Review: Monstrous Affections: An Anthology Of Beastly Tales.

Monstrous Affections

Release Date: November 1st 2014
Publisher: Walker Books Australia.
Source: From publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Walker website:

Fifteen top voices in speculative fiction explore the intersection of fear and love in a haunting, at times hilarious, darkly imaginative volume.

Predatory kraken that sing with–and for–their kin; band members and betrayed friends who happen to be demonic; harpies as likely to attract as repel. Welcome to a world where humans live side by side with monsters, from vampires both nostalgic and bumbling to an eight-legged alien who makes tea. Here you’ll find mercurial forms that burrow into warm fat, spectral boy toys, a Maori force of nature, a landform that claims lives, and an architect of hell on earth. Through these and a few monsters that defy categorization, some of today’s top young-adult authors explore ambition and sacrifice, loneliness and rage, love requited and avenged, and the boundless potential for connection, even across extreme borders.

My Thoughts:

I love short stories, and I love anthologies and I especially love YA anthologies, so when I heard about this I just had to read it, and overall it did not disappoint.

There were some stories I loved, some stories I liked and a couple that were just a little too confusing and I didn’t connect with the characters, but overall I’d have to say this was a 4 star read. It was full of great authors such as Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brannan, Patrick Ness and Holly Black, and I was impressed with how well each story was written.

As you can tell from the title, Monstrous affections involves monsters, of the monster kind and the human kind.
I’m not the biggest horror fan (I’m a bit of a wuss) and this anthology had some stories that were dark and for this reason I would recommend it to the older teen readers plus (It does have some violence, sexual references and swearing as well).

I won’t go through every single story with you, but there were some clear favourites of mine, so I’ll share those with you. First, I’d urge you to not skip over the introduction because there is a fun quiz in it that you can take.
Now to the stories I loved. A stand out for me was ‘Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (The Successful Kind.)’ by Holly Black. This was one of the lighter stories. It was told in second person (and done really well) and had a great twist. I would love to read more about this world and the characters in this story in a full-length novel.
Patrick Ness’s ‘This Whole Demoning Thing’ was also a great story, but I didn’t expect anything less.
Kitty Capulet and the Invention of Underwater Photography – this may have even been my favourite. The monster in this was unique, I hadn’t heard of it before and I loved it. Again I would read a novel length version of this monster.
And then there was the unexpected ‘A Small Wild Magic’ by Kathleen Jennings. It is a cute little comic that I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m partial to pictures and was so glad this one was included.
I want to quickly mention The Son of Abyss by Nik Houser; I found it by far the darkest of all the stories and found it very difficult to read. It has some bullying scenes that were quite graphic. I almost didn’t finish reading it but was glad I did because it had a very powerful ending.

Monstrous Affections was a spine-tingling anthology full of love, hate, humor, horror and monsters. All stories were well written and Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant have done a great job putting this anthology together. It was dark, captivating, and a must read for fantasy lovers. I highly recommend it.

You can add it to your Goodreads HERE.


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