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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

A sweet little cat drives a man to insanity and murder.... The grim death known as the plague roams a masquerade ball dressed in red.... A dwarf seeks his final revenge on his captors.... A sister calls to her beloved twin from beyond the grave.... Prepare yourself. You are about to enter a world where you will be shocked, terrified, and, though you'll be too scared to admit it at first, secretly thrilled. Here are four tales -- The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, Hop-Frog, and The Fall of the House of Usher -- by the master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. The original tales have been ever so slightly dismembered -- but, of course, Poe understood dismemberment very well. And he would shriek in ghoulish delight at Gris Grimly's gruesomely delectable illustrations that adorn every page. So prepare yourself. And keep the lights on.…

Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Madness

by Edgar Allen Poe, Gris Grimly

Overall Book Review:

Best known for his tales of terror, author Edgar Allan Poe is grand master of the malevolent narrative. Teamed with the dark whimsical illustrations of artist/storyteller Gris Grimly, four of Poe’s classics are given a graphically enhanced depiction in Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Madness. So what can you expect when you combine gothic Poe with Grimly’s grim contemporary illustrations? Pure elated mania, exactly what a Poe fan wants, no?

Poe’s stories are composed in an abridged format to fit into the 135 page novel that is fancifully filled with Grimly’s grotesque luster of full colored artwork. Fanatical devotees be advised, this abridgment in no way dismembers Poe’s original production. As any madman can attest, Poe’s works are pure genius anyway you slay the cat and Grimly’s art only plays tribute to that genius.

Gris Grimly’s illustrations, though not entirely similar, are comparable to Tim Burton’s cartoon classics, The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride, which are a slightly weird mixtures of jolly and macabre. A perfect pairing for young Poe fans, or the more mature who are looking for a refurbished version (not that Poe’s works would ever need alteration!). Grim and Poe compliment rather than hinder each other’s individual styles of work, and perform together to make a truly peculiar object d’art, both seen and heard.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation.

Violence/Gore:  Character maims an animal with a knife; (brief scene) character kills an animal; character’s house burns down (no casualties); (brief scene) character murders a loved one; brief creepy depiction of a corpse; threat of hanging; brief creepy description of “death” killing its victims; character is pushed with force; (brief scene) characters are burned alive; (brief eerie scene) corpse-like character attacks another character; (non-detailed scene) house is destroyed, no mention of casualties.

Sex/Nudity: None

Mature Subject Matter:

Murder(s), death(s), mental illness/instability, animal abuse/cruelty.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters drink alcohol in 3 stories; one character is hinted at being an alcoholic; brief mention of opium.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I appreciate books of all genres, but my main squeeze is fiction. Depending on my mood it could be romance or suspense; lately I’ve been courting fantasy. When I don’t have my nose in a book, I am locating tasty paleo recipes, writing in-coherent poetry, and crafting with paper.