Copyright 2008, Viking
389 pages, YA fantasy/sci-fi
Pretty Monsters is a collection of nine short stories by acclaimed author Kelly Link. They are all rather creepy and/or disturbing, so they’re great reading for Halloween season.
I realize, as I write this book review, that I haven’t really read a collection of modern short story collections in a long time. Reading Monsters has inspired me to read another, similar short story collections; perhaps Neil Gaiman’s M is for Magic? Back on track with the review: this short story collection is only mediocre.
On the good end of things, the stories themselves are immensely creative. There’s good character development, and the tales suck you right in to their worlds. Kelly Link has lots of talent, and she could become really popular if she found her own, unique style of writing. At this moment, she seems to me to be just another Gothic-style writer, like P. C. Cast or Mary Downing Hahn. I’m sure any fellow bookworm would agree that all of these authors start to mush together.
All of the stories had unsatisfactory endings, closing this grand tale of suspense and build up with something along the lines of, “I’ll keep trying,” never really telling us what happened. Some of the stories were told sort of in the reverse, telling us, the reader, straight out what happened, then explaining how it occurred. Some were told in the present tense. These varied styles sometimes made it difficult to jump from story to story. One last negative: The length of the stories. As I said earlier, there are only nine short stories, but they take up nearly 400 pages of text. The print isn’t tiny, but those are pretty long, rambling short stories. I wonder if Kelly Link would make a better novelist?
Rating: 2.5/5 stars.