Overall I think this collection of stories was good. Matheson is so skilled in writing vivid descriptions and his use of impressive diction is superb. However, I found that most of the stories had great descriptions, but not much plot so the idea was interesting but there wasn't any real story behind it. For the most part it seemed that Matheson struggled to find a balance between keeping the reader satisfied and keeping the reader confused in order to engage him or her. Most of the stories I either found myself completely confused by or feeling bored because they were so predictable. It seemed Matheson either left it open-ended and unsatisfying or beat the story into the ground with repetition. Matheson has a true gift of creating alternative worlds throughout his writing, but a good number of them have little to no plot.
1. "I Am Legend"- (3 stars) At first I was really into the story. Matheson did a great job of creating a three-dimensional character who was interesting even though he was alone. However, throughout the middle it seemed like Matheson tried to hard. The story felt strained and boring. The end was okay; it was satisfying and poetic with some great points regarding humanity. Overall, I liked it and it was still better than the movie.
2. "Buried Talents" (1 star) This is one of the stories that I found unsatisfactory and confusing. The descriptions were amazing, but the story didn't really go anywhere. Not much plot and not very exciting. Too confusing for me to really get into.
3. "The Near Departed" (1 star) While this was a really brief story, the ending was very predictable. Not enough of a twist to really make it an interesting read.
4. "Prey" (2 stars) This one was okay. Again, I really liked the descriptions. But on the whole, it was a standard horror story. Interesting plot but dragged on a little too long with endless descriptions.
5. "Witch War" (2 stars) Despite the descriptions, I was pretty bored throughout this story. Pretty much just description and no real plot.
6. "Dance of the Dead" (3 stars) This one was pretty cool. I liked the story, but it didn't really go anywhere.
7. "Dress of White Silk" (2 stars) Another slightly confusing tale. Interesting narration. A lot of filling in the blanks as to the narrator's background. Okay twisted ended.
8. "Mad House" (3 stars) Very drawn out, but with a good idea for a story. Similar to "Prey", I feel this story was drowned out by descriptions. Great world development, but not enough plot to back it up.
9. "The Funeral" (3 stars) Cool story. Nice descriptions. Nothing amazing though.
10. "From Shadowed Places" (2 stars) Pretty stereotypical story of cultural relativism. The question of race popped up, but was never really addressed. There was a deep feeling of Otherness when characters who were black were described. Interesting story.
11. "Person to Person" (4 stars) This was by far my favorite story in this book. It contained the perfect balance of confusion and satisfaction. I absolutely loved it. While I wouldn't say it makes the whole book worth reading, I would highly recommend this story to anyone.