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Bewere the Night Paperback – April 19, 2011
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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I don't usually get irritated with books. Usually--like most people, I'd assume--I get bored if it's bad. But "Bewere the Night" was really, really irritating. Why?
The quality of the stories was ridiculously inconsistent.
There are jewels here (at least as far as I'm concerned.) There are pieces that border on brilliant, pieces in every genre imaginable, from the near-literary ("Thirst", "She Drives Men to Crimes of Passion!", "Snow on Sugar Mountain", "The Aphotic Ghost", "Coyotaje") to gritty, weird dark fantasy ("The Were-Wizard of Oz", "The Sinews of His Heart) to adventure ("The Gaze Dogs of Nine Waterfall")to science fiction ("The Thief of Precious Things") to the absurdly touching ("Aphotic" and "Snow Mountain" again, "Blue Joe") to the weirdly funny ("Heavy"). There are a few more very good ones, of course. These just really, really stuck out to me. The collection gets 5 stars on the merits of these stories alone, since they themselves could comprise a collection.
On the other hand, "The Coldest Game" was one of the most ridiculous pieces of short fiction I have read in a very long time. Some pieces are borderline-incomprehensible. Some are overwritten. Some are simply not interesting whatsoever. As well, there is an uncomfortable amount of typos in the book. Nearly every story contains one, generally some sort of punctuation error that is probably not the writers' faults.
However, that aside, I have to give "Bewere the Night" five stars, simply because of the quality and beauty displayed in about half the stories. You're not wasting anything if you buy the collection. It's entirely worth it.