If you’re looking for the perfect collection of stories to curl up with, to haunt you into the wee hours of the morning and beyond, look no further than this: His Hideous Heart, edited by Dahlia Adler and contributed to by many more names from across the literary world.
Taking inspiration from some of Edgar Allan Poe’s most well known works, and from some possibly not so well known, each story or poem collected and reimagined therein is one sure to inspire chilling thoughts as you wonder about where the story will go, what will have changed, and just who you might be cheering for in the end.
Thank you to Cat from Flatiron Books for having me on the His Hideous Hearts blog tour. It’s been a blast. 🙂
Published: 10 September 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre(s): Short Stories/Retellings/Horror
Thirteen of YA’s most celebrated names reimagine Edgar Allan Poe’s most surprising, unsettling, and popular tales for a new generation.
Edgar Allan Poe may be a hundred and fifty years beyond this world, but the themes of his beloved works have much in common with modern young adult fiction. Whether the stories are familiar to readers or discovered for the first time, readers will revel in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tales, and how they’ve been brought to life in 13 unique and unforgettable ways.
Contributors include Kendare Blake (reimagining “Metzengerstein”), Rin Chupeco (“The Murders in the Rue Morge”), Lamar Giles (“The Oval Portrait”), Tessa Gratton (“Annabel Lee”), Tiffany D. Jackson (“The Cask of Amontillado”), Stephanie Kuehn (“The Tell-Tale Heart”), Emily Lloyd-Jones (“The Purloined Letter”), Hillary Monahan (“The Masque of the Red Death”), Marieke Nijkamp (“Hop-Frog”), Caleb Roehrig (“The Pit and the Pendulum”), and Fran Wilde (“The Fall of the House of Usher”).
Rep: F/F (Night-Tide), disabled MC (Changeling), MOC/WOC MCs (The Oval Portrait), Portuguese LI (Lygia), trans girl MC & French-Filipino LI (The Murders in the Rue Apartelle, Boracay)
This list may not be 100% complete, but is compiled to the best of my knowledge.
Animal death, fire, ableist comments, blood, death (cancer), abuse of a child/teenager
The authors within His Hideous Heart took inspiration from a classic source and brought that into modern places. There were elements of desperation and terror and anger and the need for justice that many feel and need. Whether it’s someone getting a privilege or an absolution they don’t deserve, or another person tearing a character down because of their accent, their heritage…a fragment of a Poe story waits for them within.
The eeriness, the elements of the supernatural, the depths of depravity that humans themselves are capable of, all of these facets combine to weave an intense tapestry of stories.
I loved how I was able to find satisfaction in the crafting of these stories. I won’t say that they’re 100% faithful to the originals, as I haven’t read all of the Poe versions, but let’s say that the contributors to His Hideous Heart were able to find endings that twisted the themes of the stories, embodied the soul of them, and found wicked beauteous finales.
The diversity of the tales was also terrific, much improved over the originals. From the Philippines to Barbadian immigrants to trans girls and more, there was so much to find within these pages.
An exceptionally helpful facet of the book, if you’ve never read the original Poe tales before or if you need a refresher, if that His Hideous Heart includes the corresponding works at the back of this anthology. They’re well worth a look because what would this collection be without Poe’s classics?
While normally of fan of amanda lovelace, I wasn’t entirely taken with her rendition of The Raven, here entitled The Raven (Remix). It didn’t flow smoothly for me and made it difficult to take in amongst all the other stories.
This was one of my favorite anthologies in memory. How often can you say that you enjoyed almost every entry and cannot wait to go back for a reread? I look forward to the publication date of this book and the opportunity to secure the audiobook and experience these tales from a whole new perspective.
If you’ve had the opportunity to read this anthology, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Did you have a favorite retelling? If not, is there one you are looking forward to especially?
As part of my stop on the blog tour, below you’ll find an excerpt from one of my favorites, Stephanie Kuehn’s reimagining of “The Tell-Tale Heart”:
Excerpt from Happy Days, Sweetheart
by Stephanie Kuehn
Inspired by “The Tell-Tale Heart”
I didn’t cry when he won. I was fifteen, and I wasn’t old enough to vote but I’d done what I could – made phone calls, canvassed neighborhoods, attended rallies, written letters, and galvanized what small power I did hold in order to bring promise to the tomorrow I knew would someday be waiting for me with open arms.
I had hope, is what I want to say, and maybe that’s what tragedy really is. A dream ceded to less. Because at that point in time, there was a true vision for the future, a blueprint, and however imperfect it may have been, it was one of possibility, of a world far greater than the one I’d always known. It was meant to be. Of course it was. After all, she was qualified. Competent. Accomplished.
But then she lost.
_ _ _ _ _
I didn’t cry when he won. I wanted to, but my defeat was hardly a surprise. How could it be? I was new to Middlefield Academy, a second-year transfer student at this small New England boarding school, one that hovered on the outskirts of Boston and basked in its sweet Yankee glow. For all its claims to inclusive values a diverse student body – Our students represent more than twenty-two different nations! the school’s glossy brochure boasted – Middlefield as a place that revered tradition. Legacy. The status quo. Not only was I unknown, I was brash, loud, and worse, female. Indeed, I represented the wrong kind of diversity – the product of both black and Mexican heritage, I was still solidly American and required financial aid. My worst sin by far, however, was that I hailed from California. Bakersfield, to be exact.
This is all to say I knew my place even as I strove to defy it, to break that bitch of a ceiling that persisted in remaining so grimly unbroken. Hope, for me, had been replaced by determination, and so during my first month at Middlefield, I threw my hat in the ring for sophomore class president. It was an uninspired race; the only other person running was Jonah Prescott, and Jonah didn’t care at all about the position. I knew this because he’d told me as much. He was only running because his academic adviser had urged him to and Jonah didn’t like to disappoint people. His effort was minimal, while I threw myself into the campaign.
About the Editor & Contributors
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.
Tiffany D. Jackson
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.
All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.