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Black Swan, White Raven (The Snow White, Blood Red Anthology Series #4)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  972 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
In their fourth collection of original adult fairy tales written by some of the premier names in literature today, World Fantasy Award-winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling transport readers deep into an enchanted forest with a stunning array of magical stories - bringing us the princes and ogres, charms and bewitchings, castles, cottages and secret gardens of fe ...more
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published June 7th 1997 by Avon Books (first published June 1997)
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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleBeauty by Robin McKinleyThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanFairest by Gail Carson Levine
The Best Fairytales and Retellings
302nd out of 1,900 books — 7,661 voters
Smoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanFragile Things by Neil GaimanThe Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyHeroika 1 by Janet E. MorrisThe Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke
Best Fantasy Short Story Collections
70th out of 419 books — 279 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,790)
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Oct 06, 2014 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2014 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
While I adore fantasy, retellings of myths or fairy tales aren’t the flavor that I’d first go for. Other than a handful of really well known classics, I’m not generally familiar with the source material, leaving at least one level of a retelling inaccessible for my appreciation. But, I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to try something a bit different from my favored norm, particularly when Ellen Datlow’s name is attached as editor. Terri Windling is just as respected, but I am far less familiar ...more
May 07, 2015 Bibliotropic rated it really liked it
(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
Kyria Collins
Feb 10, 2016 Kyria Collins rated it it was amazing
I bought this book out a couple (or more) times and I actually really liked it. Being a huge fan of fairy tales already, the concept already bought back a strong feeling of nostalgia due to my Mom always reading me whimsical stories of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, Snow White, etc. and how it shaped my imagination into what it is today. Then the second concept of putting a moodier, darker, more adult-like and realistic spin on all of them ma ...more
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

Once again, World Fantasy Award–winning editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling prove that fairy tales don’t have to be for little children and that happily ever after doesn’t necessarily mean forever. Black Swan, White Raven is Datlow and Windling’s fourth collection of once-familiar and much-beloved bedtime stories reimagined by some of the finest fantasists currently plying their literary trade—acclaimed wr
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
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
Sep 30, 2014 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Jan 20, 2013 Danielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Oct 03, 2014 Rachelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 11, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jan 28, 2015 Jaymi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, 2015
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 it was amazing
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
Oct 02, 2014 Paula rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 09, 2015 Kit is currently reading it
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.

Dec 20, 2014 Gloria rated it really liked it
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)
Jul 16, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Worth reading for The Reverend's Wife, In the Insomniac Night, Sparks, Lost and Abandoned, and Godmother Death. It seems throughout the Anthology that Midori Snyder, Gregory Frost and Jane Yolen are standouts.

Other stories that were interesting in their oddness but not as great as the above were Riding the Red, The Orphan the Moth and the Magic, and Three Dwarves and 2,000 Maniacs.
Dec 05, 2014 Ann rated it liked it
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.
Jan 03, 2016 Limecello rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
not ... quite sure how to go about this as it's an anthology, but obviously one of the later ones, and really... a DNF for me at this time.

Sad because I remember LOVE-ING the first one(s)

Just... a bit stark/trying too hard - literarywangst :\
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.
Apr 16, 2014 Kelli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: folktales
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."
Alysa H.
Apr 27, 2015 Alysa H. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
One in a series of six anthologies of "Fairy Tales for Adults" compiled by editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, this collection is staggering in its variety and in its impact. First published in the 1990s, it's not at all dated in 2014-2015 -- not even the stories that take place in a contemporary or sci-fi world, and of course not the ones that are set in an imagined 'once upon a time'.

I found almost every piece included here to be great, though different readers' mileage may vary according
Michael Brown
Aug 05, 2015 Michael Brown rated it it was ok
Some good. Some OK. A few very poor. Short stories and poems reconfiguring some standard fairy tales and newer fantasy oriented tales.
Some lovely, some totally bizarre fairy tale retellings. Little Red Riding Hood on her period? Yah, not so much for me.
Nov 06, 2014 Wise rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of fairy tales and fantasy
I wrote my review here
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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

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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.” 10 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.” 8 likes
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