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The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales

(The Universe of Xuya (Pearl))

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,338 ratings  ·  340 reviews
An all-new anthology of cross-genre fairy tale retellings, featuring an all-star lineup of award-winning and critically acclaimed writers.

Once upon a time. It’s how so many of our most beloved stories start.

Fairy tales have dominated our cultural imagination for centuries. From the Brothers Grimm to the Countess d’Aulnoy, from Charles Perrault to Hans Christian Anderson, s
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Saga Press
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Corinne It’s an anthology of old fairy tells retold. Some locations completely changed. Little red riding hood is out of the forest and into the desert.…moreIt’s an anthology of old fairy tells retold. Some locations completely changed. Little red riding hood is out of the forest and into the desert. Hansel & Gretel it’s not a candy house but drug covered walls.(less)

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3.81  · 
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 ·  1,338 ratings  ·  340 reviews

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Cait • A Page with a View
Obviously I had to read this anthology of fairy tale retellings (especially since it involved some of my favorites & so many great authors). I was pretty surprised by how much I disliked most of the stories, though... a lot of them were modernized in odd ways and just became too weird or depressing for me.

So I had almost given up on this until I got to Kat Howard's retelling of The Snow Queen, which was pretty awesome. Then the final story (Naomi Novik's retelling of Rumpelstiltskin) was my
Elena May
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This short story receives my vote for first place in the 2017 Hugo Awards.

A twisted fairy-tale with a great message.

Two heroines, each trapped in her own tale. One is a prisoner on a glass hill, the other – doomed to walk the world in iron shoes, until she had worn down seven pair. But no one cursed them to this fate – each chose it herself. It’s supposed to be an atonement, or a way to protect the world. The world tells them it is their fault, and they believe it. It is Amira’s fault men can’t
Winner of Nebula and Hugo Award for Best Short Story 2017

Ironically, this was the last story I read in my Nebula short story marathon.

The story introduces two women and their own unique issues and situations. The story is set in a medieval fantasy world filled with mysterious magic and elements. The underlying theme is about letting go and moving forward(?) even though it is a scary thing to do. It is also about finding love(?). I am really not very sure. This is one of those tales which tells
Althea Ann
Available to read, here:

The message overtakes the story a bit, in this allegorical piece. We're introduced to two fairytale tropes. One woman is cursed to have to wear out seven pairs of magical iron shoes. The other sits at the top of a glass mountain, while uncouth suitors attempt to scale the summit. Friendship and female empowerment will free them both from the unfair demands of men.

Merged review:

**** In the Desert Like a Bone • Seanan McGuire
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-shelf, fantasy
Reading to prepare myself for the '17 Hugo Nominations, this nom is available online.

It's a story of two females locked into rather interesting mythological stories, both of them trapped in both painful and degrading situations and eventually finding solace and freedom in each other.

The mythos, itself is a curious blend of old tales, such as having to wear out seven pairs of metal shoes before being able to break her husband's bear-curse or in the other case, having being forced upon a mountaint
Having now read the whole book - the original review was for one story whose record was merged with the book - I can safely say that this definitely lives up to the promise of that first story.

There's some great writers here: Naomi Novik, Kat Howard, Seanan McGuire, Daryl Gregory...and so on. They've all brought an inventive eye to putting a new spin on some of our oldest stories; even the stories I wasn't enjoying were at least creative.

Some of my favourites; The super ultra duchess of fedora f
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Lena by: Spells, Space & Screams
In the Desert Like a Bone by Seanan McGuire ★★★★☆
A revenge story with lyrical style, it reminded me of Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne Valente.

Underground by Karin Tidbeck ★☆☆☆☆
After escaping her rapist’s underground dungeon what does Karin Tidbeck think a woman should do?
A) Go seek punishment for her rapist/captor and help for herself
B) Seek self-help
C) Risk her life to help her rapist

Tidbeck chose C which is why I chose one star. No amount of gender power dynamics or good writing could sav
Sara Saif

It's hard to enjoy a retelling for what it is when you either only vaguely recognize the name of the fairytale or have never heard of one in your entire life. Which was the case with more than half of the fairytale retellings in this book. Killed it for me.

I know only the most popular ones and I haven't read the complete works of the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson. My general expectation from this book was fun retellings like Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver of the famous fairytales lik
In the introduction, editors Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe express their desire to revisit the wonderful, strange, and alien of fairy tales. "In keeping with that original model of composite storytelling," they say, "we decided to run fairy tales through a prism, to challenge our authors to look at stories from an unusual angle, to bring them back into different genres and traditions, to--if you will--return them to their cross-genre roots." And they've certainly done this in this collection. ...more
This book was a rather fun collection of fairy-tale retellings. Though I didn't enjoy every story equally, I find that I'm now thinking kindly about this anthology as a whole. Bracketed by good, very enjoyable, stories and with at least two great ones in the mix, I really enjoyed the time I spent with this book. :-)

There was one line in this book that startled a laugh out of me: In "Giants in the Sky" by Max Gladstone, on page 195, the narrator says, "I'm not asking you to solve quantum gravity
I've read a thousand fairy tale retellings, and I would have said that genre had been mined fairly extensively. This is a brilliant reinvigoration. Not every story was a hit with me, but even when I didn't love a story I loved the author's note afterward explaining their inspiration. My favorite was probably Amal El-Mohtar's Seasons of Glass and Iron, but all in all it's an excellent anthology.
Bonus points for the stunning cover.
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
↠ 4 stars

I love fairytale retellings/the retelling genre overall, so I was super excited to finally get around to The Starlit Wood. On the whole, I do generally enjoy short story collections (I know some people don't and I understand why; short stories can sometimes be underdeveloped and frustrating), and I freely admit I had high hopes for this one. It certainly helps that this book is gorgeously designed, fashioned with an imitation old-style spine that would be at home in an old library, an
18 stories. I skipped the last 5. I've learned I don't like Fairy Tales. It took 15 stories (and countless years ;) to cement it.

My favorites of the ones I read:
-- The Briar and the Rose by Marjorie M. Liu -- 4.5*
She retold the Sleeping Beauty story in a very cool way. I'm very impressed by her and will seek out other work.
-- Badgirl, the Deadman, and the Wheel of Fortune - Catherynne M. Valente -- 4*
This was a dark story and very well done.


In the Desert Like a Bone -
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hugo, fantasy, fairy-tale
Simply the most brilliant story I've read this year.

I refuse to tell you anything about it, because I think everybody should approach it with no preconceptions beyond "most brilliant story I've read this year."
Interesting fantasy short story about women working out the world's unfair expectations of them. It's free here:
For all the Big Name authors whose stories are included, this anthology proved to be surprisingly mediocre. I could only find a couple retellings that were interesting: Howard's story and Novik's short story version of what'd later be the novel Spinning Silver. Quite unfortunate, as I suspect readers that might come to know the authors for the first time through this collection will be disappointed and get an incorrect impression of them, as these aren't by any means their best work.

Although it

Way before I joined Gr's, reading anthologies was a favourite _ well sometimes only _ way to discover new authors; now, not so much. Now, my TBR list has reached such an unmanageable dimension that most times I don't even go looking for new books.
But... as most of you know, I may have a slight obsession with fairy tale retellings; that means that when a book with a title and cover such as this one, is released, I read it. And hope for the best.

In the Desert Like a Bone by Seanan McGuire 3.5 Sta
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, fantasy
I read eight out of eightteen stories. Of those I read most were good-very good. There were two that I disliked. I read this anthology because it was a BOM on one of my groups.

My favorite story was the Sleeping Beauty re-telling "The Briar and the Rose" by Marjorie Liu. It was an interesting premise and I loved the protagonists.

Special mention of "The Badgirl, The Deadman and the Wheel of Fortune" by Cathrynne M. Valente for being the only fiction by this author that I've read in which I thought
Jerry Jose
Congratulations on Nebula, and congratulations on tricking me into reading Fantasy.

This story in its essentials, felt like a modern day retelling of two Brothers Grimm fairy tales - Bearskin and Old Rinkrank that I barely remember from my childhood (my memory might as well be wrong here). What I loved about the narrative was the ambiguity that followed Tabitha and Amira, like they were already part of a well expanded universe, the details of which readers are free to imagine. In this retellin
Sep 15, 2018 marked it as paused  ·  review of another edition
In the Desert Like a Bone by Seanan Mcguire
Underground, by Karin Tidbeck
Even the Crumbs were Delicious by Daryl Gregory
The Super Ultra Duchess of Fedora Forest by Charlie Jane Anders
Familiaris by Genevive Valentine
Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal el-Mohtar
Badgirl, the Deadman and the Wheel of Fortune by Catherynne M Valente
Penny for a Match, Mister? by Garth Nix
Some Wait by Stephen Graham Jones
The Thousand Eyes by Jeffrey Ford
Giants in the Sky by Max Gladstone
The Briar and the Rose by Marjo
This 2016 anthology of 18 fairy tale retellings boasted plenty of recognizable names in fantasy and/or YA (Seanan McGuire, Charlie Jane Anders, Garth Nix, Margo Lanagan, Marjorie Liu, Catherynne M. Valente), but the reason I sought it out was because it featured the short story version of Naomi Novik's "Spinning Silver." I read her book Uprooted earlier this year, and it's become one of my favorite fantasies ever. A genre book that transcends genre. And if you have to read one fairy tale retelli ...more
Artur Nowrot
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it
What interested me the most about this collection was the range of approaches to the main theme: new fairy tales. The first part is full of what in my creative writing-studying days would be called “critical-creative re-writings”, stories that are simultaneously essays about the originals (every story in the anthology was inspired by one of the classic fairy tales), with digressive passages making the themes explicit. About 1/3 of the way through this changes and what follows is regular short st ...more
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Got to read an ARC for this one. There was one or two stories I didn't much care for, but overall it's a solid anthology full of new takes on classic fairytales. I can't be too specific without giving away spoilers, so I'll just say that my favorite stories in this anthology were ones where the "princesses" were able to save themselves or save each other.
More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.

It recently came across my radar that Naomi Novik, of the breaktaking Uprooted, would be putting out a book later this year called Spinning Silver, which would be an expanded take on the 30-page short story of the same title in this collection. That was enough for me to snap it up, and other stories by the likes of Garth Nix and Max Gladstone were extra treats.

A few notes about the collection as a whole. First, these are not "new" fairy
A nice collection about fairytale retellings, with an adult and often dark tone.

I didn't enjoy all the stories, some were difficult to enter or too much strange or boring for my tastes. On another hand, some were delightful or very well thought, with original settings (space, wild west, drugs, etc) or insights about society problems, giving some fun to the read and adding twists to the stories. On average, my rating should be 3.5stars, but it's a satisfying collection with a not so easy choice
“What’s strong is the shoes women are made to wear: shoes of glass, shoes of paper, shoes of iron. Heated red hot; shoes to dance to death in.”

Good story. Well-developed. A finalist for 2017 Hugo Award for short stories.

“Magic is magic is magic and there is always a stronger magic.”

Contrary to the tag, not a “gay” story. It’s a story “about two women reaching out of their respective tales,” the author says in her notes. “The enormity of what friendship means.” I try to read stories cold--that is
Two stories of two women ... one who has to wear down 7 pairs of iron shoes and the other has to sit still on a mountain of glass. Both stories have a poetic fairy-tale beginning. Then the women meet, and as their stories intersect, the message comes down heavy-handed. (view spoiler) While these are ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A modern fairy tale about two women who don't need a prince to save them - but instead save each other.
Perhaps, she thinks, what’s strange is the shoes women are made to wear: shoes of glass; shoes of paper; shoes of iron heated red–hot; shoes to dance to death in.

The two female protagonists of this story are both bound by their fairytale curses, and they must decide whether it's worth leaving them behind. I loved how this story was a classic fairytale and yet the opposite of one, and it also referenced many other stories about women and curses.

That being said... I roll my eyes at the Wikipedia s
Anna Nesterovich
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction, sci-fi
I picked up this book just for one story, the very last one in the book, by Naomi Novik. And it certainly didn't dissapoint. But there is a reason why I don't like collections of short stories. How do I rate the whole collection? Based on the best story? Does the most fantastic one make up for all the rubbish, making the book worth buying? Or maybe based on the worst story? Then all my ratings of such collections would reflect my dislike of them. Or maybe an average? Or a median?

I was reading st
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Dominik Parisien is an editor, poet, and writer. He is the co-editor, along with Navah Wolfe, of several anthologies for Saga Press, including The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales. He is also the editor of the first anthology of Canadian steampunk, Clockwork Canada (Exile Editions). He was an editorial assistant for various anthologies, including The Time Traveler’s Almanac (Tor), Sisters of the Revo ...more

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“Beauty draws many eyes, agreed the storytellers. Some of them unkind."

"The Briar and the Rose by Marjorie Liu
“It never stops consuming you, a child; not so long as it lives.” 0 likes
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