Book Review: The Raven and Selected Short Stories

October 31, 2015 5 Exclamations!!!, Book Reviews, Horror 1

I received this book for free from AudioBook Reviewer in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: The Raven and Selected Short StoriesThe Raven and Selected Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Various, Stefan Rudnicki
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on April 15th 2012
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot, Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 8 hrs and 25 mins
Genres: Horror, Horror & Ghost Stories
Source: AudioBook Reviewer
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Now the inspiration for a major motion picture starring John Cusack, these twelve tales of mystery and terror are here brought vividly to life by Blackstone Audio. The title work in this collection is widely regarded as the most famous of Edgar Allan Poe's writings. The inventor of the modern detective story, Poe was an expert at weaving suspense and horror into tales that thrill and chill. Included here are "The Raven," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Black Cat," "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," "Hop-Frog," "The Mystery of Marie Rog t," and "The Purloined Letter


My thoughts

I want to say with Halloween right around the corner that this was the perfect read but to be honest IT IS PERFECT AT ANY TIME!

Yes, caps were needed, and here is why.

I love Edgar Allan Poe but I haven’t read his stories in quite some time. My daughter did  a play for The Telltale Heart a few years ago and since that story has been my favorite. But this collection has all the greats! The Cask of Amontillado is another favorite and of course Mask of the Red Death!

There are many that I had not read, however, and I was pleasantly surprised (but not really, I mean this is Edgar Allan Poe), that they were just as great as my long time favorites.

This starts with The Raven, a tale that many already know. I had chills listening to the fantastic story and great narration. This was able to bring it to life like never before.

What really did it for me was not only the stories but the narration was better than perfect! For many of these stories there needs to be a crescendo, that feeling of anticipation that builds and builds until you want to explode! And explode the narrators do, with pizzazz.  With the Telltale Heart especially, that crescendo has to hit perfectly, and the narration was spot on. I could feel the terror rising up until finally it all breaks over.

I have listened to quite a few audio books and there are few that get to the end and I have to double check to make sure I listened to the entire thing. This is one of those. Of course there are some stories that do not quite hit as well as The Raven or Cask of Amontillado, but this is definitely going to be one that I listen to again. And again. And again.


The Author


The name Poe brings to mind images of murderers and madmen, premature burials, and mysterious women who return from the dead. His works have been in print since 1827 and include such literary classics as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Raven,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” This versatile writer’s oeuvre includes short stories, poetry, a novel, a textbook, a book of scientific theory, and hundreds of essays and book reviews. He is widely acknowledged as the inventor of the modern detective story and an innovator in the science fiction genre, but he made his living as America’s first great literary critic and theoretician. Poe’s reputation today rests primarily on his tales of terror as well as on his haunting lyric poetry.

Just as the bizarre characters in Poe’s stories have captured the public imagination so too has Poe himself. He is seen as a morbid, mysterious figure lurking in the shadows of moonlit cemeteries or crumbling castles. This is the Poe of legend. But much of what we know about Poe is wrong, the product of a biography written by one of his enemies in an attempt to defame the author’s name.

The real Poe was born to traveling actors in Boston on January 19, 1809. Edgar was the second of three children. His other brother William Henry Leonard Poe would also become a poet before his early death, and Poe’s sister Rosalie Poe would grow up to teach penmanship at a Richmond girls’ school. Within three years of Poe’s birth both of his parents had died, and he was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances Valentine Allan in Richmond, Virginia while Poe’s siblings went to live with other families. Mr. Allan would rear Poe to be a businessman and a Virginia gentleman, but Poe had dreams of being a writer in emulation of his childhood hero the British poet Lord Byron. Early poetic verses found written in a young Poe’s handwriting on the backs of Allan’s ledger sheets reveal how little interest Poe had in the tobacco business.

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