Book Title:
Miao Dao
Book Author:
Joyce Carol Oates
Book Series:
Dark Corners, #4
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
September 27th, 2018
Amazon Original Stories
Date Read:
February 27th, 2021
Kindle Edition
Prime Reading


A girl comes of age with a vengeance—and help from a friend—in a tale of unnerving suspense from National Book Award winner and literary master Joyce Carol Oates.

Bad things have been happening since Mia began to mature. Her dad left. Boys at school can’t keep their hands to themselves. A lecherous stepfather has moved in. Her only refuge is an abandoned lot on her suburban cul-de-sac, crawling with feral felines—one of which follows Mia home. Ghostly white and affectionate, she is Mia’s new companion and—as Mia’s tormenters will soon discover—her fierce protector.

Joyce Carol Oates’s Miao Dao is part of Dark Corners, a collection of seven heart-stopping short stories by bestselling authors who give you so many new reasons to be afraid. Each story can be read in a single sitting. Or, if you have the nerve, you can listen all by yourself in the dark.

My Review

Miao Dao is the fourth installment in the Dark Corners series from Amazon Original Stories. The story is by Joyce Carol Oates, and while I have heard of this author before, I have not had the pleasure of reading any of her other work. So once again, yay for a new author – I was excited to dive into this one (especially since it was a cat-centered story!).

Miao Dao tells the story of a young girl – Mia – who is dealing with the changes her body is going through while growing up – boys taunting her and teasing her – not to mention her only friends slowly drifting away from her. She feels out of touch with the rest of her peers. It doesn’t help that her father left the home and her mother finds a new boyfriend, who appears sweet at first, but eventually shows his true colors.

Mia finds solace with the feral cat colony that is on a vacant lot in town, and she visits them daily after school. After the colony is razed and the cats must find a new place to call home, Mia rescues a small kitten and names the kitten Miao Dao.

Miao Dao becomes the only thing in Mia’s life that brings her happiness, and when the kitten goes missing, Mia is heartbroken. However, with all the events going on, she starts to lose herself more and more to heartbreak and depression.

The ending on Miao Dao is shocking, and while I honestly didn’t guess it right off the bat, I did have suspicions. However, I was pleased to know that I didn’t guess correctly – at least not entirely. I love when an ending takes me by surprise!

While this hasn’t been my favorite story in the series, it definitely was a good one! I finished this one pretty quickly because I was just so engrossed in the story, and I felt really connected to Mia’s character. This is one of the longer books in the series, so I feel like the author really had time to flesh out Mia’s character and make her memorable. That being said, I kind of wish this would have been a full length novel, because I didn’t want it to end!

Miao Dao was a solid installment in this story collection, and it made me really want to go and read some of the other books by this author. I think her writing style and attention to detail are really something – I felt like I was truly in the world with Mia and the feral cat colony that she felt was the only home that made her happy.

Since Mia is essentially a middle school student, I felt like I connected to this story even more because I absolutely love middle grade and young adult books (and while I love pretty much all horror and thrillers, they get bonus points for falling into the middle grade/young adult categories!). That being said, because of the incredibly mature content found within this one, it definitely isn’t one to share with those age groups, at least in my opinion.

There is a lot of sexual assault going on in this book, so if that is something that may trigger you, you may want to stay away from reading this one.

4 stars
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