Holly Black writes cities that I'd be both thrilled and terrified to find myself in.
Stories I liked:
"The Coldest Girl in Cold Town." A teenage girl tries to stay drunk to keep herself human, but then one of her old friends finds her and begs for her help.
"A Reversal of Fortune." Nikki is a poor girl with a rescued dog, a crush on her tattooed neighbor, and a constantly demanding stomach. To save her dog's life, she challenges the devil to an eating contest. I liked Nikki, and her personality and life felt unique and believable.
"The Dog King." Classic fantasy setting, but twisted and darkened with base human desires for power and revenge. A wolf stalks the courtiers of the king.
"Virgin" had an interchange I loved: "'Reading [fantasy] would depress me. People like us--we're not in those kind of books. They're not for
I stared at her. It might have been the worst thing anybody had ever said to me.
Because no matter how much I thought about it, I couldn't make it feel any less true."
The Stories I loved:
"The Night Market." I don't know how accurate this story is, never having been to the Philippines myself, but it's delightfully novel to my eyes. Tomasa tries to save her sister from an elf's love sick curse. Her interactions with her family, the elf, and the Night Marketers are great, but what really captivated me were the twists Black threw into the classic story.
"The Coat of Stars." Rafael returns home and tries to hide behind noncommittal answers and gifts. But his sexuality, his artistry, and the painful loss he suffered years ago cannot stay hidden forever. A wonderful modern retelling of a classic fairy tale.