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Snow White Learns Witchcraft: Stories and Poems

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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  341 ratings  ·  103 reviews
A young woman hunts for her wayward shadow at the school where she first learned magic—while another faces a test she never studied for as ice envelopes the world. The tasks assigned a bookish boy lead him to fateful encounters with lizards, owls, trolls and a feisty, sarcastic cat. A bear wedding is cause for celebration, the spinning wheel and the tower in the briar hedg ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Mythic Delirium Books
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Jo Walton
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing vibrant valuable collection of real fairytales. When I was trying to think what to say about this book -- I was asked to blurb it -- I kept coming back to that word, real. There are a lot of fairytale retellings out there, and they're reinterpretations, reimaginings, putting in the lost point of view, and they can be good and interesting and I can like them, but they're always versions. Some of what's here are that kind of thing. But the best of these, wow, no, they're real, t ...more
Sarah Marie
Snow White Learns Witchcraft: Stories and Poems by Theodora Goss

3.75 stars

This anthology collection focuses on retellings through short stories and poetry (which I thought was a nice blended-medium form of storytelling and it was cohesive). Goss has a good mix of darker concepts, but tends to sway toward the more enchanting, whimsical, and fun side of retellings. I prefer dark retellings because I’m a glutton for punishment and like to cry, but these were so much fun. Goss is a fantastic poet wh

...more
Craig
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific collection of eight stories and twenty-three poems with the shared theme of re-told folk or fairy tales. They strike me excellent literary works, both singly and as a whole. The poetry is narrative, some more classically structured and others more free formed, and is just as enjoyable as her Songs For Ophelia volume from a couple of years ago. I'd read some of the stories before, in her previous collection In the Forest of Forgetting and elsewhere, but enjoyed revisiting them ...more
Margaret
This is a lovely collection of short stories and poems retelling fairytales. I'd read the vast majority of them before, but still had some new ones to discover.

Of the ones I've read before, the short story "Red as Blood and White as Bone" still gives me a good little shiver. I love this story about the power of stories and belief and magic and love. It's magical. Of the poems, "Rose Child" is a continued favorite. I believe it won a Rhysling Award as well.

She included a couple from her previous
...more
Josh
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: stonecoast, fantasy
*ARC received from NetGalley*

With Snow White Learns Witchcraft Theodora Goss focuses her vast affinity for myth and fairy tales on stories that are both familiar and unexpected. Combining stories and poems, this collection contains characters that are easily recognized--though maybe not quite as we are used to seeing them--and others that are less familiar. In the retellings, Dora finds fresh life and striking power in the insights and presentations that are gathered here. And in the stories tha
...more
Kelsey
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

This collection of fairy-tale-inspired stories and poems is wonderfully structured. I know that's an odd way to start a review, but it's one of the elements that was most striking to me about the experience of reading Snow White Learns Witchcraft. The stories and poems included here are ordered so that most pieces feel like they flow from the previous, either turning around to give a startlingly different approach to the same fairy tale,
...more
Breanna
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this collection! I'm a big fan of fairytale retellings but I usually don't love poems. This one just hit it out of the park for me. I recently realized that I had been approved for a copy on Netgalley but never downloaded it so I decided to buy it since it still seemed like something I might like. I am so glad I did because I LOVED it! Some of my favorites were: "Thorn and Briars," "Blanchefleur," "Goldilocks and the Bear," "The Stepsister's Tale," "Seven Shoes," and "Diamonds and Toads" ...more
Somia
Nov 08, 2019 marked it as to-read
99p on Amazon 8th November 2019
Caitlin
"Fairy tales are another kind of Bible, for those who know how to read them."

Snow White Learns Witchcraft is a collection of poems and short fiction by Theodora Goss, an author probably best known for her mystery/sci fi genre blender Athena Club series. As implied by the title, all of the stories and poetry in Snow White Learns Witchcraft are related to fairy tales. Many of the stories will feel familiar to anyone who grew up with even the tame versions by Disney but she also includes some that
...more
LAPL Reads
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Fairy tales are another kind of Bible, for those who know how to read them.” 'Red as Blood and White as Bone' in Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss

Theodora Goss is an award winning-author, a professor of literature and writing at both Boston University and the Stonecoast MFA program. Her debut novel, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (2017) and its sequel, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman (2018) are wonderful and long-overdue adventures with a group of “girl m
...more
Jim
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I always love Theodora Goss' writings, so it was a joy to finally read this book of poems and fairy tale unravelings and reimaginings. Goss has an extremely emotional and grounded manner of writing. She uses common themes and symbols, but often takes her works into uncharted places. But there is also a distancing in her books that I enjoy and respect a great deal. If you read her blog and follow her interviews you notice how cerebral and cautioned she is with her words. She admits to being a wom ...more
Steven Withrow
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
The word “charm,” in various forms, appears about a dozen times in this excellent and well-designed book. This is not surprising, given its fairy-tale foundations.

I’ve spent more time with Goss’s poems than with her short stories, and it is in the poems that I realize how Goss’s “charm” has a double connotation when combined with her fiction writer’s facility for writing good, sound sentences.

First is the positive connotation, and the one that carries through all of Goss’s poems, stories, and n
...more
Alex Sarll
I was burned out on them for a time, but I seem to be getting back into reworkings of fairytales – maybe it's just that life has been richer in princesses and wolves lately. Still, the retellings can't be too programmatic in their intent; the old, dark magic needs to be higher in the mix than the agenda, with room left for at least a little whim besides. And these short stories and poems deliver, upending the old notions, but not always along the same axes. The settings shift – what seems at fir ...more
Yaaresse
Not as violent as Grimm nor as saccharine as Disney, these are reworkings of classic fairly tale motifs with a 21st century bent and where the women tell you how they really feel about being perceived as only the brainless pawns, princesses, or witches.

I had the good fortune as a child to discover the fairy tale collections of Grimm and Andrew Lang before the commercialized, sanitized Disney versions. They were darker, more graphic, a little scary sometimes. And, yes, they were magical. This co
...more
Breanna
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this collection! I'm a big fan of fairytale retellings but I usually don't love poems. This one just hit it out of the park for me. I recently realized that I had been approved for a copy on Netgalley but never downloaded it so I decided to buy it since it still seemed like something I might like. I am so glad I did because I LOVED it! Some of my favorites were: "Thorn and Briars," "Blanchefleur," "Goldilocks and the Bear," "The Stepsister's Tale," "Seven Shoes," and "Diamonds and Toads" ...more
Katherine Sparkle
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of Snow White Learns Witchcraft from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Snow White Learns Witchcraft is a highly enjoyable collection of reworked fairy tales in the form of short stories and verse. While each story is its own, the collection itself manages to be cohesive--I found myself charging through each story at quick clip, wanting to know "what happens next?" A few of the stories, also, were modernized without pulling me from the fantasy; Goss builds upon the fram
...more
Katrina
Admittedly, I have to say I really didn't expect much going in to this collection having stumbled across quite a few 'modern and twisted' takes on fairy tales that left me rather cold. Happily, that wasn't the case at all here. The verses work brilliantly well, the stories were beautifully told, and still managed to have a fair amount of originality in a genre that - one could argue - has been beaten to death.

Enjoyed this title a lot.

With thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exc
...more
Dan Trefethen
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Goss is a scholar of the revised fairy tale - literally. She teaches the topic of fairy tales in college. This book is a compendium of short stories and poems that play with the tropes of fairy tales, not the twee fairy kind, but the Grimm Brothers kind. As with any author collection it's interesting to see the recurring themes (what is it about women who marry bears?), and Goss is enough of a stylist to pull it off even if the theme is somewhat far-fetched. The standout story to my mind is "Red ...more
Corinne Sparks
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Yes, yes, yes! My favorite thing is fairytales for adults, and this collection is everything I love. Goss captures the magic and whimsy and horror and dark, delicious wonder of fairytales, and spins gorgeous snippets that make me feel both a child and a woman at the same time. The eroticism of fairytales is unavoidable, and I can't have been the only one to want to marry the beast instead of the boring old Prince, and Goss proves that by setting up her heroines with bears and trolls, whilst stil ...more
Berni Phillips
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite writers writing on one of my favorite topics - what's not to love? Goss' lyrical writing shines on these poems and stories, all fairy tale based, as far as I can tell. All have a bit of a twist on them. We have an updated Snow Queen in prose, poetical musings on a middle-aged or elderly Snow White, podiatristic stepsisters from Cinderella, and the nameless maid who just said NO to Rumplestiltskin rather than get sucked into a marriage with a king greedy for gold. Each is a lit ...more
James
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
While the mostly fantasy Victorian fairy tale mashups are decent and the anachronisms amusing, I'm not a fan of unrhymed poetry which is a goodly portion of this book. If you enjoy such poems then this collection might be for you.
Elizabeth
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lovely, thought-provoking takes on fairy tales both familiar and not.
Kat
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved the short stories and many of the poems as well! Blanchefleur is probably my favorite although I also enjoyed The Other Thea and The Rose in Twelve Petals.
Jonathan Maas
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just incredible, I hope to write a full review later.
Serena
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs-or-giveaway
I requested and received this as a NetGalley ebook.

I have tried my best below to say something about all the stories, but I loved quite a few of them and don't want to spoil them! I don't think I missed one, but I might have - if I did, my bad, it was all memorable but I feel a little too full of all the good stories perhaps. I liked that they were set in times that felt fluid, it could all have happened a hundred years ago, or maybe just yesterday.

Snow White Learns Witchcraft
A short story on w
...more
Elliott
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
For as long as I can remember, I have loved fairy tales. Fairy tales were dark and scary places where children could be eaten by witches or even their own mothers. Fairy tales were populated by wolves and goblins and dragons. There was always the possibility that one would have to perform three tasks to decide one’s own fate. Amidst the danger and the darkness, there was also the realization that one’s character was determined by one’s choices: good or bad. Helping a small creature might one day ...more
Caryn Shaffer
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This collection of short stories and poems contains re-tellings of fairy tales. Many of them approach fairy tales by speculating what happens after the end of said famous tales. Snow White is relieved when she's no longer "fairest of them all" in old age. Goldilocks falls in love with and marries a bear. Rumplestiltskin becomes two separate people after he tears himself in two. The Little Mermaid ruminates on what she learned after she became fully human.

There also are poems from different persp
...more
Stella
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a fabulous collection of updated/modernized fairy tales. There are familiar characters - a girl with dark hair and white skin, a girl no bigger than a thumb, a princess who sleeps for 100 years...but they are all reimagined into poetry and lyrical prose that breathes new life into this old stories.

Standouts for me:
Ivan 'The Idiot" and Blanchefleur
Snow, Blood, Fur - A Red Riding Hood with a nice twist
The Red Shoes - which is my favorite ballet and this is a beautiful poem version
Convers
...more
Kaylor
May 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This was...interesting. The book itself was a great premise and I did enjoy reading the various poems and short stories. Some of the stories were spell-binding (see what I did there?) Those that jump to the top of my mind include "The Rose in Twelve Petals", "Blanchefleur" and "The Other Thea".
I do wish there had been more short stories/fewer poems. And I really wish that the author had included the titles of the fairy tales that inspired each story and poem. Some were easy to figure out, but o
...more
Heather
I received an advance review copy of the e-version of this book from NetGalley.

This book is a collection of the author’s retellings of both well-known and less common fairy tales The overarching theme is women and witchcraft, so women and their magic abilities are the focus of each poem and story. There is more than one rendition of many of the tales. There are two different poems about Thumbelina, for example, and a story and a poem each about The Snow Queen.

I am honestly not much of a poetry f
...more
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Theodora Goss's publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a two-sided novella in an accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, ...more

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