This is my first every Naomi Novik. I know that there’s been a lot of hype around her work, so I was kind of looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about. And now I understand the fuss. It is well deserved fuss. This book was amazingly written, incredible fun and seriously intense. For some reason I was kind of expecting a young adult, easy read which would sweep me away to a beautiful, magical kingdom. This is not that book. This is a book about three different women and how they become the strong, independent women they need to be to defeat a great evil.
I seriously love Alice in Wonderland. Or anything that uses themes and imagery from this story. And it’s moved beyond the Lewis Carroll original to something more. As time has moved and the many, many, many retellings have weaved their way into pop culture, the story has taken on more and more of a life of its own. Which is also probably why I love it so much. Each person’s take is amazing. Each aspect of the story that is focused on… but I’ve never read a steampunk retelling of this tale. Until now. And wow.
I read the two prequel novellas to this story months and months ago. They were on my kobo and I figured why not. And then I had to wait to read this novel. And boy was it worth the wait. Not quite what I was expecting, and definitely able to twist me into knots far more than I expected, but this was nonetheless amazing. The kind of book that I would have quite happily read in one sitting… if I didn’t have a job and a PhD to take up the majority of my time…
The Princess and the Pea has always been one of those stories that is kind of iconic for me. I’m not sure why, since I don’t often enjoy stories about princessy princesses. But, this version of it using tricksters and the desert is far more to my taste. Actually, I was incredibly disappointed when it was over.
This was such a beautifully bittersweet storyline. Sleeping Beauty (the Disneyfied version) has always felt a little bittersweet to me. After all, a mistake on her parents’ behalf curses her to a hundred years in sleep. A hundred years in which her loved ones, friends, acquaintances are all unable to live their lives. And it is just the single kiss of a man who is fighting brambles which saves her. In this retelling, Wrede asks just what would happen if the prince were too early or too late? What would happen if the fairy tale just didn’t quite happen the way it was supposed to?
Rumpelstiltskin is one of my preferred fairy tales. There is just something about it that I love, and the fact that it was has been used across many of the different retellings and TV series that I have watched makes it even more thrilling. Which meant that having a Rumpelstiltskin story to open the collection Black Thorn, White Rose made me really happy. It was a great, slightly darker start to these adult fairy tale retellings.
I’ve had this book on my wish list for a very, very long time. So, when I finally managed to find a second hand copy and get it delivered to my door, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it. After all, I love fairy tales, I like stories with a dark twist, and I’m fascinated by retellings and the ways in which people are able to twist and turn classic themes to fit a more contemporary or recognisable setting. Which makes this kind of the perfect short story collection to sit on my shelves.
It’s kind of obvious from the title of this short story that this is a retelling and tale of Hansel and Gretel. But it wasn’t the kind of retelling that I was expecting. From beginning to end this was a bit of a surprise. Immediately I thought that this tale would be one in which the parent would betray her child (like in the original fairy tale).
One of my favourite things about poems is the multitude of meanings that a very few words can describe. The multitude of ways in which mere words can tell an entire story. It’s something that prose just can’t quite manage. Prose can fill in more information, but I find that poetry can often find more meaning.
This short story had an incredibly bittersweet ending. One that I enjoyed thoroughly. It wasn’t sad, it wasn’t happy, mostly it was just incredibly lonely. A tale that makes you think about the things that you could have had, if only you stopped wishing for something just over the horizon.