248. Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow by Daniel Nayeri

Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow by Daniel Nayeri. Illustrated by James Weinberg. (US) - (Canada)

Pages: 406
Ages: 14+
Finished: Nov. 17, 2008
First Published: Oct. 25, 2011
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Genre: YA, Novellas, short stories, fantasy, science fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

The sun was faithful again that morning, rising above the farm with a shine so fresh it tasted like gazpacho.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Candlewick Press.

Reason for Reading:   I really enjoyed both books in the author's "Another" series and was intrigued by this collection of novellas.

A collection of four novellas written by the author, each featuring a different sub-genre, yet all of them fit under either fantasy or science-fiction on the surface.  These stories are for the older teen and quite suited to adult reading as well, though they do feature teen main characters.  Of the four stories I really enjoyed three of them with two being quite outstanding.  The fourth fell flat and didn't entertain me.  These stories show what a great creative, inventive, dark mind Nayeri has and what he may have in store for readers in the future is simply delicious to think about.  Highly recommended!

1.  Toy Farm - A western, this is a weird, quirky tale set on a toy farm, where the inhabitants are toys and the farm grows new toys to populate itself.  The main character is Sonny, an 18yo straw man who patrols and protects the farm and its inhabitants.  A stranger comes to the farm, perhaps to cause danger but before his real purpose is known a truly evil man arrives who wishes to find out the secret of the toys' ability to live and have feelings.  He and his slave plant people start to take over the farm while Sonny, the farmer's daughter and the stranger do what they can to fight against him.  A very strange story indeed and while I didn't really understand its meaning, I enjoyed it nonetheless.  It had a creepy vibe to it that I just can't describe.  Strange but interesting. 4/5

2.  Our Lady of Villains - Fantastic little dystopian novella set in 2062 where nano-technology has taken over the world.  People live on the web and in virtual reality.  A corporation basically rules the world and plans to turn the earth into one virtual reality on the upcoming ReCreation Day.  A girl, who belongs to the group of dissenters, the Villains, races against time to perhaps save the world.  Compelling story, much longer than the first one but had me racing through the pages and read in one sitting.  Loved it!  5/5

3.  Wish Police - Brilliant urban fantasy!  My favourite story so far!  Saul, a Djinn, and his partner Ari, a goldfish who happens to be prince of the sea, work for the ICU (Imaginary Crimes Unit).  Their job is to go after wishes that have been sent to commit crimes and apprehend them before the crime is committed because you see all wishes comes true unless they wouldn't, shouldn't or couldn't.  Randy just had a bad night and before he falls asleep he wishes his family was dead.  That's when Saul and Ari are given what should be a simple case.  Along for the ride is a recently demoted detective who may be Saul & Ari's new partner Mack, who claims to be a giant leprechaun.  As mysterious herself as the case turns out to be this story is an exciting read and a lot of fun.  An amazing amount of character development is put into the three main characters and I could see, and would very much like to see, the further adventures of this trio in novel format.  5/5

4. Doom with a View -  This is a fantasy, an original fairy tale, if you will.  Told from the point of view of Death; he tells us the tale of a kingdom run by a selfish young prince, two artisans who have been warring since they were first compared to each other, and their children, star-crossed lovers.  This is really a farce on all these common elements of a Romeo & Juliet fairy tale since our lovers don't even meet until the story is almost over.  I'm usually quite fond of stories involving Death as a character but this one fell flat with me and I'm afraid I found it rather silly and boring. 2/5


  1. I am glad this was overall a good read. It sounds interesting. Too bad the last novella was a dud, though!

  2. Yeah, I think this would be something you'd like. I never go into these "collections" expecting to like every story so was really thrilled the three were so good. It would have been better if the last story were in the middle though so the book ended on a good note, for me. Of course, someone may like the last story :-)


Post a Comment

Popular Posts