Sunday, 17 November 2013

Review: Under My Hat, Tales From The Cauldron by Jonathan Strahan

 | Publisher: Hot Key Books | Source: ARC for review | 
| Pages: 412 |   { Goodreads }  { Book Depository

Blurb: A stellar cast of acclaimed fantasy writers weave spellbinding tales that bring the world of witches to life. Boasting over 70 awards between them, including a Newbery Medal, five Hugo Awards and a Carnegie Medal, the authors delve into the realms of magic to explore all things witchy...From familiars that talk, to covens that offer dark secrets to explore, these are tales to tickle the hair on the back of your neck and send shivers down your spine. 

Be truly spooked by these stunning stories by Diana Peterfreund, Frances Hardinge, Garth Nix, Holly Black, Charles de Lint, Tanith Lee, Neil Gaiman, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Patricia A. McKillip, Tim Pratt, M. Rickert, Isobelle Carmody, Jane Yolen, Jim Butcher, Peter S. Beagle and Margo Lanagan.


I was sent this anthology by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This book is an anthology containing eighteen short stories based around witches from some of the most popular fantasy authors of today. 

It is a sad thing that I had never read an anthology before reading this book. Before, I'd never really even consider them as I did not read many short stories. Now after this book I'll definitely be picking up more of them. There was so much I enjoyed while reading the anthology that felt like a unique reading experience . 

One aspect of the book I really enjoyed was the varying length of each story. Each story revolved around the theme of Wicca, witches, witchcraft or witches familiars. Each stories length was as unique as its content. Some stories in the anthology were 20+ pages whereas some were very short. Neil Gaimans story was the shortest at just 2 pages, and Garth Nix's story was the longest at 42 pages . I really liked this varying length as it allowed you to have a break between stories and information.

I also really enjoyed reading the different authors take on the theme of witches and magic. Each stories take on the theme was unique and interesting. Some conveyed witches in a negative way while others in a positive way. One of my favourite stories in the anthology "Little Gods" by Holly Black told us of the practise of wicca and a community / group of wicca practises. I really enjoyed learning from this book as it revealed so much to me about witches powers, their familiars and the art of wicca. 

The best part of this book was that it gives you a little taste of each authors writing style and characterisation . There were some authors in the novel that I had never read before or even heard of. I really enjoyed reading the stories and getting a feel for a certain author. This aspect of the book was my favourite as it has pointed me in the direction of some authors that I'm sure I will really enjoy. 

Lets talk a little about some of my favourite and least favourite stories within the anthology. With an anthology that is written by various authors, it would be difficult to like all stories. When reading the stories there were some that stood out to me as magnificent short works and others that I just really did not enjoy at all. One story that I did not enjoy was "A Handful Of Ashes" by Garth Nix. I didn't enjoy this story because I felt there was lapses of boredom for me and I felt it was a little predictable. My favourite stories, there are three, were "The Stone Witch" by Isobelle Carmody, "Payment Due" by Frances Hardinge and "Stray Magic" by Diana Peterfreund" . I won't tell you too much about these becuase they are short stories and I don't want to give to much away, well, other than they are really very good. 

The book is a quick read that is perfect to read in bite sized pieces while curled up on the sofa with a mug of your favourite tea. A perfectly witchy read for Halloween or any time of the year. A perfect gift, but definitely for 13+ as there is mention of alcohol etc., Also the "Whats in it" data ring is one of the best ones ever! I love it. 

 Please recommend some anthologies to me in the comments below or tweet me. 


Four stars

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1 comment:

  1. Oh wow, what a FANTASTIC 'what's in it' circle! Funny.

    I'm really quite interested in reading this book. It does sound like fun.