When I first heard about this anthology, I just about lost my mind. I have been a fan of Edgar Allan Poe (aka Creepy Edgar) for years! His stories and poems are so dark and twisty and spooky. They’ve always intrigued me. And then I got an email asking me to be involved in the blog tour for His Hideous Heart and I almost fainted! I could not have said yes fast enough lol.
As you scroll through, check out the synopsis, my review where I give a little description of each story, and check out all the amazing authors who contributed to this insanely awesome anthology! Let’s get started!
The Cask of Amontillado. The Tell-Tale Heart. The Pit and the Pendulum. Filled with love and loss, vengeance and regret, the dark, chilling stories of Edgar Allen Poe have haunted us for over 150 years. Now, thirteen of YAs most celebrated writers reimagine Poe’s stories for a new generation.
These contemporary retellings will grab readers by the throat and drag them along to surprising and unsettling places, whether they are Poe aficionados or new newcomers to these classics. Tiffany D. Jackson, award-winning author of Monday’s Not Coming, transports “The Cask of Amontillado” to the streets of Brooklyn during the present day West Indian Day Carnival in Brooklyn. Poet amanda lovelace finds new meaning in the classic poem “The Raven” by blotting out words from the original lines. And Kendare Blake, New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series, gives the unreliable voice narrating “Metzengerstein” a contemporary edge.
With the original stories printed in the back of the book, HIS HIDEOUS HEART offers up a fun way to meet Poe for the first time, or for readers to revisit old favorites with fresh eyes. His work reminds us why we love to be scared, whether we get that thrill from watching the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, visiting a haunted house at Halloween, or by reading Poe’s spine-tingling stories.
Whenever an author (or a group of authors) retell a classic, there’s always a worry (at least for me) that they won’t do it justice. That was not a problem here. They took enough of the originals so any Poe fan (lol me) could recognize the story they were retelling but also make them unique enough that they are brilliant stories in their own. Alright, let’s talk individual stories!
She Rode a Horse of Fire by Kendare Blake (inspired by Metzengerstein)
When a rich girl pretending to be a maid dies in a stable fire on the estate, Friedrich goes into a deep dark depression, blaming himself. He locks himself in a room and becomes obsessed with a painting. The housekeeper, Eliza, is the only one brave enough to see him and when she visits, he tells her that the picture keeps moving, changing.
But all of a sudden, he comes out of his depression and goes driving one day. He comes back with a girl and they seem to fall in love. Everything is good until Friedrich is found dead at the front gate. With no other heirs to the estate, Eliza won’t let it go to anyone else.
Thoughts: This one is so utterly creepy and atmospheric.
It’s Carnival! by Tiffany D. Jackson (inspired The Cask of Amontillado)
Cindy leads a man, Darrell, back to what is supposedly her house. She tempts him with sorrel and then once he arrives, she bricks him up in the wall. It is her revenge for his past actions.
Thoughts: I loved this story! It’s all about revenge just like the original but this time, it’s a woman setting out to get justice.
Night-Tide by Tessa Gratton (inspired by Annabel Lee)
Jackie meets Annabel Lee during her trips with her family to the Kingdom of the Sea, a resort overlooking a bay. They become fast friends but soon turn into something more. Jackie and Annabel Lee fall in love. But when Annabel doesn’t return to the resort the next year, Jackie goes looking for her. She’s not sure she can live with what she finds?
Thoughts: This is one of my favorite stories in the whole anthology. It’s f/f which I love and the setting and the whole tone of the story is absolutely beautiful. TW: suicide
The Glittering Death by Caleb Roehrig (inspired by The Pit and the Pendulum)
Laura is taken and tortured by a killer known as The Judge. She tries to reason with him, trick him, but it never works in her favor. She finally realizes he is drugging her with the water he give her. When he starts hosing her down, she spills out her water without him noticing. Finally seeing her chance for escape, she makes a run for it. But he’s quickly stops her. Will she be able to make it out alive?
Thoughts: Oh this story was utterly perfect. It is pretty violent but Laura is a badass and smart as hell.
A Drop of Stolen Ink by Emily Lloyd-Jones (inspired by The Purloined Letter)
Augusta Pine (not her real name) infiltrates her way into the Atreus Partnership with a fake identity tattoo. Everyone has a tattoo that contains their personal information. She’s there to take down the head of the company. He has a duplicate ID tattoo which is supposed to be impossible and very illegal. It turns out The Feds made it, he stole it.
Augusta is facing a prison sentence and working as a spy is the only path to her freedom. But when she finds the tattoo, it’s in the last place she would have expected.
Thoughts: This story was so fun. It has an f/f relationship in it towards the end and it’s just heist-y and sci-fi and so intriguing.
Happy Days, Sweetheart by Stephanie Kuehn (inspired by The Tell-Tale Heart)
The narrator kills a boy (Jonah) she’s seeing. Why? He keeps winning everything she worked so hard for. She stabs him multiple times and then she hides the body. But when the police come, she hears a noise that shouldn’t be possible…his heartbeat. Will she turn herself in or get away with murder?
Thoughts: I LOVED this take on The Tell-Tale Heart. It was much more relatable than the original (not that I would kill a dude). The narrator’s ambition and fear and maybe even love for the boy she feels throughout the story is so complex.
The Raven (Remix) by amanda lovelace (inspired by The Raven)
Thoughts: Please read this one aloud! The rhyming scheme is perfectly in tune with the original and it’s so much fun to say and read.
Changeling by Marieke Nijkamp (inspired by Hop-Frog)
Children who the world deems broken and abuses are saved by the changelings and brought to a different world where they are cared for and wanted.
Thoughts: Excuse me while I cry because this story is so beautiful and I want it to be real! This is definitely one of my faves of the anthology. It is also written in parts going from the past to the present and I love when authors do that.
The Oval Filter by Lamar Giles (inspired by The Oval Portrait)
Tariq is a football player who’s injured but in recovery. While in an ice bath to repair his muscles, he takes out his phone and scrolls through Instagram. But while looking at pictures, he sees a picture of someone he knows shouldn’t be there. It’s Courtney. His girlfriend. She’s dead. But when he tries to show it to someone else, the account is gone.
When he goes back on Instagram, he sees it again, but this time, the pictures look wrong. They look like she’s being thrown around, hurt. The next time he checks his phone, a picture of has Courtney become his homescreen and then the picture starts to move. Different shots flick back and forth making it look like her eyes are moving.
Through the pictures, Tariq finds out who killed Courtney and he avenges her.
Thoughts: This is so perfectly interpreted for today I can barely get out words. it’s expertly done and the final scene will leave you shook!
Red by Hillary Monahan (inspired by The Masque of the Red Death)
Death (a slight woman in a shabby coat) comes arrives at Prospero’s, a fancy club for the powerful and the wealthy. And she shows no mercy.
Thoughts: This original Poe story is one of my favorites and Hillary Monahan did not disappoint with her retelling. Death comes for the rich and she does not pull any punches. *cackles*
Lygia by Dahlia Adler (inspired by Ligeia)
The narrator remembers their love with Lygia who died of cancer and everything they never got to do together and be. But then she starts falling for someone else. She likes them a lot but they still aren’t Lygia. Unless, she can make them into her??
Thoughts: This is another “grab the tissues” story. It’s also another f/f (flails with delight). I really like this one because you think it’s one thing at the beginning and then the end hits and you’re like…WOAH.
The Fall of the Bank of Usher by Fran Wilde (inspired by The Fall of the House of Usher)
Rik and Mad get a challenge to go to an offshore bank and see if they can hack it. If they do, they get a ton of money which would allow them to finally disappear. But it turns out to much more dangerous than they expected. Can they win the challenge or will this last shot at freedom take their lives?
Thoughts: HACKERS! Who doesn’t want to see a bank crash and burn especially after all they have done in the past? This story is utterly creepy and I wasn’t sure whether Rik and Mad were going to survive in the end (no spoilers!)
The Murders in the Rue Apartelle, Boracay by Rin Chupeco (inspired by The Murders in the Rue Morgue)
Written like a conversation between the narrator and a friend, she talks about this guy (Ogie) she met in Boracay (Philippines) and how great he is and that he doesn’t judge her. She details the time they spend together, but it soon turns dark when they begin to investigate one the multiple murders on the island. But as the narrator finishes her story, it seems like Ogie might hiding quite the secret.
Thoughts: Trans Rep!! The narrator is a trans woman and damn does this story take you on a ride. The conversational tone is PERFECT and the way it’s written made me feel like I was there. And I always love a story with a good murder investigation.
Thank you to Flatiron Books for the free ARC in exchange for my review.
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