Something about The Nutcracker has always interested me. Or at least, something about it has drawn me in from the very beginning. So to read a short story, rewritten fairy tale that features the plotline of the nutcracker completely drew me in. The fact that it was kind of dark, and incredibly fun… just made it all that much more intriguing and engaging.
I thought this was going to be very traditional-feeling. The overlooked suitor keeps on trying for the beautiful, rich bride. He gets help from an unpredictable source (in this case a river), and after completing task after task, he finally triumphs. That is until you remember that this is one of Bardugo’s fairy tales and they aren’t going to be like this at all.
I love the notes of a traditional fairy tale throughout this story. The idea of “don’t go into the woods”. Be careful of the wicked witch. A young girls’ life being turned upside down by the remarriage of her father (after the mother has passed away). But this is where many of the similarities end.
Most stories, fairy tales, really anything that I read features a pretty girl. She is gifted by grace, beauty, kindness, yadda, yadda, yadda. But not so with this reimagined fairy tale story. This is all about the ugly (and somewhat forgotten) ugly sister.
I found it almost impossible to put this damn book down. Which is a little problematic… since I have a whole heap of other productive things to do… the illustrations in this version just helped to make it ten thousand times more difficult to put down.
This short story had such a great, traditional fairy tale feel to it. I’ve been reading a bit of Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen lately, and it would sit right in amongst all of their tales. The twisting, convoluted tale. And the ways in which this teaches a lesson, of some kind at the very end. The final twist is also exactly what I would expect from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale.