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InCryptid #0.13

Broken Paper Hearts

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Valentine's Day has come to Buckley Township. For Alice, that means cupcakes and paper hearts. For Jonathan, it means sleepless nights and fear, because Fran hasn't come home.

Everything ends eventually. No matter how much you hope that it won't.

Everything ends.

14 pages, ebook

First published February 23, 2015

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About the author

Seanan McGuire

469 books15.5k followers
Hi! I'm Seanan McGuire, author of the Toby Daye series (Rosemary and Rue, A Local Habitation, An Artificial Night, Late Eclipses), as well as a lot of other things. I'm also Mira Grant (www.miragrant.com), author of Feed and Deadline.

Born and raised in Northern California, I fear weather and am remarkably laid-back about rattlesnakes. I watch too many horror movies, read too many comic books, and share my house with two monsters in feline form, Lilly and Alice (Siamese and Maine Coon).

I do not check this inbox. Please don't send me messages through Goodreads; they won't be answered. I don't want to have to delete this account. :(

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5 stars
143 (27%)
4 stars
216 (42%)
3 stars
124 (24%)
2 stars
26 (5%)
1 star
5 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,643 reviews1,512 followers
February 6, 2017

14 pages that tore my heart out, threw it on the ground and then tap danced on it. I didn't know I could cry so much over 14 pages.

I will miss you Fran. I thought I had one more to go before we got here but we didn't. My biggest fear is losing the love of my life and so it was so hard to be with Johnny and Alice when they lost theirs.
Profile Image for Maria Dimitrova.
745 reviews142 followers
February 6, 2017
This really short story (only 8 pages or so) packs an incredible amount of emotions. Predominant of all is the feeling of heartbreak. From the very first sentence the feeling of wrongness, of impending doom envelops you and holds you in it's grip until the end. Because things don't end with finding what has happened to Fran. They end with the broken heart of a little girl, of a man devoted to his wife, of a set of parents that mourn their lost daughter-in-law and for the hearts of their son and granddaughter.
Profile Image for ᴥ Irena ᴥ.
1,652 reviews216 followers
January 3, 2016
Broken Paper Hearts should be part of The Star of New Mexico. Here, I was hit with 'Fran is gone' and nothing more. It is like a very short part of an episode. I can't say I enjoyed Jonathan's realization that she hasn't come back from the woods.

I feel as if I have to justify the rating (since I seem to be the only one reading 'about me' section on readers' profiles). This is an okay story. I am glad I read it because it is part of this family's history, but you really don't get enough of it because it is part of something else. The Star of New Mexico would have been much stronger with this in it (not that it needs it the way it rips your heart and stomps on it).
Profile Image for Sarah.
3,343 reviews1,015 followers
October 17, 2016
What the hell is Seanan McGuire trying to do to me? Yet again she's managed to make me cry in a 14 page short story!

I should have paid more attention to the title because Broken Paper Hearts was a very big clue to what was going to happen and yes it completely broke me. Such a heart wrenching read with events I truly wish had never happened.

The Healy family will never be the same again :o(
Profile Image for Angela.
3,199 reviews371 followers
December 30, 2016
I knew it was coming, watching the dates of all the short stories slowly get closer to this year, but it still hit me - hard and feeling like it came at my blind side.

Devastated doesn't begin to cover it.
Profile Image for Erin (PT).
566 reviews93 followers
April 20, 2015
I'm of two minds about this Incryptid short. On the one hand, it feels terribly unformed and unfinished; there's no real beginning, middle, end to it. On the other hand, that unfinished quality, the abruptness of the whole short adds to the emotional impact and, in that sense, is appropriate for the subject. And the impact is brutal. But I still can't help wishing that there's more to it.
Profile Image for Nichole.
836 reviews19 followers
January 17, 2018
Valentine's Day will never be the same for the Healy's.
Profile Image for Marjolein (UrlPhantomhive).
2,389 reviews51 followers
November 27, 2016
Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

Broken Paper Hearts was very abrupt. It was also very short. While I see this extra settles the abruptness of the terribly events in this story, I was a bit unsettled by it. I knew it had to be coming since I was nearing the end of the short stories, but somehow it still took me by surprise (which it really shouldn't have been considering the title).

I'm not looking forward to reading the last story, The Star of New Mexico, now...
Profile Image for Sophie.
441 reviews161 followers
March 26, 2017
So now we get to the payoff for all the Ominous Foreshadowing in previous stories: Fran dies. She's not very old. Alice is still a kid. It sucks.

This story feels somewhat... perfunctory? I don't know. Like, we never get any real closure on what killed Fran, why it was able to sneak up on her, why it didn't do anything with her body, etc. I feel like Fran has to die For The Story, for Jonathan and Alice's character development and to demonstrate that Cryptozoology Kills People Sometimes, and her death doesn't feel as fleshed out to me as it should. It's almost like a fridging, which is a disservice to a character as wonderful as Fran.
Profile Image for Marie.
513 reviews39 followers
April 1, 2016
I shouldn't have read this. I shouldn't have read this. I really shouldn't have read it. I mean I had to, it was the end of a story I had been reading but I knew what was coming and it broke my heart.
Profile Image for Tessa Hatheway.
37 reviews5 followers
March 9, 2015
From the first sentence of this story, I knew what was coming. Seanan's made no secret about certain details in the Healy-Price family history, and this was no exception, but... Fuck, it still hurts.
Profile Image for L.
890 reviews31 followers
July 6, 2021
Jonathan and Fran Healy

To begin, let me lay out what I will be reviewing here. Seanan McGuire's website has a page entitled Incryptid Short Stories. About two dozen stories are listed here. These stories are also listed as books in the Goodreads Incryptid Series page. Neither of these lists is complete: McGuire has also published many stories on her Patreon site. They can be found in the Bibliography page on her site. I don't know if the Bibliography is complete with respect to Patreon stories.

Most of the stories on the Short Stories page are available for free download there. Some of them, however, were published in anthologies, and to get these you need to buy or borrow the book. For access to the Patreon stories you need to sign up as a supporter at Patreon. The minimum charge is $1.50. That's a recurring charge, but you only need to sign up once for access to all currently available stories. The Short Stories page is organized by the primary characters and time period. Here I will be reviewing the stories listed under the heading Jonathan Healy and Frances Brown (1928-1945). These are:

The Flower of Arizona (published in Westward Weird)
One Hell of a Ride (free download)
No Place Like Home (free download)
Stingers and Strangers (published in Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West)
Married in Green (free download)
Sweet Poison Wine (free download)
The First Fall (free download)
Loch and Key (free download)
We Both Go Down Together (free download)
Oh Pretty Bird (free download)
Bury Me In Satin (free download)
Broken Paper Hearts (free download)
The Star of New Mexico (free download)

As you can see, there's a lot of material here. Even though it is formatted as stories, the stories in totality (in the order listed) are pretty much a novel about Jonathan and Fran. Of the two anthologized stories, which you would have to buy or borrow, the first, The Flower of Arizona, is entirely dispensible. You will read most of it in the other stories. Stingers and Strangers, in contrast, is a substantial story and important both to the continuity of the Jonathan and Fran stories and to the Incryptid series as a whole. What's more, the anthology Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West is pretty good, with a star-studded list of science fiction authors. So, if you're going to buy or borrow something, I would recommend it.

Well, how are the stories? They're excellent, of course. If you really want the backstory on the Healy/Price family, this is the place to look. Although the stories focus on Jonathan and Fran (more Fran than Jonathan), Jonathan's parents Alexander and Enid Healy are important characters as well, and you will pick up several hints about their backstories. Fran doesn't have a regular family, but the members of the circus/carnival where she performed before Jonathan swept her away are also important characters.

Of the main Incryptid novels, I have only read Discount Armageddon, and I was a bit surprised by the Jonathan and Fran stories. They are not as light-hearted as Discount Armageddon. Although McGuire's trademark humor and irreverence permeate the stories, they are more somber than I expected. In fact, there is tragedy, especially in the so-short-it-is-barely-there Broken Paper Hearts. I was also surprised at how important the Aeslin Mice were. In Discount Armageddon they are mostly just comic relief -- delightful, but not terribly necessary to the plot. In the Jonathan and Fran stories I can think of at least three occasions where they play crucial roles in the plot. The most important occurs when Alice, The Exceptionally Noisy Priestess, is born.

So, yeah, if you're into the Incryptid books, you should definitely read these stories.
Profile Image for Roslyn.
355 reviews17 followers
March 26, 2015
Close to 5. One of the best of the InCryptid short stories - beautifully written .
Profile Image for Dr susan.
2,350 reviews28 followers
April 17, 2015
I wish that I had not thought to check for new Incryptid short stories. I wish that I had not read Broken Paper Hearts. I know they are fictional characters, but that does not make it hurt less. I am not going to rate this one.
Profile Image for Natalia.
474 reviews41 followers
March 9, 2015
Gosh this one broke my heart! I give it 4 stars for the series, but I hate the events in this book.
Profile Image for Coyora Dokusho.
1,432 reviews142 followers
March 12, 2015
I love it but nooooo nuuuuuuu noooooooooooo, ;_;


okay now I pass out
Profile Image for Darcy.
12.7k reviews447 followers
March 22, 2016
Oh man, this was a sad one to see, with things happening that I never wanted to happen. Too much sadness for this family.
Profile Image for Liz (Quirky Cat).
4,331 reviews66 followers
August 9, 2021
Broken Paper Hearts is the thirteenth short in Seanan McGuire's Jon/Fran stories – part of the larger InCryptid series. It should have struck me that this number is an unlucky one long before I picked it up to read.

Oh my god. How is it possible for a mere fourteen pages to mess me up so badly? This short story had me crying my eyes out. More than that, it had me feeling down and glum for the entire day. I regret reading this one so early in the morning!

I knew that this moment was coming, and yet it still tore my heart out. I'm blaming Seanan McGuire's writing there. She does an exceptional job of storytelling and of making us actually care about her characters.

Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
Profile Image for K.F..
590 reviews6 followers
February 7, 2017
This is more "micro fiction," and I just...it was sad and really heart breaking but it just was "she is now dead," with nothing more to it. I don't know...there needed to be more build up, I think, even with a story this short it could have been possible.
Profile Image for Imogene.
846 reviews20 followers
December 1, 2019
Okay, yes, it’s super hard to read any book in which a character that you’ve come to love makes their final exit. However, there are ways that make good literature, and ways that.....well......feel like they’re half-assed.

I didn’t tear up, and this family deserved tears, so two stars
Profile Image for Sana Zameer.
874 reviews116 followers
April 4, 2020
Such incredible amount of emotions packed within few pages!! Rest in peace Frances Healy, born Frances Brown, called Fabulous Fran, the flower of Arizona, wife of Jonathan Healy, mother of Alice, best marksman in Buckley Township. You will be missed.
Profile Image for Louisa.
7,174 reviews43 followers
June 24, 2017
Wow, this story hurt! It was short, and it just hurt! I'm almost dreading reading more!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 64 reviews

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