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.
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 absurd name…
I bought the first three books of this series on a whim because I saw their pretty covers on someone’s Facebook page. Normally I do a little research into a series before I do this. But I mostly just got a little bit too overexcited and just went for it. And I’m really glad that I did! This story takes the original Disney version of Snow White and gives it so many glorious twists and turns that leaves you understanding and sympathising with the villain. One of the scariest villains of my childhood for that matter – the Wicked Queen.
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.
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.
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.
While I really enjoyed this short story, what bumped up my great opinion of it was Black’s explanation 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 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.
Not all fairy tales have a happy ending, and in the case of Snow Drop, there is most certainly not a happy ending. At least for Snow Drop… I’m still not sure whether the ending was happy or just twisted for Cristena…
It wasn’t until reading this story that made me seriously question the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. After all, it’s a great little fairy tale that we’ve all grown up with. Until you really start to think about the what he actually does. He breaks into a giant’s house, steals his belongings and kills the man. Alright, in the fairy tale he is trying to eat Jack, but what if that’s all a figment of his retelling? What if he was actually just a bit of a douche?