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Cherry Crow Children

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Tulliæn spans a fractured mountaintop, where the locals lie and the tourists come to die. Try the honey. Briskwater crouches deep in the shadow of a dam wall. Ignore the weight of the water hanging overhead, and the little dead girl wandering the streets. Off with you, while you still can. In Haverny Wood the birds drink blood, the dogs trade their coughings for corpses, t Tulliæn spans a fractured mountaintop, where the locals lie and the tourists come to die. Try the honey. Briskwater crouches deep in the shadow of a dam wall. Ignore the weight of the water hanging overhead, and the little dead girl wandering the streets. Off with you, while you still can. In Haverny Wood the birds drink blood, the dogs trade their coughings for corpses, the lost children carve up their bodies to run with the crows, and the townsfolk stitch silence into their spleens. You mustn't talk so wild. The desert-locked outpost of Boundary boasts the famed manufacturers of flawless timepieces; those who would learn the trade must offer up their eyes as starting materials. Look to your pride: it will eat you alive. Sooner or later, in every community, fate demands its dues — and the currency is blood. Table of Contents - Introduction, by Kate Elliott - The Wages of Honey - The Briskwater Mare - The Miseducation of Mara Lys - The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood What Are the Twelve Planets? The Twelve Planets are twelve boutique collections by some of Australia’s finest short story writers. Varied across genre and style, each collection offers four short stories and a unique glimpse into worlds fashioned by some of our favourite storytellers. Each author has taken the brief of four stories and up to 40 000 words in their own direction. Some are quartet suites of linked stories. Others are tasters of the range and style of the writer. Each release will bring something unexpected to readers. Nightsiders by Sue Isle Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts Thief of Lives by Lucy Sussex Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti Showtime by Narrelle M Harris Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan Asymmetry by Thoraiya Dyer Caution: Contains Small Parts by Kirstyn McDermott Secret Lives by Rosaleen Love The Female Factory by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter Cherry Crow Children by Deborah Kalin


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Tulliæn spans a fractured mountaintop, where the locals lie and the tourists come to die. Try the honey. Briskwater crouches deep in the shadow of a dam wall. Ignore the weight of the water hanging overhead, and the little dead girl wandering the streets. Off with you, while you still can. In Haverny Wood the birds drink blood, the dogs trade their coughings for corpses, t Tulliæn spans a fractured mountaintop, where the locals lie and the tourists come to die. Try the honey. Briskwater crouches deep in the shadow of a dam wall. Ignore the weight of the water hanging overhead, and the little dead girl wandering the streets. Off with you, while you still can. In Haverny Wood the birds drink blood, the dogs trade their coughings for corpses, the lost children carve up their bodies to run with the crows, and the townsfolk stitch silence into their spleens. You mustn't talk so wild. The desert-locked outpost of Boundary boasts the famed manufacturers of flawless timepieces; those who would learn the trade must offer up their eyes as starting materials. Look to your pride: it will eat you alive. Sooner or later, in every community, fate demands its dues — and the currency is blood. Table of Contents - Introduction, by Kate Elliott - The Wages of Honey - The Briskwater Mare - The Miseducation of Mara Lys - The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood What Are the Twelve Planets? The Twelve Planets are twelve boutique collections by some of Australia’s finest short story writers. Varied across genre and style, each collection offers four short stories and a unique glimpse into worlds fashioned by some of our favourite storytellers. Each author has taken the brief of four stories and up to 40 000 words in their own direction. Some are quartet suites of linked stories. Others are tasters of the range and style of the writer. Each release will bring something unexpected to readers. Nightsiders by Sue Isle Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts Thief of Lives by Lucy Sussex Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti Showtime by Narrelle M Harris Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan Asymmetry by Thoraiya Dyer Caution: Contains Small Parts by Kirstyn McDermott Secret Lives by Rosaleen Love The Female Factory by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter Cherry Crow Children by Deborah Kalin

30 review for Cherry Crow Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Cherry Crow Children by Deborah Kalin is the twelfth book in Twelfth Planet Press’s Twelve Planets series of collections, which have focused on the work of female Australian speculative fiction authors. Individual stories in Cherry Crow Children, and the collection as a whole, have been shortlisted for Ditmar, Australian Shadows and Shirley Jackson Awards, and one story, The Miseducation of Mara Lys won two Aurealis awards in 2015, for Best Horror Novella and Best Young Adult Short Story. The sto Cherry Crow Children by Deborah Kalin is the twelfth book in Twelfth Planet Press’s Twelve Planets series of collections, which have focused on the work of female Australian speculative fiction authors. Individual stories in Cherry Crow Children, and the collection as a whole, have been shortlisted for Ditmar, Australian Shadows and Shirley Jackson Awards, and one story, The Miseducation of Mara Lys won two Aurealis awards in 2015, for Best Horror Novella and Best Young Adult Short Story. The stories in this collection are not technically connected in terms of plot, place or characters, but there is a thread running through all of them: all take place in strange, haunted places, and reading them gives a feeling of walking along the edge, of sensing a discomfort at the very periphery of awareness that you can’t quite identify. All are incredibly evocative and written with a lyrical, haunting style, and all are–as all of the stories and novellas in the Twelve Planets series–of extremely high quality. The collection opens with Wages of Honey, which is on the surface, a deceptively simply story of a man searching for his missing cousin. The strangeness seeps in as he enters the mountaintop town where his cousin was headed, a place known as Tulliæn, where death and honey are equal fascinations. Tulliæn seems a place drawn from both dream and nightmare, where bridges and streets end abruptly, and suicide almost seems to be revered and everything is soaked with honey. This is an incredibly beautiful and unsettling story, and has a vividness that won’t be forgotten by any reader any time soon. The Briskwater Mare takes the reader into another strange place: Briskwater, where the water surrounding the town is haunted by the ghost of a young girl. The story is told through the eyes of Eli, a young girl who has always been told that one day the ghost will claim her. There is a very fairytale feel to this story–but the kind of dark fairytale that was used to warn children not to stray from the path–and a kind of inevitability that makes it impossible to look away from events, even as you wish that everything could be different. The Miseducation of Mara Lys was, for me, the standout story of the collection, and I’m not surprised that it won two Aurealis Awards. It’s another story that can be summed up in a deceptively simple fashion: a girl, Mara Lys, wishes to gain admission to an elite school of watchmakers. Except that this is a Deborah Kalin story, and if you’ve read the first two stories in the collection, you know from the beginning that none of this story is going to be that simple. There is a dense amount of worldbuiilding in this story, and yet all of it is handled so lightly that none of it is a chore to read. Some of the details in this story absolutely blew me away (I’m not going to spoil any of it, because it would detract from their impact to know them going in) and I would pay good money to read more set in this world. The last story in the collection is The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood, from which the collection’s title derives. This brings the reader to yet another strange and unsettling place, this time a village in Haverny Wood, where the people seek to protect themselves from the things that live beyond the trees. Again, this story has the feel of a dark fairytale, and is filled with evocative and unforgettable images and ideas. Probably my second favourite of all of the stories, and another that I’d love to see more works set in. Overall, this is another absolutely stellar collection, and it a fitting end to the original cycle of twelve volumes in the Twelve Planets. It could be best described as literary horror, but it is a kind of horror that will hold appeal to many readers who usually shy away from the genre. There is some gore here and there, but none of it is gratuitous – think of Red Riding Hood being eaten by the wolf rather than a deranged serial killer stalking the innocent, and you will come somewhere close. Like all of the collections in the Twelve Planets, Cherry Crow Children is highly recommended, and is probably one of my favourites of all of the collections.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This was a very strong collection and a excellent instalment in the consistently impressive Twelve Planet series. Kalin has a beautiful turn of phrase and a talent for beautiful description that delivers tantalising hints of the sinister undercurrent present in most of her stories. Her horrors also feel fresh and are more disturbing for being largely unpredictable (as opposed to if she stuck to more established conventions for her monsters and other horror elements). Although her monsters themse This was a very strong collection and a excellent instalment in the consistently impressive Twelve Planet series. Kalin has a beautiful turn of phrase and a talent for beautiful description that delivers tantalising hints of the sinister undercurrent present in most of her stories. Her horrors also feel fresh and are more disturbing for being largely unpredictable (as opposed to if she stuck to more established conventions for her monsters and other horror elements). Although her monsters themselves are truly memorable, it is often it is the way humans react to their presence that is most horrifying. All the stories in 'Cherry Crow Children' are very strong and well worth reading for any horror fan. The first three are all memorable and have moments of brilliance. If the collection contained only those three I would expect it to be a contender for awards etc. However, in my opinion the final novella, 'Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood', was outstanding. I read a substantial amount of short horror fiction and it was probably one of the best new horror stories I have read for a long time. I was planning to sleep, but once I started reading it I couldn't stop until it was finished. I think that any fan of beautifully written, original horror who doesn't read it is missing out on something.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alan Baxter

    Beautifully written, this haunting collection of four stories is dark and more than a little mesmerising. It's no surprise this book and its stories garnered so much award attention. Beautifully written, this haunting collection of four stories is dark and more than a little mesmerising. It's no surprise this book and its stories garnered so much award attention.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Thoraiya

    Out of all the people I know who are too cowardly to read horror, I'm the one that reads the most, and that is because Australian horror writers are just so damn good :) Out of all the people I know who are too cowardly to read horror, I'm the one that reads the most, and that is because Australian horror writers are just so damn good :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)

    This collection contains four short stories that aren't dramatically connected, but feel of the one place even if the characters or setting isn't reoccurring. As you can see at the bottom of this post, I think this is the best performing collection as far as our Australian awards go, collecting the most so far. Wages of Honey A man is on the search for his cousin, who has been missing for some time. He makes his way to Tulliæn where the locals seem to have an unhealthy fixation on death, and a hig This collection contains four short stories that aren't dramatically connected, but feel of the one place even if the characters or setting isn't reoccurring. As you can see at the bottom of this post, I think this is the best performing collection as far as our Australian awards go, collecting the most so far. Wages of Honey A man is on the search for his cousin, who has been missing for some time. He makes his way to Tulliæn where the locals seem to have an unhealthy fixation on death, and a high level of love for their locally produced honey. The directions the man has to follow to make his way around town are lyrical, but that doesn't make them wrong, the inn-keeper points out. He consults people of the township one by one on their recommendations - try the gatekeeper, the innkeeper, the prefect... and then even random villagers in the market, which is fortuitously on that day. He gets little closer to finding his cousin, other than a deepening suspicion they all know much more than they're actually telling him straight. This is a beautiful novella to start us off with. It's beautiful and horrific in equal measure, with characters you empathise for even if they're not particularly good, or even less likely, trustworthy. The description of the quaint little town is effective at springing alive in your mind, making ti somewhere you almost think you'd like to visit someday before you realise how utterly stupid that would be - the place is a (beautiful) nightmare! The Briskwater Mare In Briskwater there's a girl who died, and the residents all know to avoid her - which is tricky, as she inhabits anything that involves water which surrounds the town. Eli has been told all of her life that one day the girl will claim her - it sends her father to drink, and her younger brother to try desperate and brave things to save her... and even those in charge of the town to avoid looking at her directly. Ashamed, and yet also not wanting to change what they expect and even need to happen. Then a hunter arrives and through a mix of pride and greed, will be the changing force this town needs. Maybe. Written in first person we feel an instant connection with Eli, and affection for her brother who is the only one who is desperate (or even the slightest bit interested) to save her life. This novella doesn't leave the reader in mystery as much as the first novella does (being first person makes that much harder), but it still grabs you with the ending. Simply beautiful. The Miseducation of Mara Lys Mara wishes to gain acceptance into an elite school, if only to prove her mother's failings aren't hers, and to be able to provide for her family. She's barely given a chance and instead serves rather than studies at the school, and faces cruelty after cruelty - her only comfort in that others experience her own injustices and council her on how to survive. Mara, however, weighed down with her intelligence and determination to seek justice brings out the secrets of the elite to the reader, and you can't help but want her to succeed with as much determination as she attacks everything. Part is gruesome in the best of ways. I read parts with my face twisted in horror - one eye closed and one squinted as if to protect them, all the while thinking 'to hell with that!' I think my stomach twisted, also. Kalin sure knows how to pack a punch with her words, and this novella, well, it's no surprise that it cleared the awards with flying colours last year. I think it's my favourite of the four. Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood A child comes to a woman who has ruined herself with it, and returns home to her village despite the gossip. The child, Claudia, she raises is special, and while the village may gossip that she needed a better upbringing, it doesn't stop the fact that these two women talk truths when the village would rather live in silence. Claudia, one day desperately scavenging to make ends meet through a harsh winter, meets the children of Haverny Wood, who trade parts of themselves in other to be wild. A boy she meets, has traded his heart for one made of wickerwood. This one is probably the most lyrical and beautiful of them all. The injustice one feels at the small village mentality, or the child that everyone wants to blame or belittle is one often seen, yet not often done with as much justice as we see in this final and powerful novella. Absolutely amazing, and very much a treasure in the novella universe.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tsana Dolichva

    Cherry Crow Children by Deborah Kalin is the twelfth and concluding (sort of) volume of Twelfth Planet Press's Twelve Planets series. I have reviewed almost all of them (my review of The Female Factory will come after the Aurealis Awards are announced), and you can browse reviews of the other volumes here. This collection is very strongly linked thematically. I think the stories are all set in the same world, but they needn’t be. What links them more clearly is the recurring idea of exclusion and Cherry Crow Children by Deborah Kalin is the twelfth and concluding (sort of) volume of Twelfth Planet Press's Twelve Planets series. I have reviewed almost all of them (my review of The Female Factory will come after the Aurealis Awards are announced), and you can browse reviews of the other volumes here. This collection is very strongly linked thematically. I think the stories are all set in the same world, but they needn’t be. What links them more clearly is the recurring idea of exclusion and of differences being consumed by a place or an idea or the ideal of a place. As usual, I've put my thoughts on individual stories at the end. The writing in all of them is beautiful without weighing the story down with dense prose. When I read my first Deborah Kalin story, I knew this was a collection to look forward to. And I was right. Whether or not you've read any Kalin stories before, if you're at all a fan of fantasy or horror (especially the kind of horror I read, see: this blog you're reading), do yourself a favour and grab a copy of this book when it comes out (in a month). ~ The Wages of Honey — A man comes to a town looking for his cousin. The locals creep him out a bit and are maybe a bit too enthusiastic about their local honey. A creepy but not overly scary tale. An enjoyable read. The Briskwater Mare — It was a very sunny day when I read this book and this is not a sunny day story. With this story I’m starting to sense a theme of places that, metaphorically or literally, consume people. The Miseducation of Mara Lys — Probably my favourite story. A girl goes to the school where elite watchmakers (loosely speaking) sacrifice everything to learn the craft. Of course there are secrets and Mara, rejected from the profession she yearns for, wastes little time discovering them. It’s less cliched than I think I've made it sound. The Cherry Crow Children of Haverny Wood — Another enjoyable story. I felt like part of the landscape of this one had distinct Australian inspirations (although it was definitely not actually set in Australia). The story is about a mother and daughter who are different in a village with very strong beliefs and traditions. 4.5 / 5 stars

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anna Hepworth

    I read this book as a judge for the 2015 Aurealis Awards. This review is my personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team. Holds together beautifully, with a overarching feel to the stories. The stories are all good, but hard work to get through. They are lush, and the world-building and characterisation are consistently strong. Strongly recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Belinda Rule

    Dark fantasy deeply rooted in landscape, full of secrets and dread. Some have aspects of the Australian landscape, which is always a delight. In each story, the plot arises from the nature of the society, which arises from the nature of the place it has grown up in. The protagonist swims against the tide of conformity but... well, spoilers. I know Deb socially. :)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Derelict Space Sheep

    42 WORD REVIEW: Shadows of fairy tale horror lurk beneath this cohesively themed collection of fantasy stories, Deborah Kalin demonstrating her characteristic narrative poise in immersing readers within her Grimm but exquisitely built worlds, then leaving them and protagonists both prey to a dark undertow.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Glaiza

    https://paperwanderer.wordpress.com/2... https://paperwanderer.wordpress.com/2...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    4.5 stars. Excellent, disturbing stories.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Another excellent entry in the Twelfth Planet series. Part fantasy, part horror, each story is a punch to the gut and beautifully written. I especially enjoyed the first and third story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kate Gordon

    Wowsers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mark Smith-briggs

    Read for judging. Will rate at a later date.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Narrelle

  16. 4 out of 5

    MELISSA

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pádraic

  18. 5 out of 5

    S.G.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Peter Cooper

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kate Laidley

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ayat Murgus

  22. 5 out of 5

    Torftar

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pyrosil

  24. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Gartenburg

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Ferguson

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stu

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lauredhel

  28. 5 out of 5

    Denise Kalin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kent Corlain

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jemma

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