Tag Archives: Snow White Blood Red

Snow White, Blood Red edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Overview
Image result for snow white, blood red book cover

Title: Snow White, Blood Red
Author: Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling, Susan Wade, Charles de Lint, Gahan Wilson, Nancy Kress, Tanith Lee, Wendy Wheeler, Kathe Koja, Gregory Frost, Elizabeth A. Lynn, Harvey Jacobs, Steve Rasnic Tem, Melanie Tem, Caroline Stevermer, Ryan Edmonds, Neil Gaiman, Leonard Rysdyk, Esther M. Friesner, Jack Dann, Jane Yolen, Patricia A. McKillip & Lisa Goldstein
Series: Adult Fairy Tales #1
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Retellings,Short story collections
Dates read: 17th December 2018 – 12th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: It’ll still mean that I’m willing to let someone die, just so I can have my own way.

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Synopsis

Snow White, Blood Red is a brand new collection of fairy tales. But be warned. It is not a collection for the faint-hearted. Or even one to lull the innocent towards the sleeping realms of dreams. For Snow White, Blood Red is a modern book of wonders: a boundless expanse of nightmares, lusts and fables for the grown-up child in us all.

Through richly imaginative retellings of existing fairy tales, twenty-one of the world’s top fantasy authors recreate the full mythical, magical, mind-bending power of humankind’s oldest fables. Prepare to be seduced by stories that bite – stories that are frightening, erotic, dark and compelling. Because as Terri Windling reminds us in the introduction: ‘Something still stirs inside us when we hear those old, evocative words: Once upon a time.’ Only this time, in this world, there is no happy ending…

Thoughts

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.

Some of the stories in this collection are kind of dark and twisted. Some are incredibly sexual. And some are just a great, contemporary retelling that makes childish fairy tales far more relatable. I got goosebumps reading some of these stories. While others left a smile on my face. You know it’s a fantastic collection when it takes you through the rollercoaster of emotions and leaves you feeling incredibly happy at the close of the last page.

Anybody who loves fantasy, horror or fairy tales, this is a great collection to add to your shelves. It is one that I won’t be getting out of my head anytime soon, that’s for sure…

<- Taking LoupLike a Red, Red Rose ->

Image source: Amazon

Breadcrumbs and Stones by Lisa Goldstein

Overview
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Title: Breadcrumbs and Stones
Author: Lisa Goldstein
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Retellings, War
Dates read: 12th April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: There was no reason for us to stay.

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Synopsis

A Holocaust retelling of Hansel and Gretel. A story filled with sadness and tragedy.

Thoughts

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).

The parallels drawn between Hansel and Gretel and the Holocaust are intense. Especially the use of ovens, betrayal and the sacrifice of children. It is a kind of heartbreaking story. Just like the original tale. Hansel and Gretel is kind of one of the most horrible fairy tales that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. And the Holocaust is one of the most tragic tales of modern history. Mix them together… and wow, what a powerful, potent and very uncomfortable short story. But one that I can’t wait to read again and again and again.

 <- The Snow Queen ReviewSupernatural Noir Review ->
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The Snow Queen by Patricia A. McKillip

Overview
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Title: The Snow Queen
Author: Patricia A. McKillip
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary romance, Retellings
Dates read: 7th April 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: Fool.

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Synopsis

Gerda and Kay have been together for years. Yet, somehow their marriage and love doesn’t quite seem to be the way it was. Then, one night, Kay runs across Neva, a startling woman of cold beauty and everything changes.

Thoughts

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…

Luckily for me, I actually really enjoyed this retelling. Gerda and Kay are older, their relationship that of a married couple (rather than two innocent children). Yet, the same moments and distances play out. This time, it is through a much more conscious decision made by Kay, but it still has that same horrible feeling. And I liked Gerda in this tale a lot more. In the original I never quite understood just why she goes to such lengths for a boy who never really seemed to give her much attention. I still admire her for it, but I didn’t quite get it…

In this short story, instead of fighting to get Kay back and spending all of her time and energy regaining his love, Gerda spends this time taking care of herself. Although her love for Kay never quire diminishes, she finds a way to take her own place in life. To find her own joy that doesn’t rely on a man… now that, I can really understand.

 <- Knives ReviewBreadcrumbs and Stones Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Knives by Jane Yolen

Overview
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Title: Knives
Author: Jane Yolen
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Poetry, Retellings
Dates read: 1st April 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Poem
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: in the language of love:

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Synopsis

A poem which gives a more adult, and slightly more disturbed outlook to the original tale of Cinderella.

Thoughts

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.

I’ve always liked (ok, maybe loved) the original version more than the Disney PG one. It’s far more gory, the revenge that Cinderella is able to get it way better and it just is so much more yay. At least for my crazy brain. And this poem manages to take it a whole extra step. Making Cinderella’s voice far less passive and more aggressive. Which I just completely ate up.

 <- The Glass Casket ReviewThe Snow Queen Review ->
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The Glass Casket by Jack Dann

Overview
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Title: The Glass Casket
Author: Jack Dann
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales, Romance
Dates read: 1st April 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: Before him a huge black bull and a red stag were charging at each other.

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Synopsis

A Renaissance Italy retelling of a classic Brothers Grimm fairytale. One that doesn’t have a happy ending, but a beautiful bittersweet one.

Thoughts

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.

The wording of this tale and the setting were kind of a nice, romanticised version of Renaissance Italy. Unlike some of the other preceding stories in this collection, there wasn’t a heavily sexual component, there were hints, but it was kind of a floating hint. Something that you can see and find, but you have to actually concentrate and look for it.

This was one of those fairy tales that made me content reading it. There was no intensity and chaos, but it was just an easy, happy and comfortable read. One that I will probably pick up again and again.

 <- Puss ReviewKnives Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Puss by Esther M. Friesner

Overview
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Title: Puss
Author: Esther M. Friesner
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Fairy tales
Dates read: 28th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: Wizard? My sister asked, nose wrinkling with greed.

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Synopsis

A dark, adult twist on the classic fairytale of Puss in Boots. One that I find far more interesting and fun.

Thoughts

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.

I loved the idea of a contract and a blood oath to keep puss tied to his owners. The dark pacts that are made in a way that kind of surprised me, but definitely made me incredibly happy. It also added this great fantasy element to the fairy tale that I wasn’t expecting. One that I wish could be expanded on. After all, there is a whole race of beings that are able to help humans, make pacts with them and be changed. Something that intrigues me… and makes me yearn for more.

 <- A Sound, Like Angels Singing ReviewThe Glass Casket Review ->
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A Sound, Like Angels Singing by Leonard Rysdyk

Overview
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Title: A Sound, Like Angels Singing
Author: Leonard Rysdyk
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Fairy tales
Dates read: 21st March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: His eyes bulged and he caught his breath.

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Synopsis

Nails and her family just want to eat, sleep and get fat. But the sound of angels singing keeps on drawing them out for the promise of a better future.

Thoughts

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 was expecting this story to be a slightly twisted version of a tale from the villains’ point of view. It had all of the gore and self-centred-ness of this kind of tale. But, at the end, it become clear that it wasn’t really about the villains per se, but rather, a totally different perspective to a story that I don’t often see retellings of. Which also made me kind of love it all the more…

 <- Troll Bridge ReviewPuss Review ->
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Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman

Overview
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Title: Troll Bridge
Author: Neil Gaiman
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling) & Smoke and Mirrors (Neil Gaiman)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Villains
Dates read: 12th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: “She’s an innocent,” it said.

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Synopsis

Promise and hope can quickly become lost in life. It might take the troll bridge for a young boy to finally realise this though.

Thoughts

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.

At the beginning of this tale, I kind of felt for the narrative. I thought that his life would be ended prematurely and that he would be sympathetic. And he was, to begin with… and then he quickly became less and less relatable. Less someone that I wanted a happily ever after for. And more someone that I wanted karma to visit… which it did in a round about way. But, that was enough to make me feel a little more comfortable. And to remind me why I love Neil Gaiman’s writings.

 <- The Springfield Swans ReviewA Sound, Like Angels Singing Review ->
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The Springfield Swans by Caroline Stevermer and Ryan Edmonds

Overview
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Title: The Springfield Swans
Author: Caroline Stevermer & Ryan Edmonds
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Easy reading, Fairy tales
Dates read: 5th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: Well, spite of that, things went pretty well there in Springfield for some years.

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Synopsis

An obsession with baseball and an angry stepmother turns seven brothers into swans before they can play on the team and win the season.

Thoughts

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).

Now, I’m Australian, so I have no idea about baseball. At all. I don’t think I ever even played it in high school PE. Yet, I always love mentions of the sport in stories. Maybe I should add some baseball biographies to my wishlist… which made this retelling of a story tale using this past time kind of fun. And so much more relatable and innocent. After all, there is nothing more fun than playing sport with your family and they do all get a happily ever after…

 <- The Changelings ReviewTroll Bridge Review ->
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The Changelings by Melanie Tem

Overview
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Title: The Changelings
Author: Melanie Tem
In: Snow White, Blood Red (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fae, Fairy tales
Dates read: 27th February 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1993
5th sentence, 74th page: She ran a hand through her hair so that it fairly sparkled.

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Synopsis

We’ve all heard story about changelings… but what happens when you think you’ve got one and can’t find a way to prove it?

Thoughts

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.

For some ridiculous reason, I was kind of expecting a happy ending to this tale. One for the children, the changelings and one for the mother. It didn’t end like that. And, since this is in a collection of very adult fairy tales, I really, really shouldn’t have been surprised. All of the fairy tales in this collection have made me feel uncomfortable in one way or another. This story was no different, and although I loved it, I still felt that I needed to walk away from the dark fairy tales for a little while.

 <- Little Poucet ReviewThe Springfield Swans Review ->
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