Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold” as Want to Read:
Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  454 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Once upon a time, the stories that came to be known as “fairy tales” were cultivated to entertain adults more than children; it was only later that they were tamed and pruned into less thorny versions intended for youngsters. But in truth, they have continued to prick the imaginations of readers at all ages.

Over the years, authors have often borrowed bits and pieces from t
Paperback, 536 pages
Published July 5th 2016 by Night Shade
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  454 ratings  ·  74 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't take notes on the stories as I read them and it took me 6 months to finish this (there were a lot of things that cut in line because books are rude and that's the drawback to a collection of stories - you can stop for weeks on end and not miss anything) so I don't remember most of the tales anymore.
However, I know I enjoyed many of them and I gave it back to the library feeling a sense of sadness to not be holding onto this book anymore so I think that's 4 stars.

Added bonus: this has st
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Probably the best edited collection I've read in a very long time. Most collections are of uneven quality. Beyond the Woods is uniformly wonderful. Some selections I've read before, but very much enjoyed reading again. I can't recommend this highly enough! Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the ARC.
With two stunning and original retellings included, Tanith Lee is about the only author here that stands out from a collection that, in general, doesn't rise above a decent output for me.

Sadly, none of her stories are new or unpublished as I had been hoping when I checked this book out; both "Red as Blood" (a Snow White retelling) and "Beauty" (a Beauty and the Beast retelling) were previously published in Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer, which I would highly recommend you get i
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As you may know by now, I'm a huge fan of fairy tales, a sucker for retellings, and a fan of urban fantasy, fantasy and sci fi, so I feel like I'm the target audience for this book many times over. It's also not news that I'm always on the fence about short story collections (unless it's my boy Gaiman, in which case I'm not a reliable source anyway because I'm sort of an obsessive fangirl), and it took me long enough to read this book that I started this review with a knee-jerk three-stars, "it' ...more
Kathy Sebesta
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Beyond the Woods is a collection of short stories that are in some way take offs on classic fairy tales. Like any collection of short stories there were some I liked ("Beauty" and "Coin of heart's desire,"), some I really disliked ("Juniper tree," "The maiden-tree," and "Catastrophic disruption of the head" are three) and most which were worth reading but not, to me, noteworthy. What made this collection more interesting than most is that the preface to each story talked about the original sourc ...more
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some I particularly enjoyed:
Tanith Lee – “Red as Blood”
Shveta Thakrar – “Lavanya and Deepika”
Theodora Goss – “Princess Lucinda and the Hound of the Moon”
Gardner Dozois – “Fairy Tale”
Jeff VanderMeer – “Greensleeves”

Pretty good:
Yoon Ha Lee – “Coin of Hearts Desire”
Peter S. Beagle – “The Queen Who Could Not Walk”
Holly Black – “Coat of Stars”

Some interesting twists:
Gene Wolfe – “In the House of Gingerbread”
Nalo Hopkinson – “The Glass Bottle Trick”
Neil Gaiman – “Diamonds and Pearls: A Fairy Tale”
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not quite as good as the one I read recently about intersection of forest and fairy tale. some interesting retelling of fairly tales in here though.
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved and devoured this collection. Yes, there were a couple of clunkers, but the vast majority of the stories were absolutely wonderful. I'm sad I finished it.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Elizabeth Bear's "Follow Me Light" is the best of the stories I had not previously read in other collections.
Anna Tan
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, review-copy
Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold is exactly what it sets out to be - a compilation of fairy tales retold for the modern generation. The modern adult generation. Where fairy tales were once cleaned up and made happy and "family-friendly" for the consumption of children (looking at you, Disney), these fairy tales go back to earlier forms when such tales were cautionary tales.

If you were aware that the editor, Paula Guran, edits the annual Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror series, you would
Ashley (Tiny Navajo Reads)

While I liked the majority of these stories, only a few truly stood out to me. I did like seeing “modern” twists, but not my favorite form of retellings.
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Two time Bram Stoker Award winner has done some impressive edits with this collection.
May 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I rate each short story in a collection from 1-3. Then I total the points and compare it to a star rating. Total points 48/90. A solid 3 stars.
Some stories were excellent, some were entirely bad, and very few were in between.
When reading this collection you have to trudge through many mediocre stories until you get to the good ones.

My favorites were :
Follow Me Light
Halfway People
Good Hunting

Full ratings below:

Beyond the Woods
1. Red as Blood - a creepy retelling. Well done 2/3

2. In the House of G
Full disclosure: I checked this out because I remember reading "Greensleeves" when I was younger and it has stuck with me vaguely, and I wanted to see if it still held up. Unfortunately, the "Greensleeves" I was remembering was by Paul Jennings, so.

"Red as Blood": 4/5 The classic re-imagined story of "Snow White" that probably everybody has read or heard of. Still holds up.
"In the House of Gingerbread": 2/5 Honestly not that bad, but I didn't even remember it until looking back through the tabl
Everybody likes a good fairy tale, right? There’s reason why they are some of the longest lasting stories in Western history. The fantastic and the romantic pretty much all have roots in those early campfire stories.

I’ve read a few fairy tale-inspired collections over the years, and I like this one because of the range that it presents. It runs the gambit between direct retellings to those only tangentially connected to the tales of old. For example:

“Fairy Tale” by Gardner Dozois places Cindere
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book was not what I had anticipated.
I was thinking "modern retellings" or "the fairy tales you know and love--but with a twist!". Most, however, weren't just Little Red Riding Hood remade with a romance with the wolf, or Cinderella but she's a cab driver. It was something entirely different. It was a series of intelligent, interesting, diverse, often thought-provoking stories that were often a joy to read. Some of them were of slightly lesser interest, but many were creative and engaging. I
Find my full review of all the short stories in this collection on my blog

I love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, so this collection was a must-read for me and it did not disappoint. There are some very sweet stories in there, some creepy twists on well known classics and some entirely different kinds of fairy tales. Each author adds his or her own unique twist to the fairy-tale genre.

I particularly enjoyed:

Halfway People by Karen Joy Fowler, about a girl who loves the sea and the
Ashley T
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the best anthologies I’ve read. The stories that were chosen are well balanced and all completely fascinating in different ways. I was sold based on the premise of the book and the bevy of great authors (Catherynne Valente, Kelly Link, Ken Lou, Neil Gaiman, and tons of others) but I ended up giving it 5 stars on editing alone. I’m definitely going to try other anthologies that Paula Guran has edited. I will say that this is most definitely a book for adults (solidly 16+ in my opi ...more
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
The selection of short stories was pretty good, even though there were some I could have done without. Writing style is paramount to my enjoyment of a novel, and I still can't be completely happy with rapid fire stream of consciousness offerings. There are authors though, such as Jane Yolen, Neil Gaiman, and Charles de Lint, that I will put up with a lot for, in order to get my mitts on any of their stories. This was the case when I first picked up this book. I saw their names, and I instantly h ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
A really nice anthology. I had seen a few of the stories elsewhere, but most of them were new - even if old, as in the case of the Tanith Lee works that bookend the stories... I have read a lot of Tanith Lee, but never saw these before, so it is worth picking up just for that. The last story especially was very good... I wish someone would put together a few new anthologies of her work, now that she has passed.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Wavering between two and three stars, but I'll give it three because I really liked the two Tanith Lee stories that bookended the compilation. I really liked about a third of these, really did not like another third (too grimdark in the bad kind of way, ie using rape and violence which I am strongly opposed to) and felt ambivalent about the remaining third. Some interesting retellings, but overall a little too presumptuously gritty for my tastes.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful collection of well known fairy tales and even some new ones. Red riding hood, beauty and the beast, and sleeping beauty never looked this way before. Charles de Lint brings one of his fresh concepts on faeries and the dream world to a new level while Peter S. Beagle shows that he's got more up his sleeve than the Last Unicorn. If you're a fairy tale lover, you won't want to miss this collection!
Judith Shadford
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a wonderful anthology of re-done, updated or not, fairy tales. Favorite is probably the Red Riding Hood where Grandmama WAS the wolf, and stepfather axed her. Of course Red AND her mother AND her aunty were "were"wolves, could switch back and forth. Terrific writing. Neil Gaiman and Peter Beegle part of the collection as well. It would be fun to teach a class (of adults) starting with Brothers Grimm, then ending with this. Blow a few minds, that would!
Jennifer Bradshaw
There were so many great stories in this book. Some of my favorites were Charles de Lint's “The Moon Is Drowning While I Sleep”, Kirstyn McDermott's “The Moon’s Good Grace”, Holly Black's “Coat of Stars” and Jeff VanderMeer's “Greensleeves”. ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In utterly delightful book, with stories to escape into and that, in turn, sink into your very bones.

Although all are very different, the strong sense of story, of tales told again and again, is present throughout. Like all good fairy tales, however, nothing is as it seems.

This is a must for any fan of fairy tales, and generally speaking, a great primer of modern fantasy authors, since many of the greats are included here.
I read this over the course of a few years, which I guess goes to show the evolution of my reading taste.
The first chunk I read I really enjoyed, way back I think shortly after it was published. However, on picking it up now I ended up skipping or DNFing a large majority of the remaining stories. Either I'd already seen/read them in other places or formats or they contained tropes or things I have no interest in reading about.
Genevieve Taylor
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful collection of fairy tale retellings—bookended by stories by the incomparable Tanith Lee, in memoriam—updates and twists the familiar fairy tales that we know and love. Fairy tales are both fantastical and primal, and these stories don’t shy away from the dark and beautiful implications hidden within the tales. This one is getting a permanent spot on my shelf.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's amazing how freaky fairy tales really are. They've always been a way for people to share morality with one another, but our modern fairy tales are gentle and diluted; they're nice about telling you what you ought or ought not do.

These re-tellings are more like the Hans Christian Anderson and Brother's Grimm kind, getting back in touch with the concept of teaching moral lessons as the tough things they can be, and appeal to a more mature mind. Similar to the tales of old, these could easily
Oct 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library, 2017
This is an odd collection. The stories range wildly in publication date (1979 to 2014) and theme, and while some are what I would consider re-tellings of fairy tales, quite a lot are new fairy tales. While there are some very good stories in the anthology, it doesn't feel as though it has a unifying theme or idea.
Great collection of retellings of more or less famous Fairy Tales. The quality of the stories was overall very good and there were only a few I had previously read in other collections. What I enjoyed in particular were the editor's introduction to fairy tales in general at the beginning of the book, and the introduction to each story before the story's beginning.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Book of Magic
  • In the Forest of Forgetting
  • Wings of Fire
  • The Trees Have Eyes: Horror Stories From The Forest
  • The Lost Princess of Oz (Oz, #11)
  • Sleepless Nights: 168 Thriller, Horror, Suspense, and Mystery Short Stories
  • The Tin Woodman of Oz (Oz, #12)
  • The Blue Fairy Book
  • The Red Fairy Book
  • The Magic of Oz (Oz, #13)
  • Looking Glass (The Chronicles of Alice)
  • Glinda of Oz (Oz, #14)
  • Woven in Moonlight (Woven in Moonlight, #1)
  • Rinkitink in Oz (Oz, #10)
  • The Yellow Fairy Book
  • The Pink Fairy Book
  • The Green Fairy Book
  • The Complete Tales of H.P. Lovecraft
See similar books…
Paula Guran is senior editor for Prime Books. She edited the Juno fantasy imprint from its small press inception through its incarnation as an imprint of Pocket Books. She is also senior editor of Prime's soon-to-launch digital imprint Masque Books. Guran edits the annual Year's Best Dark Fantasy and Horror series as well as a growing number of other anthologies. In an earlier life she produced we ...more

Related Articles

If you love the fantasy genre, this is the season for you! Some of the biggest books out this fall promise to be epics full of magic, adventure,...
185 likes · 48 comments