Link and Grant (Steampunk!) present an engrossing, morally complex anthology of 15 stories centered on the seemingly antagonistic concepts of monsters and love. Throughout, troubled protagonists meet genuine monsters—some traditional, like vampires, others much less so. Almost invariably, it’s understood that other people in the protagonists’ lives are far worse than the monsters. In Paolo Bacigalupi’s poetic “Moriabe’s Children,” a teenager fleeing her abusive stepfather finds sisterhood with the kraken that haunt the nearby sea. In Holly Black’s bloody but funny “Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind),” a girl stows away on her uncle’s spaceship, fights off pirates, and partners with a purported alien killing machine. M.T. Anderson’s wistful and beautifully realized tale of WWII on the home front, “Quick Hill,” concerns a young man’s sacrifice for his community’s safety, and Kathleen Jennings’s graphic short, “A Small Wild Magic,” is a delightful variation on the story of the boy who receives three magical wishes. Additional stories are written by Cassandra Clare, Patrick Ness, and others; all of the entries are strong, and many are splendid. Ages 14–up. Agent: Renee Zuckerbrot, Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Luminous... There are wonderful stories... M. T. Anderson’s “Quick Hill” is a tour de force of contemporary short fiction. It does, as well as anything I’ve read recently, what scary stories are supposed to do: It says what we feel, but cannot say.
—New York Times Book Review From vampires to ghosts and from strange creatures made of mercury to half-harpies, these beasts will broaden readers’ perspectives. Teens will never think about monsters in the same way again. Long after the last page is turned, these tales will linger in readers’ brains, in their closets, under their beds, and in the shadows. —School Library Journal (starred review) Link and Grant present an engrossing, morally complex anthology of 15 stories centered on the seemingly antagonistic concepts of monsters and love. ... All of the entries are strong, and many are splendid. —Publishers Weekly (starred review) The authors of these tales brilliantly intertwine morally charged issues with elements of horror writing that engage the reader. ... This is a must-read for anyone who enjoys horror fiction. —Library Media Connection A deliciously gory collection of fifteen original stories... While the theme is certainly familiar, the diversity of interpretations of monsterhood is an asset, and the book sets a fresh and amusing note with the opening pop quiz that assesses readers’ views of monsters. ... Fans will be happy to find a well-edited, sharp collection of new stories about their favorite topic that covers both the creepy and alluring elements of monsters. —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Short stories with otherworldly creatures may be a dime a dozen, but rarely do they offer such nuanced scope. Link and Grant ... know their way around excellent short fiction, and their editorial skills are on display here. From the light(ish) and delightful to the subversively unromantic, from humor to horror, each entry both tells a good story and says something about monstrousness. ... An anthology of riches, even if they aren’t always fair of form. —Kirkus Reviews Link and Grant clearly spent a lot of time building this collection, which includes a graphic entry, and consequently none of the stories disappoint. Authors such as Cassandra Clare and Patrick Ness—along with the monster dripping blood on the cover—will draw in readers eager for creepy, atmospheric tales. —Booklist A delightful (often frightful) anthology of short fantasy fiction. ... The strong writing brims with misdirection, humor, horrors and twisty endings. ... This substantial volume will provide older teens—and adults—with hours of thoroughly enjoyable reading. A monstrously entertaining anthology. —Shelf Awareness Provocative. One would expect no less from veteran anthology editors Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. ... Beautiful language. —Boston Globe For those who like a mix of fantasy and science fiction, "Monstrous Affections" is a stunning collection of original tales whose title explains it all. Who cares if it's nominally a young adult book — it's the best collection of monster stories of the year, with some unusual ideas as to what really makes a monster. —Chicago Tribune
Gr 8 Up—Welcome to a world where monsters coexist with humans. Werewolves, aliens, and robots share space with a monster that makes tea, a vampire who feeds to see people's memories, and krakens who bond with a human. This book is an interesting twist on the age-old idea of monsters, highlighting the monstrous side of humans and the human-ish side of monsters. Narrators Amy Rubinate and Nick Podehl do an excellent job of bringing these stories to life. Some are fairly fast-paced, while others are a bit slower, and the narrators effortlessly navigate between the different narrative rhythms while drawing in listeners. Contributing authors include Paolo Bacigalupi, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, and Nalo Hopkinson. The prose is delightful, and the editing is masterfully done with smooth transitions between stories. All the characters and plots are well developed for short stories. Listeners interested in monsters, adventure, and romance will have a hard time getting this book out of their mind. Recommended for most libraries.—Kira Moody, Whitmore Public Library, Salt Lake City, UT
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 9 Up—Find a dark corner, light a candle, and wrap yourself in a blanket—these are stories that beg to be read in the dark. Between these pages readers will find entries by literary greats as well as new authors. Some of these tales are moving, others terrifying, but they all have one thing in common: monsters. In Paolo Bacigalupi's "Moriabe's Children," a girl hears the kraken that drowned her father calling her to come to them. A disobedient teen discovers that interstellar space pirates are more monstrous than the creatures she's been taught to fear in the amusing "Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind)" by Holly Black. In "This Whole Demoning Thing" by Patrick Ness, a young demon discovers how to be true to herself through music. And "Left Foot, Right" by Nalo Hopkinson is an eerily touching story about one girl's crippling grief and the monsters that guide her through to the other side. From vampires to ghosts and from strange creatures made of mercury to half-harpies, these beasts will broaden readers' perspectives. Teens will never think about monsters in the same way again. Long after the last page is turned, these tales will linger in readers' brains, in their closets, under their beds, and in the shadows.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Although there are a plethora of characters in the 15 short stories that make up this audiobook, narrators Amy Rubinate and Nick Podehl seem to thrive on the challenge of coming up with all new voices—monstrous and human—for each story. This collection contains the usual gruesome suspects like vampires and ghosts, plus esoteric monsters such as kraken and living landforms. Love, loneliness, and ethical behavior are all showcased in these tales. Rubinate’s breathy, raspy narration conveys the sadness and otherworldliness of the monsters and the people they interact with. Podehl’s boyish speaking voice belies his ability to create harsh old men, middle-class moms, and terrifying monsters. These two talented performers make these extraordinary tales alien, strange, and moving. G.D. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine
Short stories with otherworldly creatures may be a dime a dozen, but rarely do they offer such nuanced scope.Link and Grant, who edited the fantasy half of The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology until its demise in 2009, know their way around excellent short fiction, and their editorial skills are on display here. From the light(ish) and delightful to the subversively unromantic, from humor to horror, each entry both tells a good story and says something about monstrousness. “This Whole Demoning Thing” posits a world of demons but demonstrates that sometimes the greatest power is just being yourself; “Wings in the Morning” and “A Small Wild Magic” are laced with romance regardless of species, while “The Woods Hide in Plain Sight” takes the “girl meets vampire, finds eternal love” trope and turns it inside out. On the other end of the spectrum, “Son of Abyss” and “Mothers Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying” guarantee cold shivers and probably nightmares, one through gore and the other through psychology. Standouts include Paolo Bacigalupi’s “Moriabe’s Children” and Holly Black’s “Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind),” both of which clearly prove that monstrous behavior is usually human in form.An anthology of riches, even if they aren’t always fair of form. (introduction) (Anthology/horror/fantasy. 13 & up)