Title: Defy the Dark
Editor: Saundra Mitchell
Summary: Defy the Dark, an all-new anthology edited by Saundra Mitchell.
It features 16 stories by critically-acclaimed and bestselling YA authors as they explore things that can only happen in the dark. Authors include Sarah Rees Brennan, Rachel Hawkins, Carrie Ryan, Aprilynne Pike, Malinda Lo, Courtney Summers, Beth Revis, Sarah Ockler, and more.
Contemporary, genre, these stories will explore every corner of our world- and so many others.
My Thoughts: Until recently, I haven’t been one for short stories. I felt they left too much unsaid, ended too soon, and/or just didn’t satisfy me the way a larger work can. Then I read a few recent anthologies, starting with Enthralled. That is the one that started this. I fell in love with short stories then, and have read a few anthologies since – being quite eager to be part of blog tours that involve these tomes. I have been mostly rewarded. Before I talk about Defy the Dark as a whole, I thought I’d note my thoughts on the individual stories – complete with individual ratings for each. Below is the order in which these appeared in the ARC I read (note that the final story was absent). These will be quite brief, as I hope not to spoil any.
- Sleepstalk by Courtney Summers ~ We have a girl who’s apparently obsessed with Jed, a guy who ended up not necessarily sharing her feelings. This didn’t quite work for me, but I couldn’t really figure out why. 2.5 stars
- Nature by Aprilynne Pike ~ This is a dystopian story, many years (centuries?) from now. The human race almost went extinct at one point, and carefully controlled roles in life are determined based on various factors. We have Kylie, who wanted to be a Nurture, the more educated part of society – and also those who raise the children. Instead she ends up as, you guessed it, Nature. She’s basically a breeder. I really, really liked this story. There’s heart, intrigue, and originality. 5 stars
- The Dark Side of the Moon by Dia Reeves ~ Cado and Patricia come from different towns. She’s a member of the more elite parts of society; he is not. But they’re in love. There’s a scary legend in Patricia’s down about a night trolley. And Cado feels compelled to challenge it. It was interesting, and somewhat gross in parts. 3 stars
- Ghost Town by Malinda Lo ~ Ty is new in town, and McKenzie invites her to come check out a haunted house. There’s much more to the story, but if I say more I’ll spoil it. It was interesting, and a bit creepy, but not one of my favorites. 2.5 stars
- Eyes in the Dark by Rachel Hawkins ~ I think this was the creepiest story in the book. Sam and Kelley try to find a dark place to be together alone. They see red eyes in the trees … Chill factor alone is very high. 4.5 stars
- Stillwater by Valerie Kemp ~ This unique story reminded me a tiny bit of the movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray – but not until I was done reading and writing down my thoughts. I really can’t say much more without spoiling it. Suffice it to say that I really liked it a lot. 4.5 stars
- I Gave You My Love by the Light of the Moon by Sarah Rees Brennan ~ I really liked this one a lot. We have to unexpected individuals becoming each others’ everything – just about. Stephen finds and helps Berthe at a crucial time in her life. Over time she learns to really appreciate what he’s doing for her. It was really cool to watch this unfold, and to see Berthe grow so much in such a short time. 5 stars
- Night Swimming by Beth Revis ~ Teens growing up on a spaceship learn that maybe things aren’t quite as they seem. 3 stars
- Almost Normal by Carrie Ryan ~ This might be my favorite, but I’m not sure. There are other contenders. LOL Anyway, we have life coming to a halt for the teens in the story. You see, the zombies are coming! They set out to have one more chance at normalcy by spending their last day together at a nearby amusement park (one of few places still open). 5 stars
- There’s Nowhere Else by Jon Skovron ~ Sebastian’s mom is in an abusive relationship. Sebastian has an interesting problem. He dreams about being others at night. Others take notice, and he’s faced with a choice. 4 stars
- Naughty or Nice by Myra McEntire ~ A tale featuring Christmas monsters – or at least local legends surrounding such monsters. Henry and Bex (awesome nickname for Rebecca) have grown up together, and clearly have a thing for each other. There’s suspense, romance, and lots of darkness. 4.5 stars
- Shadowed by Christine Johnson ~ Another contender for my favorite in the book. For one, it’s the most fantasy-esque story in the book. We have Esme, a princess who was cursed and must avoid the light. As such, she is basically locked away in a tower. She’s drawn to a knight, Rylan, who might hold the key to freeing her. This was a fantastic story with some surprising twists. Loved it! 5 stars
- Now Bid Time Return by Saundra Mitchell ~ One more that might be my favorite. Dacey wins some contest that gets her sent to a cabin somewhere so she can photograph the Northern Lights. She learns about a guy named Kristian, and things get quite interesting. 5 stars
- The Moth and the Spider by Sarah Ockler ~ Cali is home and feels like a prisoner. She’s lost the trust of her family, and lost most of her friends. She’s got some dark plans when she receives a collect call on her cell. This was interesting, but didn’t move me as other stories did. 2.5 stars
- Where the Light Is by Jackson Pearce ~ I think this is the most unique take on the whole dark theme. Will is a miner who somehow gets noticed by a Knocker named Ennor. Despite belonging to different worlds, they clearly fall for each other. This was a touching, very interesting piece. Another favorite! 5 stars
- This Was Ophelia by Tessa Gratton ~ This is clearly a nod to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s set in more recent times, though, with much different things going on. Ophelia is a girl who’d rather be a man. She enjoys the freedoms they have that, in her “rightful” place she just cannot enjoy. She sneaks out at night, dressed as a guy, and eventually falls for Halden King, the mayor’s son. It’s a very interesting tale, and a very unique take on Shakespeare’s Ophelia as seen in Hamlet. While that’s likely a sign of excellent writing, the story just didn’t work so well for me. 2.5 stars
While I was mildly disappointed in Defy the Dark, when I look back through my notes I realize that I actually did like most of it. Not as much as other anthologies I’ve read, but enough to recommend it to others.
Source: Received through Around the World Tours for review.
Read It: Defy the Dark is scheduled for release around June 18, 2013. You can pre-order your own copy HERE. (This is a Book Depository link, and purchase through this link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)
FTC Disclosure: All items reviewed were either obtained by me for my own enjoyment or sent (from the author, publisher, publicist, via tour sites, etc.) in exchange for an honest review. I receive no monetary compensation for my posts. All opinions expressed are my own. Any exceptions to this are clearly noted in the appropriate posts.
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