The Emerald Circus, Jane Yolen ARC Book Review

Hello humans! Another short story compilation? Why yes! I’ve been reading a few of these lately and I’ve actually been pretty pleasantly surprised.

Goodreads Summary:

Enter the Emerald Circus and be astonished by the transformations of your favorite tales. Ringmaster and internationally bestselling author Jane Yolen (Briar Rose, Sister Emily’s Lightship) spins modern fantasy classics in tales that go well beyond Wonderland and Oz, down the rabbit hole and back again.

Where is Wendy? Leading a labor strike against the Lost Boys, of course!

It’s time to go back to—and beyond—the treasured tales you thought you knew: The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and many more. Ringmaster and internationally bestselling author Jane Yolen (Briar Rose, Sister Emily’s Lightship) spins modern fantasy classics for delighted readers. A girl blown away from Kansas returns as a sophisticate with unusual gymnastic abilities. A talented apprentice, forging her first sword, is suddenly left to the mercies of Merlin. Alice’s infamous nemesis has jaws and claws, but also lacks the essential: a sense of humor.

Witty and bold, and unexpected, these tales go well beyond the rabbit hole and back again.

For those not in the know, short stories have a habit of sending me into a bit of a reading slump but The Emerald Circus was such an interesting kaleidoscope of some of my favourite stories that I stayed interested throughout.

A lot of these feel a little like a writing prompt gone awry, not that it’s a bad thing, but you can see how ‘what if we combined Peter Pan and labour strikes?’ could turn into a great short story? (The Wendy plot has always been one of my least favourite plots in classical literature and annoys me because I love Peter Pan so fixing it was appreciated).

So yes, these are twists and turns on some of the most well known stories, The Wizard of Oz, Arthurian Legend, Alice in Wonderland and similar. Some of them, like Dorothy’s retelling, were strange and sinister in a great way, some of them worked less well and felt a little like a great idea executed in a mediocre fashion.

What I think is most important is that these stories will stir up your curiosity and will help you to see some of the more interesting elements of the original stories in a different light. Well worth a read, maybe one to keep on the bedside table when you’re burning the midnight oil?

My rating: 3/5 (I liked it, but I don’t think I need to reread it)

The Emerald Circus releases on the 14th of November so keep your eyes peeled!

By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? Are you on board for these weird retellings? Let me know in the comments below.

J

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