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Books of Arilland #5

Tales of Arilland

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2015 Gelett Burgess Children's Book Award Winner

In the fairy tale realm of Arilland, stories are told at children's bedsides--and not the stories you think you know.

Tales of Arilland is a collection of fairy tales, presented in the magical topsy-turvy way that only Alethea Kontis can do. Discover the story of Bluebeard's first wife ("Blood From Stone"), what really happened to Snow White in those dark woods ("The Unicorn Hunter"), how dangerous the Little Mermaid might have been ("Blood and Water"), and just how far Little Red Riding Hood was willing to go ("Hero Worship"). Included in this collection is "Sunday," the original novelette that inspired the award-winning novel Enchanted, as well as "The Cursed Prince," the previously untold history of Prince Rumbold of Arilland…and more.

Woodcutter enthusiasts will rejoice at this opportunity to delve into the secret worlds beyond Kontis’s intricately woven fantasy novels. And if you are not a fan yet, you will be!

196 pages, Paperback

First published June 10, 2015

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About the author

Alethea Kontis

132 books1,464 followers
"A veritable badass fairy princess." --Jim Butcher

"The faerie princess of the worlds of weird." --Jonathan Maberry

"Alethea Kontis IS fairy tales." --Jim C. Hines, author of Libriomancer

"Alethea Kontis: Awesome, racks up award nominations, wears tiaras." --SF author Ferrett Steinmetz

"I want to live in [Alethea's] head because I think that might be the most interesting place in the world!!!!" --Ellen Oh, author of Prophecy

"Alethea Kontis, the woman who writes like Shakespeare would if he were alive today." --Aaron Pound

"The beauty of a princess, the confidence of a queen, the brilliance of a writer, and the demeanor of a cheerful fairy comedian!" --Cheyenne Z.

"This was the story before all of the other stories, and it was the other tales that were changed over time." --Nerdophiles, on ENCHANTED

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5 stars
61 (22%)
4 stars
85 (30%)
3 stars
94 (34%)
2 stars
32 (11%)
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3 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 39 reviews
Profile Image for Rachel Joy.
421 reviews3 followers
October 25, 2016
Wow, what a good read!

This is a collection of short stories that includes some of the characters from the Woodcutter Sisters series. Also, there are beautifully dark renditions of the Little Mermaid and Snow White that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Kontis has a way of artfully weaving different fairy tale stories and characters into new versions of themselves, and in my opinion, better versions of themselves.
Profile Image for Melanie.
748 reviews23 followers
March 2, 2016
I'm glad I was warned before I started reading this that it was darker. A couple of the stories in the beginning were weird and well, dark. My least favorite story was "Blood and Water," which was about a siren who was raped and then started killing men. There were other dark ones and, even though I didn't like the subject matter, they're still well written. There were also stories about unicorns, wolves, mermaids and Jack Woodcutter.

I loved the stories that were told towards the end of the book! "Sunday" reminded me why I enjoyed "Enchanted" so much. "The Cursed Prince" was a story about Rumbold that hasn't been told before and gave more insight into his character. The final story is the original Chapter 20 of "Dearest" and the author includes a spoiler warning not to read it if you haven't yet read "Dearest." I loved those stories and wanted more! Because of the content in some of the early stories, I would only recommend this to more mature readers. If you enjoy fairy tales, Alethea Kontis is an author whose work you must read and "Enchanted" is a great place to start!

Mel's Shelves
Profile Image for Jasmyn.
1,499 reviews19 followers
June 20, 2016
I was a bit disappointed in this edition in the world of Arilland. The short fairy tales were a lot of fun, I especially enjoyed the story Blood and Water, but it just wasn't what I had expected from the series. Many of the stories were just a couple pages long, which I know is true of some tales, but they just didn't seem to have anything to them.

On top of that, half the book is the novella that was turned into the book Enchanted, so I really felt like I was reading the book all over again - only in summary form. I think most of these tales would have been better as stand alone stories in the world of Arilland or given as little extras througout the series.

However, if you're just looking for a taste of something fanciful, or want to see a little more about Arilland before diving into the series - then this will be just up your alley.
January 24, 2018
What do you get when you mix the dreamy voice of Gabrielle Baker and the Brilliant quit witted and amusing writings of Alethea Kontis? THIS.. this Audio book. This is a MUST read/listen. I am an Audio Book Judge and have been for 12 plus years and I know good quality Audio books.. and this is one to add to your collection.
A wonderful take on Fairy Tales, these are NOT the tales from your childhood, but deeper darker tales to tell for more mature readers.
Dragons: Check
Unicorns: Check
Demons: Check
Mermaids: Check
Revenge: Check
Strong Female Characters that don't depend on men to be rescued: Check
Suspense: Check
Emotional roller coaster: Check
Dreamy Delicious British accent that is Brilliant with Character voices: Check
"Well I didn't see THAT coming": Check
Profile Image for Lucinda Rose.
Author 7 books9 followers
January 4, 2016
Each story is another reason to love Alethea Kontis. I really love her storytelling style and can't wait to share this book with my students. I really appreciated the spoiler alert on the last chapter. Now all I want to do is send good writing vibes her way for the next book.
Profile Image for Deborah Blake.
Author 72 books1,586 followers
June 24, 2016
I loved this book so much I immediately went out and bought everything else Alethea Kontis has written. Her twist on fairy tales is completely original and totally enchanting. She's a must buy for me from now on.
Profile Image for Barry Simiana.
Author 5 books20 followers
June 28, 2015
Great set of stories that mark history of the Arilland fables (Enchanted, Hero, Dearest) and fill in some of the blanks as well as some stories a little edgier but still well within the realm. Seriously Marina, you Neeed to read this stuff.

As always, excellent.
Profile Image for Misti.
803 reviews5 followers
October 18, 2017
A collection of short stories set in the same world as the author's full-length novels. Most stand alone, though the last few involve characters and events from the Woodcutter Sisters series. Several of the stories were a lot darker than I was expecting. This wasn't a terrible read, but I don't feel that I got much out of it. Probably best read just after finishing Dearest, when you want to read more in that world. I would have enjoyed it more if the events of that book had been fresh in my mind.
Profile Image for Quinn.
1,298 reviews17 followers
January 4, 2020
Decently written and mildly interesting. Though the two standout stories were Blood and Water and Well-Behaved Mermaids Rarely Make Fairy Tales, with an honourable mention to Sunday.

I know I've previously said that I'm over re-tellings of the Little Mermaid, but both Blood and Water and Well-Behaved Mermaids Rarely Make Fairy Tales really twisted the original story and made it their own; the Well-Behaved Mermaids Rarely Make Fairy Tales actually tickled me pink.
Profile Image for bumblethunderbeast.
1,046 reviews5 followers
February 12, 2020
I normally eschew short stories, but I made an exception for this montage of alternatingly macabre and slightly more standard fairy tale fare. It included pieces akin to quick figure drawing sketches and then fully fleshed-out, nuanced stories. I think my favorite was an excised chapter from Friday's story that foreshadowed Trix's adventure.
Profile Image for Carla.
477 reviews2 followers
September 20, 2017
Written well, but most of the stories have much darker themes & elements than the other books in the Tales of Arilland series. Reminiscent of Grimm's fairy tales.
Profile Image for Rhiannon.
69 reviews3 followers
May 12, 2018
Fun, weird retellings of stories. I enjoyed most of them, although some of them were a little out there for me.
Profile Image for Miranda.
1,401 reviews12 followers
August 2, 2018
I could have done without the random retellings with mermaids. The stories with characters from Arilland are the strongest and most enjoyable.
Profile Image for Kristy.
82 reviews
March 10, 2019
It was a little dark at times and the last bits about Rumblold jumped around too much for my taste. I do like different twists on fairy tales though, so this was an interesting read.
Profile Image for Jessie Pearce.
224 reviews
March 15, 2020
These were such unique fairytales and I didn’t know how much I really wanted them! Wow, they were so good! I especially loved the Snow White and siren one!
4 reviews
September 30, 2018
*This is a review for the audiobook version of this story*

Overall: 4 Stars (I really liked it)
Story: 4 Stars (I really liked it)
Performance: 5 Stars (It was amazing)

Tales of Arilland is a collection of fairy tales set in the universe of Alethea Kontis' Arilland series and it is the first book by this author that I have partaken. I listened to it in audiobook form and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed these tales!

I believe there were 8 more "traditional" fairytales (traditional meaning that they were self-contained) and 2 excerpts from a couple of books the author had already published. Those excerpts were the last tales in this book, and although they were well written and just as beautifully performed as the others, I did not find myself enjoying them as much. I think someone who is familiar with the rest of the series would find the insights into the characters enjoyable. The rest of the stories were really engaging. They are darker than most fairy tales we hear today (closer to the Grimm style of fairy tale), but entertaining nonetheless. Honestly, that might have been part of the charm!

The grim nature of this collection of tales seems to gear the book towards Young Adults but I love fairy tales and believe they can be for all ages! Also, based on the tone of this book, I would say that the Arilland series in general is written for the Young Adult population.

I particularly liked the variation in writing style. The Red Riding Hood story was told through a collection of letters, and the story was just as vibrant and bittersweet as the others. The medium gave us insight into the protagonist without clunky language (she felt, she seemed, etc).

Another story, titled Sunday, started in first person and transitioned to third person. The transition was a little confusing to get a grip on through the narration but after a couple of minutes it started to make sense. (It started as a first person diary entry, and then suddenly the story of the protagonist started in third, and eventually the diary entry was read to someone). This framing might be a little clearer in the print version of the book, but it was difficult to follow through the audiobook narration. But, I think this might have been the only flaw in the narration.

Gabrielle Baker breathed life into these stories! Her tone, voices, everything about her seemed perfectly fitted to the fairy tales in this book. Soothing but still emotional and vibrant and evocative. I imagine this is what it's like having your grandmother read you fairy tales before bed, but better because she is amazing. I would definitely listen to other books narrated by her!

All in all, this book was entertaining and worth the time to listen. Alethea Kontis has a great way of re-spinning fairy tales into recognizable but very different stories. Gabrielle Baker is a talented voice actor and perfectly suited for this book.

**I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Emily.
560 reviews38 followers
March 9, 2016
Tales of Arilland is a collection of short fairy tale retellings centered in the story world of the Woodcutter Sisters Series by Alethea Kontis. There are several independent stories, such as the retelling of “Red Riding Hood,” the original novella of Enchanted, and the same novella told from Prince Rumbold’s point of view.

Tales of Arilland was full of dark magic. The books in the Woodcutter Sisters Series had a good deal of it as well, but these Tales had a bit more. Who knew The Little Mermaid could be so creepy? And Little Red Riding Hood was just plain sad! I never read the legend of Bluebeard’s first wife, but this retelling – yikes!

Each person has his or her own opinion on how much dark magic they want to read. This book reached my limits; I am not into the creepy, bloodiness of it. All the tales in this collection were told with an air of darkness, and while I enjoyed some of them, I was not all that interested in some of the others.

On the good side, each of the tales was told uniquely. One was presented as a series of letters. One was told from someone watching from another person’s eyes. It kept the stories interesting. I also enjoyed how unique each of the retellings were. Stories that have been told and re-told countless times can get old, but the author did a fantastic job, yet again, of making each tale refreshingly new.

I would recommend this book to older teens who enjoy dark fantasy and fairy tale retellings.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Beth.
802 reviews42 followers
January 20, 2016
After reading Trixter, I was craving more from the magical kingdoms Alethea Kontis is so good at carving out. Tales of Arilland absolutely satisfied that craving. It's a short collection of fairytale retellings all based in that world, utilizing the same sleight of hand at combining our known folklore and turning it on its head. Because so many of the big fairytales (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rose Red, Cinderella, etc.) are covered in the Woodcutter Sisters books, the ones here are much more subtle. Some aren't even retold fairytales so much as morality tales (as the original fairytales were) with surprising and charming twists.

Not all of the stories are amazing, but there were far more that impressed me than fell flat. These tales are condensed in such a lovely way, it took me some pondering to realize how many layers they had. Stories about love that kills (but still, it's valid and true love), personal choice and consequence, how the act of seeing someone change also changes the watcher, and of course, vampire mermaids.

The only major flaw of this book, in fact, is that there isn't more of it. It could've been three times as long and still a very fun read. Plus, the missing Chapter 20 from Dearest is in there, and revisiting Conrad, Friday, and Velius made me want to re-read all three books. AND I'm still pining for the tales of Thursday.
Profile Image for Sydney.
956 reviews106 followers
April 5, 2016
Another fantasy, fairytale re-telling by Alethea Kontis is her Tales of Arilland. Although a bit more on the darker side of fantasy, Alethea captures readers with her combination and mixture of several popular fairytales within her story. This adventure story will intrigue readers as they delve into this magical novel. Although this story has a great plot line, I was disappointed to discover sexual content in a novel for such young readers. I would recommend this novel to readers that enjoy fantasy and fairytale retellings.

Series: Books of Arilland
Genre: fantasy, fairytales, young adult
Publisher: Alethea Kontis
Publication date: July 15, 2015
Number of pages: 144
Category: Upper Middles School+
Content Rating: PG-13, some violence, but nothing graphic, sexual content
Book Rating: 4 stars

Other books in the series:
6-Trixter and the Faerie Queen

A review copy of this book was provided by Prism Book Tours.
Profile Image for Claire.
2,055 reviews30 followers
November 14, 2015
This collection has many little treasures in it. Hints from the Woodcutter series and sisters. . We get some background on Rumbold from Enchanted, I love that he thinks his mother smells like purple. Plus we got the coveted Chapter 20 from Dearest. I am never going to know what happens to the Woodcutter Family am I?

But this collection also has some gems that are not Woodcutter related. The Unicorn Hunter and Blood and Water are certainly preferred favourites. Hello! It's a Vampire Mermaid!
Profile Image for Luna.
1,380 reviews189 followers
September 19, 2016
This book is a short story collection with which takes you back to the much-loved world of Arilland. If you’ve read any of Alethea Kontis’s previous books in the series you know the treat you’re in for. If unfamiliar with Alethea Kontis magical storytelling, well then this book gives you a little taster. Either way, you’ll be happy.

Personally I loved The Little Mermaid retelling best but each story is a great read. It’s not just The Little Mermaid that unique tale, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood have very different stories from the ones you’ve heard before – but magical they all remain. For us lovers of Enchanted we also get some extras with ‘Sunday’ and ‘The Cursed Prince’.

I’m so pleased that Alethea Kontis continuous to treat us with visits to Arilland, I adore that world and her writing.
Profile Image for Alexis Drake.
973 reviews18 followers
November 13, 2017
Mi è stato spedito gratuitamente, senza sapere che fosse il quinto di una serie. Nonostante ciò, essendo dei racconti, alcuni dei quali retelling di favole famose, l'ho apprezzato molto.
Il primo dei racconti "The unicorn hunter" merita da solo 5 stelline. Ho abbassato il voto perchè un paio dei successivi racconti non mi sono piaciuti tanto quanto il primo, ma merita una menzione d'onore anche "well behaved mermaids rarely make fairy tales".
The unicorn hunter ha tutto quello che cerco in un racconto: ben scritto e scorrevole, piuttosto dark ma con un pizzico di sentimento, ed essendo un retelling un pizzico di mistero per capire di quale fiaba sia il retelling.
Fosse stato l'unico nella raccolta gli avrei dato 5 stelline senza neanche pensarci, comunque si aggiunge ad American Nightmare come ottima raccolta di racconti. Probabilmente leggerò altro di questa autrice.
Profile Image for Kate.
18 reviews2 followers
February 12, 2016
The other Kontis book I read I enjoyed. This one not so much.
Two of the stories were Ok, but the others were too dark for me. I'm a big fan of fairy tales and mythology, but vampiric child killers and rape are not what I expected to find in a book like this, in my opinion that borders on horror. Some were just confusing and a bit weird.
If you like your fairy tales as dark as a witches broom closet, then maybe you'd have given this book more stars, the two I gave it were for the two stories about Sunday as they were well written and clever.

I recieved a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Breanna.
523 reviews31 followers
May 30, 2017
This starts as a mish mash of stories, some of which are interesting and some of which are a bit creepy. None of the stories at the beginning seem to fit together. Then, the novel starts focusing on a specific family but seems to jump all over their timeline.

I guess reading the other books in the series may have helped but this one was offered free and seemed interesting so I thought I would give it a try. I feel like each book in a series should be able to standalone, though. Obviously there will be spoilers if you read books in a series out of order but each one should still make sense on its own.
Profile Image for Kimberly Gordon.
34 reviews2 followers
September 12, 2016
I made it to page 76 and had to stop. I am so disappointed at the dark, disgusting tales Kontis has written here. I read her first three books, when she was with a publishing company, and they're easily some of my favorite fairy tales. But now that she's out publishing on her own, her writing style and stories are atrocious. Pretty certain I won't be reading any more of her books unless she goes back to writing the way they were before.
203 reviews
April 27, 2017
I had mixed feelings about this book. I've really enjoyed all of the previous tales and I really like this author and what she has dreamed up. But this book was just a little harder to get into and didn't hold me as tightly as the earlier works. I still enjoyed it, and it stitched a few things together, and had a lovely darker undercurrent in places, too. I will still be looking for her next tale. Maybe I expected too much.
Profile Image for Stefanie.
623 reviews15 followers
July 22, 2017
I read the first story as a sample and was pretty much convinced to purchase the book based on the strength of that alone. The short stories in here are mostly pretty dark, capturing the tone of original fairy tales. But not overwhelmingly so. The author is clearly a skilled storyteller. I also loved that several tales connected within stories in unexpected and delightful ways. I haven't read any of her other books set in Arilland; now I'm inclined to.
Profile Image for Leslie Rosenberg.
63 reviews1 follower
May 5, 2016
It was ok..

Ok, this one was not nearly as good as the other books. Interesting with the different fairy tales and their not so happy endings some of them, but I just wasn't enthused by it. I liked the parts about is it Friday's prince...Rumbold? And the last one that connects with what's going on in Trix's quests. The other ones can be missed.
Profile Image for Diana.
1,746 reviews
September 11, 2016
A collection of fairy tales and stories taking place within Arilland and as they might have been told in Arilland.

These stories are definitely not your typical tales, although some take elements from classic tales, such as Snow White and The Little Mermaid. Some are more in-depth and interesting than others, and not all are happy endings.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 39 reviews

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