I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
on 13th February 2014
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The griffin, the sunbird, manticores, unicorns - all manner of glorious creatures never captured in zoos, museums or photographs are packed vividly into this collection of stories. Neil Gaiman has included some of his own childhood favourites alongside stories classic and modern to spark the imagination of readers young and old. All contributors have given their work free to benefit Dave Eggers' literacy charity, 826DC. Includes stories by: Peter S. Beagle, Anthony Boucher, Avram Davidson, Samuel R. Delany, Neil Gaiman, Maria Dahvana Headley, Nalo Hopkinson, Diana Wynne Jones, Megan Kurashige, E. Nesbit, Larry Niven, Nnedi Okorafor, Saki, Frank R. Stockton, Gahan Wilson, E. Lily Yu.
Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories compiled by Neil Gaiman. From werewolves to cockatoucans – there’s a lot of variety in this volume to interest readers. And whilst I found the stories entertaining, what I loved most about this book was the personal touches. Before each story, Gaiman gives a brief synopsis of the author and why he included the story in this book. The illustrations which accompanied the tales added perfectly to the reading experience.
It is clear upon reading Unnatural Creatures that each story was selected with care. Most compilations I’ve read contain stories which have no apparently relation to the others but in this book – whilst the tales are independent, they each feel as if they belong in the same compilation as the others included.
Each of the sixteen stories give something different. I had my favourites amongst them with Diana Wynne Jones’ tale about gods, a missing Sage, and invisible dragons being the one I liked most. Gaiman himself contributed a story about a Sunbird and there is even a story with a completely unpronounceable title made up of a cartoon instead. I loved the inclusion of the cartoon story and never realized before just how creepy a plain and simple black dot could be …
I was surprised by the variety of the authors. Some of the stories in this book were first written a hundred years ago with others being relatively recent in comparison. This is a compilation like no other – the diverse backgrounds of authors, the creatures which they wrote about and the era in which they were written all add to the dark and fantastical vibe.
Mythology, horror and the supernatural – Unnatural Creatures is a short story compilation with vast appeal. With a wide range of creatures and authors, I feel this is a book which will interest fantasy fans, young and old alike.