Thursday, 29 August 2013

Review: Tales of the Macabre by Edgar Allan Poe

Tales of the Macabre is a collection of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, combined with gorgeous new illustrations. This was my first Poe experience and I have to say I am not a fan. I really enjoyed The Tell-Tale Heart – I thought it was atmospheric, tense, creepy and clever. But the rest of the stories I thought were either boring or downright awful.

The Black Cat in particular horrified me, and not in a good way. I just can’t handle animal cruelty. It truly sickened me. Instead of being deliciously terrified I was just offended and upset. I nearly stopped reading the book then and there.

I’m glad I continued for The Tell-Tale Heart, but not much else. Berenice was my next favourite but I didn’t love it. While there was some exquisite language scattered throughout the stories, overall I found them quite slow, predictable and incredibly repetitive. I got so over seeing a beautiful, ill woman in every story, who the protagonist loved or hated or both. It was very tedious to have basically the same thing happen again and again.

I did really appreciate the illustrations in this edition. They’re creepy and beautiful and complement the stories really well. Unfortunately the ebook I had was not well formatted for my kindle, and half of the illustrations – and some of the stories – were chopped up and all over the place across pages. This didn’t help my enjoyment of the book.

After finishing Tales of the Macabre, I looked up The Raven, to see if Poe’s other famous work (read: as featured on The Simpsons) was as good as the hype. And it is. I loooooved it. Maybe I should stick to Poe’s poetry and stay away from his prose. It’s just not my cup of tea.

Rating: 2.5/5

Fine Print
Published: 2012, Archaia Entertainment
Source: Netgalley
Get It:  Book Depository


  1. Aww, I'm sorry you weren't a fan of his short stories, Belle. I'm a big Poe fan myself so this book sounds right up my alley. I'm guessing that a hard copy is preferable to the e-book version then? Can't wait to check it out! The Tell-Tale Heart was one of my favourites as well!

    1. If you're a Poe fan I'd definitely rec this book to you - especially a hardcopy! The illos are gorgeous.

  2. Sorry this one didn't work out for you- it was mentioned in a book I read recently, so I'd been interested in reading it myself (never read any Poe either) and I think I still will try, but I don't think I'd push myself through each piece if I wasn't enjoying it. The one you mention particularly disliking is making me hesitant. /:
    I enjoyed your honest review, though.

    1. I think Poe is someone you either love or hate.