Defy the Dark – Saundra Mitchell

Defy the Dark is an anthology of stories set under the cover of darkness. Written by seventeen Young Adult authors, the stories cover a wide variety of genres, including dystopia, horror, paranormal, romance and crime. I picked this one up for two reasons:

1. It features stories by my perrenial favourites Sarah Rees Brennan and Carrie Ryan.

2. It has a super pretty cover and I am a total sucker for those.

In addition to some great standalone pieces, Defy the Dark also features expanded world stories from Beth Revis’ Across the Universe and Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth series so if you’re a fan of those series I advise you pick up a copy.

It was really hard for me to narrow down the stand out stories for this post so I’ve left it at my Top 6. In no particular order:

Eyes in the Dark by Rachel Hawkins

Very much following the trope of the ‘teens making out in the car’ horror set up but I was still pretty creeped out by the end of it. Not to mention very angry at Kelley for being a total wanker (spoilers).

Stillwater by Valerie Kemp

Every day Pruitt Reese drives the mind-numbing delivery route from his family’s farm around the small town of Stillwater. The only highlight of his day is his neighbour Delilah. Delilah is also on the wrong side of a longstanding family feud and Pruitt knows his romantic notions will never come to pass. But there is something strange about Stillwater and, together, Pruitt and Delilah are going to discover what it is.

Almost Normal by Carrie Ryan

Set in Vista, the town featured in Ryan’s The Dead Tossed Waves, at the start of the zombie apocalypse. Four friends decide to have one last hurrah at the amusement park before the dead descend on their town. Of course, nothing involving zombies ever goes to plan.

Shadowed by Christine Johnson

Esme has lived her whole life in darkness, confined to a tower in her father’s castle thanks to a curse placed on her as a baby. If she ever casts a shadow it turns on her and tries to kill her. She is resigned to a life in the tower until a new (and very handsome) knight arrives to fight in her father’s tournament. Could he be the one to break Esme’s curse?

Where the Light Is by Jackson Pearce

Deep underground a young miner hears a strange knocking sound. Following it he discovers a mysterious girl named Ennor, living in the earth. Although he never sees her they soon become close friends. But trouble is brewing between the miners and Ennor’s family and the pair find themselves caught in the middle.

This Was Ophelia by Tessa Gratton

A beautiful story about being true to youself, not what society expects of you. I was all in for Ophelia/O and Hal’s stuggle to be who they wanted to be. Their love story is wonderful, one of my absolute favourites in this anthology.

4 stars.

Similar reads: After by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Shards and Ashes by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong.

Defy the Dark was published in 2013 by HarperTeen. ISBN: 978-0-06-212353-4.