Booklist Reviews

The future is bleak but love endures in this collection of dystopian tales from nine popular YA authors. All the standard dystopian trappings are here, so much so that several stories form an indistinguishable haze of corrupt governments and environmental ruin. But there are some stories that create more unusual futures. Holder's "Pale Rider" reads like the first section of a hallucinatory novel and involves a girl who discovers her gift for finding lost things in a world filled with the lost. Marr's "Corpse Eaters" has teens looking for a safe haven from the religious followers of a Lovecraftian god. Caine's excellent "Dogsbody" has a strong narrative voice and doesn't shy away from a grim but strangely joyful ending. Fans of Revis' novels will enjoy seeing the character Orion as a teenager in "Love Is a Choice." The stories are tied together by a belief in the power of relationships to create hope, and though the collection is uneven, it has something for anyone who loves a good world-gone-wrong scenario. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

From the perspective of leading female authors, this collection of nine short stories offers varied examples of what dystopic futures may resemble. A brief introduction from editors Marr and Armstrong adds context. Inconsistent quality limits impact, but fans of dystopias will likely appreciate the wide-reaching explorations of the concept in short fiction.

School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—This collection of dystopian short stories features some of the genre's greatest voices along with the work of popular paranormal romance authors. The nine original tales all center on themes of revolution, class wars, and romance. Standouts include Veronica Roth's "Hearken," in which musical prodigies are schooled to hear the life songs-or death songs-of individuals with the help of an implant, Margaret Stohl's "Necklace of Raindrops," a lyrical piece about the value of truly living; and Rachel Caine's "Dogsbody," a tale of corporate control gone wrong. Along with selections by Beth Revis and Carrie Ryan, these pieces move quickly, make good use of the limited word count, and are likely to stick with readers. However, other offerings-Kelley Armstrong's "Branded," Nancy Holder's "Pale Rider," Melissa Marr's "Corpse Eaters," and Kami Garcia's "Burn 3"-are forgettable due to predictability, far-reaching plots, and unbelievable circumstances. All in all, the action is fast paced and the variety of storytelling tones appealing, making this an ideal addition to libraries in which dystopian and paranormal romance books are popular.—Jennifer Furuyama, Pendleton Public Library, OR

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