Thursday, August 11, 2011

Early Review - The Hair Wreath and Other Stories by Halli Villegas (4/5 stars)

The Hair Wreath and Other StoriesReading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror
Size: 250 pages
Publisher: ChiZine Publications
Release Date: September 15, 2010
ISBN: 978-1926851020
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC through
Rating: 4/5 stars


I got an eGalley of thsi book through Netgalley(dot)com.  It was a great read.  The stories are full of beautiful descriptions and haunting events.

This is a collection of short stories.  They range from rather incomplete very short glimpses into people's lives to nearly novella length complete stories.  The best way to describe the collection is beautiful and haunting.  Most of the stories feature either ghosts, or magical realism of some sort.  Some of the stories don't necessarily involve magic but are just creepy or ironic. 

I really enjoyed "Twenty-First-Century Design" a multiple chapter short story that tells about a haunted house that is taking over the father of the family.  I also enjoyed "Salvage" which was a mysterious story about a young couple who finds pristine objects on their way to a picnic. 

Some of the others of the stories end right in the middle.  For example "Meadowdene Estates" is a creepy story about a suburban development, but it ends right as the main character is walking up some stair towards a noise.  There were multiple stories that just ended and left me wondering.  While this is not all bad, there were a couple that bothered me and made me want a bit more resolution.

Villegas's writing is absolutely stunning.  She does an excellent job in describing surroundings, really making it easy for the reader to picture, taste, and smell the scenes in the stories.  She also does an fantastic job with her characters, you feel like you know them and are drawn to them. 

All of the stories are creepy.  They span the whole breadth of creepiness.  Some are serial killer creepy, some are psychotic creepy, some are ghost creepy, and some are just tinged with a little magical realism or irony.  That being said there are some stories that don't contain anything supernatural but just give the reader a glimpse into a strange part of someone's life.

Overall I enjoyed this collection of stories.  Villegas's writing is beautiful and haunting; she creates cityscapes that really come alive for the reader and fills her scenes with characters that are easy to engage with.  The majority of the stories involve ghosts or other creepiness.  Many of the urban scenes don't have anything bluntly supernatural but are filled with irony and a magical realism that depicts something supernatural just below the surface.  If you are a fan of horror based urban fantasy, horror in general, or just love reading beautiful hauntingly creepy stories give this book a try.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 100+ Reading Challenge
- E-book Reading Challenge

The Hair Wreath and Other Stories 

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