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Black Apples

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Strip the fairytale princesses of their petticoats and tiaras, and what you have left are the Black Apples. These are stories of trials and survival, strength and defeat, exploring the bones of fairytales. Carolyn has stolen from the temple and is on the run, the mistress of the Gingerbread house is out of control, Bluebeard's child collects hearts on her wall and a horse is not a horse…
This collection offers eighteen new dark and delicious fairytales, some exploring the classic tales, others presenting brand new ones.
Features stories by eighteen international authors. Edited by Liv Lingborn and Camilla Bruce.
Table of contents:
Snow Child by Molly Pinto Madigan
Twelve Sisters, Twelve Sisters, Ten by Karen Heuler
Deus Ex Machina by Caren Gussoff
Bluebeard’s Child by Alison Littlewood
Sickly Sweet by Ephiny Gale
Bunny’s Lucky Slipper by Pat R Steiner
Every Heart is Cold Dark Matter by Nadia Bulkin
Citizen by David Turnbull
Everyone Else has Two Eyes by Nicki Vardon
Scar by Elin Olausson
Harsh Beauty by Martine Helene Svanevik
Cloaks and Hoods by Angela Rega
The Shadow and the Snake by Natalia Theodoridou
Coyote and the Girl in the Red Dress by Rose Williamson
A Winter Evening by Sarah L Byrne
Enkesonnen by Alex Petri
And Gold in Her Eyes by Maigen Turner
Godmother Death by Kate O’Connor

208 pages, Paperback

First published May 14, 2014

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About the author

Camilla Bruce

7 books591 followers
Camilla Bruce was born in central Norway and grew up in an old forest, next to an Iron Age burial mound. She has a master's degree in comparative literature, and have co-run a small press that published dark fairy tales. Camilla currently lives in Trondheim with her son and cat.

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5 stars
19 (31%)
4 stars
15 (24%)
3 stars
18 (29%)
2 stars
6 (9%)
1 star
3 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Dana.
440 reviews290 followers
November 29, 2014

I am not normally a fan of fairy tale re-tellings, but the unique cover and promise of a darker version of fairy tales caught my interest. After devouring these tales I can say that this anthology lived up to its promise. I really loved most of the stories (there were only a couple that left me baffled), and I would recommend this to anyone who wishes for more “realistic” fairy tales.

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Abby.
232 reviews47 followers
Shelved as 'own-or-going-to-own'
August 18, 2014
18 new dark fairy tales? Purdy please!

Profile Image for Jessica Baumgartner.
Author 24 books92 followers
July 21, 2014
The first tale alone was worth buying this collection, add in Rapunzel's crazy hair story, Coyote stepping in to help Red and all the other twists and you've got an engaging book that doesn't stop pushing the limits. I love fairy tale re-tellings, if you're specifically attached to the happily ever after stories this may not be for you but that gets old real fast for me. I prefer to read about characters with depth and this has plenty of those.
Profile Image for Tanya.
152 reviews11 followers
May 15, 2015
I’ve mentioned several times that I don’t love short stories. I usually don’t gravitate towards them in stand alone or collection form. The one exception is fairy tales. They are, by their nature, short stories. And they are typically sold in collection form. And this brings us to Black Apples – a collection of 18 modern fairy tales. Many of these stories borrow from historic tropes or pull classic stories into modern settings. I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. And honestly, I’m pretty down with this book – and it’s pretty, pretty cover! This book will most likely find its way into some stocking this Christmas.

These aren’t your Disney fairytales. These are much more in line with the original tradition of fairy tales. Dark and Grimm (see what I did there – yup). There are no pretty princesses being saved by dashing princes. There are no singing crabs or rabbits with waistcoats. Original fairy tales were often folklore and cautionary tales for citizens within certain communities. While there were many similar stories, they morphed with specific values and culture of a given community. Fairy tales were not necessarily meant for children – especially not in the way we think of children now. This book – probably not for your kids. Unless you’re awesome. There’s research out there about how children who are read the original Grimm’s tales develop better rational decision making skills. How credible are these studies? I don’t know, but I can see the logic. You raise a kid to only believe that someone else will always pop up to save them and that everything has a happy ending, it’s probably going to take them longer to realize that that’s not how this whole real world thing works. Teach them early that sometimes things take a turn for the dark and twisty and they might be able to apply these ideas to situations they find themselves in. However, you may also want to cushion these stories with – cutting out the heart of someone who is prettier than you is probably not your best problem solving path. Anyway, I’m finding myself falling down the rabbit hole of not relevant.

When I started Black Apples, I was hooked by the writing in the first story – Snow Child – from the very first page, but I wasn’t sure I was down with the content. It’s a retelling of Snow White where the stepmother hates her beautiful stepdaughter because the daughter sleeps with the mother’s new husband. My uh oh radar when off. It’s extremely well written, but if all the stories were going to be like this one, the book was going to feel like it was trying too hard. However, the second story was a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Sisters – if you’ve read previous entries, you know this is my favourite fairy tale. And this one read much more like a classic fairy tale. A father desperate for a son. A dozen daughters. A gender swap to trick their father. And then another. A betrayal by the tricksters. It’s everything I look for in one of these stories.

Complete review at http://hellphiesfiendishfiction.wordp...
Profile Image for Andie.
459 reviews40 followers
August 4, 2014
First, of course, I need to thank Liv Longborn (Editor who contacted me), Camilla Bruce (Editor), the many co-authors of this book and all others involved with Belladonna Publishing, for allowing me a copy of this wonderful anthology in exchange for a review!

Liv contacted me at the start of may, asking if I would be interested in reviewing “Black Apples”, and as you all know, I love me some fairy tales. My reply was an instant “hells yeah”. I received my paperback copy and I just need to say, it is absolutely gorgeous. I mean, wow. This thing is going to hold a place on honour on my bookcase!

Now, onto discussing the actual book.

“Black Apples” is an anthology of old and brand new fairy tales. While many of these can fall under “re-tellings” of the older, traditional tales, such as the twelve dancing princesses, and cinderella- they certainly take their own spin on the events within the story. Whether it is through adding elements of their own, telling the tale from an entirely different perspective. Another element that makes this anthology stand out, is that the tales in here run much more akin to the violent, and gorey Grimms tales. I do not say this lightly, for those who believe in “Trigger warnings” for books (I kind of hate that phrase, personally), this book/anthology does include: rape, murder, incestuous tones, blood, gore, abuse, and occasionally, romance. But as usual, what makes all of these dark themes readable is that the tales are about how the heroes or heroines overcome these struggles and emerge victorious- mostly.

What is great about collections of short stories like this, is that you can pick it up and put it down and not worry about falling out of the story, which took a lot of pressure off. But it turns out this book was exactly the break I needed after being in a reading slump and despite being “able” to put the book down, I simply did not want to.

The tales were inventive, creative, beautiful and sometimes got very theatrical reactions from me! My favourite tale was definitely “Deux et Machina” by Caren Gussoff. It actually made me swear loudly, which caused my dad to shout up to check I was okay. HA! There was, I think, only one tale I didn’t enjoy, but out of a book of eighteen tales, that is still pretty impressive.

The writing amongst these stories sucks you in completely, they are so well executed and my god, I just thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of fairy tales, and to anyone who is wanting to read more anthologies.

For more of my reviews, please visit thebookheap at wordpress
Profile Image for Melanie.
7 reviews
July 29, 2014
I won this book in the giveaway contest, and I really enjoyed it. The collection is an mix of old stories retold with a twist and new fairy tales. Some stories stuck out to me more than others. My favourites were Scar, Bluebeard's Child, Snow Child, and Citizen. I enjoyed these stories the most because of the dark twists and turns they took, and the new, unexpected endings. Some break convention, which make for an intriguing read, and some stay in your mind after you've put the book down. This book is great for readers who enjoy fantasy stories that are dark, fresh, and unexpected.
Profile Image for Tim Gray.
993 reviews4 followers
December 7, 2014
A mixed bag of Apples indeed - some brilliant short stories, some good, and one or two no longer shiny and tasty. All in all though an eclectic and clever mix of fairy tales old and new - with the 're-imagining' of some giving them the sense of freshness and familiarity at the same time.
Profile Image for M.
177 reviews5 followers
May 24, 2015
Wonderful, memorable retellings. Overall, a great collection of stories that are haunting and dark.
Profile Image for Sara Bauer.
Author 58 books362 followers
December 8, 2015
Wowwwww. Some really crazy twists on old fairy tales. You will not see these stories coming with endings only outdone by the Bros. Grimm. Enjoyable and dark.
Profile Image for Colette.
118 reviews4 followers
January 6, 2021
Solid 3.7. I read these stories 99% during train rides and during the waiting game to and from work. Then I kinda stopped reading anything for a while for better or worse (probably worse) thus why and the only reason it took this long to read every story.

These stories are definitely captivating, tales you'll want to read if you like mature and quirky fairy tales. Some enchanted me less than others, starting with a bang and fizzling out with less than satisfying ends.ultimately, though, I liked these and as mentioned would recommend them.
Profile Image for Kristin Scearce.
511 reviews16 followers
December 25, 2014
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book from cover to cover. There was not a single story within it which I disliked, and I have even told others about a couple which really grabbed me and stuck in my head well after I had finished. These are wonderful retellings of classic fairytales we all know and love, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a little darkness to go against all the HEAs out there.

5 stars =)
Profile Image for Bailey Jane.
150 reviews38 followers
October 6, 2016
This was definitely an interesting read! Some of the retellings and new stories gripped me from the first paragraph while others felt disconnected and bumpy to read. Overall I'm glad I read it as it isn't what normally drift toward. Pretty dark and fantastical, but probably not something I'd read over and over. :)
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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