Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Shards & Ashes - edited by Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong

Summary: The world is gone, destroyed by human, ecological, or supernatural causes. Survivors dodge chemical warfare and cruel gods; they travel the reaches of space and inhabit underground caverns. Their enemies are disease, corrupt corporations, and one another; their resources are few and their courage is tested.

Powerful original dystopian tales from nine bestselling authors offer bleak insight, prophetic visions, and precious glimmers of light among the shards and ashes of a ruined world.
(summary and cover art from indiebound.org)

My Review: Shards & Ashes contains nine short dystopian stories from some of today's most popular Young Adult authors. Veronica Roth (Divergent), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Beth Revis (Across the Universe), Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely) and others present short stories of 30-40 pages in which a world of destruction is portrayed. Each story is creative and thought-provoking. The characters are discovering their own strengths and struggling against the zealous rules and regulations enforced upon them. Danger awaits around every corner and survival is uncertain. Some of the stories contain love, some contain heartache. All contain unexpected twists sure to keep the pages turning.

All nine of these short stories are enjoyable in their own unique manner. As with all anthologies some of these stories are better developed than others. A few of these stories would have benefited from an additional 50 pages to provide background information or further develop the characters or to conclude in a more satisfying manner. There were three stories that stood out to me above all the rest. I especially enjoyed the multiple twists in Branded by Kelley Armstrong, as Raine, the lead character, devises a plan to find her boyfriend who has been banished from the village. Kami Garcia's protagonist in Burn 3 is utterly unforgettable as she fights to save her sister from certain death. The descriptions in Miasma by Carrie Ryan are heartbreaking, and yet this story concludes the anthology perfectly with just a touch of optimism. Overall this one is definitely worth reading.

My Rating: 4 stars

To sum it up: A perfect fit for all fans of young adult dystopian fiction.

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