I read one of Kelly Link's other books, Magic for Beginners, way back in January 2009 and I only gave it three stars
. (Complete with bonus debate on the term 'magic-realism' thanks to Caris.) I just couldn't get into it, and I felt bad, because I felt as though something in all of those stories was just waiting for me to grasp. So when I heard about Pretty Monsters
, I decided to give Kelly Link another go.
Well, it's kind of another go. I think something like 70% of the stories in here were reprinted, either from Magic for Beginners
(though I could be mistaken there) or other young adult anthologies. I was kind of disappointed when I opened up the book and immediately had to flip halfway through it to find something I hadn't read already. Good thing I didn't buy it or I would have felt a bit cheated. However, I was happy to see that the stories I was unfamiliar with were good. Very good. They drew me in, in exactly the way none of the stories in Magic for Beginners
could. My favorite was "The Constable of Abal," which could easily have been an entire book - I was left wanting more from those characters and that world.
Kelly Link has one other anthology, Stranger Things Happen, actually her first. I think I'll check that one out, too.