Book Review

Review: His Hideous Heart Edited by Dahlia Adler

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Rating: 3 out of 5 hoots

Published: September 10 2019

Number of pages: 480

Format: advanced reading copy

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Genre: goth, mystery

Audience: young adult

Get it at: Chapters Indigo

Shelve it at: Goodreads

 

Summary:

Readers will revel in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tales and how they’ve been brought to life in thirteen unique and unforgettable ways by favourite YA authors.

My Review:

There were a few short stories that I really enjoyed. The two stories I liked were Happy Days, Sweetheart and Changling. This anthology also includes thirteen of the original Edgar Allan Poe stories the retellings are based off of too, so I’m giving this book another star. The whole anthology was alright in terms of taking some of Poe’s classic stories and rewriting them in a different setting that is either this present time or somewhere in the far future.

Here is what I liked:

1. Each author picked one of Poe’s story and completely reimagined it with their own unique ideas. In the story Red, the writing is in first person as the character, Red, narrates her journey through Boston on Halloween night as she makes her way into Prospero’s place to make a surprise appearance for him and his guests. Based on the title alone, I guessed this story is inspired by The Masque of the Red Death. Red is very similar but in an entirely different setting and with a more modern approach with the characters. The Glittering Death inspired by The Pit and Pendulum is a complete reimagining of the classic that it was almost impossible to recognize. The story involves a teenage girl kidnapped by a serial killer named Judge who uses the same torture devices in The Pit and Pendulum. The only setback I had with this story was that it had some unanswered questions about the antagonist, like why did the Judge kidnap this girl and the other victims? I mean the girl confesses her crimes but they’re not really crimes just bad habits that any teenager would do, which goes back to my first question. I felt like this story could have been wrapped up tighter in the end.

2. The authors still try to contain some of Poe’s themes of goth and mystery into their own stories. I really admired how the authors stuck to these themes in their writing because it is one of the most important traits that made his work unique. One of the things that makes Poe’s stories so memorable is the dark, haunting and nightmarish atmosphere and these group of authors try to retain that into their writing.

Now even though there were a couple of things that I liked about this book, there were only a few short stories that I enjoyed reading and I thought left a good impression on me. The other stories I either didn’t like or were not as memorable, or were hard to read. The last one is for the story called The Murders in the Rue Appartelle, Boracay which was hard to read because of the different slang that I am not familiar with so it was kinda hard for me to follow what was being said in the dialogues. The author includes a glossary of slang words used and their meaning. The characters are drawn from Philippine folktales, although I didn’t like how it ended too quickly. The Fall of the Bank of Usher takes place in the future and deals with a pair of twins who agree to do a bank heist. After reading a few pages I skipped over this one because I was bored with the story and the characters.

The problem with me and anthologies is that there will always be stories that I like and do not like so I try not to base my rating this way, but on how all the stories were written, the plot, ending, etc. On the other hand, people will be thrilled to read the original Poe stories including The Raven and my favorite, The Masque of the Red Death. This is also the perfect choice for horror and mystery fans or if you’re just looking for something scary to read for Halloween. This wasn’t at all scary for me although younger adults might find it so.

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