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Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy

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This short fiction collection from author Harry Connolly combines reprints from magazines and anthologies along with new, previously unpublished fiction, including the TWENTY PALACES novelette “The Hand Made Mask.”


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This short fiction collection from author Harry Connolly combines reprints from magazines and anthologies along with new, previously unpublished fiction, including the TWENTY PALACES novelette “The Hand Made Mask.”

30 review for Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    A nice variety of stories that lean into horror. Nothing really gory.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hobart

    By and large, I am not a fan of short stories. The length is typically frustrating for me -- even when they don't remind me of the various anthologies I had to use in Lit classes throughout my High School and College years. Still, I try every now and then to read some. Finding a good short story is as rewarding -- if not moreso -- than finding a good novel. This is a collection of ten short stories and one novelette -- six of the stories are reprints, the others have been published for the first By and large, I am not a fan of short stories. The length is typically frustrating for me -- even when they don't remind me of the various anthologies I had to use in Lit classes throughout my High School and College years. Still, I try every now and then to read some. Finding a good short story is as rewarding -- if not moreso -- than finding a good novel. This is a collection of ten short stories and one novelette -- six of the stories are reprints, the others have been published for the first time in these pages. The novelette belongs to Connolly's criminally under-appreciated Twenty Palaces series, and would be worth the purchase price for fans of that series. If you've never read that, but are interested in in trying out a variety of new fantasy worlds (including one that has some books to go with it), this is a great investment. There was one story in the batch that I didn't like. But even as I read it, and wasn't enjoying it, I realized there was nothing poorly written/constructed about the story. It just wasn't my thing. I don't care who told the story, or how they did it, Don't Chew Your Food wasn't going to work for me. It's a pretty straight-forward horror kind of thing, and that just doesn't do it for me. That out of the way, let's focus on the pluses. This was a nice little variety pack of stories -- the styles were all over the place, one (Hounds and the Moonlight) read like something the Brothers Grimm would've appreciated, another (Cargo Johnny) felt like it should've been introduced by Rod Serling, and another (Beyond The Game) demonstrated that Connolly can do funny -- which is nice to see (also nice to have a little palate cleanser after all the mayhem and destruction). The One Thing You Can Never Trust is a great introductory story -- in just a few pages we have a political system (or two) unfolded for us, society's way of (not) dealing with a racial divide and a new magic system. All while telling a tidy little crime story. Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths is similarly a great short burst of world building with a fresh magic system -- and some wonderful monsters, both human and not. Great opening paragraphs, grab you and make sure you're along for the ride. The main reason people are going to be picking up this collection is for the Twenty Palaces story: The Home Made Mask. And they are right to do so. I cannot get enough of this series (sadly, I'm a member of a very exclusive club). The fact that Ray and Annalise aren't in the story much doesn't affect that -- this is the strange, creepy, capricious kind of magic at work that makes this series so compelling. Tempted to buy some Power-ball tickets just so I can commission some more of these. I think my favorite story was Lord of Reavers, which is the closest thing to "traditional" fantasy. This tale of an almost super-human swordsman joining up with a band of raiders was great. I felt that I should've seen the conclusion coming sooner than I did, but it was so much fun I'm glad I didn't. I'd read a novel or more starring this character -- easy. Most short story collections are uneven at best, full of ups and downs. Bad Little Girls . . . is an exception -- 1 down, and 10 ups. Can't ask for more than that. You'd do well to give it a try. You can also read this, and other reviews, on my book blog: The Irresponsible Reader

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ozsaur

    The title might fool you into thinking this might be all horror stories, but it really is dark fantasy. If you like the Twenty Palaces series, you'll like this book of short stories. And not just the Twenty Palace story at the end. That one is very good. Very strong POV character who ends up in a bad situation. All of the stories have interesting characters and strong world building. The weakest one would be the "swords and sorcery" one that dragged on too long. A mercenary joins a band of reaver The title might fool you into thinking this might be all horror stories, but it really is dark fantasy. If you like the Twenty Palaces series, you'll like this book of short stories. And not just the Twenty Palace story at the end. That one is very good. Very strong POV character who ends up in a bad situation. All of the stories have interesting characters and strong world building. The weakest one would be the "swords and sorcery" one that dragged on too long. A mercenary joins a band of reavers who have been ravaging the countryside for years. As long as they stay within the rules, the authorities can't touch them. One story was pretty gruesome even though it wasn't graphic. A famous chef finds himself in a dreamland setting where he searches for answers. Overall, I enjoyed the book. I like Harry Connolly's short stories.

  4. 5 out of 5

    S. Christine Blackard

    Harry Connolly makes my day, yet again! Only one critique...I wish it was on audible so I could listen to it all day long. Otherwise, spectacular per usual! Especially love the Twenty Palaces story, The Homemade Mask. I love being surprised and how unexpected it was to live in the head of a predator briefly. No trite black and white. Shades of grey shine like refracted starlight. Once again, to an author who deserves more praise than he could comfortably handle, thank you Harry Connolly for shari Harry Connolly makes my day, yet again! Only one critique...I wish it was on audible so I could listen to it all day long. Otherwise, spectacular per usual! Especially love the Twenty Palaces story, The Homemade Mask. I love being surprised and how unexpected it was to live in the head of a predator briefly. No trite black and white. Shades of grey shine like refracted starlight. Once again, to an author who deserves more praise than he could comfortably handle, thank you Harry Connolly for sharing your AMAZING brain with us all. In all dead seriousness, your name should be legally changed to Harry Five Stars Connolly.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    Frankly I read this because I found it had a 'Twenty Palaces' novella in it. I miss that series so much - genuinely original, dark toned urban fantasy that was well written from start to finish. I really wish that Connolly would publish more instalments. Anyhow, this book is pretty much the norm for a short story collection - a mixed bag, including some unpublished early works and an introduction to each story from the author. A decent read. (Did I mention - more Twenty Palaces, please!) Frankly I read this because I found it had a 'Twenty Palaces' novella in it. I miss that series so much - genuinely original, dark toned urban fantasy that was well written from start to finish. I really wish that Connolly would publish more instalments. Anyhow, this book is pretty much the norm for a short story collection - a mixed bag, including some unpublished early works and an introduction to each story from the author. A decent read. (Did I mention - more Twenty Palaces, please!)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Like all anthologies, a mixed bag but generally good read with a decidedly dark tone.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tabatha Saavedra

    A favorite author His twenty palace society books are wonderful and I loved these stories also, gritty stuff, will keep reading him always

  8. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    There are some really good dark fantasy stories in here. I haven't read the author's more popular works and he included a few novellas in this collection that tie to them somehow. I preferred the other stuff. There are some really good dark fantasy stories in here. I haven't read the author's more popular works and he included a few novellas in this collection that tie to them somehow. I preferred the other stuff.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christine Rains

    A collection of truly dark fantasy stories. True to the style of Harry Connolly with chills, suspense, and horrific twists. My two favorite stories are: "Lord of Reavers" which was gritty epic fantasy featuring a sword-wielding monk and a band of bandits. I saw what was coming, but it didn't take away my enjoyment of it. "Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths" hooked me right off and took me to a nightmare place I least expected. "Hounds and Moonlight" was a wonderfully twisted folktale, and "Beyon A collection of truly dark fantasy stories. True to the style of Harry Connolly with chills, suspense, and horrific twists. My two favorite stories are: "Lord of Reavers" which was gritty epic fantasy featuring a sword-wielding monk and a band of bandits. I saw what was coming, but it didn't take away my enjoyment of it. "Bad Little Girls Die Horrible Deaths" hooked me right off and took me to a nightmare place I least expected. "Hounds and Moonlight" was a wonderfully twisted folktale, and "Beyond the Game" was hilarious. Finally, "The Home Made Mask" made me want so much more. As a Twenty Palaces story, it features little of what we know from other Connolly novels, but it doesn't matter. This story stands on its own with its creepy strangeness that made my skin crawl. Spiders and scorpions keep me from wanting to hike in the desert, but now I've got something else to worry about!

  10. 4 out of 5

    David

    Dark fantasy is fun, and this is more so because of Harry Connolly. I loved the Twenty Palaces novels, and am sad there weren't any more being written. Even though there is only one short in here that is part of Twenty Palaces, I bought the book just for that story. But the rest of the stories were great too. I read a lot of fantasy, and I enjoy it immensely. However reading dark fantasy as it exists in these stories is like a dark secret I keep to myself. People read vampire and werewolf storie Dark fantasy is fun, and this is more so because of Harry Connolly. I loved the Twenty Palaces novels, and am sad there weren't any more being written. Even though there is only one short in here that is part of Twenty Palaces, I bought the book just for that story. But the rest of the stories were great too. I read a lot of fantasy, and I enjoy it immensely. However reading dark fantasy as it exists in these stories is like a dark secret I keep to myself. People read vampire and werewolf stories for the "romantic" parts, but they are in denial. They like the dark parts too. I skip the romance by reading Harry Connolly's books and claim that part of my dark side. You should too. You'll really enjoy it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    There are a lot of great stories in this anthology. Harry Connolly writes darker fantasy, not grimdark, but expect a little violence, or some creatures from beyond. Harry's fans will enjoy a lot of the stories, not just the 20 Palaces story but truthfully several stories have stuck with me even days after I read them. There are a lot of great stories in this anthology. Harry Connolly writes darker fantasy, not grimdark, but expect a little violence, or some creatures from beyond. Harry's fans will enjoy a lot of the stories, not just the 20 Palaces story but truthfully several stories have stuck with me even days after I read them.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    Includes a 20 Palaces story with a cameo by Ray and Annalise, but after you flip to the back and read that, read the rest of the stories too, they're quite good. The excellent writing in the fantasy stories is stoking my anticipation of the author's upcoming fantasy trilogy, The Great Way, whose working title was "Epic Fantasy With No Dull Bits". Includes a 20 Palaces story with a cameo by Ray and Annalise, but after you flip to the back and read that, read the rest of the stories too, they're quite good. The excellent writing in the fantasy stories is stoking my anticipation of the author's upcoming fantasy trilogy, The Great Way, whose working title was "Epic Fantasy With No Dull Bits".

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    Algunos cuentos son buenos, otros no.

  14. 4 out of 5

    John

    There aren't many fantasy writers working today with this sort of unpretentious yet moving style. Connolly crosses settings and tones without missing a step. A book dense with entertainments. There aren't many fantasy writers working today with this sort of unpretentious yet moving style. Connolly crosses settings and tones without missing a step. A book dense with entertainments.

  15. 5 out of 5

    William

    Solid collection of stories, only one of them wasn't that great. A couple of Twenty Palaces stories too. Solid collection of stories, only one of them wasn't that great. A couple of Twenty Palaces stories too.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor With Cats

    I really liked this collection, but "Hounds and Moonlight" is the one I really love. I really liked this collection, but "Hounds and Moonlight" is the one I really love.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pam Hermes

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anne

  19. 5 out of 5

    Books-fly-to-me

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aaron D

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roshanna Pellini

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wesley Burr

  24. 5 out of 5

    Seonaidh

  25. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zachary

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nathanbp

  29. 5 out of 5

    A

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

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