Title: When the Clock Strikes
Author: Tanith Lee
In: Red as Blood (Tanith Lee)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Fairy tales, Retellings
Dates read: 3rd November 2019
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: It might be the night of their lives.
Then there is Ashella, the Cinderella-like girl who, “When the Clock Strikes”, intends to give her Prince Charming a deadly surprise.
This is a super, super dark retelling of Cinderella. One that made me question my own beautifully well known Disney version (and other happily-ever-after retellings). Not necessarily the version I would be telling my children, but definitely one that I seriously enjoyed and look forward to picking up again and again.
Not many witch stories I read lately feature Satan worship as an aspect of the storyline. Which made it quite enjoyable to read such a tale. This short story took many of the aspects of witchcraft and Satan worship that aren’t often found in my shelves generally. It made a completely plausible and fun retelling.
The symbolism of when the clock strikes was powerful. From the beginning, we are told that 12 means death. So as you get closer and closer to her journey to midnight… you wait for death to overtake the world. Or at least the poor, naïve prince.