Review: Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages

Wicked Wonders

Goodreads Synopsis: 

The Scott O’Dell award-winning author of The Green Glass Sea returns with her second collection: a new decade of lyrical stories with vintage flair.

Inside of these critically-acclaimed tales are memorable characters who are smart, subversive, and singular. A rebellious child identifies with wicked Maleficent instead of Sleeping Beauty. Best friends Anna and Corry share a last melancholy morning before emigration to another planet. A prep-school girl requires more than mere luck to win at dice with a faerie. Ladies who lunch keeping dividing that one last bite of dessert in the paradox of female politeness.

Whether on a habitat on Mars or in a boardinghouse in London, discover Ellen Klages’ wicked, wondrous adventures full of brazenness, wit, empathy, and courage.


I generally do not like short story collections. I always feel like I’m missing a piece of the puzzle or not understanding deeper meanings, so, with a few exceptions, I generally end up not loving them. However, I really loved this collection of short stories. They have a fun, vintage feel to them and most of them have some sort of science fiction or fantasy aspect that I adored. Some are happy, some bittersweet, and some are a little dark. Together, they make one wonderful collection.

Some stories, like the Maleficent story mentioned in the synopsis, are quirky and have unexpected happenings. Other stories are quick slices of life from surreal circumstances, like the last day on Earth of a girl who is being forced to move off-planet. Some of the stories were more realistic, but all have this wonderful nostalgic, vintage-y feel to them. Despite the overall feel being the same, each story has its own character, set apart by the writing style. The writing in some stories is also very descriptive–but not in a way that bored or annoyed me (and I’m not a huge of fan of lots of description outside of certain types of writing, like classics).

I also love that a lot of the stories, though they involve magic, make magic a part of our world through ideas and concepts. For instance, there is one story where a woman uses maps as magic. and another where math is magical. While these concepts are realistic, I think we can all agree that adding a small bit of magic to them is attractive, and doesn’t feel unrealistic or weird.

Overall, I really really loved this collection of stories. As someone who doesn’t love short stories, it’s always nice to be reminded that I can like short stories, and that makes me more likely to keep trying out collections that fit my particular brand of story. In this collection, Klages is at times heartbreaking, dark, funny, and whimsical. The stories were hard to put down and really enjoyable to read. If you’re looking for some good stories, this is a great place to look.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

More Information: Goodreads, Amazon, Author Website

What are your favorite short story collections that a non-short story lover might like? Give me some recommendations below!

3 thoughts on “Review: Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages

  1. Hmm. Looking at my blog I see I’ve only posted a few short story collection reviews (although I know I’ve read more than that). I wonder if you might like collections that focus around the same characters.

    For books that would apply to your students I’d recommend Anna Hibiscus (lovely story of an African girl) or any of Ann Cameron’s Julian or Gloria stories (everyday adventures of middle class African American kids).

    For yourself, if you don’t mind something a bit spooky, I’d recommend Ray Bradbury’s The October Country – various tales of a creepy family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s not a bad suggestion about the common characters. I’ll definitely check out the recommendations for my students & for myself. I’ve liked Ray Bradbury before (when I had to read him in school), so I’d be willing to give that a try. Thanks so much!


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