August 18, 2019

His Hideous Heart Blog Tour: Review

His Hideous Heart
Editor: Dahlia Adler
Genre: YA Anthology/Short Stories/Retellings
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books


The Cask of Amontillado. The Tell-Tale Heart. The Pit and the Pendulum. Filled with love and loss, vengeance and regret, the dark, chilling stories of Edgar Allen Poe have haunted us for over 150 years. Now, thirteen of YAs most celebrated writers reimagine Poe’s stories for a new generation.

These contemporary retellings will grab readers by the throat and drag them along to surprising and unsettling places, whether they are Poe aficionados or new newcomers to these classics. Tiffany D. Jackson, award-winning author of Monday’s Not Coming, transports “The Cask of Amontillado” to the streets of Brooklyn during the present day West Indian Day Carnival in Brooklyn. Poet amanda lovelace finds new meaning in the classic poem “The Raven” by blotting out words from the original lines. And Kendare Blake, New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series, gives the unreliable voice narrating “Metzengerstein” a contemporary edge.

With the original stories printed in the back of the book, HIS HIDEOUS HEART offers up a fun way to meet Poe for the first time, or for readers to revisit old favorites with fresh eyes. His work reminds us why we love to be scared, whether we get that thrill from watching the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, visiting a haunted house at Halloween, or by reading Poe’s spine-tingling stories.
His Hideous Heart is an imaginative YA anthology of retellings from some of the most well known and loved stories of Edgar Allan Poe. I'm an incredibly huge fan of Poe (if you couldn't tell by my blog name!) so I was really excited when I heard about this book. I've read several of the various authors other works and loved them, so I was expecting this to be amazing. I wasn't sure how they would reimagine Poe's tales, but I was excited to find out.

One thing I immediately liked about the book was that it not only contained the retellings but also included the original works by Poe that had inspired the others. It's great for readers that are new to Poe as well as those already familiar with his works but would like a refresher on them and to help compare and/or contrast them with the new reimaginings.  I have both a B.A. and an M.A. in English, so Poe is not only a favorite of mine but one I've studied academically. 

Since this is an anthology, it's a bit unrealistic to expect to love every single story. And I have to admit that my feelings for these tales ranged from really liking them to being a bit upset because I felt the originals were too different to the new ones. I really wanted to love each and every one of these stories, but ultimately I had a mix of reactions and emotions. Some of the ones I really liked were "She Rode a Horse of Fire," "The Glittering Death," "A Drop of Stolen Ink," "Happy Days, Sweetheart," "Changeling," "The Oval Filter," and "Red." They elicited the same feelings as Poe's originals and were both well written and imaginative. I liked the new spin each author brought to the table and each were able to bring their stories to life with lots of vivid imagery and detailed descriptions. I found that the other stories were too far from Poe's originals that I couldn't connect with them and ended up disappointed. 

Also, I felt like there was an overabundance of diverse characters, namely LGBTQ, which felt forced. Please don't get me wrong, I'm all about diverse characters of all kinds and I love to connect with them. But it felt like a lot of these stories were about girls in love - and as I mentioned, it just felt so forced. Like they were written on purpose with these aspects in mind and the tale was kind of secondary. I hope that makes sense. I felt that the characters' relationships overshadowed the main plot of the story (which happens with lots of books I encounter). And being a huge Poe fan, I guess I'm biased toward the actual gothic story and not so much the diversity of the characters and their love interests. Again, I want to reiterate that I'm all for diverse characters of all kinds, but in this specific case, some of them felt forced and ruined the story for me. This is only my personal opinion and definitely not something that other readers will be bothered by. I only want to be honest about how I felt about the stories. That being said, I absolutely loved the concept of the book - particularly because they were based on my favorite classic author and I'm really into retellings. I'd definitely recommend this book to Poe fans old and new, as well as readers who enjoy horror, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, and romance.

Dahlia Adler is an Associate Editor of mathematics by day, a blogger for B&N Teens, LGBTQ Reads, and Frolic by night, and an author of Young Adult and New Adult novels at every spare moment in between. Her books include the Daylight Falls duology, Just Visiting, and the Radleigh University trilogy, and her short stories can be found in the anthologies The Radical Element, All Out, It’s a Whole Spiel, and His Hideous Heart, which she also edited. Dahlia lives in New York with her husband, son, and an obscene amount of books, and can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @MissDahlELama.

Dahlia Adler
Kendare Blake
Rin Chupeco
Lamar Giles
Tessa Gratton
Tiffany D. Jackson
Stephanie Kuehn
Emily Lloyd-Jones
amanda lovelace
Hillary Monahan
Marieke Nijkamp
Caleb Roehrig
Fran Wilde

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