“So she sticks close to her father, and whenever he gives gold to her sisters for new dresses and boots, he also slips her some, which Mei uses to buy new books, while the rest she buries under a floorboard so she can one day live free of men entirely in a house of her own with a library two stories high and a garden where she can read.”
So I got this one from my hubby for Christmas last year and for lord only knows, it took me until October this year to read it. But this was just so much fun and I want to go back to the past and shake myself a little. Why didn’t you start this one sooner? It is so much fun!
This was a stunning read that I devoured. We get all the classic fairy tales but now totally retold again. Some stories are all changed with just some bare bones of the original left over (Sleeping Beauty for instance is about a boy who is beautiful and gets something sexy and hungry over each night while he sleeps), some stories still have bigger elements left (Red Riding Hood for instance where we don’t just get one wolf, but multiple and they can change into humans and then there is the different ending), and some are still pretty much the same just a dash different. For instance instead of Snow White being white she is Black (just like the dwarfs). Or how in Blue Beard the pirate seeks young boys. I really loved that and looked forward with each story what it would bring. Would it be totally changed or not? I love how much diversity there was in the stories. LGBT, more colour. It was fantastic. It was amazing. It was beautiful. Soman Chainani did a wonderful job at bringing these fairy tales and telling them with a new feeling, new skin.
Of course with changed stories we also get different endings and I was just adoring them. I loved seeing what Cinderella picked. I loved seeing Rapunzel make a choice. Often there is a happy or happy-ish ending, but sometimes, just like the originals, things get a bit darker. Or gloomier.
I loved how the stories seemed connected. And with that I mean how the stories go from one to another. It felt really natural. I am sorry if that is such a weird explanation, I am trying to think of how to say it better… but I am just not getting it. XD
The only stories that weren’t a hit for me (but I did enjoy them) were the Blue Beard and Jack and the Beanstalkers story. Then again, the last one is generally not one of my favourites so it doesn’t surprise me given that the retelling is pretty much following the same route just with some bits here and there different. Jack is just such a hopeless lazy boy and he annoyed me a lot in the story. And Blue Beard, normally one of my favourites just wasn’t clicking for me. I loved the fact that it was gender reversed. Instead of finding brides constantly Blue Beard gave up on that and searched for boys. A certain type of boy. On the border of girl and boy. But I don’t know, something just was amiss for me. I am not sure where though. I did like the ending!
I also loved the illustrations that dotted the pages here and there. They gave the book some extra flavour and made the stories come even more to life.
All in all, if you are looking for a gorgeous anthology featuring retellings of your favourite fairy tales with new twists and turns and more diversity, be sure to check this one out.