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The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People (Mythic Fiction #4)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  227 ratings  ·  39 reviews
What do werewolves, vampires, and the Little Mermaid have in common? They are all shapechangers. In The Beastly Bride, acclaimed editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling bring together original stories and poems from a stellar lineup of authors including Peter S. Beagle, Ellen Kushner, Jane Yolen, Lucius Shepard, and Tanith Lee, as well as many new, diverse voices. Terri Wi ...more
Hardcover, 499 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Viking Books for Young Readers (first published December 18th 2009)
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Cinder by Marissa MeyerMy Name Is Rapunzel by K.C. HiltonFive Glass Slippers by Elisabeth BrownThe Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela CarterLips Touch by Laini Taylor
Fairy Tales Retold Anthologies
20th out of 57 books — 64 voters
Smoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanFragile Things by Neil GaimanThe Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyThe Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna ClarkeThe Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
Best Fantasy Short Story Collections
200th out of 212 books — 214 voters

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Community Reviews

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At least as far as genre fiction goes, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling may just be the best editors/anthologists currently working. Together or individually, their anthologies usually manage to feature a wide variety of authors and story-telling styles under whatever theme they are gathering stories for.

The Beastly Bride is the fourth volume in what they call their "mythic fiction" series, "each volume dedicated to a different aspect of world mythology." (The previous volumes were The Green Man:
Every anthology is a mixed bag, especially when the stories are collected from many authors. Luckily, this is a very nice mix overall. I can't think of a single story that I really disliked, and most of the stories were quite good. For me, the two best were Tanith Lee's The Puma's Daughter and Peter S. Beagle's The Children of the Shark God. There are a lot of great stories in here besides those, though, and I was pleased that merfolk/selkies were well represented.
I am a fan of short stories. Don’t run away! I felt the need to place that command right there because I know many of you (my dear readers) are NOT into short stories. Well, I have a solution. Or correction, or whatever. It has two steps, and is guaranteed to create a love for short stories. Want to know what it is?

Okay, since you asked nicely, I offer the Official Cecelia Bedelia Recipe for Inspiring Short Story Love. Step 1 – read an Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling anthology. Step 2 – if you h
Oct 20, 2010 Richard rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
The trick for the editors in a themed anthology is to choose a subject that is inclusive enough to give the a variety of writers their individual choices in setting, characters and theme but that is tight enough so that the book is cohesive. In the latest addition to their series that began with "The Green Man" and includes, "The Faery Reel" and "The Coyote Road", editors Windling and Datlow manage to include Marly Youman's tale of a rural glassblower encounter with a salamander and Lucius Shepa ...more
Full Review at Booklikes

Not all the stories in this collection are stand-outs, and not all, thankfully, have to do with brides. Datlow and Windling, however, should get a huge round of applause and much credit for bringing back the female beast and male looker instead of just staying to the whole typical Beauty and the Beast format.

Stand out stories include:

“Puma’s Daughter” by Tanith Lee.
I am never disappointed by anthologies from Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, but The Beastly Bride is even more enjoyable because it enters my favorite territory--shapeshifting--and includes many of the authors I like best--Peter S. Beagle, Ellen Kushner, Jane Yolen--and introduces me to new ones. As usual, Windling shares her knowledge of mythology in the introduction.
I really liked the story "The Children of Cadmus" because I love Greek mythology and love the goddess Artemis. I also really liked "Thimbleriggery and Fledglings" because I love the tale of Swan Lake. I also enjoyed the poems. The other stories I liked to varying extents, but overall I liked the anthology.
Review from November 8, 2012

“The Abominable Child’s Tale" by Carol Emschwiller is about happens when the title character leaves her mountaintop home for the suburbs. “The Children of Cadmus” by Ellen Kushner is about Acteon and his sister. “The Comeuppance of Creegus Maxin” by Gregory Frost features a phouka. A very nice collection.

Review from 2/25/14

My favorite-est writers who are usually in these volumes, either aren’t, or their stories aren’t worth mentioning. “The Abominable Child’s Tale”
I have a sticky relationship with short story anthologies, because I find them difficult to review. There were the stories I loved and the authors I loved and the ones I just reacted to with an "ehh".
Part of the reason is because, sooner or later, I get bored with the variations on a theme style of storytelling inherent in themed anthologies, and just want to read something that isn't another perspective, but is actually new.

That being said, I've also learned that if I stick to anthologies about
"Island lake" by E. Catherine Tobler: Family bonds! Ghosties and possibly-sentient-trees and mermish people. 4/5.
"The puma's daughter" by Tanith Lee: a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but in reverse. The ending made me go ARGH WHY but it was still really great. 5/5.
"The selkie speaks" by Delia Sherman: A really lovely selkie poem. 5/5.
"The elephant's bride" by Jane Yolen: A suttee poem, so yeah, a bit disturbing. 5/5.
"The children of Cadmus" by Ellen Kushner: A retelling of the myth of Actaeo
I was trying to describe this fabulous collection of short fantasy tales, and my interlocutor said, "Why do straight women always like that sort of story?" Well, I don't know, but ever since Beauty and the Beast, I've had a fondness for tales of selkies and other changelings. Not The Little Mermaid: she's too sappy and her tragedy isn't that she wants to be human but that she trusts in the love of a total stranger. More like Owl in Love, who grows into her dual self and eventually grows beyond h ...more
Loki (of Smartassgard)
Lion and tigers and bears? Oh my, but there's also snakes, sharks, margays, selkies, and Sasquatch. OH YEAH!

Collections of short stories are always like a chocolate sampler: You never quite know what you'll get. The good ones are amazing, the bad ones are too, and the rest are easily forgettable. This sampler was more exotic than I expected, and definitely a surprisingly good read. Ranging in settings from Japan to Norway to India to a Western (very Stephen King's Gunslinger-esque).
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

Werewolves, vampires, and mermaids all have one thing in common: they are shape-changers. This book is a compilation of their stories.

From Finland to India, the tales cover everything from an unruly bride to new world explorers. Some are humorous, while others are tragic. These Immortals' stories have come together to confound, delight, and, most of all, entertain.

THE BEASTLY BRIDE is an excellent anthology of some of the best stories from around the world.
A good collection as to be expected from the Mythic Anthology series put together by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. However it's not as strong as The Faerie Reel or The Coyote Road (the previous two anthologies in the series). The stories at times suffer from being too similar to their mythological source.

The beauty of this series is that the stories are such fresh and inventive takes on older themes so for the stories to be too close to their inspiration is merely disappointing in this case.
Always love Datlow and Windling anthologies. When it comes to these collections, I never seem to be able to put them down. Datlow and Windling are both meticulous and thoughtful editors. There were only one or two stories that I wasn't crazy about.

Here are a few that I really enjoyed...

The Salamander Fire by Marly Youmans
The Comeuppance of Creegus Maxin by Gregory Frost
Ganesha by Jeffrey Ford

I truly enjoyed the vast majority of stories.

I also highly recommend the other anthologies in this serie
Lately I've read many anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. This is my favorite so far. The stories here seem to have just a little more depth, and just a little more interest. The topic is fascinating, because it does not just focus on those fairy tales that involve marrying an animal (or someone transformed into an animal) but includes children of those marriages and such, even including mermaids and yetis. I didn't finish one of the short stories (The Flock) because I wasn't ...more
I'm never the biggest fan of short stories, but I did enjoy this one. It was fun to see all of the different folktales from around the world modified and reimagined into the anthology, but the stories themselves were less than impressive in some cases. I did like the story "The Comeuppance of Creegus Maxin," but that was really the only one that stood out. I was disappointed that my favorite tale of shapeshifters wasn't in there, "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" AKA Beauty and the Beast!
Shannon Li

This book contains lots of different tales that provides life lesson that resonates with us in the real world but my level of interest towards this book and all of its tale wasn't quite high but the book is a great book but in my perspective it wasn't considered a noble book but the way the authors express the point of view in to fairy tale or unrealistic creatures feelings were great
This book was alright. I really love books about half humans, but I like books that go into depth the differences between our worlds, or the stuggle between humanity and the wild beast. Bruce Coville's Half Humans does that really well. This book felt at times more like a bunch of seeds of stories. There were some well-developed ones, but mostly just good ideas that needed more fleshing-out.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Interesting stories of transformation. All in all, I'd say that my favorite was Stewart Moore's "One Thin Dime." Christopher Barzak's "Map of Seventeen" wasn't bad either, but the ending was a little too neat and pat.
In terms of retold folk stories and fairy tales, I'm not sure YA does it for anymore. Maybe my tastes are changing, maybe I've read too much Angela Carter, maybe I've just read these partcular stories before in other anthologies, but I didn't enjoy this collection as much as I thought I would.
Peter Beagle's story "Children of the Shark God" was by far the best story. (Also featured in his short story collection, Sleight of Hand.)
Nora Peevy
Any of the myth collections edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling are worth reading. The writing is beautiful, humorous, sad, haunting, and memorable. You will be introduced to a lot of new authors and there is a great recommended reading list at the end of each book.
I often have a hard time getting through collections of short stories. I liked what little I read of this, but it was a version of odd that I just couldn't get into. Maybe I'll come back to it someday, but I'm going ahead and calling it "abandoned" without a rating.
A must-read if "Beauty and the Beast" is your favorite fairy tale (or you love the idea of people marrying bears in general). Not every story is uber-memorable, but the tireless Datlow & Windling editorial team have put together another very lovely collection.
This book is STUPENDOUS. The quality of the writing is excellent, the variety of interpretations of shape-shifter folklore is fascinating, and, to boot, many of the stories are super queer-friendly! Woohoo, I loved this book!
As with most anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, the proportion of good stories to not-my-favorite stories is tipped towards the good. Definitely an intriguing collection of shape-changer stories.
Disappointed! After all the other amazing anthologies, this fell short! More like crashed, actually. I only liked a few and even they weren't so great. Love the authors, love the editors, but not this book!
One of the books in the “Adult Fairy Tale Series” but you’ll find it in YA810.8037. This anthology contained stories by several authors I’m not familiar with—giving me more books to look for!
A wonderful collection of short stories and a handful of poems (including a couple of mine.) Short story by Peter S. Beagle in here is worth entire cost of the book in my opinion.
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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

Mythic Fiction (4 books)
  • The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest
  • The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm
  • The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales
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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“Contemporary writers use animal-transformation themes to explore issues of gender, sexuality, race, culture, and the process of transformation...just as storytellers have done, all over the world, for many centuries past. One distinct change marks modern retellings, however, reflecting our changed relationship to animals and nature. In a society in which most of us will never encounter true danger in the woods, the big white bear who comes knocking at the door [in fairy tales] is not such a frightening prospective husband now; instead, he's exotic, almost appealing.

Whereas once wilderness was threatening to civilization, now it's been tamed and cultivated; the dangers of the animal world have a nostalgic quality, removed as they are from our daily existence. This removal gives "the wild" a different kind of power; it's something we long for rather than fear. The shape-shifter, the were-creature, the stag-headed god from the heart of the woods--they come from a place we'd almost forgotten: the untracked forests of the past; the primeval forests of the mythic imagination; the forests of our childhood fantasies: untouched, unspoiled, limitless.

Likewise, tales of Animal Brides and Bridegrooms are steeped in an ancient magic and yet powerfully relevant to our lives today. They remind us of the wild within us...and also within our lovers and spouses, the part of them we can never quite know. They represent the Others who live beside us--cat and mouse and coyote and owl--and the Others who live only in the dreams and nightmares of our imaginations. For thousands of years, their tales have emerged from the place where we draw the boundary lines between animals and human beings, the natural world and civilization, women and men, magic and illusion, fiction and the lives we live.”
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