I originally chose this book from the library shelf because it was edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, whose collections of very severely twistI originally chose this book from the library shelf because it was edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, whose collections of very severely twisted fairy tales for grown-ups (starting with Snow White, Blood Red) I adore, though they occasionally leave me slightly horrified or at least unsettled.
I was not disappointed by the tales within, to my utter lack of surprise, though these are, of course, suitable for a younger demographic than the ones I am accustomed to reading in the anthologies gathered by these two.
There are some excellent fairy tales in this book, often told from a strange new perspective - for instance, have you ever more deeply considered the story of Falada, who was The Goose Girl's horse? Nancy Farmer has, and retold it in her own way.
Or perhaps thought of what the giants thought of Jack, or how they came to live in the clouds, only reachable by a magic beanstalk? Michael Cadnum brings their story to life with incredible empathy for such usually neglected characters, and in a truly intriguing way.
Some of the fairy tales are also set in vastly different settings than the ones we are used to when it comes to this kind of story - I think such things can be terribly effective.
Garth Nix's adaptation of Hansel and Gretel, for instance, is set in something approaching a modern city - and I must agree with his statement that being lost in cities is ever so much more terrifying than being lost in a forest.
The main characters of these fairy tales often think less like, well, something out of a fairy story, and more like someone we can empathise with - someone much like us, for all their fantastical situation or trials.
I greatly enjoyed the book, even wishing it were longer - though despite my occasional wish for more of a particular story, I suspect their teasing length is part of their charm - and will likely re-read it at some point in the future....more
There were some very interesting, very thinky poems and stories in this collection.
There were also some very odd poems and stories that were interestiThere were some very interesting, very thinky poems and stories in this collection.
There were also some very odd poems and stories that were interesting, but seemed rather to . . . wander. There doesn't have to be a 'point' to every story, of course, like a moral or lesson, but there does have to seem to be some reason for it, and several of these felt pointless in that sense.
I really liked exploring the new views on some familiar stories, legends, and myths that Christopher Courtley showed in these stories, however, they were by turns amusing, worrying, and simply fascinating.
In many cases that was what the entirety of the stories felt like, though - exploring newly-built or interpreted worlds, rather than really following a tale or even a character.
In a few cases, sadly, I felt no connection to the main character, sympathetic or non, and continued to read the story only because of my desire to know more about the world. Of course, the connection to a character is a big part of what makes the world real to a reader - at least in my book - so it was a little bit disappointing, in those cases where there was none.
I'll probably pick this up again at some point, and it really was an interesting read....more