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Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite
Menacing Mysteries of Mayhem and Magic by Grace Gillissen is a collection of short stories and poems that would be a great treat for Halloween. The collection starts with ‘The Beast in the Witch's Garden’, where nine-year-old Joey discovers a mysterious beast that can grant wishes in a cage in his new neighborhood. What he doesn’t expect is that a granted wish comes with a hefty price. One of my favorites is ‘Pumpkin Shu’, a wonderful poem about the Old Lady and little Miss Shu, who turns into a pumpkin every night. Another favorite of mine is ‘The Sideshow’. It’s about Amber, also known as Willow the Tree Girl, a teenager featured in a freak show. She longs for something more than what the circus can provide so, together with her friends, she leaves to find a better place.
It’s a mix of fantasy, adventure and supernatural elements. Gillissen employs evocative prose that engages you, making this collection the kind of book you want to stay up long nights with, just for a little extra scare in the dark. The characters and settings are memorable and rich enough so that they would definitely live on in readers’ minds long after they finish reading. In a nutshell, young and old will find Menacing Mysteries of Mayhem and Magic an absolute delight to read. It has some of the nostalgic charm that reminds me of the Brothers Grimm. I look forward to reading more of Gillissen’s work; no doubt she has more entertaining, dark and quirky reams of tales to tell.