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Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,197 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
How would it be if Snow White were the real villain & the wicked queen just a sadly maligned innocent? What if awakening the Sleeping Beauty should be the mistake of a lifetime--of several lifetimes? What if the famous folk tales were retold with an eye to more horrific possibilities?

Only Tanith Lee could do justice to it. In RED AS BLOOD, she displays her soaring imag
Paperback, 186 pages
Published January 3rd 1983 by Daw Books (first published January 1st 1983)
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Melanti I've noticed that this particular publisher doesn't mind cutting corners on cover art.

I can name at least one other author they re-print where the…more
I've noticed that this particular publisher doesn't mind cutting corners on cover art.

I can name at least one other author they re-print where the covers also look like they're a cheap self-published type job...

But then they've published other authors where the cover art is wonderful. I guess it's just whatever the author insists on.

Regardless - cover art is not this publisher's strong point.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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mark monday
May 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fairy tales transformed: victims turned victimizers; mythologies mixed and matched; Christianity made pagan; the subtext of fables become the actual text. Silken prose and disturbing undercurrents.

I first read this at age 13 or 14, back when it was initially published in the early 80s. I still remember the hard look my mother gave me when I asked her to buy it for me; the glance down at the tawdry-cheesy cover; the almost-shrug and finally the "I'll read this after you've finished." It became on
Oct 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of speculative fiction
The common thread binding the nine stories (five previously published in various magazines) of this collection is that they're all re-imagined fairy tales, and all of them are of high literary quality; but otherwise they exhibit a wide variety. Lee wasn't well-served by the jacket copy, or by the above description, both of which tend to sensationalize these stories, under-stress their emotional complexity, and paint an exaggerated image of grimness. Only two of the tales could justly be called " ...more
At the head of the stem there blossomed a rose slender as a tulip, its petals a pale and singing green. There were no thorns, or rather only one and that metaphysical, if quite unbearably penetrating.

I adored Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun, and I'm always a fan of fairytale retellings, so I randomly picked this one up from the library. It's mingled fantasy/science fiction, with versions of the familiar stories that are ever so slightly askew, or play around with perspective so that the heroes are
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
If I hadn't read Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber first I think I would have liked this even better. As it is, it feels more uneven than Carter's work and probably unfairly suffers from dealing with the same material, which is rewritten and re-imaged fairy tales. Carter also has a more powerful take on the old Beauty and the Beast theme, I think.

There are still a couple of really good stories in this collection, among them being the Snow White as a vampire and the evil stepmother as the good C
This collection of fairy tale retellings contains 10 stories ranging in length from traditional short-stories to near novella-length pieces, all varying in quality as well as in styles, from standard fantasy to Sci-Fi to steampunk and horror/gothic. Tanith Lee is a really inventive author with one of the most daring imaginations out there.

Each story appealed to me in different ways, and so despite giving the book an overall rating that shows in the tag, it doesn't apply to each story, because so
Sarah Sammis
Jun 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: released
For the last couple of years I have been focusing on including more short fiction in my reading routine. Likewise, I have been trying to go back to reading more fantasy and science fiction, two genres I devoured in my teens and early twenties but have gotten away from in recent years. Red as Blood by Tanith Lee fits both categories as it's a collection of retold fairy tales, each one with a dark twist.

The stories are based on the Grimm brothers' tales but given a feminist focus. The Grimm storie
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
LMAO, I really liked all of these.

It should probably be renamed "Princesses Behaving Badly by Dabbling in the Dark Arts and Worshiping Satan".
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
EDIT, just bought my own copy to reread:

Tanith Lee retells nine fairy tales in this darkly delicious collection. Part of her magic is, what she does, stripping out details and ignoring rules of grammar when it suits her, work perfectly in her hands, but in the hands of a lesser writer would be as clunky and amateurish as a6th grader’s essay on How I Spent My Summer Vacation. But Lee’s so good I’m tempted to eat her books in hopes of absorbing some of her writing ability.

Excuse me now while I gus
Maricar Dizon
original post: Books Are My Lovers

Red As Blood is a dark retelling of the famous fairytale Snow White. In this story, Tanith Lee created a very vivid and eerie depiction of the tale with the Evil Queen as the center of it all. In her version, the Queen is not evil. In fact she is a good witch. Snow White here is named Bianca, a princess with a very mysterious and dark disposition who hates to go out of the castle before dusk, with skin as white as snow and lips as red as blood. And for an eerie
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Tanith Lee writes wonderfully lyrical horror stories that sound like fairy tales, so it's only appropriate that she should rewrite some of the old standard. This book contains When the Clock Strikes, a retelling of Cinderella which is worth the price of admission alone, and The Princess and her Future , a heartwarming tale about a princess who marries a handsome prince who promises that "...I will love you for the rest of your life." He keeps his word.
While Tanith Lee's novels can be a little
Mar 28, 2007 rated it it was ok
Godliness is next to more Godliness, apparently. This collection of fairy tale re-imaginings could have been good--a lot of her ideas are excellent and I'd love to see them in the hands of a better writer--but I only got through about half the stories in this collection. And of those six or so, five were varying degrees of allegory, usually of the "wicked person worships SATAN and GOD won't save you then." A little too much in the Christian tradition for me, particularly when the stories were se ...more
Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*
Didn't really enjoy this as a whole, but then, I am usually apathetic about short stories. Most of these were too long without being satisfactory, and most never seemed to reach any sort of point. The last one was good though and I actually kind of wish it had been longer.

Oh, and I don't know why Lee even bothered noting the setting of each story, since any of them could have been set anywhere. Like, why did the characters use French in the Scandinavian stories? Am I missing something?
Jan 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to rivka by: Audrey Neal
Shelves: other-spec-fic
In sort of the reverse of how fairy tales have gradually gone from Grimm to sanitized, Tanith Lee has taken 9 classic fairy tales and turned them dark.

Overall, it's an intriguing idea. However, the repeated Satan-worship theme got really old. There was only one story I really enjoyed -- the last one, "Beauty." Perhaps not coincidentally, it is the only one that is SF rather than fantasy.
3.5 stars - good

I read this book on June 24, 2017, and reviewed each story after I finished them. But now that I'm done, I have a few thoughts I can share about the book as a whole. . .

I am giving this book a three-and-a-half star -
good - rating mostly thanks to three stories. Paid Piper, Beauty, and The Waters of Sorrow were by far the best for me in this collection. Paid Piper was the first story; the other two were, in the order listed, the last two stories in the book. All seven of the in
J.V. Seem
Mar 17, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The last thing I read by Tanith Lee was an Arthurian short story in a Merlin story collection, and hearing this audiobook version of her story Red As Blood was a very different experience.
After reading her tale of Merlin, which I loved, I immediately went looking for more of her work, but having heard this, it left me disappointed.
I've always loved re-imaginings of well-known fairy tales, such as Gregory Maguire's books for instance, but this feels less like a re-imagining than just plain editin
James Eckman
Jul 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Good older YA fairy tale read
Recommended to James by: Kate Elliott
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Many of these are pretty grim and are a fun twist on the old fairy tales. A good read but maybe not her best. I think I've read some of them in the distant past and possibly even this collection. The impetus to read this came from a list posted by author Kate Elliott, consensus seems to be it was a mixed bag. I think for a first Lee read, I would recommend The Gorgon and Other Beastly Tales.

There's on thing I hate about GoodReads: finding out that an author I like has passed on, which is the cas
Jadis LeFeu
Dec 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Oh my. That was *fantastic*. My favourite genre, riffs off of well-known fairy tales. Dark and twisted new takes on old stories. Lovely. Absolutely lovely. I do wonder what Black as Ink is supposed to be, though. Wikipedia says The White Duck, which is ridiculous. It has not even a nodding acquaintance with The White Duck. With the swans I'd think it was The Swan Princess, but bits of it made me think of Giselle... though Giselle isn't well-known enough for that kind of thing, generally. For tha ...more
Mar 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful book. I am generally *not* a fan of short stories. I like stories that with lots of character development and there isn't time for that in short stories. Maybe this collection was improved by already "knowing" the stories, but I don't think that's the only reason. They were definitely not for kids and one or two were rather disturbing, but riveting all the same. I would only say that one had any real innuendo, but the themes were adult (or, at least, young adult).

I read a co
This certainly lives up to its reputation!
(But the cover is horrid - especially compared to the older covers.)
Althea Ann
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Retellings of classic fairytales. Lots of inversions of good and evil, twisted religious/mythological allegories, poetic imagery, and deliciously ambiguous gorgeousness. A re-read for me.
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fairytales, ebook
There stood a little girl child, nearly seven years of age. Her black hair hung to her ankles, her skin was white as snow. Her mouth was red as blood, and she smiled with it.

"Bianca," said the King, "you must love your new mother."

Bianca smiled radiantly. Her teeth were bright as sharp bone needles.

Some of the lines were shiveringly good, but overall this collection wasn't to my taste. Like what was the point of Black As Ink. I didn't recognise which fairytale it was based on (if any?) and even
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, tanith-lee

I can't resist fairy tale retellings- and this one is dark, juicy, and deep.

Reading Tanith Lee is like walking into a deserted but gorgeous park when the sun's going. You're simultaneously taking in the surroundings and battling fear because it's going to be too dark soon to see the garter snakes crawling on the ground.

And with Lee- this fear (and awe) comes not just because she's a master of mood, but because of the questions that come into your mind after reading her.

The tales covered and
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fantastic collection of short stories retelling 9 "classic" fairy tales. Reordered by chronological setting rather than publication date, I found the stories getting better as I went along. Beauty was my favourite, a hauntingly sad retelling of Beauty and the Beast in a mild sci-fi setting, followed by Wolfland, a much better interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood involving werewolves and women with agency. Most of these stories did not turn out how I expected them to at all, and often the cha ...more
Sarah Pierce
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An addiction you say? Yes, I may have an addiction to Tanith Lee’s short stories. Especially since I started this one before I’d finished Dreams of Dark and Light, so it was all Tanith Lee, all the time. This collection of stories is based partly on fairy tales that we know and love, with new stories mixed in, all with Lee’s twist of the dark and the macabre.
Feb 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Twisted retellings of well known fairy tales. I loved them all to the point that I hunted the used bookstore until I found a hardcover edition I could call my very own.

Many of these short stories left me wishing they had been full blown novels in their own right.
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Twisted fairy tales, like what if the stepmother in Snow White was really the good one. Artfully crafted and beautifully embroidered, but truly macabre. I had to wait till my son was a tween to let him read these fairy tales.
A wonderful classic of dark fantasy, every short story in this collection is a small jewel. Comparable in quality and prose to Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber of which I'm confident, Lee is heavily indebted to.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fairytale
basically a pulp bloody chamber without the bloody chamber itself—in that none of the stories has that single standout gem quality and if you read the whole thing in a day it tends to blur together. (and with more literal satan and jesus cameos. also aliens.)
Apr 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
A little dark for my tastes, but some very interesting ideas in there. I especially liked "Wolfland".
Corrine Brady
Aug 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Strangest, yet most INTRIGUING short story collection I've ever read!
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Ask Kate Wolford ...: Why do you love Fairy Tale re-tellings? 28 31 Jun 20, 2013 07:11AM  
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  • Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales
  • From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
  • Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around the World
  • Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers
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Tanith Lee was a British writer of science fiction, horror, and fantasy. She was the author of 77 novels, 14 collections, and almost 300 short stories. She also wrote four radio plays broadcast by the BBC and two scripts for the UK, science fiction, cult television series "Blake's 7."
Before becoming a full time writer, Lee worked as a file clerk, an assistant librarian, a shop assistant, and a wai
More about Tanith Lee...

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“It was not apathy. It was an intelligent disinterest in those things that could have no bearing on one's existence.” 45 likes
“I will draw you back to me. You shall see. By a chain of stars.” 21 likes
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