Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: Two and Twenty Dark Tales

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes
Edited by Georgia McBride and Michelle Zink
Published 2012 by Month9Books

Many people nowadays know the Grimm fairy tales and their darker original versions; however, most would be surprised to discover the more macabre side of Mother Goose. In this imaginative anthology, 20 authors explore the less savory side of our favorite Mother Goose rhymes - Jack and Jill, Hickory Dickory Dock, and more.

I like reading short story collections because it's easier to feel like I'm accomplishing something when I read in short bursts. I can often finish one story in the time it takes me to relax and eat before heading to work in the morning, so I feel like I'm getting somewhere in the book as a whole. This is one of the first titles I actively requested when I signed up for NetGalley - if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll know I'm a huge fan of retellings. I loved the premise of this anthology - retellings of Mother Goose rhymes instead of fairy tales. Since these rhymes are significantly shorter but just as well known as the fairy tales that are more often subject to reinterpretation, I was really interested in seeing what the authors would do with their stories. As with any anthology, there were highlights and there were those I had to trudge through. My favorites included:

- "Sing a Song of Six-Pence": I thought this was an incredibly clever and unique way to tell this story. Absolutely loved the inventiveness at work here.

- "Clockwork": this story really made me appreciate the incredible imagination and thought the author put into it. I mean, who could have imagined this story coming from "Hickory Dickory Dock"? Leah Cypress, apparently, and I'm grateful that she did.

- "Boys and Girls Come Out to Play": this was one that I think could have easily been fleshed out to a longer work and, though it's easy to see where the inspiration comes from, could stand on its own nicely.

- "One for Sorrow": I thought this had some really nice imagery and I really enjoyed the way it was told.

- "Tick Tock": this had a very old-school horror movie vibe and I loved it. Stories of deliciously creepy children are always welcome in my book.

- "The Well": this had a post-apocalyptic bent to it and I thought it worked really well for Jack and Jill's tale. A very interesting version of the rhyme.

Another story, "The Lion and the Unicorn," could have been a favorite; however, it is split into two parts in the book and only the first was included in my ARC. I liked what I read in part one and really would have loved to read part two. This anthology has me wondering if the authors picked their own rhymes or were assigned them for reimagining. I also like that this anthology features authors that are not as well-known - it will give teens a great introduction to writers they may be less familiar with and give them a push to check out the longer works of those they enjoy.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy provided via NetGalley.

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