Everyone thinks they know the real story behind the villains in fairy tales – evil, no two ways about it. But the villains themselves beg to differ. In this book you’ll hear from: the Giant’s wife from “Jack and the Beanstalk” the oldest of the Twelve Dancing Princesses Rumpelstiltskin the witch from “Hansel and Gretel” someone called Evil Cinderella
Just watch these old stories do new tricks!
This is an incredibly easy, fun and engaging short story
collection. It takes some brilliant authors who take you on journeys through
well known fairy tales. The fact that these retellings all focus on the
villains of the stories just made me love it even more. I always love the
highlighting of grey areas and alternate tellings.
Troll’s-Eye View is
a collection that is written for a very young age group. It’s simple and
quaint. Easily accessible and fun. But, that doesn’t mean that as an adult you
can’t enjoy it. There was nothing I enjoyed more than sitting down at the end
of a long day and reading one of these short stories or poems. It was a great,
fun and quick escape from the real world at a time when I’ve been really quite
overwhelmed and stressed.
Most of my anthologies and collections contain only novellas
and short stories. Troll’s-Eye View also
has poems. They were enough to break up the flow throughout the story and leave
you with a smile on your face.
Two step-siblings decide to play the cinderella game… with some interesting consequences.
My mother always taught me that it takes two to tango… and
that idea carried through in her rearing of us, every time my sister and I got
into a huge fight, we’d generally both get in trouble. So I kind of liked the
fact that this story was about two (step) siblings who are playing a slightly
sinister game and arguing. There are no good guys and bad guys in this story. But
rather, a mix of motives that inform one another.
From the name of this story, I thought that the child who
played the evil stepsister was going to do something kind of horrible. Then they
started talking about evil Cinderella and I was expecting some seriously weird
things to start happening. But it didn’t. I wasn’t uncomfortable at this tale, and
I actually thought it was kind of cute. A promise for a future in which they
could all live together happily, or one in which they would have a not-so-happily
ever after. It could go either way.
This was a great story to end the Troll’s-Eye View collection on. It didn’t have a villain or a hero. There was no right or wrong. Instead, it had a vagueness in which everyone had a little bit of good and a little bit of bad in it…
The entire issue with Aurora’s birthday is that no one decided to observe the formalities. And we all know how this story eventually ends…
I absolutely loved this poem. Although Maleficent (or the
evil fairy from Sleeping Beauty) has always seemed kind of a terrifying
villain, she’s also been the one that I relate to the best. Well, maybe not
relate to, but understand. After all, she is retaliating against an incredible
slight. Plus, there are so many beautiful retellings in the world now which make
her seem far less evil, and just… misunderstood.
Which is probably why I love this poem so much. It highlights
the faux pas that was made in “observing the formalities”. And instead of
feeling like a tale of an evil witch, it is more about someone who really likes
the rules. Which an organise freak like me can completely relate to…
In the stories, the child outwitting the giant is a hero. But what happens when Molly just wants to outwit him out of her own greed?
As a child I always admired the children who could overcome
the giants in the fairy tales. After all, they’re triumphing over someone and
something far bigger and scarier than they are. But, the older I get, the more
I realise that children are not necessarily always in the right. And, sometimes
they are actually kind of in the wrong… and apparently Snyder agrees with this sentimentality.
You know that the story is a good one when you feel really
sorry for the character who would typically be the villain. You know that it’s
even better when you actually think that the cute little kid should be nailed
into a big box and thrown down the river. Considering this is in a children’s book
and about a not-so-good child, well, it kind of offers the chance to see things
from multiple points of view from a young age.
Constanze has always wanted to go to Venice with her father, but when opportunity finally knocks, she finds that not everything is as it seems.
I’ve never really questioned why there was a gingerbread
house in Hansel and Gretel. Or why it seems to be something that is repeated
across fairy tales. After all, it is a really impractical and useless way in
which to make a house. And it kind of seems just… sticky to live in.
Valente was able to give a completely plausible reason for the building of a gingerbread house. And a completely understandable way in which the wicked witch from Hansel and Gretel turned out the way that she did… everything about this story just helped to create a reality in which the well-known fairy tale actually makes sense. After it had first poked the holes in it.
As much as I loved this story, it also made me feel kind of
sad. The father betrays and then forgets his daughter. She is left unloved, unremembered
and just completely stranded. All so he can regain the fame and fortune that he
Rumplestiltskin has always seemed such an odd name for one of the “fair folk”, but was it his real name? Here Michael Cadnum offers an alternative point of view to the classical fairy tale.
I never quite realised how weird a name ‘Rumpelstiltskin’
is. It’s just a name that has always been. But when you read a cute little
short story about how odd that is, you start to realise that it is quite an
There were two things that I loved about this short story.
The first was the fact that Rumpelstiltskin started out as kind
of a benevolent figure. He is constantly helping and assisting others towards a
greater future. This is so completely at odds with the original and my understanding
of him that I was kind of taken aback. Even his assistance of the girl spinning
straw into gold came from a good place. It was just her attitude that turned it
into something more sinister.
I don’t like the idea of eating babies. I thought I should
start with that, since I actually loved the fact that a baby was eaten in this story…
it kind of seemed like justice to the annoyances of the previously thought of
victim of the story. A poetic kind of revenge.
Troll is small and doesn’t have much imagination. But that doesn’t stop him from making sure he has a decent meal every once in a while.
There’s something about trolls that is always… I guess
amusing. Probably because they are often cast as dumb, lumbering and far south
of thoughtful. And, this short story really doesn’t do anything to dispel those
ideas. What it does do is take a creature that is traditionally gross and
smelly and making him… well, kind of cute.
Although Troll is still kind of a villain in this story (he
keeps eating others), it’s hard to dislike him. That very cute, dopey characterisation
makes him seem like just a happy bystander to the eating of the goats and other
creatures. It doesn’t make it feel like a story in which there is really a bad
guy or a good guy. Rather a young fool trying to survive, and a heap of other
fools who keep going near him…
When a young lad sniffs a flower, he quickly finds out that not everything he reads about in books is fiction. Will he have what it takes to save his family?
While I really enjoyed this short story, what bumped up my great opinion of it was Black’sexplanation for why she wrote it in the first place. On childhood vacations, she often wished that she could turn into a wolf and eat her family – so she wrote about a boy who could. And, honestly, who hasn’t felt like that on a family vacation?
This was a fun, easy and quick read. It took the idea of a boy who doesn’t quite fit in and twisted and turned it into a tale that was a little bit scary, a little bit about being right and a lot about family. It has that darkness that I tend to associate with Holly Black and one that I thoroughly enjoy.
Why didn’t such a smart cat outsmart his owner? Well, maybe he did.
I don’t think I’ve read the original tale of Puss in Boots.
Although I have read a few retellings over time, and I thought that doing new
take on an old classic using a poem was a quaint and attractive way in which to
do so. This was quick, sharp, shiny and straight to the point. It was also well
written, fun and great at highlighting the triumph of beast over man.
One of the things that I love about poems is the way in
which a single page, or a few lines can quickly get the point across. If this tale
was told in prose form, it would take at the very least a few pages of writing,
not the quick, and descriptive wording that is conveyed in poetry.
When a strange man comes to town, one sister thinks that she’s found the answer to her happily ever after. But, all is not as it seems and it may take the gumption of her sister to help her escape the trap she has set for herself.
I haven’t yet had the chance to read the original Bluebeard fairy tale (I don’t think). But I did thoroughly enjoy Angela Carter’sretelling. So it was kind of fun to read a far more innocent and simpler retelling. One in which the villain suddenly becomes something completely different and offers an entirely new perspective to an otherwise dark and twisted tale.
Where Carter’s retelling is about the woman triumphing in a way that she wasn’t able to in the original, Farmer’s is about retelling the story from an entirely different point of view. She almost Disney-fied the tale. And sometimes that just frustrates me, yet this worked kind of beautifully. Not only by intertwining historical facts, but also in keeping to many of the key themes that seem to run through these two stories.
Castle Othello is
a completely innocent story. One that, surprisingly, instead of frustrating me
was thoroughly enjoyable. And I was actually quite sad to turn the last page on
such a sweet, happy ending.