I love faerie tales. Love, love, love them. I like them dark and I like them sinister. I’m a total Andrew Lang fangirl cos he took on the task of collecting ALL THE FAERIE STORIES and having them released as the Colour Fairy Books, that I’ve been collecting since I was just a wee sj (sidenote: if you’re ever wondering what to get me for my birthday or holidays, you can’t go wrong with a Lang collection, no joke).
So, anyway, I was perusing NetGalley, looking for ish to read for Zombruary (cos I didn’t already have enough sitting around waiting to be read, right?) and the shiny cover for Grim caught my eye. I got as far in the blurb as “dark fairy tale retellings” before I stopped reading and started clicking REQUEST, REQUEST, REQUEEEEEEEEEST!
Some of the wind was taken from my sails when I was approved, though, and realized that it was a Harlequin Teen book.
“Oh. Oh, no. Oh, sj – what have you done to yourself?” is what I asked myself repeatedly.
…and there aren’t any zombies in this book, but there is cannibalism, so I’m totally counting it.
Right, so – faerie tales are fantastic, but sometimes things get lost in the re-tellings. You can go all out and make your story barely recognizable as the tale you’re basing it on, or you can go the Philip Pullman route and just tell it like you heard it originally.
Both styles are featured here. Those that put a new twist on stories older than dirt were probably my favourites, but none of them were really terrible (and that’s unusual to say for a collection like this).
I’d have to say that the least successful stories were those that deviated the least from their original sources. Jon Skovron’s “The Raven Princess” was nearly identical to the version of “The Raven” I remember reading as a child, and Amanda Hocking’s “The Pink” was also incredibly similar to every other version of that story that I’ve read.
Not a huge fan of either of those.
Oh, and I skipped Ellen Hopkins’ retelling of The Snow Queen (“Before the Rose Bloomed”) because
it was written
like this with some sort of
strange line breaks?
Like it was trying to be
poetry, but instead
just gave me a headache.
The BEST stories were unexpected. I’m not a huge fan of Puss in Boots in general, but Jerri Smith-Ready’s “Figment” was a pretty fabulous take on it and Kimberly Derting’s “Light it Up” (Hansel and Gretel) might just have been my favourite.
Other highlights were:
Julie Kagawa’s “The Brothers Piggett,” which made me laugh quite a bit.
Jackson Pearce’s take on Snow White (“Sell Out”), which was quietly sad and yet hopeful.
Saundra Mitchell’s “Thinner than Water” (based on Donkey-skin/Cat-skin, whichever version you happen to’ve read), which was triggery as hell, but had the BEST ending.
Rachel Hawkins’ “The Key,” which was a fantastic take on the whole Bluebeard thing.
TL;DR – worth your time AND your dollars. You can skip the stories you don’t like, but there are few enough of those here.
Grim was released yesterday, but when I went to goodreads to get the cover photo, I noticed that they’re doing a giveaway for it that ends on the 28th. Go get you some faerie tales!