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Among the Thorns

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  459 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Among the Thorns by Veronica Schanoes, is a dark fantasy taking place in seventeenth century Germany, about a young woman who is intent on avenging the brutal murder of her peddler father many years earlier, by a vagabond with a magic fiddle.
ebook, 43 pages
Published April 28th 2014 by Tor Books
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May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
They made my father dance in thorns before they killed him.

I used to think that this was a metaphor, that they beat him with thorny vines, perhaps. But I was wrong about that.

They made him dance.

this free tor short is based on the grimm's tale The Jew in the Thorns , which is itself a tricky little story: the servant of a rich man is screwed over by his master, leaves, meets a magical dwarf who takes his money but gives him three wishes, and he uses those wishes to torture, rob, and kill a je
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eat-my-shorts
Time passed, and perhaps that is the worst betrayal of all...

Another imaginative fairytale retelling from Veronica Schanoes, this time it's a retelling of The jew among thorns.This blew me away, with Schanoes' lyrical narrative and strong characterization, this is one of the most satisfying tales of vengeance I've ever read.
I guess I'd always skipped over the original Grimms tale - but all for the better, it's awful.

This story, however, is not so much awful as awe-inspiring, that is if "awe" is taken to mean "a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear, dread, or wonder."

Yes, it's a fairytale. There's the three gifts gained from kindness to an old woman, fathers on journeys, ill-gained stepmothers, (view spoiler).

But (like the very best fairytales)
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have really enjoyed the Tor.com shorts. Some more than others. This falls into the 'more' category. It is a story of vengeance but also of family and parental love and respect. The young girl who vows to revenge the death of her father is always front and center as the heroine and the reader is right behind her, providing support. A twist on the medieval folktale of the magic fiddler, a tale which I never liked, author Veronica Schanoes has made it worth the read.

Book Season = Winter (shivery)
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A young girl loses her father to anti-semitic violence and vows to get revenge on the people responsible for his death. There is a supernatural element that adds a twist of mythology to the story. I enjoyed reading the mythological aspects of the story (I don't want to say more in order not to spoil it). ...more
Among the Thorns by author Veronica Schanoes is a dark fairytale retelling you could read for free on the Tor.com site, but at some point the author published the anthology Burning Girl and Other Stories which features this one (and others) and took it offline.

In this retelling of Grimm’s fairy tale The Jew Among Thorns, a daughter takes revenge for the murder on her father.

Themes: Germany, jews and gentiles, anti-Semitism, revenge, Dornburg, tricked by a vagrant fiddler, Matronit-Shekhina.

4 S
Paige  Bookdragon

I asked for vengeance, I got an utterly satisfying story of a badass girl who punishes those bastard who killed her father.
May 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
We owe our children our lives

Much darker than Burning Girls, but still beautifully written and thought-provoking. I love how she uses other fairy tales in her retelling of a Grimm tale - The Jew in the thorns. Veronica Schanoes is now one of my favorite short story authors. Definitely not a bedtime story for kids though.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, short-reads
This short read had an intense, almost like the grimm fairytales, story to tell. It was well paced and it showed big character development for the main hero of the story. The start, though, was difficult to draw the reader in, as it went back and forth in narration time.
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
This was another tor shorty that left a really haunting taste in my mouth. I've never heard of Veronica Schanoes before but I need to put this lady on my radar. Her writing is really beautiful and she sucked me into her seventeenth century revenge story so forcefully with her lyrical prose. Apparently this one was based on one of Grimm's fairy tales, but I did not know that going into this. Her imagery and characterization was perfect, and I thought the story had just enough fairy tale and just ...more
Nadine in NY Jones
Day 19 in my 24 Days of Shorts

“I will kill them,” I told my uncle. My voice was steady and I was quite sincere. “I will surround that town with death. I will wrap death around their hearts, and I will rip them apart.

“I will kill them all. Every one.”

My holiday reading has been quite grim this year!

This is based on a Grimm Fairy Tale that I was (mercifully) not familiar with. Humans can be so very awful, can’t they? The writing style was quite well done, in the style of an old folk tale. Deta
Jovana Autumn
"They made my father dance in thorns before they killed him.
I used to think that this was a metaphor, that they beat him with thorny vines, perhaps. But I was wrong about that.
They made him dance."

This is in the Top 10 interesting opening lines of a story that I have ever read.

Being a sort of sequel to the antisemitic fairytale by The Brothers Grimm, I read their original fairytale" A Jew among thorns". The fairytale made zero sense, and the hatred towards Jews is apparent. I don't underst
Vanessa Princessa
This story was beautiful in every way. I can surely say that Veronica Schanoes is as masterful writer of short stories as my favourite Leigh Bardugo is. The writing style is amazing, the story is heartbreaking and with a wonderful end. I`ve got so many favourite quotes that it is hard to list them....

1.) Who are these people who trade away their children for gold?
My parents would not have given away me or any of my brothers for all the gold in Hesse. Are gentiles so depraved that at last, they c
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: us, stories, modern-magic
A compelling revenge fantasy, Sleeping Beauty meets a brothers Grimm story I wasn't aware of, The Jew Among Thorns: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Je... ...more
**✿❀ Maki ❀✿**
This short story is a sequel to the Grimm Brothers' fairy tale "The Jew in the Thorns". Maybe "sequel" isn't the right word. It's not exactly a continuation of the story, even though the main events of the story take place after the original tale. It's more of a jab back at the original story, standing up against the vilification of the Jew in the story. So it's more of a revenge story following the original. A revengequel? Yeah. That sounds about right. I'm calling it. Revengequels should offic ...more
Sarah Marie
Among the Thorns by Veronica Schanoes

3 stars

You know what I’ve noticed lately in literature? When kids say they are going to do something they usually keep it. This little girl definitely does. She vows to destroy the village that killed her father. *maniacal laughter* The plot thickens and not all is what it seems in this story. I quite enjoyed it. It’s a quick, chilling read that Karen recommended and I read it because it’s what I do when free things that sound good stumble my way.

Cover Though
Diana Green
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This seems to be written in answer to the brothers' Grimm tale, The Jew Among Thorns, as a story of the titular Jew's daughter who seeks vengeance for her father's murder. While the subject matter is dark, Among the Thorns is beautifully crafted, drawing the reader into immediate sympathy with the heroine. Threaded through with mysticism and the warmth of familial love, this story strikes a masterful balance, telling of terrible things, while not losing sight of the goodness and magic in life. ...more
Zachariah Carlson
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
Really a fantastic response to an old story by the Grimm brothers, The Jew in the Thorn. I actually ended up reading them in reverse order, but the Grimm tale is short enough it didn't matter. I kind of wish I knew more about Jewish culture, there were some interesting tidbits in this that some broader context could have really helped. Still, an engrossing story. ...more
Mel (Daily Prophecy)
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novella, read-2018
“I will surround that town with death. I will wrap death around their hearts, and I will rip them apart.

“I will kill them all. Every one.”

My uncle did not laugh at me, or ruffle my hair, or tell me to run along. Instead, he met my gaze and nodded. Then he took my hands in his and said “So be it.”

He said it almost reverently.
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
As strong and dark as a classic fairytale.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I've read a number of upsetting fairy tales in my time, one of the most upsetting being the Brothers Grimm story, "The Jew Among Thorns," which recalls the assault and execution of a crudely stereotypical Jewish man whose death is celebrated as a lesson learned in miserliness. This story takes that old fable and transforms it into something worth reading: a beautiful and exciting tale about faith, endurance, and ultimate vengeance.

Young Itte is left heartbroken and angry by the public murder
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Speaking of revenge stories ... I loved this one. It was desperately sad with a long future of sadness ahead, regardless of the triumph our main character ended with. This is a story of a girl who loses her father to the selfish people of a village eager to buy wares from a Jewish man, but equally eager to see him tortured. It happened on the say-so of a wandering gentile, who was as "grasping and vindictive" as he proclaimed the Jewish people to be.
“I will kill them,” I told my uncle. My voice
Jack Stark
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bloody love the tor short fictions, I do. So, y’all know that super popular fairytale, The Jew Among Thorns? Well, this True Grit-esque follow on tale told from the perspective of the daughter of said Jew in thorns is full of typical fairytale atmosphere, suspense, and payoffs. A wonderful bitseize literary snack. ...more
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it
It was a good story with very bad writing. The plot was interesting and compelling, but the author's writing style is horrendous.

This same idea in better hands would have been excellent, with Schanoes, its only just okay.

Thankfully, it's a free read and it's very short, only 32 pages.
Nicola Everett
Oct 15, 2022 rated it liked it
A quick, easy read full of magic and cruelty. Heavy on the heart with everything you know happens in the future.
Acid Free Pulp
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
ORIGINAL REVIEW: http://acidfreepulp.com/2014/05/14/am...

A couple of months ago, I reviewed Veronica Schanoes’ novella, Burning Girls. She has a knack for reinventing folktales, giving them a fresh note while still retaining their centuries’ old roots. She does it again in her new short story, Among the Thorns. The story is a clear rebuttal to the Brothers Grimm’s most overwhelmingly antisemitic story, “The Jew in the Thorn” (Der Jude im Dorn).

As a child, Itte’s father never returns home. The fa
This short story is a retelling of an obscure Brothers Grimm story, that I must have overlooked somehow (I own four tomes of a nice velvety hardback edition).The original tale, "The Jew Among Thorns", or "Der Jude im Dorn" is... in a few words, an anti-Semitic fairy tale (if I know one). It seems that the only proof that the "good servant" gives us as to demonstrate that the Jew is a thief... is...well (hmph) ,that he is a Jew. The "good servant" is indeed a stupid servant, and his compensation ...more
Katie J Schwartz
They made my father dance in thorns before they killed him.
I used to think that this was a metaphor, that they beat him with thorny vines, perhaps. But I was wrong about that.
They made him dance.

I love fairy tales -- anyone who knows me will tell you as much. And I believe that loving something means acknowledging its darkness as well as its light, and not pretending that rotten things don't exist within it.

The European fairy tales that most of us are familiar with (and ones that we aren't as fa
My uncle wrapped his arms around me and began to speak quietly and deliberately. “Esti, Kinder. Yakov is dead. He will not be coming home. I buried him just a few days ago. With my own hands, I buried him.”

My mother sighed, and somehow her face relaxed, as though the blow she had been expecting had finally landed, and it was a relief to have it done.

I think, as much as I love young women bent on violence, that the mother might be my most favorite part.

Except, maybe the smoothly-integrated gay u
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fairy-tales, z
They made my father dance in thorns before they killed him.

I used to think that this was a metaphor, that they beat him with thorny vines, perhaps. But I was wrong about that.

They made him dance.

I stumbled onto this novella by accident, and it only took the opening lines to enthrall me. It is based on an extremely anti-semitic and crude Grimm's fairy tale, but the author turns things around completely - resulting in a gorgeous story that is about faith and compassion as much as it is about cruel
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