Ahoy there me mateys! I received this short story collection eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
the midnight circus (Jane Yolen)
Title: the midnight circus
Author: Jane Yolen
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication Date: TODAY!!! (paperback/e-book)
I have always loved reading Jane Yolen’s novels but as I have gotten older I have loved her short stories just as much. I have read all four of the Tachyon Publications of Jane Yolen’s works and I love them. This fifth one deals with dark themes though the book is set up along the lines of her previous collection, the emerald circus, which dealt with fairytales.
This collection has 16 varied tales. Like any collection, I liked some better than others. I also very much enjoyed Yolen’s “Story Notes and Poems” at the end of the book which gives background on the short stories in the collection.
I don’t want to spoil the magic of the stories and can’t really do them justice with me own paltry words but I will try to give ye an idea of the bare bones of the stories:
“The Weaver of Tomorrow” – I loved this tale of a girl who wants to know the future and her wish is answered in an unexpected way. The ending was perfect.
“The White Seal Maid” – As the title suggests, this is a story concerning a selkie. I loved how the story is told from the viewpoint of the husband but the wife ultimately wins.
“The Snatchers” – This was a spooky ghost story with a twist involving the Holocaust. So very atmospheric.
“Wilding” – The setting for this is Central Park in NYC and is an odd and creepy take on the future. It had a fun hopeful ending though. Love the references to “where the wild things are.”
“Requiem Antarctica” – Ever hear of the failed 1912 Robert Falcon Scott expedition? I hadn’t. I had a lot of fun learning the sad history of the trek and then learning the “real” story as a deathbed confession. Hope this version doesn’t end up being true.
“Night Wolves” – The creatures under the bed are real and a boy has to confront his fear for a bigger cause. The lego bear trap made me smile as did the ending.
“The House of Seven Angels” – This very short tale was about a rabbi, a child, and the angel of death. It was well-written but I didn’t love it.
“Great Gray” – This features the thoughts of a pedophile. Though not graphic is was too disturbing and I didn’t like it at all. I wanted to scrub my brain.
“Little Red” – This was another disturbing piece combining Little Red Riding Hood and child abuse. Can’t say I liked this one another though the imagery is well drawn.
“Winter’s King” – This felt like an old-fashioned fairy tale where the child is born into the wrong world. I rather liked it.
“Inscription” – I loved this tale of warning from a dying mom to her son. What she was warning him about was awesome.
“Dog Boy” – The boy of this tale has one rough life. Nobody wants a father like his.
“The Fisherman’s Wife” – In this tale, a woman fights to win her husband back from the sea. It was bittersweet and yet lovely.
“Become a Warrior” – A father dead on a battlefield and the girl who doesn’t follow a traditional woman’s path until fate deals her a blow. I loved this one.
“An Infestation of Angels” – This was a strange story of plagues and angels. Gross angels.
“Names” – A harrowing story about the child of a Holocaust survivor and how her mother’s tales influence her life.
I have to admit that I did enjoy the emerald circus better than this one but I will certainly read another collection of Jane Yolen’s work, especially if published by Tachyon. Arrrr!
So lastly . . .
Thank you Tachyon Publications!
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the book:
Welcome to the Midnight Circus – and watch your step. The dark imaginings of fantasy icon Jane Yolen are not for the faint of heart. In these sixteen brilliantly unnerving tales and poems, Central Park becomes a carnival where you can – but probably shouldn’t – transform into a wild beast. The Red Sea will be deadly to cross due to a plague of voracious angels. Meanwhile, the South Pole is no place for even a good man, regardless of whether he is living or dead.
Wicked, solemn, and chilling, the circus is ready for your visit – just don’t arrive late.
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