Hello Humans! Welcome back to another week of book reviews! Incidentally, I’m away at a rather large exhibition this week (work things) so it may take me longer than usual to get to your lovely comments – don’t be offended, I’ll be there soon! Anyway, today I am reviewing a collection of short stories, something I haven’t done in some time, but certainly something I enjoy. Jane Yolen’s How to Fracture a Fairytale also surely counts towards the year of ALL THE RETELLINGS. I’ve reviewed her previous collection The Emerald Circus and did enjoy it, so how did this collection fare?
Fantasy legend Jane Yolen presents a wide-ranging offering of fractured fairy tales. Yolen fractures the classics to reveal their crystalline secrets, holding them to the light and presenting them entirely transformed; where a spinner of straw into gold becomes a money-changer and the big bad wolf retires to a nursing home. Rediscover the tales you once knew, rewritten and refined for the world we now live in―or a much better version of it.
I often don’t have too much to say about collections such as these, because often their stories are too easily spoiler-able to go into too much detail. What I will say is that this collection goes above and beyond the usual culprits when it comes to fairytale retellings and truly draws from a range of inspirations.
My absolute favourite of the collection is the idea of retelling ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’ from the perspective of the bridge. Personal anecdote time! My family used to play this game when I was very little whenever we went out onto the moors. Somewhere there is a picture of tiny Judith about to dash over the bridge, presumably while my mother sang the troll song which I do recall to this day, some eighteen years later. So that story touched a place in my heart. I think that the sheer number of fairytales covered in this collection should ensure that most people have a similar experience.
There are always going to be a mix of stories, some stronger than others, but I would say that, on the whole, there were more stories I enjoyed than stories I didn’t – which is pretty much all you can ask for from a compilation.
I think this would make a lovely gift for the fairytale enthusiast in your life (it might be you). What I particularly appreciated was the author’s notes at the back of the book, which just gives you a little bit more insight into the background of the story or her own process in writing it. I’m a sucker for reading about backgrounds and inspirations so this was a big selling point for me.
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a free 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? What are some of your favourite retellings? Let me know in the comments below!