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Shards and Ashes Paperback – February 19, 2013

3.9 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-This collection of dystopian short stories features some of the genre's greatest voices along with the work of popular paranormal romance authors. The nine original tales all center on themes of revolution, class wars, and romance. Standouts include Veronica Roth's "Hearken," in which musical prodigies are schooled to hear the life songs-or death songs-of individuals with the help of an implant, Margaret Stohl's "Necklace of Raindrops," a lyrical piece about the value of truly living; and Rachel Caine's "Dogsbody," a tale of corporate control gone wrong. Along with selections by Beth Revis and Carrie Ryan, these pieces move quickly, make good use of the limited word count, and are likely to stick with readers. However, other offerings-Kelley Armstrong's "Branded," Nancy Holder's "Pale Rider," Melissa Marr's "Corpse Eaters," and Kami Garcia's "Burn 3"-are forgettable due to predictability, far-reaching plots, and unbelievable circumstances. All in all, the action is fast paced and the variety of storytelling tones appealing, making this an ideal addition to libraries in which dystopian and paranormal romance books are popular.-Jennifer Furuyama, Pendleton Public Library, ORα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

The future is bleak but love endures in this collection of dystopian tales from nine popular YA authors. All the standard dystopian trappings are here, so much so that several stories form an indistinguishable haze of corrupt governments and environmental ruin. But there are some stories that create more unusual futures. Holder’s “Pale Rider” reads like the first section of a hallucinatory novel and involves a girl who discovers her gift for finding lost things in a world filled with the lost. Marr’s “Corpse Eaters” has teens looking for a safe haven from the religious followers of a Lovecraftian god. Caine’s excellent “Dogsbody” has a strong narrative voice and doesn’t shy away from a grim but strangely joyful ending. Fans of Revis’ novels will enjoy seeing the character Orion as a teenager in “Love Is a Choice.” The stories are tied together by a belief in the power of relationships to create hope, and though the collection is uneven, it has something for anyone who loves a good world-gone-wrong scenario. Grades 8-12. --Krista Hutley --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062098454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062098450
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Shards & Ashes, a collection of dystopian short stories penned by many of the prominent female authors in YA fiction, is an unsettling read that provides a solid sampling of the genre.

Starting out the book, we have Veronica Roth (of Divergent fame), with Hearken, the tale of 8 year old Darya, whose new-found musical aptitude has afforded her the opportunity to bring beauty to a world ravaged by doomsdayists hastening the apocalypse with biological warfare. Darya's kind are known as Hearkeners, musical prodigies trained in various instruments and at 16, outfitted with a brain implant that allows them to hear either "life songs" or "death songs" depending on their preference. While each person has both, the life song plays strongest in the healthy, and in people who are dying, the death song prevails. As in Divergent and Insurgent, an aspect of Roth's writing that sets her apart from other authors in YA fiction/fantasy is in the way she is able to tie her plot together with real science. With light cameos from neuroscience and string theory, her stories sound smarter and have an air of credibility, albeit still undeniably science fiction [think Fringe]. I'd say that Hearken is one of my top choices of the collection.

Next is Branded, by Kelley Armstrong. In a story with a more supernatural flavor, Rayne and her fellow humans live in a fortress protected from all varieties of hybrid monsters, magic users, vampires, etc. that roam the outside world. Her love interest, Braeden, has been identified as a werewolf and is banished to the outside, but Rayne, believing she cannot live without him, enacts a plan to sneak out of the fortress and find him, no matter the cost.
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Format: Paperback
I received a paperback of this book from the publishers Atom in exchange for my honest review. I love the cover, it's a dystopian, desolate image of an area talked about in one of the stories. I think the fairest way to review this book is to talk a little about each book, and give each tale a score out of 5.

Hearken by Veronica Roth
Darya is the main character in this tale. Darya hears songs, they can be people life songs or their death songs. Darya ends up going to an academy to train and she has to decide which type of songs she wants to hear, the life songs or the death songs. A special implant is put into the trained to determine which songs she hears a black dye is death songs a red dye is life songs. The city around is dangerous as people let off bio bombs, which if you inhale...well you die within days of inhaling them.
Score = 4/5

Branded by Kelley Armstrong
In this dystopian world there are those who live by the rules inside the fortress and those who live in the wilderness. If you break a rule whilst living in the fortress your punishment is being branded and cast out into the wilderness. Also those cast out are anyone with supernatural tendencies such as weres etc.
The main characters are Rayne and Braeden. Braeden is cast out, though it's not exactly as it seems as Rayne soon tries to join in on the outside. those in the fortress believe all their is out in the wilderness is eventual death . . .Are they right, or do other groups of people exist?
Score = 5/5

Necklace Of Raindrops by Margaret Stohl
In this tale everyone is given a necklace that contains what looks like beautiful raindrops on it. The more adventurous/risky things you do the more of the drops you use on the necklace.
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Format: Hardcover
Each story in this anthology is around 30-40 pages. I'll provide a synopsis, mini-review, and rating for each story. I'll also provide an overall rating for the book as a whole at the bottom of page.

Hearken by Veronica Roth: Hearken features Darya, a musical prodigy, and her older sister, Khali. While there is some competitiveness between the two, we feel the bond between them very quickly, and the two share some tender moments. These prodigies are called Hearkeners, and once identified, they are fitted with a brain implant that allows them to hear "life songs" or "death songs," musical tones emitted by humans depending on the condition of their health. Darya explains her choice: "Life's something we already understand. Death is a mystery." Not a whole lot happens in the story, but the writing has a magical, ethereal quality that matches the subject matter. I'm sure it's difficult to depict music through writing, but here Roth does it here in a very pretty way.
3 stars

Branded by Kelley Armstrong: We get a quick explanation of the state of the world in Rayne's history class, and it's not pretty. Supernatural beings (not the nice kind - they have a taste for human flesh) decided it was time to take over the world. The battle resulted in natural disasters including earthquakes and tsunamis, and human survivors fled to fortresses. Anyone found inside the fortress with "hybrid" blood was executed or tossed outside the fortress to a likely death. Outside the fortress, in addition to the hybrids, are refugees who are desperate to reach sanctuary and savage humans who are best avoided. When Braeden's identity as a werewolf is uncovered, he is cast out, and Rayne leaves the safety of the fortress to save him.
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