Market (about a girl who ventures to save her sister after a fairy has cursed her), The Coat of Stars (a costume designer bribing the fairy Queen for his friend's return), Paper Cuts Scissors (a story where favorite characters leap out of their books and interact with each other), and The Poison Eaters (a story about poisonous sisters, and my favorite in the bunch).Ms. Black has a distinctive style of storytelling and I was very impressed by this collection. For fans of Holly's previous works and lovers of all things paranormal, this is one book you won't want missing from your collection.This collection of stories includes:The Coldest Girl in ColdtownA Reversal of FortuneThe Boy Who Cried WolfThe Night MarketThe Dog KingVirginIn Vodka VeritasThe Coat of StarsPaper Cuts ScissorsGoing InsideThe Land of Heart's DesireThe Poison Eaters
the1butterfly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This had at least one retelling of a fairy tale, lots of fantasy, a bit of faeries, and lots of darkness. Holly Black infuses her stories with wisdom and an occasional bit of humor, and she's got her own take on fantasy. Her characters tend to be runaways hovering on the edges, but hovering on the edge of society seems to allow them to touch the edge of reality as well.
Bookswithbite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ummmm...this stories totally rocked my socks off!!! I loved reading each and every single one. They all held a significance of someone getting back at someone. Basically, what goes around comes around. I loved that each story is unique. There were fairies, unicorns, etc. So much goodness.I am hoping to see if Ms. Black will continue any of the stories into a full novel. Which anyone she picks, if she does I know for sure I will be dying to read. This a great book with strong characters and plots you will never forget.
SavvyEscapades on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I preface this by saying that my previous exposure to short stories was about the bare minimum you would expect from someone with an English degree. As I want to write novels, I focused mostly on studying novels. One creative writing professor forced me to expand my horizons. I¿ve read some Alice Munro, some of Junot Diaz¿s Drown, and though I am aware that I read more authors¿ works for class assignments, those were the only two authors whose names immediately spring to mind. You see, the short story is a tricky thing, and I think people expect different things from them. I can already tell you that I liked Munro and Diaz because they were the only authors this one professor assigned that I thought gave me a complete story that was nuanced, but didn¿t make me read the same page fifteen times just to figure out what the hell was going on.Short stories can be many things¿ snapshots that give us deep insight into a character¿s mind, legends reminiscent of the stories our parents told us a million times, the exact moment that things went wrong and why. Black delivers all of these in The Poison Eaters. Some of the highlights for me were:¿The Coldest Girl in Coldtown¿I was blown away by the first story in the collection. I mean, I was already amazed by White Cat, but in this short story Black showed me that my utter fangirly devotion is not misplaced. In 28 pages, Black somehow manages to create a whole world dealing with the aftermath of a vampire-plague AND deliver a plot. Again, that¿s in 28 pages. The narrator explains the surroundings to the reader, but it doesn¿t feel forced. I was sad when the story ended, because I could have easily read a whole novel about that world. If you like the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, make sure to check this story out.¿The Coat of Stars¿This story was one of my favorites because the entire tone of the story shifted about halfway through. In the beginning of the story, we follow the main character as he navigates a family gathering (which is a little awkward, as he is gay and VERY closeted about it around his Hispanic, urban family). By the middle of the story, however, the story has morphed into a story based on a classic fairy tale structure: the hero tailor must make three beautiful garments to convince the fairy queen to release his love. As disjointed as the two concepts seem, Black weaves them together so smoothly that I didn¿t even notice the transition until we were on the second coat.¿The Land of Heart¿s Desire¿This was my favorite story in the whole collection (though the above two were 2nd and 3rd place). This is exactly how I like my short story: a snapshot of someone¿s day that shows us what makes them tick. This story is urban fantasy bordering on magical realism¿ the setting is a little cafe in a city (that I am presuming is New York) run by a pixie named Kaye and her best friend. Our protagonist is Kaye¿s boyfriend Roiben, the King of the Unseelie (Fairy) court, who is roped into working at the cafe while he waits for Kaye. From here, we see Roiben contemplate his relationship with Kaye, including why exactly it is he¿s willing to debase himself like this for her.Also, I am kind of under the impression that Tithe is going to be set in this space and with these characters as well¿ GoodReads tells me that the main characters of that book are also called Kaye and Roiben¿ Oh dear. I hope I haven¿t accidentally spoiled something for myself. On the other hand, even if I did, I¿m kind of just glad I get to go back into that story. I will keep you posted, as Tithe is slated for review next week.Rating: 4 stars (I really liked it and think that urban fantasy fans will love it. I¿m still not sure how I feel about short stories in general though. I especially think I need to expand my reading of current, YA short stories, as all of my other experience has been a little snobishly high-brow.)