Friday, 9 December 2016

Book Review - Pretty Monsters - Kelly Link

'Except you can't judge a book by its cover. Whether or not this story has a happy ending depends, of course, on who is reading it.'

Pretty Monsters is a collection of short stories by Kelly Link. It was the first of her books that I have read, and I have since bought and read through Get in Trouble. I've never really read through short stories before; I assumed they would have little substance compared to a 'proper novel' because of their size, but actually I love these, and the length of them made them perfect to read on a commute to or from work.

I'm not going to review each story individualy, but instead the collection.

Kelly Link's stories are all a bit weird, and in this collection also a little creepy - right up my street. As suggested by the title, each story has some sort of monster interwoven in it, all stories seem to be based in a world where monsters are common place. There are wizards, grave robbers and woodland monsters.

I think my favourite story in the collection was The Constable of Abal, which is about Ozma and her mother who can see the ghosts of dead people. I'm not sure why it was my favourite, as it is with most things that you enjoy, you just do.

Kelly Link is great for building characters, and there are a lot of them in this collection, each with their own motivations and emotions and I think that is one of her strongest parts of writing. Each story feels thoroughly different from the one before, even if there are all creepy and strange, they're all a different kind of creepy and strange.

I would think that this is aimed more towards the YA group that a mature group, not that if you're older than YA you wouln't enjoy them, however a lot of the charcters in the books are YA themselves and we see the world from their view, and are really relatable in that way.

I didn't love every story in the book, I think I even nearly gave up when trying to read the second story - though I started it again mid way through and enjoyed it a lot more that time, perhaps I was in a particularly bad mood the first time... but there are a few that really stick out in my memory as enojying and thats why I think the collection as a whole is worth a read.

I think if you enojy books that are slightly quirky, that have a dark undertone and where the endings are not set out for you, they're usually open to some interpretation, then you would enjoy this book. It doesn't have full on scares, thats not what its about, but it makes you think, it makes you imagine this creepy world (or worlds) that she has created. I really enjoyed it and will be looking for more of her work in the future - 4/5


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