Mini Reviews: Edgar Allan Poe #1

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Hello, dearings! I’m alive yet again =D I have been making some solid progress on my readings, which brings us here today: MORE MINI REVIEWS! This time, our theme is Edgar Allan Poe, as I’m reading this pretty and giant book with his main works =) I’m not done yet, hence the ‘part 1’ deal, haha!

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Just remembering that the mini reviews deal is a combination of inspirations from Cait, of The Paper Fury, and from Lindsey, of @thepagemistress, and that I do those with books that: a) I really liked, but the book didn’t change my life; b) regardless of my feelings, were too short for a complete review; c) regardless of my feelings, weren’t unforgettable.

In this post, you’ll find mini reviews for these Edgar Allan Poe’s books:

  • The Pit and the Pendulum

  • The Fall of the House of Usher

  • The Black Cat

  • The Cask of Amontillado

  • The Masque of the Red Death

*~.The Pit and the Pendulum.~*

From Edgar Allan Poe

Rating: 4 stars

Reading period: Oct. 24th to Nov. 2nd, 2017

Format: hardcover

Source: book won as a birthday gift from an offline friend

Release date: 1842

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The blackness of eternal night encompassed me. The intense darkness oppressed and stifled me so that I struggled for breath.

Having been condemned to death by the Spanish Inquisition, the narrator descends into a kind of hell. Dizzy with weakness and fainting with fear, he experiences such torments that death itself would be welcome. What troubles him most is the eternal question: how will he die? Toledo Prison is notorious for the torture of the condemned. What minds have dreamed up the terror of the pit in the center of the cell? What is the significance of the painted figure of Time with his menacing pendulum? Why do the walls glow with heat?

Experience with the narrator the intensity of his suffering when death seems inevitable but its form uncertain. Can anything, or anybody, help him?

PROS

Let’s start this patch of reviews by stating that Edgar Allan Poe is a genius when it comes to mind games. All the stories I have read from him so far have it at some point and he is brilliant. The Pit and The Pendulum is a perfect example, told in a first person narrative the struggles of the main character, but we never know just how much of what we’re told is true. It’s marvelous!

Also, Poe knows how to build the right atmosphere like few do: you start the story rolling your eyes at him, but then you blink and you simply. Can’t. Release. The. Book. You have to know what will happen, you have to finish the story. YOU WON’T HAVE PEACE OF MIND IF YOU LEAVE IT HANGING!

Now that this is out of the way, let’s talk about this particular story. The Pit and The Pendulum created the atmosphere and you really want to understand in which kind of fresh hell the narrator got himself into. The scenery is explained in detail, but not to the extent of boring the reader. During the whole tale, you’ll feel as if you’re standing right next to this poor unnamed bastard, suffering his awful destiny along with him. It’s magical, in a bizarre way.

CONS

Unfortunately, there is a little problem with this tale: its end. No spoilers, don’t worry, but Poe builds the atmosphere with all the care of the world to end the tale with no emotion whatsoever. It was quite disappointing.

RECOMMENDED FOR

Lovers of classics and terror/horror! ❤

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*~.The Fall of the House of Usher.~*

From Edgar Allan Poe

Rating: 5 stars

Reading period: Nov. 2nd to 3rd, 2017

Format: hardcover

Source: book won as a birthday gift from an offline friend

Release date: 1839

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Dive into this classic from the singular mind of Edgar Allan Poe, who is widely regarded as the master of short horror fiction.

“The Fall of the House of Usher” recounts the terrible events that befall the last remaining members of the once-illustrious Usher clan before it is – quite literally – rent asunder.

With amazing economy, Poe plunges the reader into a state of deliciously agonizing suspense. It’s a must-read for fans of the golden era of horror writing.

PROS

This tale has become one of my favorites from Poe, along The Tell-Tale Heart and William Wilson. Just as it happened with The Pit and The Pendulum, this was my first time reading this particular tale from Poe and it surprised me beyond what I thought possible!

The character construction was flawless as always, the story ended at the perfect point for that quick and sharp intake of breath from the reader, and left just the right amount of loose ends to freak us until our graves. I could feel the soul of the House of the Usher family as Poe described it and I don’t know how I feel about it, haha! It’s wonderful, sure, but a bit too scary too, ugh!!

I can’t wait to read this again during a storm or a windy night, because I’m one of those people that just loves to improve the mood ;D

CONS

There were some parts that would be more scarier if Poe had the trouble to use more words – the last scene happened too quickly, as if Poe was out of paper or something. I think that a lingered climax could have benefited the tale even more 🙂

RECOMMENDED FOR

Lovers of classics and terror/horror! ❤

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*~.The Black Cat.~*

From Edgar Allan Poe

Rating: 4 stars

Reading period: November 9th, 2017

Format: hardcover

Source: book won as a birthday gift from an offline friend

Release date: 1843

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“The Black Cat” is one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most memorable stories. The tale centers around a black cat and the subsequent deterioration of a man. The story is often linked with “The Tell-Tale Heart” because of the profound psychological elements these two works share.

[ps: this is one of the worst summaries I have ever read, lucky Edgar that we all know a little about who he is when deciding to pick up his works…]

PROS

This particular tale was a re-read for me, as the last time I got to it… Well, I think I was still on Junior High! =O IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG, I’M SO SORRY MR. POE!! >///<

The story isn’t quite just as I remembered – I think my brain took the original tale and twisted it, making it sound way more scarier than it really is. Or maybe my Junior High self found this too scary at the time – who knows. The point is that it seemed a whole knew story for me and it was great! I had the opportunity of discovering The Black Cat all over again ❤

CONS

This time, the con isn’t on Poe, but on my brain. As I remembered of the story in a completely twisted way, the actual version didn’t managed to move my emotions. I was a little surprised at some events that I couldn’t recall, but no pumping hearts and nail biting.

RECOMMENDED FOR

Lovers of classics and terror/horror! ❤

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*~.The Cask of Amontillado.~*

From Edgar Allan Poe

Rating: 4 stars

Reading period: Nov. 9th, 2017

Format: hardcover

Source: book won as a birthday gift from an offline friend

Release date: 1846

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“The Cask of Amontillado” (sometimes spelled “The Casque of Amontillado”) is a short story, written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in the November 1846 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

The story is set in a nameless Italian city in an unspecified year (possibly sometime during the eighteenth century) and concerns the deadly revenge taken by the narrator on a friend who he claims has insulted him. Like several of Poe’s stories, and in keeping with the 19th-century fascination with the subject, the narrative revolves around a person being buried alive – in this case, by immurement.

PROS

The Cask of Amontillado was another completely new tale for me. I had never heard of it and my life wasn’t complete without it – yet again, Poe play mind games with the reader, but in another fashion. We must decide for ourselves if the narrator’s friend actually deserves his destiny. If a social offense without physical injury can strike one’s ego to the point that death becomes justified.

It was a good source of reflection – how many times do we wish bad things for the people around us for the most ordinary reasons? I’m not going to lie: I’d love to see some people that I know trapped forever behind a cemented wall, but I would never do it.

Just in case, if you see me carrying my weight in cement around the town, please call my therapist, thank you!

[laughter]

CONS

Yet again, the end of the tale loses a little of the atmosphere that led to the climax…

RECOMMENDED FOR

Lovers of classics and terror/horror! ❤

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*~.The Masque of the Red Death.~*

From Edgar Allan Poe

Rating: 3 stars

Reading period: Nov. 8th to 9th, 2017

Format: hardcover

Source: book won as a birthday gift from an offline friend

Release date: 1842

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The story follows Prince Prospero’s attempts to avoid a dangerous plague known as the Red Death by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, has a masquerade ball within seven rooms of his abbey, each decorated with a different color.

In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through each of the rooms.

The story follows many traditions of Gothic fiction and is often analyzed as an allegory about the inevitability of death, though some critics advise against an allegorical reading. Many different interpretations have been presented, as well as attempts to identify the true nature of the titular disease.

PROS

Another new tale for me, completely build on a metaphor. At first, The Masque of The Red Death seems a short and pointless story about a prince that had it coming for him, but Poe goes beyond that (as always).

This particular tale portrays the power of one’s destiny, just like the Greek Mythology used to. The prince in the story did his best to escape his fate and ignore what was coming for him, but death had been trapped inside his house from the moment his gates were closed – this is the true meaning behind the red and black room.

It’s pure art, if you ask this panda.

CONS

Once again, the end. I’m sure that, at the time, it was quite scandalous and mortifying, but nowadays, it was just full of frustrated expectations.

RECOMMENDED FOR

Lovers of classics and terror/horror! ❤

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 ~*~

And we’re done! Phew, so many books and so little time!! Thank you soooo much for reading! Hope I could pick your interest for one or two of these babies =)

With love,

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