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Cursed: A Wish is a Terrible Thing An Anthology of Dark Fairy Tales...an anthology of unique twists on the fairy tale conceit of the curse, from the traditional to the modern, giving us brand new mythologies as well as new approaches to well-loved fables. Twenty curses, old and new.

ALL THE BETTER TO READ YOU WITH. It's a prick of blood, the bite of an apple, the evil eye, a wedding ring or a pair of red shoes. Curses come in all shapes and sizes, and they can happen to anyone, not just those of us with unpopular stepparents...

Here you'll find unique twists on curses, from fairy tale classics to brand-new hexes of the modern world...expect new monsters and mythologies as well as twists on well-loved fables. Stories to shock and stories of warning, stories of monsters and stories of magic. Some might shock you, some might make you laugh, but they will all impress you with their originality. TWENTY TIMELESS FOLKTALES, NEW AND OLD.

*Introduction (Cursed) • essay by Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan
*Castle Cursed (2020) / short fiction by Jane Yolen
*As Red As Blood, As White As Snow (2020) / short fiction by Christina Henry
*Troll Bridge (1993) / short story by Neil Gaiman (variant of Troll-Bridge)
*At That Age / short fiction by Catriona Ward
*Listen / short fiction by Jen Williams
*Henry and the Snakewood Box / short fiction by M. R. Carey
*Skin / short fiction by James Brogden
*Faith & Fred / short fiction by Maura Mchugh
*The Black Fairy's Curse (1997) / short story by Karen Joy Fowler
*Wendy, Darling (2014) / short fiction by Christopher Golden
* Fairy Werewolf vs. Vampire Zombie (2011) / short story by Charlie Jane Anders
*Look Inside Me (2013) / short fiction by Michael Marshall Smith
*Little Red (2009) / short story by Adam Stemple and Jane Yolen
*New Wine / short fiction by Angela Slatter
*Haza and Ghani / short fiction by Lilith Saintcrow
*Hated / short fiction by Christopher Fowler
*Merrie Dancers / short fiction by Allison Littlewood
*Again / short fiction by Tim Lebbon
*The Girl from the Hell / short fiction by Margo Lanagan
*Castle Waking / short fiction by Jane Yolen
*About the Authors
*About the Editors


373 pages, Paperback

First published March 3, 2020

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Marie O'Regan

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5 stars
334 (14%)
4 stars
847 (37%)
3 stars
871 (38%)
2 stars
174 (7%)
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32 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 343 reviews
Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,034 reviews1,421 followers
August 25, 2022
A plethora of renowned authors lent their voices and their brilliance to this creation of dark whimsy and nightmarish delights. Some I had read from and others I had yet to. All were unique in the concept, direction, and conclusion, with the only thread to link these short works being forbidding tone that emanated through each...

Here is a breakdown of the contents and my individual ratings:

Castle Cursed by Jane Yolen (poem) - 3/5 stars
As Red as Blood, as White as Snow by Christina Henry - 3/5 stars
Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman - 4/5 stars
At That Age by Catriona Ward - 3/5 stars
Listen by Jen Williams - 4.5/5 stars
Henry and the Snakewood Box by M.R Carey - 5/5 stars
Skin by James Brogden - 4/5 stars
Faith & Fred by Maura McHugh - 2.5/5 stars
The Black Fairy's Curse by Karen Joy Fowler - 2/5 stars
Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden - 4.5/5 stars
Fairy Werewolf Vs. Vampire Zombie by Charlie Jane Anders - 2/5 stars
Look Inside by Michael Marshall Smith - 4/5 stars
Little Red by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple - 4/5 stars
New Wine by Angela Slatter - 4.5/5 stars
Haza and Ghani by Lilith Saintcrow - 3/5 stars
Hated by Christopher Fowler - 4/5 stars
The Merrie Dancers by Alison Littlewood - 4/5 stars
Again by Tim Lebbon - 4.5/5 stars
The Girl From the Hell by Margo Lanagan - 3/5 stars
Castle Waking by Jane Yolen (poem) - 3.5/5 stars
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,662 reviews5,143 followers
March 19, 2020
Snow did not find him charming. When she looked into his dark, dark eyes she saw not the fizzy delight of charm but the flicker of a tongue through sharp teeth.
— Christina Henry, As Red As Blood, As White as Snow

Last year, this editing duo released the Wonderland anthology, which I raved about. It was a gorgeous collection and I had so much fun with it that, when I had the opportunity to read and review this new anthology, I jumped at the chance. I’m an absolute sucker for dark fairytale retellings and many of the authors in this lineup positively excel at the craft.

Cursed kicks off, after a quick poem from Jane Yolen, with the story As Red as Blood, As White as Snow by Christina Henry, and if you know me, you already know Christina is one of my favorite retelling authors of all time. She has designed a solid portion of her writing career around taking old stories and giving them new life — typically complete with some sort of social commentary that is always so eloquently woven in — and this was no exception. It was easily my favorite story in the anthology and I would honestly urge you to pick this book up even if only for this story’s beautiful prose and ruthless examination of the evils of “Prince Charming” types.

Luckily, the good times didn’t stop there; while nothing else in Cursed was quite able to beat out that first story for me, I was so happy to see how many incredible stories this collection contained! A lot of anthologies are severely hit-and-miss, but Marie O’Regan & Paul Kane clearly know how to choose ’em when it comes to short stories. Among others, I loved Catriona Ward’s incredibly unique twist on one of my favorite tropes (but I can’t tell you what it is!) in At That Age, the gorgeously melancholy, haunting vibes of Jen Williams’ necromancing Listen, and James Brogden’s grotesque, horribly unsettling Skin.

The forest is dark but I know the way. I have been here before. There is a path soon, pebbly and worn, but my fingers and toes are like needles and pins. If I stay here, stray here too long, will I become one of them forever?
— Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple, Little Red

While these were the stand-out favorites of mine, I genuinely enjoyed almost every single story in this collection. I will admit that the stories grew a little less interesting for me in the end, with the last few not catching my eye as well, but they weren’t enough to hinder me from being wholly blown away by the overall caliber of Cursed’s offerings. I have so many new authors on my reading list thanks to these short stories, and I know this is the sort of collection I’ll be recommending for a long time — and revisiting time and time again.

Thank you so much to Titan for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review!

Content warnings for (no specific story spoilers)
Profile Image for Sara.
1,080 reviews362 followers
January 30, 2022
An anthology of stories that all take inspiration from 'curses', whether that's by reimagining classic fairy tales, reinventing their own curses or expanding on mythology from outside of literature Favourites include:

As Red As Blood, As White As Snow by Christina Henry - this story is a mixture of Snow White and Bluebeard, and explores the concept of what makes a villain, the mistreatment of women and a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Listen by Jen Williams - a pied Piper, a handful of secrets and painful truths from the mouths of the dead. Distinctly creepy and atmospheric, almost as though you can hear the call of sweet music on the wind...

Henry and the Snakewood Box by M. R. Carey - a demon, Maxwell's theory and a man. I really loved this one, from the juxtaposition between the demon and his underestimated opinion of Henry.

Skin by James Brogden - major trigger warnings for fellow dermatillomania sufferers. This set me off big time, and without any prior warning.

Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden - another story with major trigger warnings for child and infant death.

Little Red by Adam Stemple and Jane Yolen - trigger warnings again for self harm.

Hated by Christopher Fowler - Michael's life is golden, until one day it isn't. This offered a bit of light relief after the heavy content of previous stories. A welcome one, this was fun.

Overall, a bit of a mixed bag - as you'd expect from an anthology. My favourite was definitely Christina Henry's, which straddled the perfect line between fairy tale with a touch of something new. I think if more of the stories had been focused on whimsical fairy tales, I would have enjoyed this more.
Profile Image for Prabhjot Kaur.
1,047 reviews149 followers
March 17, 2023
Cursed is a collection of twenty short stories. Some of these are original fiction and the others are re-tellings. I love reading anthologies so when I saw that this has a collection of twenty dark and chilling stories, I had to read it. Most of these authors are new to me which is another reason for me to pick up anthologies as it gives me a chance to read different authors. This collection was definitely cursed for me as it was a complete waste of my time. So many of the stories made no sense and ended abruptly. Don't get me wrong, I love open-ended stories but this was not the case here.

1. Castle Cursed (2020) / short fiction by Jane Yolen - 1 star

This was just a one-page-long poem which was beautiful to read but I did not understand its significance. Initially, I didn't even realize it was a separate story until I did the counting halfway through and came up with a number short (19 instead of 20 stories) because this felt and read like a set-up for the second story. I can't justify giving this more than 1 star.

2. As Red As Blood, As White As Snow by Christina Henry - 4 stars

This is a story inspired by Snow White and Bluebeard. The writing was foreboding and gave me chills. This story really set the bar for the rest of the stories but sadly, none of the other stories lived up to this.

3. - Troll Bridge (1993) / by Neil Gaiman (variant of Troll-Bridge) - 2.5 stars

Neil Gaiman's writing is gripping but the story lacked something for me. It was quite sad in the end but I expected more.

4. At That Age / short fiction by Catriona Ward - 2 stars

John meets twins Drew and Daisy in his class and the twins invite John to their home after school. They have a party and John finds something rather strange about the twins' house. It started out great but I don't know what happened after that. Even writing this review, I am still trying to figure out what the story was about.

5. Listen / short fiction by Jen Williams - 3 stars

Erren travels from one town to another to play a set of pipes and she always finds an audience when she plays music but there is a sinister side to her music and Erren is cursed to play for eternity. This was one of the few stories that weren't a complete waste of my time.

6. Henry and the Snakewood Box / short fiction by M. R. Carey - 1 star

Henry is an ordinary person and that's why the Snakewood Box chose Henry. The box who happens to be a demon wants henry to make countless wishes which Henry is more than happy to do. But the box has an agenda. This was an absolute disappointment. This goes on and on about the workings of the universe but failed to impress me.

7. Skin / short fiction by James Brogden - 0 stars

Hannah knows that she's not good looking and when she ends up with Robin she along her with her friends wonders how is she able to bag Robin as he is gorgeous. Then Robin disappeared out of her life only to come back now and apologize to Hannah.

I think this was the story that I hated the most from this collection. Hannah was a complete hypocrite. She knows that she isn't good looking and she lies to Robin about her skin condition. So when Robin reacted the way he reacted, she shames him that he grooms himself as if it is illegal for men to groom themselves. Robin is made out to be the villain of the story when in reality, Hannah was the villain and she didn't even pay for her crime.

8. Faith & Fred / short fiction by Maura Mchugh - 2 stars

Another story with a great start, only to dwindle down the path of absolute disaster. Why are we punishing people who weren't at fault?

9. The Black Fairy's Curse (1997) / short story by Karen Joy Fowler - 1.5 stars

A woman is being chased then she wakes up and finds herself somewhere else and so on. I am not even sure if there was an actual story here and then it ends abruptly.

10. Wendy, Darling (2014) / short fiction by Christopher Golden - 1 star

This is a re-telling of Peter Pan as can be guessed by the title but again, I don't know what the point of this was.

11. Fairy Werewolf vs. Vampire Zombie (2011) / short story by Charlie Jane Anders - 2.5 stars

This also started out really good but ended just not as good. It wasn't the worst but I did get my hopes up.

12. Look Inside Me (2013) / short fiction by Michael Marshall Smith - 0 stars

First of all, this concept of starting a story by saying that I am going to tell a lie is a stupid one. Secondly, I had guessed the entire story and the lie by the fifth line. I wanted to skip and should have as this was really bad. One of the worst is this collection.

13. Little Red (2009) / short story by Adam Stemple and Jane Yolen - 1 star

This was the story I was most excited about as I love the original story of little red riding hood. But this was also disappointing and another story that made no sense. I get the metaphor but this was really bad with an abrupt end.

14. New Wine / short fiction by Angela Slatter - 4 stars

Alek's mother left when he was nine and his father is never around. Alek is eighteen now and lives in his father's big mansion and Valerie tutors him. Valerie lost her own teenage daughter a year ago. Valerie and Alek feel like the parent and child they each lost. This was my second favorite story from the collection. I had guessed how the story would turn out right at the beginning but I still enjoyed it as it has an actual story unlike the majority of this awful collection.

15. Haza and Ghani / short fiction by Lilith Saintcrow - 1 star

Haza and Ghani are siblings who lost their mother and their father re-marries but both Haza and Ghani are called by the temple for different duties and are separated. They meet again but the circumstances are so grim. This had real potential but the execution was not there. I don't think the author knew which direction she wanted to go in and ended up neither here nor there.

16. Hated / short fiction by Christopher Fowler - 3 stars

When Michael who is loved by all is suddenly hated by all, he tries to find out the reason and the results turn out to be completely unexpected. This was not bad.

17. Merrie Dancers / short fiction by Allison Littlewood - 3 stars

Merrie dancers is a story about red shoes and Yule and the legends surrounding Yule. I didn't like the middle part so much but this wasn't bad.

18. Again / short fiction by Tim Lebbon - 2 stars

Jodi was cursed to never die and be born again and again. I liked the concept but I wish the end was a bit different.

19. The Girl from the Hell / short fiction by Margo Lanagan - 0 stars

I am not sure what the story was about or if there was a story in this.

20. Castle Waking / short fiction by Jane Yolen - 0 stars

Another one-page poem by Jane Yolen and is completely pointless.

Overall, this was appalling. Most stories (I don't even want to call them stories) read like a jumble of thoughts. You know that feeling when you dream and that dream or nightmare ends abruptly and another starts and another and when you wake up, you only remember a jumble and a haziness? That's exactly what this collection is.

2 stars
Profile Image for Mir.
4,862 reviews5,008 followers
December 6, 2021
I'm not sure if it was me or the anthology, but I was pretty disappointed by most of the stories.
Luckily I got it from the library, so I was okay with just enjoying Slatter's and Lanagan's, but still kind of peeved at the waste of my valuable reading time. But as I said, maybe just my mood, ymmv.

Castle Cursed (2020) / short fiction by Jane Yolen -- It was fine, I forgot it instantly. 3/5

As Red As Blood, As White As Snow (2020) / by Christina Henry -- Dark and kinda rapey, as I expect from Henry. I didn't finish it so no rating.

Troll Bridge (1993) / by Neil Gaiman (variant of Troll-Bridge) -- I've already read two versions of this story, skip.

Listen / by Jen Williams -- interesting concept. Lost interest once I knew what was going on. 3/5

*Henry and the Snakewood Box / short fiction by M. R. Carey -- Adequate example of a concept that's been done plenty of times. 3.5

*Skin / short fiction by James Brogden -- I know there was supposed to be some morale about judging or forgiving or whatever, but all I could think was she shouldn't have given him a second and this was written by a man who doesn't understand how abuse is perpetuated. 1.5

*Faith & Fred / short fiction by Maura Mchugh -- Great hook, okay first page, then gave up and skipped ahead.

The Black Fairy's Curse (1997) / Karen Joy Fowler -- You write Literature not fantasy, we get it.

Wendy, Darling (2014) / Christopher Golden -- I always try Peter Pan adaptations and am (almost) always disappointed. Maybe they suck because the stereotypical-Victorian era was awful, and authors seem to feel compelled to include the historical ambiance rather than focusing on the kid-fantasy content? This was middling. 3 stars

Fairy Werewolf vs. Vampire Zombie (2011) / Charlie Jane Anders -- This reminded me strongly of noirish fantasy of the late 80s, like Sweet Silver Blues. Like those, I tend to appreciate the idea more than I enjoy the actuality. Would have been better shorter. 2.5 stars

Look Inside Me (2013) / Michael Marshall Smith -- Has this fad for having the narrator announce on the first page that they're unreliable ended yet? skip

*Little Red (2009) / short story by Adam Stemple and Jane Yolen -- Several content warnings!
Both the institutionalization and the fairy-tale-as-metaphor, girls who run with wolves, are kind of overused at this point. You need to bring something new to that material. That said, this wasn't badly executed. 3.5 stars

*New Wine / short fiction by Angela Slatter -- Slatter was one of the authors I picked this up to read, and although it's far from my favorite of hers it was a strong story. Oddly, the only one with not even a hint of supernatural. 4 stars

*Haza and Ghani / short fiction by Lilith Saintcrow -- Hansel and Gretel in a monastic setting, with Gretel as servant girl in the kitchen. Interesting choice, was not engrossed. No rating as I didn't finish.

[at this point by borrow was about to expire so I skipped to Lanagan, who I tend to like short but not long]

*Hated / short fiction by Christopher Fowler
*Merrie Dancers / short fiction by Allison Littlewood
*Again / short fiction by Tim Lebbon

*The Girl from the Hell / short fiction by Margo Lanagan -- I've seen this magical imprisonment played a few ways. I would say this instance was one of the stronger as to poetic prose style and one of the weaker as to plot and character development. Beautiful writing, but almost no sense of character or motivation. 3.5 stars

*Castle Waking / short fiction by Jane Yolen
*About the Authors
*About the Editors

Why are some of these labeled "short story" and others "short fiction"? Other than Yolen including a poem the fictions seem the same as stories?
Profile Image for Marquise.
1,712 reviews404 followers
April 15, 2020
A very mixed bag of an anthology, as some of the stories seem to shoehorn the "dark" aspect in a bit too forcefully, and others are simply not well developed.

For me, only one of the stories stood out: Christina Henry's As Red as Blood, As White as Snow, a flawed retelling of "Snow White" that quite misses the point of this tale and reads more like a retelling of "Bluebeard" with borrowed costume from "Snow White;" the stepmother and the apple, namely, which isn't enough to claim it's a retelling and are there more for effect than anything as they serve no purpose. The rest of the stories didn't make a lasting impression, unfortunately.
Profile Image for Lauren.
209 reviews63 followers
March 3, 2020
I just wanted to state even though I gave this book as a whole 3 stars. There was 4 stories within this collection that I would whole heartedly give 4 stars each and they are: As Red As Blood, As White As Snow by Christina Henry, Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden, Fairy Werewolf vs. Vampire Zombie by Charlie Jane Anders and New Wine by Angela Slatter. These four stories in particular I loved and definitely feel they deserve 4 stars.
Profile Image for Annette.
2,616 reviews117 followers
May 24, 2020
How to make sure Annette buys your book: One - invite Christina Henry and Neil Gaiman to write a story for your book. Two - make the theme Fairy Tales. Three - make them dark. This book kind of screamed my name. Well, not literally that would have been weird. I was therefore kinda disappointed that it took this long to reach me, even though I had pre-ordered it months in advance. But, I got it and I hadn't read any spoilers yet.

It's always hard to rate a collection of stories. Like with every Anthology there were stories I loved to pieces and will carry with me and will tell my friends and family and everyone who does and doesn't want to listen. But, there were also stories that didn't grab me or stories I might have to read again to fully understand their meaning. I guess that's normal. Not every story is for everyone and not every writer is for everyone.

However, all these stories had one thing in common: They were all beautifully written and really atmospheric. There was not one story that I hated or had to force my way through. They all embraced the theme of the anthology and went wild with it. If you think you know what Dark in this title means, you will have to think again. Some of those stories were much and much darker than anything I could ever imagine. And I loved them for it.

It's hard to pick favorites, but the stories that impressed me the most are the Snow White/Bluebeard/Beauty and the Beast mash up Henry wrote, the story slightly based on the Red Shoes, the story of the man who lost his popularity, the spin on Wendy Darling and the story of the demon box that fulfills wishes. I'm certain I will re-read quite a few of those stories quite often. Just because I can.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
750 reviews18 followers
January 10, 2021

Fairytales rewritten with liberties aplomb. New creations shutter to life. A cast of writers exude an army of wickedness to titillate and awe. Fun follies!
19 authors pen equal tales. Fantasy, mystery, suspense with perhaps a moral, an omen, even an excuse (Seems we have Henry to blame for the last 4 years!) but all unto themselves.

Christopher Golden’s “Wendy, Darling” (a rather gruesome take on “Peter Pan”) - “New Wine” by Angela Slatter (needs to be a book on its own and I hope it will be!) and Allison Littlewood’s “The Merrie Dancers” (as educational as it is entertaining.) are the stand outs for me, and then “Again” by Tim Lebbon (reincarnation of the cursed vein.) The rest were rather disappointing and a couple were indecipherable. I waited a long time to receive this. It wasn’t worth the wait.

Profile Image for JasonA.
294 reviews54 followers
May 20, 2023
Kind of uneven story collection. The book starts out pretty well with most of the well-known authors. Then, there are a bunch of authors I've never heard of and the story quality starts to go downhill. Finally, they throw in a story by Tim Lebbon near the end of the book that was one of my favorites in the collection, seemingly as a bonus for anyone who slogged through the "bonus material" that made up most of the second half of the book. To be fair, there were a couple that had promise in the second half, but they felt unfinished, even for short stories. They started good, but then just left me confused at the end.

There are some stories in here that I'd recommend skipping, but still worth checking out. The first half of the book is pretty good, plus Tim Lebbon's story at the end.
Profile Image for Peterpan23 Jeremy Perrault .
43 reviews25 followers
May 31, 2023
I would give “Cursed” a 3.5 ⭐️!

I did not “love” the book. As always, in short stories there are many different styles. I enjoy opening myself up to new ideas, styles, authors and beauties in the craft of writing. I am definitely not a Sci-Fi person, however I LOVE a good ghost story. Therefore, this book holds true to opening me up and expanding my horizons on styles and authors.

I enjoyed a handful of the stories, and one being of course my inspiration to read this book, “Neil Gaiman.” Nevertheless, I am eager to read the second edition. I do not speak negative of this book for the reason being obvious… Everyone has their own opinion, and to each their own.

Stay curious my friends! Reach beyond your norms and enter the unknown. You might be surprised! I definitely am every adventure I take. Until the next one… 🤙🏻😊
Profile Image for Carla.
487 reviews8 followers
August 15, 2020
I decided to rate the stories as I read them, so here it is:

- Castle Cursed: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Sleeping Beauty inspired poem. It’s fairly short, but I particularly liked the second half of it.

- As Red As Blood, As White As Snow: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Oh how I love the idea of a villainous prince. Absolutely enjoyed this. If it had been longer, I would still have devoured it. Also, Snow and the Queen getting along? Love it.

- Troll Bridge: ⭐️
Wow, I did not click with Jack like at all. I don’t know why but I didn’t enjoy this one. Maybe if it had been longer, I’d have had time to get used to him but he was just so selfish. Next please.

- At That Age: ⭐️⭐️
I’m not someone who requires everything to be explained to like a story, but this was so confusing. Perhaps cause John himself was all over the place. I sort of liked the idea of it, but got lost on the way a little.

- Listen: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I enjoyed this one. Discovering what was happening, Erren’s misdeed, the ending of it all. Such a clever curse too. This was very good indeed.

- Henry And The Snakewood Box: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Okay, this is my favourite so far. An arrogant demon, a dim-witted protagonist, unlimited wishes and a certain sense of balance? Loved it! And that ending? Yup, I’m happy with it.

- Skin: ⭐️
Don’t get me wrong, I like the grotesque but this one. Huh. I don’t know. I didn’t like Hannah much to begin with. And Robin. Well, yeah. Hm. I don’t even know what to say. I didn’t like it. There’s some words.

- Faith & Fred: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Owen is the perfect example of a protagonist of a horror film making all the wrong decisions. You just want to shake him and scream at him to maybe use his brain even if just once. Nevertheless, I could liked the twins’ story. And that open end? Delicious!

- The Black Fairy’s Curse: ⭐️
So I understand what the story alludes to. But there so many jumps, I got all jumbled. Maybe if it had been longer. I don’t know. I couldn’t actually get into it enough to like it.

- Wendy, Darling: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
How very unsurprising that I would give a Peter Pan inspired story 5 stars. Wow who would have thought? I actually really enjoyed this a lot. The idea of a grown-up Wendy being faced with the consequences of her past decisions. A curse. The blurred lines between imagined and real. This was great!

- Fairy Werewolf Vs. Vampire Zombie: ⭐️
So, I sort of thought the title was a joke. And the tone of the story was pushing the whole thing into the ridiculous aspect of it. But uhm, yeah ... what did I even read here? It would have gotten a bonus point if the zoning rant website thingie actually existed. I don’t know. It wasn’t even funny to me.

- Look Inside: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I love a good offering. And the paranoia in this story! The little box. That was actually so good. But I’ve seen AHS. I get what you’re alluding to with that last sentence. You also told us in the very first paragraph. And yeah, that sort of ruined the story for me.

- Little Red: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Not knowing what was actually happening and what was Red’s dissociative state was thrilling. The use of the wolves, the writing, the metaphors: Brilliantly put together. I wish it had been longer though.

- New Wine: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I liked Alek and Valerie which made the story much more enjoyable from the get go. The mystery and collection only added to it. There wasn’t a curse in the way the other stories had one, but it was a good story nonetheless. As for Obadiah, well one can only shake one’s head at his total incompetence.

- Haza And Ghani: ⭐️⭐️
I quite liked the idea of this but the execution wasn’t quite what I expected. It’s not badly written or anything, it just didn’t appeal to me specifically. But the idea of a temple sacrifice instead of a witch’s cottage? I love it and I would like a full novel about it.

- Hated: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I didn’t like Michael or the fact that the curse had to come from a Mexican. It played too much into old clichés. But I did love that ending. Be careful what you wish for!

- The Merrie Dancers: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The story of the red shoes. I quite enjoyed this. Annis’ way of telling the story made it feel like I was a child again, sitting in front of the fire, hearing my grandmother telling me stories of the past. That being said I struggled with some words, though I got used to them pretty quickly. That ending was great for the story. Have I mentioned that I love open endings?

- Again: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I enjoyed this so much! The rebirthing thing. Turning a curse into a new experience. The nearly century-old friendship. This was perfect!

- The Girl From The Hell: ⭐️⭐️
“I’m not following any of this” is perhaps a good description of how I felt during this. Maybe I shouldn’t have read it while I was tired but I am a bit confused as to what I just read.

- Castle Waking: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I liked this better than the first poem. The simple descriptions of the castle stirring to life unaware of what has just happened seems magical in itself. And ending an anthology about curses with a curse being broken is pretty clever.

Overall, I enjoyed this anthology. There were some clear hits and some sad misses for me personally, but the reinterpretation of some classics as well as the new tales based on old fairytale tropes was fun to read.
Profile Image for Lauren.
140 reviews26 followers
June 10, 2020
"The dead shall dance, wherever you go, and the living shall never harm you."
- Listen, Jen Williams

If Hell is waiting in a queue that never ends; then Purgatory is insisting you're not a fan of short stories but this collection has a cool premise so you're gonna give it a try, to only end up being disappointed in 75% of the content, and deciding you're not reading anymore short stories, but seeing a new collection is out and it has a cool premise so you're gonna give it a try (because it might be different this time), to only end up being disappointed in 80% of the content, and deciding you're (most definitely) not reading anymore short stories, but seeing a new collection is out and it has a cool premise so you're gonna give it a try-

... Lauren, it's me, your conscience. JUST GIVE UP THE SHORT STORIES ALREADY.

- Listen

- As Red as Blood, as White as Snow
- Wendy, Darling
- Troll Bridge
- Henry and the Snakewood Box

- At That Age
- The Black Fairy's Curse
- Castle Cursed / Castle Waking
- New Wine
- Haza and Ghani
- Hated
- Again

Nope/W.T.F. Did I Just Read
- Skin
- Faith & Fred
- Fairy Werewolf vs. Vampire Zombie
- Look Inside
- Little Red
- The Merrie Dancers
- The Girl From the Hell (but seriously, what in the actual heck was this even about?! And what's with the weird title?!)

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Profile Image for Adina.
414 reviews11 followers
May 23, 2023
There are some good stories in here, some haunting (Wendy, dear), some quite scary, and some who could have been developed into novels (New Wine). I also added some of these authors on my tbr.
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,496 reviews147 followers
March 13, 2021
I really only liked one story...which was the AS RED AS BLOOD, AS WHITE AS SNOW by Christina Henry. That one I would give 5-stars. A few were okay; TROLL BRIDGE, SKIN, & HATED. The rest were a waste of time for me...maybe anthologies aren't really my thing.
Profile Image for Lucinda.
460 reviews1 follower
April 16, 2021
An interesting mix of stories in this anthology, some better than others, as is generally the case. Overall, I liked most of them.
Profile Image for ♛ Garima ♛.
894 reviews178 followers
Want to read
June 24, 2020
This is going to be in the same format, I rate individual stories. After finishing I will rate the book.

✰✰✰ Castle Cursed by Jane Yolen
✰✰✰✰✰ As Red as Blood, as White as Snow by Christina Henry
✰✰✰ Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman
✰✰ At That Age by Catriona Ward
✰✰✰✰✰ Listen by Jen Williams
✰✰✰✰✰ Henry and the Snakewood Box by M.R Carey
Skin by James Brogden
Faith & Fred by Maura McHugh
The Black Fairy's Curse by Karen Joy Fowler
Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden
Fairy Werewolf Vs. Vampire Zombie by Charlie Jane Anders
Look Inside by Michael Marshall Smith
Little Red by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
New Wine by Angela Slatter
Haza and Ghani by Lilith Saintcrow
Hated by Christopher Fowler
The Merrie Dancers by Alison Littlewood
Again by Tim Lebbon
The Girl From the Hell by Margo Lanagan
Castle Waking by Jane Yolen
Profile Image for Ian.
161 reviews31 followers
September 29, 2022
I always find it hard to rate short story collections since some of the stories might be worth 5 starts, others 1. This one was a bit easier as there was no 1s or 2s in it, a couple 3s but mostly 4s and 5s. If Goodreads allowed for half stars, I'd rate it 4,5, but as it doesn't I rounded it up.

None of these stories were bad, a few were neutral in my opinion but I did enjoy most of them. Most noteworthy about this collection is that some of the stories - thinking especially of "Little Red" by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple, and "Haza and Ghani" by Lilith Saintcrow, but also "Wendy, Darling" by Christopher Golden, and "New Wine" by Angela Slatter - would have needed some trigger/content warnings though. Of course, of these four, three were also my favorites, the 5 stars in the collection.

"Wendy, Darling" and "New Wine" would need content warning mostly due to the subject - death of ones child. Of the two, "Wendy Darling" - which is based on the classic fairy tale "Peter Pan" - was also a thought provoking story, that I read as a commentary on how bad it can go - and did go back in the day - when women's right to abortion is questioned, when so high standards are put on women when it comes to sex etc. "New Wine" was more of a mystery/crime novel that was okay, but lacked depth in my opinion.

"Little Red" (based on "Little Red Riding Hood") was an amazing read, quite a bit of a mind-twister. The TW:s I'd put on this are selfharm and insinuations (quite clear ones) of rape and childabuse. It is a story I'd like to see written out to a full length book, but oh my how it would be agony to read it though!

"Haza and Ghani" (based on "Hansel and Gretel") would need some gore triggers and also child abuse - but the latter one would be true for the original as well though. It was a intriguing read, albeit a bit gory at times. I found it to be quite a powerful story. This one I would also enjoy reading a lengthier version of.

As a last note on the whole collection: do not read it expecting happy ever after-endings. They're really not that kind of fairy tales!
Profile Image for Leslie.
1 review
November 1, 2022
Castle Cursed -

As Red as Blood, as White as Snow 👻👻

Troll Bridge 👻

At That Age 👻👻

Listen 👻👻👻

Henry and the Snakewood Box 👻👻👻👻👻

Skin 👻👻👻👻

Faith & Fred 👻👻👻

The Black Fairy's Curse 👻

Wendy, Darling 👻👻👻👻

Fairy Werewolf vs. Vampire Zombie 👻👻👻👻

Look Inside 👻👻👻👻

Little Red 👻

New Wine 👻👻👻👻

Haza and Ghani 👻👻👻👻

Hated 👻👻👻👻

The Merrie Dancer 👻👻👻

Again 👻👻👻

The Girl from the Hell 👻

Castle Waking -
Profile Image for Librarian   Bee.
151 reviews9 followers
February 7, 2023
★★★★ 4 Stars ★★★★
I really enjoyed this book of short stories. Definitely, one I need to add to my to-buy list. These stories are going to be great for Halloween time! My favorite story was Catriona Wards (shocker- I know).❥
Profile Image for Abbi Gilzean.
42 reviews9 followers
March 22, 2022
3.5 stars. There was about a 50/50 mix of stories I really liked and stories I didn't care for as much. That's just an anthology for you I suppose. But overall I enjoyed the fairy tale theme and how unique each tale was from the next. The authors really went out of their way to put their own spin on the genre, and it shows.
Profile Image for Geertje.
724 reviews
July 15, 2022
Very enjoyable. These stories all use the prompt of 'cursed', though some more so than others. You'll find fantasy here, and retellings, but also horror and comedy. My absolute favourite story was 'Henry and the Snakewood Box' by M.R. Carey, about a demon trapped in a box who entices a rather simple man to make wish upon wish for his own nefarious ends. I also really liked 'The Merrie Dancers' by Alison Littlewood. I'd never read anything by her before, but that will surely change now!
Profile Image for Annerie RooibosReads.
101 reviews5 followers
July 23, 2021
Very interesting, strange and spooky stories. Loved this!

This also introduced me to many authors I've never even heard about. I am definitely motivated to read more books and stories from these authors.
Profile Image for irene.
8 reviews
January 4, 2022
Very hooking and it’s so well written i could almost see the different short stories before me like a movie. only thing is that i didn’t quite understand “Haza and Ghani”, where i was confused about the ending, and “The girl from the hell” where i didn’t really understand the storyline.
Profile Image for Alyson Walton.
592 reviews11 followers
July 30, 2022
This really was a mixed bag? I can't say I enjoyed all of the stories and I found some disjointed but none was less than a three star read for me.
Profile Image for Matt.
174 reviews2 followers
March 30, 2023
A few good stories in this collection, my favourite being by M R Carey, who I'm now intrigued by. Overall, though, an average read.
I like short story collections by a single author, although understand how restrictive that sounds.

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