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Tuesday, 25 February 2020

THE DOLL-MASTER AND OTHER TALES OF TERROR by Joyce Carol Oates

The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to read this collection for a while. Sadly, I was very disappointed.

Actually, I only enjoyed two stories out of the six. Here's a summary of what I thought of the ones I didn't enjoy:

Soldier: disturbing, but not in a good way.
Gun Accident: didn't like this one at all.
Equatorial: too long and very boring.
Mystery, Inc: so meh I skimmed most of it.

These were long and ranty stories that went around in circles and were so easy to predict that when I reached the ending, I just didn't care. Oh, and they certainly weren't the tales of terror I was expecting.

The first story, The Doll-Master, was my favourite. It's a tale my daughter studied during her HSC and suggested I read it too.

Well, she was right about how awesome it is. Not only is it creepy but also very well written. I loved how even though what's really going on becomes obvious pretty early on, the narrative somehow plays with your mind and forces you to question your assumptions every step of the way. Until there's no denying how sinister it is because that ending is super disturbing. 😳

This is an absolute gem and if I was rating only this piece, I would give it 5 stars because it deserves all the praise! It's definitely joining my list of most-fave short stories.

Big Momma is a solid 4-star story because it's wicked and perfectly captures how easy it is for a lonely and vulnerable girl to fall into a dangerous trap while ignoring her instincts. It's a powerful story and very sad.

Well, it's a shame that this short story collection turned out to be such a disappointment, but I'm glad I finally read it.

The 2-star rating I'm giving this book is for the four stories I didn't like. I mean, when four out of the six pieces are awful, there's no other way to rate it. It's a shame, really.


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