Shards And Ashes | Edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong | Book Review

If you want to read about dystopian societies and post-apocalyptic times, then I suppose Shards & Ashes edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong is the young adult anthology to pick up. It’s short as far as anthologies go. Most of the stories are passable. I never wanted to throw this book out. I didn’t have a lot of ‘well this was a waste moments.’ Honestly, it’s kind of cool to read short stories that are kind of morbid but have just a little twist of hope in them. OH and my final observation before delving into the individual stories: I haven’t met a single short story by Melissa Marr that I didn’t like.

Shards And Ashes | Good Books And Good Wine

Hearken by Veronica Roth

This short story is about a girl named Darya who is SPECIAL. By this, I mean that she has perfect pitch and thus she qualifies for this government job where she would be a Hearkener. The world Darya lives in is plagued by these terrorists who are trying to hasten the apocalypse by dropping bio-bombs. So anyways. Darya becomes a Hearkener which means that she can hear a person’s death music or their life music. And so, as the story opens she is trying to decide between being a life Hearkener or a death Hearkener. I won’t tell you what she chooses. I will just say that I am glad this is the story that opens Shards And Ashes. I think that Veronica Roth delivered on this opening story.

Branded by Kelley Armstrong

Man, what an intense short story and some interesting world building. For me, this is the first I’ve read of Armstrong’s departures from her Darker Powers world. Basically Branded is about a post apocalyptic world where some humans have mixed their DNA with supernatural beings. Those humans have been cast out into the Outside. Main character Rayne lives in a fortified outpost where the rules are very strict, right down to strict population rules. Anyways, her boyfriend gets branded for a werewolf and is cast out of the outpost. So, Rayne has a plan to go after him, only unfortunately, the Second in command’s daughter goes after her. In all, I really liked Branded and actually would like to read more set in this world!

Necklace Of Raindrops by Margaret Stohl

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with Necklace Of Raindrops by Margaret Stohl, but I ended up actually being pleasantly surprised. This short has a neat concept – basically everyone is issued a necklace at birth. For each wild experience that you have, you lose a bead. When the beads run out, you die. The story opens with Rama paying his last bead and jumping from an airplane. It then switches to his sister Jai who has a whole string of beads left because she is very careful. She then meets this guy named Z and her caution is thrown to the wind. The ending is a bit of a twist and a surprise and overall I liked it. Not bad at all.

Dogsbody by Rachel Caine

What a freaky story you guys! Okay, so this one does NOT take place in the same world as Caine’s YA series, Morganville I think. Dogsbody is set in a grim world where corporations basically rule everyone’s lives and do things like cull people because there aren’t enough resources to go around. The story opens with a young Zay, or Xavier, getting a ticket to some sort of Cup game. His best friend Virtue gets a ticket as well. Only, she decides to rip her ticket up and stay home. Turns out that train only goes one way and only 10 kids from each car were spared. Zay was one of them. He vows revenge. Eventually he works his way up to Dogsbody which pretty much is a servant but also kind of a bodyguard. He plots and plots for a way to get back at corporate for the massacre that is the Cup Train. You guys, this story was totally intense and just wow, great. Also sad. Well done, Rachel Caine, well done.

Pale Rider by Nancy Holder

Pale Rider is super confusing as far as world building goes. It is also kind of weird too. There’s Germans, mean dogs, faeries, batteries, psychic powers and more. Just too much going on. Basically it opens with a girl named Delaney going on a scavenge mission for batteries. She gets attacked by a dog. A mysterious boy saves her. He happens to be rich and have a car and a jet, LOL. She then finds out she’s special. More things happen. I’ll sum it up with one word though: MEH.

Corpse Eaters by Melissa Marr

Whoa buddy, Corpse Eaters is intense. Marr’s short story is about a girl named Harmony who lives in a world where gods are real. In fact, one god has come to Earth. The only hitch? He requires human sacrifices and his creatures called Nidos eat corpses. Every night Harmony and her partner Chris go out and hunt down the Nidos. Yet, one night is unlike any other. Really, Marr rocks at world building and this short story left me wanting more of this world. It is gritty and brutal and dark. Highly recommended.

Burn 3 by Kami Garcia

This one is about a girl and her sister who live inside a dome, I guess because the sun is so dangerous that it’s UV rays totally burn anyone. One day, Phoenix’s sister goes missing and so she has to go underground to find her. Basically that’s the story. It’s not too terribly long though. Shrug.

Love Is A Choice by Beth Revis

So, I was sort of in the dark for Beth Revis’s story. Obviously I need to read her sci-fi trilogy — I hear it is pretty good. Anyways, this story is set in the same world as those books and I think on the same rocket ship? The Godspeed? Anyways. This one is about a boy who rebels against Eldest and meets a girl and is into her, but she gets all revolutionary and he is like NOPE NOPE NOPE. I liked it, but probably would have enjoyed it more if I had read her books already. SOMEDAY GUYS SOMEDAY.

Miasma by Carrie Ryan

This is the first story I’ve read by Carrie Ryan that does not have zombies in it — so kudos for trying something new (at least — new to me). Essentially Miasma is all about a world infected by plague. There are these terrifying doctors with beak shaped masks who go around detecting people who have the disease. If you have the disease these creatures called plague eaters can sniff you out and they totally eat you. Frankie is a teen girl whose mother was caught out for having plague. SO she goes to her mom’s job to make money to bribe the doctors and also to take care of her older sister Cathy who is developmentally delayed. Also, there is a boy. I liked this one — I thought the world was interesting and would be willing to read more of it.

Disclosure: Review Copy Provided By Publisher

Other reviews of Shards And Ashes:

Dark Faerie Tales – “no confusing plots or major cliffhangers
Christina Reads YA – “some very unexpected elements to these stories
Midnight Book Girl – “all of these short stories are good

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I haven’t read too many anthologies in the YA world, although there was a time where I read as many adult fairy tale retelling anthologies as I could get my hands on. I’ve found that the quality tends to be all over the place. It’s good to know that this one is relatively strong. And that Melissa Marr story sure does sound awesome!

  2. I can’t BELIEVE that you haven’t read any of Beth Revis’ books. I think you would enjoy them. It’s interesting to see so many well known authors come together to publish a short story anthology, especially since you don’t see anthologies for teens that often. Thanks to your review, I am currently looking to see if a library or bookstore in my area has a copy!

  3. I really need to get this one. I’ve been loving reading Anthologies but I just haven’t had time which is why I have hesitated picking this one up right away.

    I’m really curious about all these stories. Especially Carrie Ryans, because she doens’t write about Zombies… say what? I love her zombie stuff but id love to read something different from her.

    Yay to the Veronica Roth one. I just finished Insurgent yesterday, my friend Jess and I are buddy reading the series, trying to get it all done. It’s about time. Shes a great author. I’m kinda blown away and dying to start the last one next Monday.

    And corpes eaters.. oooh I dont know about that one. lol. Sounds pretty gross but sign me up. I’m all for some weird stuff. :o)

    btw, hope you are having a great Friday so far!

  4. Well neat! I love books like these. They’re good to fill in the gaps when you don’t want to start a new book; you can read one or two stories and fill your need for reading. Wow, that made no sense. But this one sounds good!

  5. Hahahaha, is it sad that I felt the same way and still feel right about giving this anthology a three? Like, most of the stories were “passable” rather than good, but they were all fast-paced. So many anthologies have a couple of stories so boring I want to die, and not having one = good job, anthology.

    OH OH OH, did you notice in the Roth story how her music was all the instruments rather than one? SHE IS DIVERGENT. I was loling.

    Branded was one of the best.

    Okay, I thought Necklace of Raindrops was by far the worst in the anthology.

    Dogsbody was super freaky and terrifying, but pretty good.

    Why do I not remember Corpse Eaters? I think I liked it but it’s totally gone.

    Beth Revis needs to write something that’s not Across the Universe. I’ve read her in like three anthologies and it’s always that world. Actually, that’s a pet peeve. DO SOMETHING NEW FOR AN ANTHOLOGY. DO NOT JUST GRAB SOME SCRAP OF ONE OF YOUR BOOKS THAT WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH AND GOT CUT. UGH.

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