The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories, by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff
Genres: Young Adult, Short Stories, Fantasy, Paranormal
She has been lonely all her life, but never so fully or so truly as she is tonight.
Critiquing a book of short stories is hard – especially when the stories are by three different authors. Rating them all individually would be too cumbersome, so I’ll settle with this: there were not a lot of stories in The Curiosities that I liked.
There was always some fissure, something so obviously wrong in each one. It was too short, too underdeveloped, too boring, too outlandish, or I just didn’t like it. I would finish one and start the next, and even if it was only a few pages long, it sometimes felt like I was beginning another marathon, simply because I was starting a new story with new characters and a new setting that kept disappointing me, time and time again.
The only author of the three whose work I’ve read is, of course, Maggie Stiefvater and her wonderful The Raven Cycle series. Because I loved those books so much, I expected to love her short stories just the same – but her stories are far from what I expected. The Raven Cycle is a loaded gun full of magic, intrigue, wonder, and sarcasm, and I only saw a little bit of that in her work this time.
“Put that out before you burn off your dick,” I said.
“I didn’t know you cared what happened to it,” he replied.
Given, these stories were all written quickly and left completely unedited. That’s extremely brave. However, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re published in a book, and as a consumer, I didn’t like the product.
The three stories that I enjoyed were The Bone-Tender, Neighbors, and The Lazarus Girl – all written by Brenna Yovanoff. Hers were undoubtedly my favorite, and I think her and I have a similar mindset. The kind of short stories that I love are creepy and full of sharp objects and monsters. There’s usually a twist, too, like in Neighbors. Reading her stories has me very curious about her novels, even if I didn’t like all of them.
I also enjoyed their commentary and their bantering, and I think it definitely opened up a door to how writing really works and their thought processes. I’d love to see them write a novel together; something cleaner than these stories. All of them left me feeling that they needed something more.