I am going to start off this review by admitting that I apparently didn’t read the book description very well when I requested this from NetGalley because I started it without realizing it was a collection of short stories. Not sure how that happened but it did. Once I finally looked into why there were so many authors listed (I’m guessing I must have been tired to not automatically assume it was a book of short stories when I saw like fifteen authors listed but whatever) I was kind of disappointed because the first short story was really good and I wanted to read more! Which I guess can’t be anything but a good thing, right? And that leads to the one conundrum of short stories, be they all written by the same author or by dozens of authors, the whole fact that some stories leave you wanting more while others can just kind of be blah.
Now I’ll go into a tiny bit of detail into each story but not enough to spoil anything too badly. So I’ll tell you the short story title, the author and which fairy tale the story was loosely based on and then a sentence or two about my thoughts on the story.
The Key by Rachel Hawkins (Bluebeard)
But this was the story that I read and was hoping it would be a fully fleshed book because the characters were interesting and the big reveal of the story was very suspenseful. I was so sad when it ended before we found out what happened to the girl once she found out the truth!
Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready (Puss-in-Boots)
This story was a little slow going but slightly interesting and I was glad that instead of ending with a cliffhanger like I thought it was going to it ended up tagging on an extra little scene that gave the reader hope and closure.
The Twelfth-Girl by Malinda Lo (Twelve Dancing Princesses)
It seemed a bit rushed and forced on the magic scenes and the relationships and I was very confused by the end of it because there were a lot of unanswered questions.
The Raven Princess by Jon Skovron (The Raven)
This was a more traditional fairytale and one not in a more modern setting. There are a few twists and turns but nothing really out of the ordinary. I did like how sympathetic of a character the male lead was but it wasn’t a very memorable read.
Thinner than Water by Saundra Mitchell (Cat-Skin, Deerskin, DonkeySkin)
Just a warning that this story contains incest and rape. It’s not very graphic but I still wanted everyone to know that.
I liked this version because even though it contains some very disturbing themes the daughter was actually a very kick ass woman and the ending was very gratifying.
Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins (The Snow Queen)
I liked this story because the girl is the one who ends up going on a quest to save him and actually ends up saving more people than she set out to in the first place.
Beast/Beast by Tessa Gratton (Beauty and the Beast)
Even though this was a short story I felt as though the author was able to make it seem as though the relationship between Beauty and the Beast was a very natural slow growing thing and not some case of Stockholm syndrome.
The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa (The Three Little Pigs)
This retelling had the three pigs as humans and instead of dealing with a wolf per say it’s more of a situation of a naïve little brother and his older siblings who are very prejudiced against the local witch/witches. The twist was a little surprising but the story didn’t hold my attention like some of the others.
Untethered by Sonia Gensler (The Shroud)
I really ended up loving this story and even had to reread through bits and pieces because I didn’t recognize the twist before it happened. I liked that it through me off and it was a sad and sweet little ghost story.
Better by Shaun David Hutchinson (The Pied Piper)
Just a warning that Better did contain a brief scene of rape.
This was one of the two stories which took a more science fiction take on the traditional story and it ended up being a very interesting read but I kind of wanted to read more!
Light it Up by Kimberly Derting (Hansel and Gretel)
As I was reading this retelling, where two teens are left out in the woods by their conniving stepmother, I kept picturing the recent Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters movie because the teens seemed a little rough around the edges and weren’t afraid to fight back. It was a little gross and a little weird.
Sharper than a Serpent's Tongue by Christine Johnson (Diamonds and Toads)
This story just didn’t do much for me. It was nicely written but it didn’t really go anywhere. Not all of these stories had a resolution I liked but this one had no resolution at all. It was just kind of there.
A Real Boy by Claudia Gray (Pinocchio)
The other science fiction take on an original and I actually really liked how the characters learned new things along the way.
Skin Trade by Myra McEntire (The Robber Bridegroom)
Whoa violence! This got a little gross in the details (maybe not gross compared to some Grimms tales but gross compared to the rest of the books in this anthology). It must moved too fast for me.
Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan (Beauty and the Beast)
This definitely falls into my top three favorite stories from this anthology. I thought it was a cute way to change up the story and the miscommunications were laugh out loud funny!
The Pink by Amanda Hocking (The Carnation)
This wasn’t the best of the bunch mainly because it had a character that was supposed to be an antagonist. But, with the powers the prince abducts, the antagonist shouldn’t have had any powers to control the boy. It didn’t make sense.
Sell Out by Jackson Pearce (Snow White)
This was a retelling but not really. Imagine Snow White being poisoned and instead of being woken by true love’s kiss she’s actually just awoken by some random guy who has the power to wake the dead by kissing them. That’s what is going on and though it’s interesting there wasn’t enough detail to really get into the story.