A review by readyourbookshelf
Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women by Nadia Bulkin

challenging dark hopeful mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


ARC from NetGalley
Pub Day: 3/23/23

I love horror stories, but I have only been consuming them since I met my husband 12 years ago. A lot of those stories have been by writers, directors, and game designers who are all men and mostly white men. In 2020 I realized I had never read a horror novel by a woman and set out to fix that. A few months ago as I was browsing through NetGalley I saw Black Cranes with the tagline, “stories of unquiet women.” I requested it immediately. This is a horror story collection by Asian women and it was so fun to read.

Giving compiled short story collections a single star rating is tough and there are too many for me to rate them individually in an IG post, so I’ll just briefly run down why I gave the book, as a whole, 5 stars. 

Every story was well written. While I might find some stories more compelling than others, none of the writing itself was subpar. Each tale had a unique voice and interesting characters. A few of the stories ended too soon in my opinion, but that just means I need to seek out those author’s other works.

It was well compiled. The editors that put this collection together made really good decisions on which stories to pick and how to order them in the book. I never got whiplash from the ending of one story and the beginning of another and that is really important when trying to string together a bunch of different stories, with different styles and different points of view. I think it was masterfully done.

Finally there are so many different types of stories. There are tales of folk monsters set in the past. Tales of folk monsters set in the present. There are sci-fi tales of transhumanism gone wrong. There is even a zombie story and an addition to the Lovecraft mythos. There is something for everyone. I highly recommend this collection.