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Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Twelve is a poetic retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." Bewitching and beguiling, this short series of linked poems takes the reader to the underground realm and back, following the stories of twelve princesses and their life after the magic shoes. ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published September 7th 2020 by Interstellar Flight Press
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ash | novelly rooted
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: retellings, poetry
I first want to thank Netgalley, Interstellar Flight Press, and Andrea Blythe for providing a copy for review.

Twelve is a poetic retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." I enjoy when retellings breathe new life into a fairy tale. Twelve presents a fresh take by exploring the question of what happened after the magic dancing came to an end.

After the entrance to the underworld was sealed by an iron door, the princesses began to live vastly different lives back in
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh how could I not become enchanted by Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale.
Each of the twelve sisters finds her own way to rebel against her father, the king.

The king, wanting to know the ways of his daughters, the reason why their shoes are so quickly destroyed, issues a decree. Any man that can answer the question within 3 days will get to marry his choice of the daughters. The men that are unable to answer in the 3 day time period are sentenced to death. Let the games begi
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an advanced reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

This is a beautifully put together book of poems told in a story type format about the brothers grimm fairy tale about the twelve dancing princesses.
This book is very well thought out and poetically written to tell a version of the fairy tale after the music stops.
This is a retelling in poetry form and I thought it was very beautifully written.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Title - Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy tale
Author: Andrea Blythe
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Many thanks to the publisher, Interstellar Flight Press, for gifting me with an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my impartial review.

This was a short, beautiful, and important feminist take on The Twelve Dancing Princesses, a Brothers Grimm fairytale. My first encounter with The Twelve Dancing Princesses was when I watched the Barbie remake as a kid.

I loved that it wasn't just a
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a kid, I was obsessed with the illustrated book of Grimm’s fairy tales that my mother read to me. As an adult, it’s a little insane to note that we read things this dark to children. I enjoyed this author’s lyrical tale on Grimm, usually from the princess or sister’s point of view. I was not as familiar with this particular fairy tale, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” I think you might want to read or reread the original tale first - I was intrigued enough that I will read it now. I also real ...more
May 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I found this copy on Netgalley and was super intrigued to read it! Definitely not disappointed. Every page was magical describing the twelve sisters, the powers they hold and how each have a different way about life after the entrance was sealed with an iron door to the magical underworld. One sister learned how to poison and alchemy, the twin sisters began stealing, another sister simply chose a life surrounded by books while another found comfort exploring the love of baking and then falling i ...more
Shannon Winward
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Not every battle requires the clash of swords or the slaying of a dragon to win. Sometimes it's a matter of sorting lentils from the ashes."--Andrea Blythe, TWELVE

Reminiscent of Emma Donoghue's KISSING THE WITCH, TWELVE is a deceptively slender volume of poetry-rich, fairy-tale inspired micro stories. Not just a quick and pleasant read, Blythe's cast of sisters twelve includes such unexpected and complicated characters, with such exquisite and brutal language, one is compelled to go back and re
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This chapbook is gorgeous and a lovely take on the fairy tale
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I finally get it.

As a Dad of 2 girls I have tolerated Disney princesses and been caught up in the standard ‘magic’ and misrepresentation these adapted stories historically told. I am pleased both my daughters are independent women and forged their own way in life.
The Twelve Princesses that Twelve springs from has opened my eyes however.

You see the disempowerment of women even as princesses; where until recent times women had little independence or wealth without a well planned marriage to a man.
Allie Marini
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review *

"There is power in the fact that they enjoyed pleasure for pleasure’s sake and never apologized."

I'm already a fan of Andrea Blythe's work, and I've been meaning to preorder this (which I will now be doing promptly, as the layout and section art is very attractive and I prefer my poetry chapbooks in print.) However, seeing it available as an ARC, I couldn't wait to get a sneak peek.

A few months ago, I'd read a co
This book was nothing like what I expected, but it was still amazing! I'm not sure if it was the formatting on my phone (read through the Kindle app), but the poems felt less like poems and more like short stories. Not complaining, though, they were still amazing. I was surprised, however, that the poems were only based off of The Twelve Dancing Princesses - for some reason, I though it was going to be based off of 12 different fairytales. I must not have read the description very well. Still, t ...more
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection as it retold what happened after the 12 dancing princesses were found out and their dancing had been stopped. Each sister experienced the loss of their nightly adventures differently - some escape, some take revenge and some find their new normal. All of them react very differently and each of their stories is a little vignette into how they survive.

I would hesitate to call this poetry, I would call it flash fict
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a lovely little read. I’m not sure why it’s categorized as poetry, though. Each chapter is one of the twelve sisters and her outcome written in pretty, but not poetic, prose. Some sisters felt more fully developed than others, and I’d have loved to see each of them fleshed out consistently. My favorite was the twelfth sister, and I could honestly see that story becoming its own book. I loved the imaginative care, and Blythe’s voice encourages the reader to open more doors – whether in w ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a short book and a quick read but it is enchanting from the very first word until the very last.
The book is a set of poems following the twelve sisters and each of them has their own magic, as well as being part of the bigger story.

My favourite poem from this book is about the eighth and ninth sisters.
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 stars

I received an e-arc from NetGalley for review.


I loved this now I need to read other retellings of one of my favorite fairy tales. Nostalgia but at the same time so new and her own. I cannot rave and recommend this more.

And Blythe’s author note at the end I would not mind just reading a book where she talks about fairy tales honestly. She is very poignant and I appreciate the look into the sister's thoughts and feelings individually Like she said what happened after the wedding a
May 06, 2020 rated it liked it
{I received a review copy from NetGalley}

an interesting structure inspired by old folklore — always a favorite of mine — that has some really wonderful gems. there’s imagery of a pregnant princess perhaps growing not a baby but an apple tree in her belly; another princess sewing her ghosts into a quilt so the pain can be folded up and put away. these fragments are strong and lovely, and I so wish the entire work was as memorable and compelling. I like where the author seemed to be going on a num
Mandy Hazen
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a crazy twist on the fairy tales! Super twisted as expected. Super enjoyed it and would suggest to anyone who enjoys the fairy tales. Super quick read! I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! It was really interesting to see the aftermath of the classic tale. I have always loved the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and I enjoyed this one just as much.
I liked how short and easy this book was to read. I also enjoyed how each chapter left on a sort of cliffhanger. It was also cool to see how different each sister was.
Overall I really liked reading this. I would recommend it to anyone who loves classics and the Brothers Grimm stories.
Nancy Lewis
The title says these are poems, but they're really short stories - or rather even, short comments on each of the twelve sisters, as in "This little piggy went to market..." I would like to see these sisters developed into full characters in a novel with a plot and all that goes with it. ...more
Amy Norton
“They had secrets, selves they kept hidden.”

The Twelve Dancing Princesses has always been my favorite fairytale. It's a mystery and fantasy all wrapped up into one. It's not a love story. Instead, it's one of the original stories of a strong sisterhood--predating Frozen and Lilo and Stitch. And yet for some reason this story often goes unread or gets forgotten.

Andrea Blythe's stories (because to me they read more like poetically written stories than stories wrapped in poems) honors the original
'The 12 Dancing Princesses' was one of my absolute favorite Grimm tales as a child so I genuinely enjoy the myriad of interpretations and "new versions" of a familiar story that is decidedly dark and grim.

I had been expecting more traditional poetry in this collection -- these read as short stories centered around each of the twelve princesses *after* the story. What comes after "happily ever after" is decidedly dark and sad. A unique and dark take that breathes life in to the women at the heart
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Twelve is an engrossing poetic tale retold by author Andrea Blythe. I haven't yet read the Grimm brothers version. In fact, living in Asia, I am hearing about the existence of the old version only now. Never came across the book to be honest. So this is my review after finishing this book alone.

Creative fiction written by combining mystery and imaginary history is a fantabulous combination. This is a beautiful illusory story of selfish women who refuse to conform to the expectations of how they
Tilly (The Biblioshelf)
To me, fairytales are the original story. With elements of folklore and oral-storytelling passed on from generation to generation until they are finally written down and published for anyone to read, it's no wonder that each of these amazing stories have different variations and attributes linking to a myriad of cultures across our planet. Modern-day retellings often seek to gender-bend or feminise these tales, questioning the traditional roles of the obedient princesses who require a loving ste ...more
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I chose to read a copy of "Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale", by Andrea Blythe, I overlooked the ":" and was under the impression that it would be a collection of twelve poems, each retelling a different Brothers Grimm fairy tale, in a way like "I Am Not Your Final Girl", by Claire C. Holland reclaimed the voice of final girls in horror cinema. That may be because I didn't read the synopsis clearly...oops. Still, I did enjoy this a lot.

"Twelve: Poems Inspired by the
Jun 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I love fairytale retellings. I especially love fairytale retellings that return a sense of agency to the too-often-ignored female characters. Thus I was immediately drawn to this poetic retelling of the 12 dancing princesses.

Blythe makes some interesting points, especially in the author's note at the end. However, the stories weren't quite poems - they were more similar to a couple of paragraphs per princess. The writing, though beautiful, was a bit strange. A smidgen too short to feel complete
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*clears throat* *cracks knuckles* Ok, get ready for me to gush about HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS! This book starts with a prologue giving an explanation of what happens in the story of the twelve Dancing Princesses (hence the name of the work) then is followed by an explanation of what happens to each sister after the soldier discovers their dancing in fairy-land and the king stops their fun.

I loved each sister's story. Each had their own unique tale following the loss of fairy-land, and not every one
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Interstellar Flight Press and NetGalley for the advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.
I am not really sure that I would describe these little vignettes as poems, but they certainly have a poetic quality to them.

This collection tells the individual stories of each of the Twelve Dancing Princesses best known from Grimm’s fairy tales. I have always liked that story and I tend to love a good fairy-tale reimagining and this book was no exception. The main sense I got from thi
Annette Jordan
This is a powerful and memorable collection of prose poems inspired by the Brother's Grimm Fairy Tale " The Twelve Dancing Princesses" , the story of twelve sisters who spend their nights dancing the soles off their shoes in a mysterious and magical land, to the despair of their father, the King. Desperate. he offers the hand of a princess as a reward, and many young men lose their lives in an attempt to solve the mystery, until one day a soldier, with the help of a wise old woman, manages to ev ...more
Kathy Shimpock
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blyth crafted her small book around the Grimm folktale of the “Twelve Dancing Princesses” (also known as “The Shoes that Were Danced to Pieces”). It’s the tale of 12 sisters who sneak off at night to dance with the fairies. Each day they return with their shoes worn out. The King imprisons them and proclaims that any man who can uncover the mystery can marry one of his daughters. If the suitor fails, then it’s off with the head! The sisters drug the men so they can’t be followed. But a soldier ( ...more
Juju Rodriguez
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Twelve: Poems Inspired by the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale" is a retelling of the classic tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses". This book does a really good job of exploring the "after" and how the experience of getting caught travelling to a fairy realm effects all twelve princesses. As the reader we get a god look at the lives of the princesses and every one of them was effected and dealt with the experience differently. I like that not every story had a happy ending and some of them did, it mad ...more
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Andrea Blythe bides her time waiting for the apocalypse by writing speculative poetry and fiction. Her work has appeared in various publications both online and in print, Drunk Monkeys, Quail Bell, Diode Poetry Journal, Linden Avenue, Strange Horizons, and Bear Creek Haiku, as well as anthologies, such as Undead: A Poetry Anthology of Ghouls, Ghosts, and More (Apex Publications, forthcoming), Myth ...more

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