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Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron

Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron is a YA anthology of some of the biggest names in fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal novels, edited by Jonathan Strahan.

The pointy hat, the cauldron, the black cat: all recognizable symbols of a witch.

We’ve read, seen, or heard about them since we were tiny tots – from Disney movies, to books, and beyond.

Here we get EIGHTEEN new, fresh short stories from various best-selling, acclaimed authors such as Garth Nix, Holly Black, Jim Butcher, Diana Peterfreund, Peter S. Beagle, Tim Pratt, Isobelle Carmody and others.

Sounded exciting to me!

Under My Hat starts off with Diana Peterfreund – who hasn’t written a thing I haven’t liked yet. Her story, Stray Magic, was sweet. I felt the direness of the situation, and it was well-written… but it felt too short. Which is why I really can’t give details of these stories – it’ll pretty much give it all away!

Essentially, I felt like it was the start to an interesting story – not a complete one. This theme was ongoing throughout the collection, in my opinion.

Many of the stories were thought-provoking, but occasionally flat. More than I’d like I felt like a certain oomph was missing. But this was not a consistent issue.

The Education of a Witch by Ellen Klages was creepy, The Carved Forest by Tim Pratt was spooky, and Burning Castles by M. Rickert was perplexing but powerful.

And there were a few that did feel truly satisfying as a short story. One was Payment Due by Frances Hardinge, a clever revenge tale. And the other was Jim Butcher’s highly entertaining, witty, supernatural story featuring his famous wizard Harry Dresden – B is for Bigfoot. That was fun!! In fact, I am determined to start reading Butcher’s Harry Dresden series NOW!

For some reason, the other stories didn’t grab my interest all that much. Yet, I had a feeling that Under My Hat would make an excellent novel to grab and just read a random story from when in a relaxed setting. I have a sense that these tales will come across stronger from a re-read.

I’ll admit that I have numerous stacks of books waiting to be read – and sometimes my impatience can get the best of me. That’s why I strongly suggest to check out Under My Hat – it had a lot of stories that are a blast, that are eerie, and sharp!

What’s better than a little bit of everything?

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