Monday, May 26, 2014

Review Rags & Bones

Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales edited by Melissa Marr & Tim Pratt Goodreads | Amazon

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers October 22, 2013

368 Pages

Stand Alone Anthology

Source: Library, serendipity

Bookologists Analysis: An anthology of short stories (all sci-fi and fantasy) by familiar YA authors that are a range of quality.  A look into the heads and thought processes of authors and how they write about stories they love is what draws you into the book. It was an enjoyable read that is easy put down at random times.

The best writers of our generation retell classic tales.

From Sir Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene to E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops," literature is filled with sexy, deadly, and downright twisted tales. In this collection, award-winning and bestselling authors reimagine their favorite classic stories, the ones that have inspired, awed, and enraged them, the ones that have become ingrained in modern culture, and the ones that have been too long overlooked. They take these stories and boil them down to their bones, and reassemble them for a new generation of readers. 

Written from a twenty-first century perspective and set within the realms of science fiction, dystopian fiction, fantasy, and realistic fiction, these short stories are as moving and thought provoking as their originators. They pay homage to groundbreaking literary achievements of the past while celebrating each author's unique perception and innovative style. 

Today's most acclaimed authors use their own unique styles to rebuild the twelve timeless stories:

Sir Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene - Saladin Ahmed

W. W. Jacobs's "The Monkey's Paw" - Kelley Armstrong

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla" - Holly Black

"Sleeping Beauty" - Neil Gaiman

The Brothers Grimm's "Rumpelstiltskin" - Kami Garcia

Kate Chopin's The Awakening - Melissa Marr

Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King" - Garth Nix

Henry James's "The Jolly Corner" - Tim Pratt

E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops" - Carrie Ryan

Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto - Margaret Stohl

William Seabrook's "The Caged White Werewolf of the Saraban" - Gene Wolfe

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birth-Mark" - Rick Yancey

And six illustrations by Charles Vess

Rags & Bones is an anthology by many authors so I am reviewing the short stories in the book. Overall I enjoyed being exposed to some new authors and authors that I didn’t like in their original work.

“The Machine that May Progress Eternally” by Carrie Ryan inspire by The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster
I felt the writing in this story was awkward and almost redundant to the point where it was almost pointless to read the story. I felt lost within a dark cave with small spots of brilliance. The idea for the plot I though was sick and uncalled for; such an idea that anybody would sink that low is terrifying. Rating: «1/2

“Losing Her Divinity” by Garth Nix inspired by The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
Losing divinity? We wonder what that really means and what is between god and man. This story helps explore that gray area with a whimsical narration that seems to have a double personality of an idea that is utterly creative. The narrator seems to be having an oral schizophrenic conversation with you rather than a written story. Rating: «««««

“The Sleeper and the Spindle” by Neil Gaiman inspired by “Sleeping Beauty in the Woods”
The original Grimm Fairy Tales were anywhere from being dark and creepy to children’s stories. Neil Gaiman tore Sleeping Beauty to the bare minimum and made it darker with a beautiful new world. I liked the idea of switching the characters places; it shows to never become a passive reader, but an ever guessing one.  Rating: ««««

“Cold Corner” by Tim Pratt inspired by The Jolly Corner by Henry James
The characters to me in the Cold Corner were the most touching. Terry/TJ is a bi chef from the South who lives in California and was 4th place in a recent cooking show. I enjoyed the writing as it was a raw and unedited showing the brutal reality of life. Rating: ««««

“Millicara” by Holly Black inspired by Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanos
When I was reading this I found that creepily this book was almost an exact transcript of a conversation in my brain.  This short story- a vampire one- had a suspenseful touch, the story just kept on building till an ending that had flair of elegance. Rating: «««1/2

“When First We Were Gods” by Rick Yancey inspired by The Birth Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne
In this story we are confronted by a world where there are immortals and mortals. The immortals are artificial and rich, while the mortals are third class citizens. The question of whether or not love can last immortality is the plot. You wonder if humanity can deal with all he technology that is pouring in. Rating: ««««

“Sirocco” by Margret Stohl inspired by The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
The setting in a boring Italian town working on a movie production set making a bad movie has a funny dry humor that you can’t help, but laugh at. The descriptive writing was well written – not too lengthy or too brief. Only at the end do you find out what the story is truly getting at. Rating: ««««

“Awakened” by Melisa Marr inspired by The Awakening by Kate Chopin
This story features the selchies, an underrepresented mythological creature in YA fantasy. That is not the only factor that doesn’t conform to YA, but it is about putting self over romance rather than romance over self. The perplexing narrative left much to imagine getting mind thinking. Rating: ««««

“New Chicago” by Kelley Armstrong inspired by The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jack
This is not a story for reading for entertainment, but more as a fable. It is for the lessons in the story and what you can learn. The plot is based on the classic saying of being careful with what you wish for. The lesson I got most from New Chicago was to never push fate. Rating: ««««

“The Soul Collector” by Kami Garcia inspired by “The Grimm’s’ Fairytale Rumpelstilskin”
The beginning was making you very apprehensive through pushing your feelings. Why are you reading a story about addicts and orphans? If you’re not from that underground culture your head is spinning from what is happening, the question of human nature. Trading yourself for innocence is confusing. Rating: «««1/2

“Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy” by Saladin Ahmed inspired by The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spencer
Unlike the other stories, this one was much more related to The Faerie Queene than the others which were literally bare bones of their inspiration. The shadows around us aren’t always apparent with what we see and who we think we are. We are supposed to be scared of any higher force as Joyless (a character) is. Rating: «««««

“Uncaged” by Gene Wolfe inspired by The Caged White Werewolf of Saraban by William E. Seabrook

It wasn’t especially special, but it was a bit sour. You are trying to find the hype in the last story where a man falls in love with some were creature.  Eventually you figure out that story doesn’t have a lot depth and trudge through it. Rating: «

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