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.
This was the least disturbing short story I’ve read in the Snow White, Blood Red collection in a while. Don’t get me wrong, it was still kind of sexualised and disturbing. But a lot less so than the past few stories that I’ve read. They were just downright, destroy my love of fairy tales disturbing. This was just a slightly uncomfortable feeling of disturbing.
The entire time I was reading this short story, I was remembering watching the movie Thumbelina as a kid. And how much I truly loved it. And then, when the little film reel in my head stopped, I started thinking about the original Hans Christian Andersen tale that I read only a few months ago.
This is the second Rapunzel story in the Snow White, Blood Red collection. And it is far more light-hearted and entertaining than the first. Where the previous story was a little dark and twisted, this one was fun, happy and had me smiling throughout. It also made me a little hungry with the constant mentions of pasta and food.
As with many of the retellings in Snow White, Blood Red, The Root of the Matter was filled with a sexuality that is almost missing from the traditional fairy tales. I say almost because it does kind of linger in the originals, but it’s possible to ignore and read in total innocence. You can’t read The Root of the Matter in total innocence. You can’t read it in any semblance of innocence for that matter.
In the collection, Snow White, Blood Red, I Shall Do Thee Mischief follows directly after Little Red. And I had to put this book down after Little Red because of the ick factor. So when I found out that there was a second story based on this fairy tale. Also with a sexual component… I’ll admit that I was kind of concerned. And uncomfortable. There is only so much ick I can read before I have to change over to the happy and carefree stories. Luckily for me, although the sexuality was still there, it wasn’t so intense. Or icky.
This short retelling of Red Riding Hood lost half a point because of the creep factor. The creep factor still made the story thoroughly enjoyable and a perfect addition to a series of adult fairy tale retellings. But I didn’t like the feelings I got when I finished it. Hence the deduction of half a point.