Book Reviews

Review: His Hideous Heart edited by Dahlia Adler

I couldn’t imagine a book that was more on brand for me. Edgar Allen Poe re-tellings, edited by a fantastic human, full of some of my favorite and most anticipated authors? His Hideous Heart is made for me. I was unbelievably lucky to get an early copy and I devoured it whole.


Edgar Allan Poe may be a hundred and fifty years beyond this world, but the themes of his beloved works have much in common with modern young adult fiction. Whether the stories are familiar to readers or discovered for the first time, readers will revel in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tales, and how they’ve been brought to life in 13 unique and unforgettable ways.

Contributors include Kendare Blake (reimagining “Metzengerstein”), Rin Chupeco (“The Murders in the Rue Morge”), Lamar Giles (“The Oval Portrait”), Tessa Gratton (“Annabel Lee”), Tiffany D. Jackson (“The Cask of Amontillado”), Stephanie Kuehn (“The Tell-Tale Heart”), Emily Lloyd-Jones (“The Purloined Letter”), Hillary Monahan (“The Masque of the Red Death”), Marieke Nijkamp (“Hop-Frog”), Caleb Roehrig (“The Pit and the Pendulum”), and Fran Wilde (“The Fall of the House of Usher”)


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

His Hideous Heart retains the magic of anthology, while bringing new life to Edgar Allen Poe. Part of why I love anthologies, is that not only do they offer you experiences to become closer to your favorite authors, but also to discover new loves. And what a subject. I can remember my first experiences with Edgar Allen Poe in middle school. Being absolutely transfixed by his writing, his characters, the atmosphere. Obsessed with the Gothic imagery and haunting desires.

These stories retain the eeriness, the creepiness, the same feeling of curiosity, and breathes new settings, characters, and technology. Nothing is as it seems and it only makes me want to go re-read the originals. Re-tellings will consistently captivate me – how much you retain from the original, what themes you bring forth, and which elements you eliminate. This anthology was like watching my wildest fantasies come true.


Part of what makes Poe’s writing such a literary gem is the melding of atmosphere with the characterization. I don’t think anyone can deny the power of the beating heart, the crushing feelings of guilt, our desires for revenge. The ambition to chase our future and defy destiny. I adored the twists in the tales we know and love, how decisions become quiet and heartbreaking, of the new consequences to these older decisions. The strongest emotions play out on the pages and echo in the words of Edgar Allen Poe.

Find His Hideous Heart on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


What other famous authors do you want an anthology for?

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