The follow-up to the acclaimed novel The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff.
In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor.
In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love.
In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea.
Three new stories—complete with commentary on the creative process—from three acclaimed young adult authors working at the height of their powers.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published: October 1st 2015 by Carolrhoda Books
Four stars: A must read for anyone who aspires to be a writer.
What happens when three brilliant and creative authors decided to come together and write three short stories that chronicle their writing process? Brilliance! This book is three unique stories, by a trio of talented and masterful writers: Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff, but it is so much more than three stories. This book chronicles each writer's unique style and process of writing. In each story, there are author asides, where the writer takes the time to explain why she does what she does in that particular section. Stiefvater delivers a creepy little tale that is completely character driven and it is fantastic. Gratton is all about world building, and her story shows how world building is integral to everything. Yovanoff's portion is a bit different. She provides several versions of her story, all revamped and different. This is a must read for anyone who wants to write. I am in awe of the authors and their talent.
My favorite story was Ladylike by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a strange little tale about a young girl, Petra, who sees herself as a lump. She is constantly embarrassed and always blushing, except when she reads poetry. When Petra reads, she becomes confident and lovely. Petra accepts a job reading for an old woman, Geraldine. Geraldine quickly gives Petra confidence, and she changes her life for the better. Unfortunately, Geraldine has a deadly little secret......
This was such an interesting tale. I was completely drawn in by the characters. I especially enjoyed how Stiefvater explained how her characters came to life.
The ending was a bit disturbing and it isn't spelled out, but you have enough clues provided that you can figure out how it went down. A fascinating story that is all about the characters.
Tessa Gratton's story, Desert Canticle, is a lesson on world building. Her story takes us to a female driven society in the throes of war in the desert. At the end of the war, members from the warring factions must work together to disarm the magical bombs that are lovely like flowers and deadly. One of the alliances, brings us a Pacer and a Mage, who fall in love, but their relationship is balanced on a shocking secret that changes everything.
This was my first foray with Ms. Gratton's work, and it won't be my last. I am always a stickler for world building, and so I appreciated that this story was all about the world. It was a fantastic lesson on how world building is done right, down to the smallest details like what the characters eat.
My one complaint is that the story is open ended, and it is up to the reader to decide the fate of the romance.
The final story, Variations on Drowning, was the one that I struggled with. This is Brenoff's numerous takes on her story. She presents basically the same idea, but it evolves and changes completely from one version to the next, and I had a hard time picking up the converging thread in each story. Still it was interesting to see her pick apart her work, and see how she got from one version to the next. I wasn't as invested in this story as the others, though.
The Anatomy of Curiosity is not your average read. This is book that anyone who aspires to be a writer needs to read. What you get are three short stories by three different authors, who pick apart their work and explain the process of how they wrote the story during the story. This book shows what it takes to be a successful writer, and how each style is different. Even though I have no aspirations to be a writer, I appreciated this book. It was fascinating to get into each author's head and uncover their writing process. I can see after reading this novel, why these three ladies are renowned in their field. Don't miss this one.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.