Saturday, January 3, 2015

Book Challenge: A Book of Short Stories

Book: The Unicorn Treasury compiled by Bruce Coville
Pages: 202
Date Read: 01/03/2015
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Other Categories this book could 
have fit into: 
A book with nonhuman characters - one was even told from the point of view of a unicorn
A funny book - not all of the stories were funny, but some had me laughing aloud
A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet
A book you can finish in a day - at least, I can if I don't do anything but read that day
A book that made you cry - once again, I wasn't bawling, but tears came to my eyes during more than one of the stories
A book with magic 
A book of poems - I'm not sure it would really count for this one, but there were some poems mixed in with the stories

Wherever else they may have come from, unicorns live inside the true believer's heart. Which means that so long as we can dream, there will be unicorns. 
Rating this book was difficult, given how many stories are in it. Some of them deserved four stars, and at least one deserved five, but there were plenty that I wouldn't have given more than two. Hence the three stars -- which means I liked it, but wasn't blown away. However, as I said, some of the stories deserved more than that.

First was Ragged John, a poem by Beatrice Farrington.

I know there's nothing sadder/ Than a heart that feared its dreams. 
It was a really poignant poem, and the first one that got me crying.

Next was Homeward Bound by Bruce Coville.

They were all beings of power and light. The terrible thing was, they didn't know it.
This story started out kind of ordinary, and would have been a three-star story, if it hadn't been for the ending. It was so powerful I simply gasped. I was blown away by the truth in that simple line.

Also noteworthy was The Boy Who Drew Unicorns by Jane Yolen, which was really powerful and uniquely written. The dialogue had no tags and was all in italics, whereas the boy's thoughts and the things he saw (whether real or not) were written as normal text. This separated reality from his feelings, and gave a really disjointed feel that was perfect for the story.

Many of the poems were mediocre, but I did enjoy The Paint Box by E. V. Rieu.

I was frustrated by the amount of excerpts in this anthology. They dropped you in the middle of a story, with a brief summary of what had been happening up until that point, and then ended long before the ending. Though it did remind me that I want to read more of Madeleine L'Engle's books, and made me want to seek out The Transfigured Hart by Jane Yolen (though I've now read the ending.)

My absolute favorite story of the entire collection was The Princess, the Cat, and the Unicorn by Patricia C. Wrede. She caught the personality of a cat in absolute perfection.
"Shhhh," she said. "Poor puss! Shhh. It's all right."
"It is not all right," said the cat crossly. "How would you like to have your tail stepped on?"
"I don't have a tail," Elyssa said, considerably startled. "And if you hadn't been lying in front of me, I wouldn't have stepped on you."
"Cat's privilege," said the cat. 
This was a fairytale where nothing happened the way it should, and it was glorious. It had me laughing out loud more than once, and was just light, bright, and exactly the kind of story I like.

I enjoyed this anthology over-all, and there are definitely stories within it that I will be rereading -- though there are others I will skip over and be just fine. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes unicorn stories and fairytales.


1 comment:

Ginny-Gin-Gin said...

I've found that anthologies are often that way. Also, Jane Yolen can be so fun!