selected and edited by Neil Gaiman
Original Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Length: 462 pages
Obtained Via: Bought
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Unnatural Creatures is a collection of short stories about the fantastical things that exist only in our minds—collected and introduced by beloved New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman.
The sixteen stories gathered by Gaiman, winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, range from the whimsical to the terrifying. The magical creatures range from werewolves to sunbirds to beings never before classified. E. Nesbit, Diana Wynne Jones, Gahan Wilson, and other literary luminaries contribute to the anthology.
Anthologies are always tough to review and evaluate. There’s always a mixture of great, good, and lacking stories, and I find myself trying to weigh the good versus the bad. In general, I think I like the ideas of anthologies more than actuality, since I really enjoy short fiction, which is hard to come by. As far as anthologies go, I do think Unnatural Creatures is one of the best in terms of consistent quality that I’ve personally read.
All the stories included in this anthology center around fantastical and of course, “unnatural” creatures–some more common than others. There were only one or two stories I plain disliked, and most ranged from good to great. Neil Gaiman’s was one of my favorites and probably the one that stuck with me the most. I will say that the length of the stories vary wildly, which threw me off. Some were quite long for short stories, and I think they could have been arranged better, alternating between shorter and longer.
Out of the book, there were four short stories that I really loved. The highlights were The Griffin and the Minor Canon, Sunbird, The Compleat Werewolf, and Come Lady Death. I probably will not be reading Unnatural Creatures in its entirety again, but those four stories I’ll definitely re-visit. There were several more stories I also enjoyed, and only two I didn’t like(one of which I ended up skipping ahead to the next story). Come Lady Death in particular was amazing and the perfect book to end on, since it finished the anthology on the highest note possible.
Anthologies are tough to review(hence this review which I believe in the shortest on this blog to date), but I found Unnatural Creatures to be an unnaturally(haha) high quality anthology. If you enjoy short fiction and Gaiman-esque fantasy, give this one a try. 4/5 stars.