Watch the world burn: SHARDS AND ASHES edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong

Posted 20 February, 2013 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 19 Comments

YA Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian Short Stories
384 pages, paperback
Available now (February 2013)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review copy provided by author

Gripping original stories of dystopian worlds from nine New York Times bestselling authors, edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong.

The world is gone, destroyed by human, ecological, or supernatural causes. Survivors dodge chemical warfare and cruel gods; they travel the reaches of space and inhabit underground caverns. Their enemies are disease, corrupt corporations, and one another; their resources are few, and their courage is tested.

Powerful original dystopian tales from nine bestselling authors offer bleak insight, prophetic visions, and precious glimmers of light among the shards and ashes of a ruined world.

I think I’ve read more novellas and short stories this year than in all my other reading years combined. So many authors that I really love are producing bridge novels — novels that bridge a time span before, between or after points in a series — that I just can’t resist. And they’re good. Really, really good. (Of course, there are some not-so-fabulous ones but, for the most part, they’re really good.)

Two of my rockstar authors, Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong, got together a whole pile of fabulous YA authors to put together a collection of post-apocalyptic short stories revolving around the theme “shards and ashes”. Dark and at times depressing, the stories also held a glimmer of hope for humanity in worlds gone horribly awry. Of all the stories, my two favorites were by Margaret Stohl and Melissa Marr.

NECKLACE OF RAINDROPS by Margaret Stohl: At birth, everyone is given a necklace that represents their life. They can choose to spend the drops on the necklace to live the high life, travel the world, do crazy things. Then, when they have only one left…they take the drop, leaping from great heights to their death. Or they can choose to hoard the drops and live forever, guarding their treasure like dragons. Jai’s entire family is dead, having spent their last drops, but she holds on to hers as if they’re a life raft, unwilling and unable to let her drops go. Until she meets Z, who convinces her to live.

CORPSE EATERS by Melissa Marr: A god has come to Earth and taken up residence. He gathers strength as more people believe in him. He is the devourer of corpses and his followers will do anything to keep him fed. Harmony is part of the rebellion, killing acolytes and attempting to cut off the god’s food supply. Since the death of her sister, she’s become even more reckless with her life, determined to take down as many followers as she can but her partner is unwilling to sit by and let it happen.

HARKEN by Veronica Roth: The story of a girl with perfect pitch and the potential to be a Harkener, one who hears the song of someone’s life or that of their death. Darya has a choice to make: does she want to hear the songs of life or death? In a world where fanatics plant bio-bombs everywhere in an effort to hurry along the end of humanity, music has become exponentially important. 

BRANDED by Kelley Armstrong: When supernaturals appeared on the scene, the end came swiftly. Scientists played with supernatural DNA, creating all types of creatures, creatures that eventually overran the human population, forcing them to cower behind impenetrable walls. When Rayne’s boyfriend is discovered to have werewolf blood, he’s branded and exiled from the fortress but Rayne has a plan.

DOGSBODY by Rachel Caine: People from his part of town don’t live long but when Zay becomes a Dogsbody, he does what he has to survive, working his way up through the ranks until he’s face to face with the man who sent down the order to kill thousands. Now, he has a choice to make: does he kill him or does he work with him to take down the greater evil?

PALE RIDER by Nancy Holder: The world is turning to ashes, disappearing with no explanation. Dana runs into Alex, who claims to need her and to know something about what’s going on. Magic is in  the air.

BURN 3 by Kami Garcia: Goodbye, Ozone. Hello, world-on-fire. With the ozone gone, the world is dying a slow, painful death. Despite precautions, everyone gets burned. Phoenix has done her level best to keep her sister safe but it’s not enough. She’s kidnapped and Phoenix must risk the underground to find her before the Skinners get her.

LOVE IS A CHOICE by Beth Revis: For fans of Revis’s series, this story tells the tale of Orion, his escape from Eldest and the choices he makes along the way to change the order of things.

MIASMA by Carrie Ryan: Water levels rose, the world is drowning in toxic sludge and gasses that cause disease and death. When the doctors and their plague eaters come to town, everyone hopes their loved ones won’t be discovered and taken away.

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19 Responses to “Watch the world burn: SHARDS AND ASHES edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong”

  1. Would you believe it when I say I have yet to read a singly Anthologie? I’m so not of a fan of short stories… I wand to really dig into the story and with short stories .. once you are into a story it’s already over…

    But.. I know that I am missing out on good stories… Oh and I LOVE Melissa Marr so freaking much .. *sigh*

    • I can believe it. I really didn’t read many anthologies until just the last couple of years. And I still do prefer a full-on story because, like you, I love to dig in & live it!


  2. AHHHHH I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THIS MARY!!!! That is a heck of an author lineup and given my love for all things post-apocalyptic, this has quickly become a highly coveted read for me:) Sounds like all the stories are really fascinating, these authors imaginations never fail to impress me. My brain just doesn’t work like that!

  3. *flails* I really want to read this now! I’m not a huge anthology reader, but I certainly love dystopian books. AND, the necklace story sounds wicked interesting!

  4. Oooh, I’m super excited to read this one! The necklace story sounds especially interesting. And I pretty much love anything Marr writes, so I’m sure I’ll love hers. Plus I get Veronica Roth and Carrie Ryan and Beth Revis stories? Oh, this is SO happening.

    I agree with you—there are so many amazing e-novellas and bridge stories this year! I’ve never read so many short stories for fun before. As long as the quality stays high, I’d love to see more authors doing these.

    • I know — can you believe how many awesome authors are a part of this? I love every single one!!

      Really hope the quality stays high with the novellas/bridges. They’re just satisfying enough, especially when there’s a year between books!

  5. I believe I got this one but I wasn’t exactly sure what to think. I’m definitely more excited for it now though! I’m curious to see how they pull off a dystopian in such a short story.

  6. I got this one, read Kelley Armstrong’s story (which contained werewolves–yay!) and set it aside again. I plan to get to the other stories eventually, but I really wanted it for KA’s contribution.