Sunday, May 5, 2013

Early Review - Defy the Dark Anthology edited by Saundra Mitchell

When I heard that this book was being released, I decided to join the Defy The Dark's mini blog tour and agreed to post my honest thoughts on the stories, and the book itself. There are many different authors that I have followed or have read (1) or more of their works, that I had to see if this was worth the effort to read. I have decided to break down each story individually, instead of at a whole, so that you can see which one's I really liked, and which ones where just okay.

I want to thank author Valerie Kemp for sharing this book with me!

Sleepstalk by Courtney Summers
-I'm not sure what to think about this story, sorry to say. It's focused on an unknown girl, who apparently drowned but did not die and still has a major crush on the boy who apparently saved her life but he has a girlfriend who he was matched with. The story focuses on the fact that the boy sleepwalks which is dangerous in itself and that she wants to throw a rock through his window to get his attention. I would have liked more information and the name of the person telling the story. 2/5

Nature by Aprilynne Pike
-The basic premise of this story is that society is broken into 3 separate categories after the Bust: Nature, Nurture  and Labor. The main character is Kylie who thought she was going in one direction, only to end up in Nature where the women are all expected to produce babies while working full time jobs. At least we get SOME world building with this story. The dark part is where Kylie meets in secret with Jeremy to explore the idea of having fun. Interesting story. 3/5

The Dark Side of The Moon by Dia Reeves
-This has paranormal aspects to it. It's the story about a boy and a girl who attend the same band camp and become more than friends. Then, Cado, the boy decides that the only way to impress Patricia's parents is to do something risky by taking what's called The Night Trolley to the end of the line and back. Obviously, there is something hinky about the town where Patricia lives, and Cado gets pulled in to it. Decent, but lacking something. 2/5

Ghost Town by Malinda Lo
-Tyler White is the new girl in town, but she doesn't seem to fit in because she's gay. She gets lured by McKenzie into going to a haunted place where two women died, mostly likely they were lovers at the time. One thing leads to another and it seems as though the ghosts understand her emotional turmoil and decide to help her. This was actually pretty good especially the freaky ending. Could definitely see myself reading a longer version of this story. 3.5/5

Eyes in the Dark by Rachel Hawkins
-This story also has some paranormal aspects to it in the form of spooky red eyes that belong to unknown creatures that live in the dark. The story is basically about a girl, Samantha, who decides to take a ride with Kelley, the boy she crushed on until he moved away. Sam & Kelley end up in a place where they shouldn't be, and don't belong, and end up in a terrifying situation where you just know that bad things are going to happen. 3/5

Stillwater by Valerie Kemp
-This short story reminded me of an episode from The Twilight Zone which I've always loved. You have a boy and a girl with the same last name, living in a small town filled with prejudices based family feuds that goes back generations. It had the feeling that they're trapped in a bubble with no way out until stumbling upon a secret. I liked this story a lot and will be looking for more works from this author soon. 4/5

I Gave You My Love By The Light Of The Moon by Sarah Rees Brennan
-This is also a pretty decent story that features a teenager Berthe who was bitten by an animal while camping, and ends up meeting Stephen, a vampire who saves her from hurting those around her. It's definitely a romantic story with a predictable ending, and yet, I can't find any faults in this story. 4/5

Night Summary by Beth Revis
-Apparently this story is set aboard a starship heading towards new Earth. The story focuses on an unknown character, which I hate by the way, and his/her apparent friendship and love for a fellow traveler/patient. Forced into taking a blue pill to keep them sane, this character and friends have to figure out the secret that is being kept from them by the Eldest and which has cost her friend her life. I'm to understand that this is set in the same universe as her series Across The Universe which I haven't read yet. That may change in the future. 3/5

Almost Normal by Carrie Ryan
-Ryan is a new writer to me since I haven't read her series called The Forest of Hands and Teeth which I just added to my TBR pile after reading this story. Apparently, the zombie apocalypse is coming hard, and 4 friends, Connor, Sarah, Bart, and Wyle decide to have one last night of fun before it's too late. Of course, the zombies interrupt their fun and you'll just have to read the story in order to find out what happens next! This story was actually pretty decent although way too short. I would love to see a full length story based on these characters. 4/5

There's Nowhere Else by Jon Skovron
-Sebastian Younger has some really vivid dreams. So vivid, in fact, that he actually finds himself in the bodies of real individuals and he doesn't understand the consequences of his actions or how he is able to do the things he does. Caught between good and evil, Sebastian must make a choice between the two before he causes too much damage. A very interesting story. One that, again is too short, and leaves readers wondering what will happen next with Sebastian and his decision. 3/5

Naughty or Nice by Myra McEntire
-This is the story of Rebecca (Bex) and Henry teenagers who are on a school trip to Bavaria. After being put into an awkward situation, they discover that a being known as Krampus gives out punishments instead of presents like Santa. The only way you can survive is to steal his sack and run like hell. Really interesting story, but way too short. Still an enjoyable story IMHO. 3.5/5

Shadowed by Christine Johnson
-Cursed into a virtual prison of darkness by someone believing she was wronged, Princess Esme is forced to avoid light of all sources at all costs. Can she survive or will her Shadow find a way to take over her body and Esme's life? Can the charming Knight Rylan find a way to break Esme's curse before it is too late? The ending left me with some questions that I have no answers for since the story abruptly ends in a cliffhanger. 2.5/5

Now Bid Time Return by Saundra Mitchell
-This story is part time travel, part ghost story, part romance. It tells the story about Dacey Shen who wins a one week trip to Norway to photograph the Northern Lights. While experiencing "technical" glitches with her camera, she meets the handsome Kristian who apparently can time travel or who never really did die. I think this will be one of the more popular stories of the anthology and the one with the best ending overall. 4/5

The Moth and The Spider by Sarah Ockler
-This story is slightly disturbing due to it's subject matter. Cali is home again after attempting what apparently is suicide. She no longer has any friends, and her parents basically treat her like an inmate now even ensuring that she takes her mandated pills and is monitored. The strangeness begins when she gets an anonymous phone call while writing a final letter good-bye and watching a spider spin its web. Yeah, I was left unsatisfied with this particular story. 2.5/5

Where the Light Is by Jackson Pearce
-Will is like his father was, a Miner who went to work at the mines right after graduating from High School. Something those who live in Pennsylvania and West Virginia know all too well. Will is also different in that he finds himself in the presence of a being that should not exist; A Knocker. Knockers like Ennor reward respectful miners and has the power to create cave-ins that claim miners lives. This is a romance in the darkness sort of story and I really liked this one. Definitely an author I want to read more about. 4/5

This Was Ophelia by Tessa Gratton
-As I've been told, this is a take on Shakespeare's Hamlet. Told during the Roaring 1920's, Ophelia Polonius goes out at night dressed a man. She openly flirts with women, and things appear to be going smoothly for Ophelia until she meets Halden King and falls in love with him. This is a difficult story for me to rate even though I liked the premise behind Ophelia's reality. Perhaps a bit androgynous mayhaps, although I would never want to judge anyone who refuses to swing to the party line about what constitutes a male, or a female. 3/5
Title - Defy the Dark
Author(s) - mentioned above
Publisher - Harper Teen
Releases - June 18, 2013
Genre - Young Adult Anthology

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