“Seventeen magical stories from NY Times and USA Todaybestsellers and award-winning authors that will entice you to the darker side of faerie tales. More Grimm than Disney, in this collection you’ll find twists on Snow White, Hansel & Gretel, Rumplestilstskin, The Snow Queen, Cinderella, The Pied Piper, Alice in Wonderland, and Red Riding Hood, plus new tales paying homage to the old traditions.
Shadows cannot exist without light, however, and you’ll find enough happily-ever-afters to lift your spirits in this anthology full of adventure, dark powers, and ultimately the enduring power of true love.
YARROW, STURDY AND BRIGHT by Devon Monk – Sweet music cannot hide a wicked heart…
FAE HORSE by Anthea Sharp – Faerie bargains can grant any desire, but be careful what you wish for.
THE QUEEN OF FROST AND DARKNESS by Christine Pope – Her heart is the only thing colder than a Russian winter….
BONES by Yasmine Galenorn – Sometimes, your most cherished dream can turn out to be a nightmare.
MAGIC AFTER MIDNIGHT by C. Gockel – The Wicked Stepmother is about to meet her match…
DANCE WITH THE DEVIL by Donna Augustine – When the devil makes a deal with a dancer, he gets more than he bargained for.
NO GIFT OF WORDS by Annie Bellet – Never steal from a witch…
THE GRIM BROTHER by Audrey Faye – Not all walks in the wood end well…
BEAUTY INSIDE BEAST by Danielle Monsch – Happily Ever After ain’t guaranteed when Once Upon a Time is here.
FAESCORNED by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson – The Morrigan, Celtic goddess of war and strife, must relive a painful memory that reminds her of what she can never have.
DRAWN TO THE BRINK by Tara Maya – Sajiana’s job is to hunt down monsters brought alive from paintings. She never expected to meet one so handsome… or to need his help.
THE VARIANCE COURT by Alexia Purdy – Anna, a struggling college student, discovers a mysterious ring that turns her quiet life chaotic when the ring’s magic doesn’t do what it’s told.
THE MORRIGAN by Phaedra Weldon – A young man discovers he has leprechaun blood – and is wanted by dark faerie forces.
ALICE by Julia Crane – A twisted tale of Alice and Wonderland. Facing madness and an ominous prophecy, Alice chooses to follow her heart despite knowing her world is about to change forever.
STILL RED by Sabrina Locke – When the Hunters come, can there be any escape?
THE FINAL STRAW by Jennifer Blackstream – To banish a gold-spinning demon, first you must guess his name…
THE UNICORN HUNTER by Alethea Kontis – Only Snow White knows what really happened in the forest…”
What I thought:
Woop woop, friends and familiars! It’s time for the first review of the year! 😀
I wish my bookish year was off to a better start than the three stars I gave this on Goodreads. As is often the case with anthologies, I liked some of these shorts a lot more than others. I don’t know how this is usually handled with anthologies, but it didn’t feel like the whole book was edited by one editor. I’d really enjoy one story, and then the next one would have spelling mistakes, missing words, and other grammar issues. Given that the whole book was advertised as having been written by bestselling authors, I was disappointed with the quality.
Some shorts ended in surprising ways, while others didn’t feel finished. There were a couple which ended so abruptly it felt more like the author had contributed a couple of chapters from her book but hadn’t adjusted them to work as a short story, while others only felt partly concluded with the main enemy still undefeated. And then two were so much longer than the others I almost forgot I was reading an anthology.
The thing most humans didn’t understand was that desperation had to age like a fine wine. If it were served too soon, it wouldn’t yield nearly the same full-bodied taste. But now she was ready.
I recognised most of the originals behind the short stories which I always love, especially when new twists are introduced. I grew up with fairy tales and didn’t realise until last year how much I enjoy a good retelling!
My favourites were Yarrow, Sturdy and Bright; Dance with the Devil; No Gift of Words; The Grim Brother; and Still Red. The rest fell flat for me unfortunately.
I’d recommend this if you’re curious about anthologies or love dark fairy tale re-tellings. And if you find your new favourite author in this book, you’ll be thrilled to find details of other releases at the end of each story.
Have you read Once Upon a Curse? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!
I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.
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