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The Wilful Eye (Tales from the Tower)

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  187 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
A dozenof the most exciting andunique writers for young people have chosen fairytales as starting points for their own original stories, in this surprising and spellbinding two-volume collection

Margo Lanagan (Tender Morsels), Rosie Borella, Isobelle Carmody, Richard Harland (Worldshaker), Margaret Mahy (The Seven Chinese Brothers), and Martine Murray (Henrietta There's No
Paperback, 302 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Allen and Unwin (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 20, 2013 Maureen rated it really liked it
Gathering twelve Australian authors together to rewrite classic fairy and folk stories is an instant draw for me. I really love the places authors can go with fairy story revisionism. However, it doesn't always work. The Wilful Eye does largely due to strong emotional undercurrents throughout the collection; undercurrents that are largely missing from its companion collection, The Wild Wood.

The Wilful Eye is a far superior effort to The Wild Wood. This is mainly because Margo Lanagan's opening s
Sarah Mayor Cox
Aug 16, 2011 Sarah Mayor Cox rated it really liked it
Mmm, I love a good retelling of fairytales - especially with a more adult bent - and who could resist a collection with such a delicious cover!!! I was not disappointed with this collection. The writers chosen are of a very high calibre and the tales they've chosen aren't just the really well known ones. What I loved most about this collection was that because I didn't know all the stories really well, the retellings helped make the whole fairytale genre strange and new again for me. My favourit ...more
The Wilful Eye consists of 6 stories, and I'd say I loved two of them, really liked two more, and felt lukewarm towards the remaining two. Of course the risk of reading a short story collection with different authors is that you're bound to like some authors' writing style, and not others - especially since the stories in this collection are fairytale retellings the way the authors interpreted the stories varied and so did my enjoyment of them. My favourites were Moth's Tale by Isobelle Carmody ...more
Feb 14, 2015 Twig rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
Wow!!! I enjoyed this book so much. I liked all the stories and I`m really excited to read the second book of this amazing short story collection. I think every Neil Gaiman Fan will love this new and dark tales :) ...more
Alexis Lee
May 16, 2012 Alexis Lee rated it really liked it
Here are the real fairytales, in all their macabre beauty. No HEAs and prince charmings, not without your suffering, first, anyway. The stories are gritty, unflinching, beautifully sensual. My especial favorites:

'The Distribution Of The Head', (an adaptation of The Tinderbox) - this one really stood out to me because of the gruesomeness and the character building. You'll understand when you read it.

'Eternity' (an adaptation of The Snow Queen) - the premise behind this one was particularly intere

Six of the world's most exciting and best - loved writers have chosen fairytales as inspiration for this spellbinding and subversive short - story collection. Six writers - Margo Lanagan, Rosie Borella, Isobelle Carmody, Richard Harland, Margaret Mahy and Martine Murray - have taken inspiration from stories that have shaped us all, tales like 'Beauty and the Beast,' 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier' and 'The Snow Queen'. This collection carries universal themes of envy and desire, deception and abando

Mar 09, 2015 Nomes rated it really liked it
The quality of the stories was variable.

I loved Isobelle Carmody's retelling of Rumplestiltskin, but felt that Margaret Mahy's version of Babes in the Wood was a little forced as was Rosie Borella's Snow Queen. Margo Lanagan's retelling of the Tinderbox was just disturbing. I really enjoyed Richard Harland's version of Beauty and the Beast up to a point, where the underlying themes and so forth became forced, rather than implied, it would have been better to have left it with the Beast's story a
Claudia Piña
Seis cuentos de hadas reimaginados. En el pasado, en el futuro, algo oscuros y viscerales. Se ha hecho antes, pero me gustó mucho como encajan todos juntos y las perspectivas interesantes que tomaron los autores. También me gustó que solo sean seis historias, lo que permite extenderlas y darles mas profundidad que en otras antologías.

Algunas de las historias originales no me son tan familiares (Babes in he Woods o The Tinderbox), pero en el fondo todas las historias lograron mantener una atmósfe
Dec 26, 2012 Lauren marked it as paused
Catastrophic Disruption of the Head by Margo Lanagan...

To be honest I didn't really enjoy this story very much. It was very dark and the main character is very disturbed and unlikable/unrelateable. The descriptions of rape and violence made me quite uncomfortable and the disjointed way the story was written while clever, I found slightly boring. Once read though, and after reading Margo's explanation of what she was doing with old fairy tale, I gained a greater appreciation for the message behin
Bella Grey
Mar 25, 2014 Bella Grey rated it it was ok
i read the eternity short story it was really good i wasn't very sure what it was about at first but was quite interesting and was kind of like a cross between real life and a fairytale which was really different to read.the story was quite long to read.
Samantha-Ellen Bound
Apr 26, 2011 Samantha-Ellen Bound rated it really liked it
I wanted this book from the moment I heard about it – the concept of it is just fantastic, it had some of my favourite Australian authors rewriting fairytales, and it was described as dark and lush and bewitching and sensuous. I couldn’t wait to read it. The Wilful Eye doesn’t disappoint.
The six rewritten fairytales in this book are The Tinderbox; Rumpelstiltskin; The Ice Queen; Beauty and the Beast; Babes in the Wood and The Steadfast Tin Soldier. There are six more to come in the next book – i
Ms Tlaskal
Loved this. I have read three of the stories so far. My favourite was a retelling of 'The Ice Queen' by Rosie Borella called 'Eternity' and in the classic Hans and Gerda story, Hans becomes an Ice addict which is why he no longer can see Gerda in the same way. The Margo Lanagan story is an adaptation of a lesser known fairytale about these great danes with massive saucer eyes which I vaguely remember reading and it is probably the most experimental of the collection; shows how far you can go in ...more
Sep 08, 2013 Shelly_lr rated it it was ok
This is a book of retold fairy tales. I normally love this sort of thing, but these bored me to tears. Honestly, I felt as if the task was to take vibrant tales that have entranced readers for ages and make them dull and/or less accessible. I gave the authors two stars for trying, but I wish they would have taken this in a different direction.

Anthologies I like where something similar was done: anything Terri Windling is associated with, Donna Jo Napoli's books, Robin McKinley, Pamela Dean, Tan
Sue Bursztynski
Jul 09, 2011 Sue Bursztynski rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable collection, especially, for me, the Richard Harland Beauty and the Beast tale. I've read quite a few collections of fairy tale adaptations over the years and this one stands up well. It's certainly a LOT better than one I borrowed from the library recently, about the "bad girls" of fairy tales, which could have been very good indeed if it had the right stories by the right authors and with decent editing. I'll be interested to see the next volume.
Jun 13, 2011 Sophie rated it it was ok
I was a bit disappointed with this collection of fairytales, retold by Australian authors. The first one in the collection, Catastrophic Disruption of the Head by Margo Lanagan, was fantastic. It retells the story of The Tinderbox by Hans Christian Andersen, setting it in modern, war-torn country. Unfortunately, the other stories paled in comparison. Moth's Tale by Isobelle Carmody was a reasonably solid tale, but the others didn't appeal to me at all.
I love Isobelle Carmody and I adore fairytales - so I really couldn't even imagine turning this book down. But wow. I enjoyed all of the tales but my favourite hands down Eternity by Rosie Borella. It blew me away. The premise was so utterly riveting and it was so well written and it had me glued to the page the entire time - I was devastated at the end. The rest of the tales were fantastic and definitely worth reading if you enjoy fairytales.
Jun 12, 2012 Astrid rated it really liked it
Because this is a collection of short stories, there are going to be stories that aren't quite as stellar as the others. However, they were all at least 3.5 star quality, and most of them were 5 stars.

The arrangement of the stories was the best part - alternating between a traditional retelling of a fairytale, with a completely modern set (Australian cities) retelling of a fairytale.

I now can't wait to get to the second volume!
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
Katharine is a judge for the Aurealis Awards. This review is the personal opinion of Katharine herself, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any judging panel, the judging coordinator or the Aurealis Awards management team.

To be safe, I won't be recording my review here until after the AA are over.

A retelling the fairytales, done nicely and capture your attention.
Feb 26, 2015 Nicole rated it liked it
It's a hard thing to give a star rating to a book that has multiple authors telling their stories. I loved two of the stories, liked two more of the stories, didn't care for one of the stories, and seriously despised one of them. So I've settled on 3 stars. But if I rated them individually, some stories would be getting more than that and others would definitely be getting less.
A fabulous collection of re-tellings, The Wilful Eye is clever story-telling, and is also a veritable who's who of speculative writing from Australia and New Zealand. While some stories are more successfully re-told than others, the writing is uniformly good - my particular favorite is Eternity by Rosie Borella - a chilling re- working of The Snow/Ice Queen. Recommended!
Christine Bongers
Nov 14, 2011 Christine Bongers rated it liked it
Shelves: aussie-ya
This chocolate box selection of refracted fairy tales appeals to more grown-up tastes. I devoured favourites like Isobelle Carmody, Richard Harland and of course, Margo Lanagan, and discovered the delicious Rosie Borella who I hadn't come across before. The others were a bit like coffee creams - sorry, not for me - so three-and-a-half stars overall.
Morag Gray
Aug 01, 2011 Morag Gray rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like fairytale retellings, people who like dark stories
Six finely crafted retellings of fairy stories by six superb authors. The darkenss of the original tales is a feature - no pink gauze and glitter here. It's hard to pick a favourite because they all resonated with me. I think perhaps "Eternity" by Rosie Borella. I never liked "The Snow Queen" much but I liked this version.
Aug 17, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Retold fairy tales for adults, written by very skilled authors. Some contemporary settings, some purely fantasy. Note: Don't be fooled by the fact that these authors are known in the YA genre - this is a book for adults, as the first story will demonstrate. (The book was shelved in "Teen" at my local library.)
Dec 16, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: december-2014
2.5 stars
Nov 15, 2011 Clodagh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was a really good collection. my favourite is the one about the ice queen. i realised straight what that one was, most of the others took my a while to figure it out - i didn't even know what the last one was until i read the author's note on it.
Jennifer Lynn
Apr 10, 2016 Jennifer Lynn rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I love fairytales and it seems that now there are a lot of retelling coming out which is amazing. This particular book was not bad per say. There were a few good, few alright and none horrible. I just wasn't that impressed with any of them.
Nov 30, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
The writers who contributed to this collection were all talented and their takes on known, and lesser-known, fairy tales were interesting. It was nice to read fairy tales for adults, as opposed to children or teens - for a change. Worth a read!
Michael Earp
Jul 03, 2012 Michael Earp rated it really liked it
Pam Saunders
Apr 06, 2011 Pam Saunders rated it liked it
I confess I haven't read all the stories in this collection just Moth's Tale & Eternity. They were gripping and clever twists on classic fairytales.

Book Bazaar
Nov 20, 2011 Book Bazaar rated it really liked it
Delightful twists on fairy tales that I love by wonderful Australian fantasy authors - what's not to like?
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Goodreads Librari...: Please Merge 3 9 Aug 19, 2015 06:29PM  
  • Red Spikes
  • The Girl With No Hands (and other tales)
  • Only Ever Always
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  • Returning My Sister's Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice
  • The Ivory Rose
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  • The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories
  • Hour of Need (The Laws of Magic, #6)
  • The Zigzag Effect
  • Asymmetry (Twelve Planets book 8)
  • The Paradise Trap
  • Crow Country
  • The Truth About Verity Sparks
  • More Scary Kisses
  • The Starkin Crown
  • Willful Impropriety: 13 Tales of Society, Scandal  and Romance
  • Love and Romanpunk (Twelve Planets book 2)
Isobelle Carmody began the first novel of her highly acclaimed Obernewtyn Chronicles while she was still in high school. The series has established her at the forefront of fantasy writing in Australia.

In addition to her young-adult novels, such as the Obernewtyn Chronicles and Alyzon Whitestarr, Isobelle's published works include several middle-grade fantasies. Her still-unfinished Gateway Trilogy
More about Isobelle Carmody...

Other Books in the Series

Tales from the Tower (2 books)
  • The Wicked Wood (Tales from the Tower, #2)

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“It’s so dark - as if all the lights are just there to make the other places seem darker.” 4 likes
“When did you trust someone to hold a truth as carefully as you did?” 4 likes
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