Karen Russell has here created a collection of creative and heartbreaking stories- magical stories that are never too far removed from reality. Much has already been said about it, but Russell is a very skilled author. Her writing feels very precise and very controlled. Every word felt meaningful and it was all beautifully arranged. The strength of this collection, then, is in balance. There were these stories of minotaurs and ghosts and werewolves that never crossed the line of being weird for weird's sake. The minotaur was a father and a husband, the little girls raised by wolves were learning etiquette and customs. They were sisters growing apart. It was imaginative, but it all felt within my grasp. I started reading this collection straight through. I read the first five stories and that was about the point where I had to step away and slow my reading. Each story is a treat, but read together, there are aspects of the stories that start to drag the collection. For instance, many of the stories end rather abruptly and I wouldn't say that any of them end with any resolution. I think it fits what Russell creates within each tale, but by the fifth, I was tired of being built up and then being left stranded, only to start another story. All of the things that tie the stories together - the immature but growing up children, the fantastical elements, the almost depressing adults - start to give the collection a repetitive feeling, an almost tedium. I had to step back and only go in and read the remaining five stories one at a time and in between other things I'd taken up reading. I particularly liked the titular story, Haunting Olivia and Yeti and the Palace of Artificial Snows.Russell's "Swamplandia!" is now most definitely on my to-read list.