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Black Swan, White Raven: A Modern Collection of Fairy Tales
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Black Swan, White Raven: A Modern Collection of Fairy Tales (The Snow White, Blood Red Anthology Series #4)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  864 ratings  ·  47 reviews
A stellar assymbly of many of today's most creative and accomplished storytellers has gathered around the tribal fire to embroider well-worn yarns with new golden thread. Black Swan, White Raven revisits the tales that charmed, enthralled, and terrified us in our early youth - carrying us aloft into the healthy, beating heart of cherished myth to tell once again the storie ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Wildside Press (first published June 1997)
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As with all anthologies, Black Swan, White Raven is a mixed bunch, with some stories and I enjoyed and others I was more ambivalent about. That's probably going to be the same for just about anyone, but Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling are legendary SF/F editors for a reason, and that's apparent here.

Reading other reviews for these stories makes me laugh: complaining about the darker aspects of the stories, the fact that sometimes only a few vestiges of the original story (or rather, the story we
Althea Ann
Another volume in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's series of re-told fairy tales. There's a reason they're two of my favorite editors. This is a classic anthology. Highly, highly recommended.


The Flounder's Kiss • Michael Cadnum

A rather disturbing tale of a fisherman who hates fish, his wife who doesn't think much of him, and what happens when a fish willing to grant wishes is caught...

The Black Fairy's Curse • Karen Joy Fowler

Short and simple... what if Sleeping Beauty didn't particula
(Full review here:

It's easier to list the few stories that I didn't like so much than it is to list all the ones that I loved. I understand that this isn’t the first collection in the series, and that there are plenty of other dark retellings of fairy tales edited by Datlow and Windling that I can look for now, and believe me, if this collection is indicative of the others, I’m going to have a damn good time reading through them. If you’re looking for a
So picked up this anthology touted as adult retellings of fairytales and yes I should have known better as I read other books by this author before but I tried it again, I probably won't again anytime soon LOL so I decided to try something new when I read short stories and that is typing my reviews as I read them which led me to my two star ratings but I attempted each one and here are my thoughts..sigh on to more reading :)
---Flounder’s Kiss-Story about a fisherman and his unhappy wife who wish
Dec 30, 2014 Kit is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, anthology
Hopeful... ? stars...

The Flounder's Kiss by Michael Cadnum * * *
The husband in this rendition of The Fisherman's Wife narrates the story for us, and shows his ability to learn from his mistakes.

The Black Fairy's Curse by Karen Joy Fowler * * *
This fairy tale is a dream sequence, and -like a dream- it changes tales abruptly and without explanation. When the dreamer awakes, she turns out to be sleeping beauty.

Snow in Dirt by Michael Blumlein * *
A vexing and circuitous sleeping beauty story.

Luciana Darce
Como, creio eu, fica óbvio só de olhar para os títulos, esses dois livros têm como tema ‘contos de fadas’ – cada autor ficou aqui a cargo de repensar uma história clássica, quer focando em outros aspectos, aprofundando outros personagens ou mesmo traduzindo essas histórias para nosso mundo, nosso tempo, nossa realidade.

Como em toda antologia, há altos e baixos. Em Black Swan, White Raven (que foi o que mais me demorei) há vários destaques que valem à pena ser mencionados: The Trial of Hansel and
The concept behind Black Swan, White Raven is simple and beautiful: creative retellings of fairy tales by modern authors. These are not meant to be children’s stories. Many of them depict sex, violence, and other subjects you wouldn’t want to read to your children.

Fairy tales have a sort of fundamental appeal. They’re stories of love and loss, revenge and justice, royalty and peasantry, mundanity and magic. Some have a moral; others are told to explain natural events. Many started out as popular
Being a compilation of short stories (fairytale re-telling) by various authors, it is, inevitably, a mixed bag. That's the good and bad thing, that if you don't like one story the next may still wow you, and also that if you like one it's no guarantee the next will impress you. I love fairytales, love them being retold over and over. I can't pass them up. A quote by George MacDonald (one of my all time favorite authors) from the introduction: "If two or three men sat down to write each what the ...more
I've always been fascinated with fairy tales, and this series puts a whole new spin on well loved stories. Most of them are darker retellings, just as a forewarning. I love to read stories I knew as a kid, but revamped for adults. My two favorites were the Rapunzel story and the Snow White retelling. The Snow White retelling is especially chilling because in this version, it is the father and not the step mother who is evil. I definitely recommend this book to all fans of fairy tales!
This anthology is definitely a mixed bag of nuts. There is sometimes a fairy tale element, sometimes not. What most of the stories have in common is that women are given short shrift. Too many feature females as evil, victimized or peripheral. One story nearly omits the woman’s voice altogether, reciting a droning theme of abandonment as dry and dusty as an academician’s thesis. There is a list of recommendations in the back that may lead the more discerning reader to more gender-balanced choice ...more
Black Swan, White Raven is a short story anthology of modern, dark fairy tales. What I love about anthologies is that each story is very different than the others. If I don't happen to like one of them, it's quickly done and I can move on, and if the editors do a good job, there won't be one after the other that I don't like. Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling did well in that regard. Also, they did a great job of choosing a first story, "The Flounder's Kiss" by Michael Cadnum, that sucked me in an ...more
I read this first in hardcover several years ago. I just read it again in Kindle format. It was just as good the second time through. I liked some stories better than others, which is par for the course in an anthology, but I did like it overall. Even the stories I didn't like so much were interesting to read for their take on the retelling of the tale in question.

I think that one of my favorite picks is "Godmother Death" by Jane Yolen. The language and rhythm go well with the story. It's short,
Disclaimer: I received an eARC from netgally in exchange for this review.

I've always wanted to read Datlow and Windling's fairy tale series. Color me surprised when I saw this title being re-released?, eBookified?, on netgalley. I collect books on re-imagined fairy tales. I think it's important to honor both the traditional stories from which we've learned important morals from, as well as updating the stories to fit our changing culture. Datlow and Windling have this to say about these stories,
Oct 20, 2014 Susan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dark fantasy and horror lovers
This is a terrific anthology of grown-up fairy tales with a dark side to it. Fairy tales were originally for adults not for children until the Victorian age where fairy tales were "cleaned up." This is also a great way for you to meet authors if you haven't read that many fairy tales. It shows you a different aspect of the author's writings. Also one can go to the next story if you don't like the one you are reading.

Personally, I love this anthology. It's my "cup of tea." This is a must read hor
I really enjoyed reading this anthology of fairy tale inspired short stories and poems. I have read numerous anthologies edited by Ms Datlow and Ms. Windling - they are both impressive editors with a fine and discriminating sense of selection.

The topics of the pieces varied, and the tone ranged from humorous to serious. The pieces are well written and are still entertaining today though the anthology was first published over seventeen years ago.

If you're interested in adult fairy tale inspired
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
Dark fairy tales are definitely one of my things, so I knew I had to read this fourth in a series of dark fairy tale anthologies (Snow White, Blood Red) edited by Ellen Datlow. This particular ebook is a re-issue of the original 1997 release from Open Road Media, which I'm a huge fan of. Anyway, in every anthology there are stories that you love and stories that fell short. Overall, however, I was quite impressed with the quality of writing found in the anthology. I found quite a few auth
Dec 20, 2014 Gloria rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone over 18; fairy tale lovers and dreamers
22 different stories, all around one fairy tale or another. I wrote status updates for each one.

(view spoiler)

(view spoiler)
This is a collection of short stories by various authors that are mostly rebelling a of old fairy tales and myths. Some are better than others. Almost all have a magic element. If you are a fan of this type of book you'll enjoy it, I usually like a little more variety in a story collection.
Dorothy Schwartz
Not impressed. One may have been okay the rest were like a high school writing class assignment. I didn't see the relevance to the named fairy tale is some cases and in others it seemed forced.

Basically it was boring and I finished only to see if it would get any better.
Renee Babcock
An anthology of fairy tale retellings, some of quite an adult nature. I have long come to trust the editorial judgment of Datlow and Windling and this anthology delivered. There was only one story I had no interest in finishing, but the rest of the book was top notch.
This book did not start off strong and would have received low marks if not for the better second half. First of all, many of the stories and poems have nothing to do with any fairytales. Many of these are poorly written and/or just plain odd. But there are a few gems in here that I enjoyed such as "The Trial of Hansel & Gretel," "The Reverend's Wife," "Sparks," and "Godmother Death."
Nov 06, 2014 The rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of fairy tales and fantasy
I wrote my review here
I'm slowly working my way through every single one of the fairy tale collections by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. I like fairy tales, and I like it when authors do interesting things with fairy tales, rather than just accepting the easy explanation. I liked some of the stories. I didn't like others. I enjoyed that some of the authors chose less well known stories (such as The Tinderbox) to retell.

Trigger warning: (view spoiler)
Anna Rebecca
This book easily makes it into the list of worst books I've ever had the misfortune to read. The book states that it is a collection of retellings of fairytales. Most of the stories had nothing in common with the fairytales they were retelling. Perhaps a minor detail, two if you were lucky, reflected the original story. Otherwise these stories had no relation and were of merely average writing. None of these stories were even worth mentioning individually! Unless you are desperate, do not even b ...more
As with most short story collections, there was really a mixed bag in this book. I don't understand why Joyce Carol Oates is famous. Her story in this collection was supposed to be some kind of rumplestilskin retelling, and instead it was a weird story about a woman who goes running and then has some sort of child pornography nightmare involving her ex husband and children. WTF. I did like some of the stories, though, but not enough of them to make the book worth buying.
Alysa H.
Oct 17, 2014 Alysa H. marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley.
Nov 07, 2008 Debbie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of fantasy and fairy tales
Shelves: fantasy
Okay, I admit it, I'm a sucker for these books. Are they the best reading in the world? Maybe, maybe not. But I enjoy them. There's always a number of stories in each book that I feel make it worth the price. These adult versions of classic fairy tales make me want to go out and find the originals versions, before they were rendered "kid friendly".
I love fairytales retold by different authors and this is a great collection of some most common authors telling their versions of their favorites. Some take place in today's world, so take place in the times that they originated, either way, a fun and enjoyable read.
Nora Peevy
Black Swan, White Raven edited by Ellen Datlow. A great fairy tale collection. One of her earlier collections, but all the authors are stellar and the fairy tale twists are entertaining. If you like the other fairy tale collections she's edited, then read this one!
Mixed batch good and bad of fairy tales. Favorites: The Trial of Hansel and Gretel, No Bigger Than My Thumb, The Reverend's Wife. Joyce Carol Oates story was disappointing; I ended up skimming it.
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Ellen Datlow has been an award-winning editor of short science fiction, fantasy, and horror for over twentyfive years.

She is editor of the Best Horror of the Year and has edited or co-edited a large number of award-winning original anthologies. Her most recent are Supernatural Noir, Naked City, Blood and Other Cravings, The Beastly Bride, Teeth, Trolls Eye View, and After (the last three with Ter
More about Ellen Datlow...

Other Books in the Series

The Snow White, Blood Red Anthology Series (6 books)
  • Snow White, Blood Red
  • Black Thorn, White Rose
  • Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears
  • Silver Birch, Blood Moon
  • Black Heart, Ivory Bones
Snow White, Blood Red Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy Lovecraft Unbound The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm Black Heart, Ivory Bones

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“The French fairy tale writers were so popular and prolific that when their stories were eventually collected in the 18th century, they filled forty–one volumes of a massive publication called the Cabinet des Fées. Charles Perrault is the French fairy tale writer whom history has singled out for attention, but the majority of tales in the Cabinet des Fées were penned by women writers who ran and attended the leading salons: Marie–Catherine d’Aulnoy, Henriette Julie de Murat, Marie–Jeanne L'Héritier, and numerous others. These were educated women with an unusual degree of social and artistic independence, and within their use of the fairy tale form one can find distinctly subversive, even feminist subtext.” 9 likes
“Though now we think of fairy tales as stories intended for very young children, this is a relatively modern idea. In the oral tradition, magical stories were enjoyed by listeners young and old alike, while literary fairy tales (including most of the tales that are best known today) were published primarily for adult readers until the 19th century.” 7 likes
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