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).
Hans Christian Andersen’s snow queen has long been one of my favourite fairy tales. There is something that is incredibly sweet, and incredibly dark about it. Something that I just find lingers with me long after I have turned the last page. Maybe it’s Gerda’s ability to love without expectations, fight against what everyone is saying and doing in an attempt to save the boy that she loves. Which meant that when I found out there was a retelling of this story in a more adult manner, I knew I was going to either love it or hate it…
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.
I kind of loved this version of Puss-in-Boots. After all, the original was so PG, and kind of didn’t explain just why the cat was so loyal and giving to his owners. There was just something a little too innocent about it, and I don’t love the idea of a character who is obviously powerful and intelligent from weighing hand and foot on such a horrible, selfish and downright irritating man. This short story put that all to rights.
The introduction to this short story tells you that you are going to recognise the fairy tale upon which it is based at the end of the tale. And, to be honest, I wasn’t really sure that I was going to recognise it. there just seemed to be nothing recognisable in it. Until the last two pages… then I finally understood exactly which fairy tale this was. And I loved it.
I loved that this was a retelling of The Billy Goats Gruff, but through the lens of loss. Or, more specifically about a lost future and lost chances. It gave a fairy tale that already feels a little eerie a far more haunting appeal. There was something about a broken down village and an abandoned bridge that made you think of people who are broken and unable to fulfil their dreams and potential.
This is the first comfortable story that I’ve read in Snow White, Blood Red for a little while. Most of the stories in this collection highlight the sexual component of some very well known fairy tales and make it far more twisted than is necessary. This one on the other hand, gives a modern day retelling to an old classic (I’ve not read the original, but I have read another story based on this fairy tale).
I’ve read a lot of fae stories in my time. And a lot of them have had a changeling as the lead character. There is always a sense of sympathy invoked by their plight too. Often the mother they have been left with doesn’t accept them and leaves them feeling lost and forlorn. This is the first story that I’ve read which focuses on how horrible and terrifying this situation would be for the mother. And now some of my favourite characters have made me feel turned on my head too.