I found this through Scalzi’s big idea series and immediately put it in my library request list. The list of contributing authors is heavily weighted to my recent favourites, not to mention that I always love dark reinterpretations of fairy tales.
This was an awesome collection, starting strong and ending great (and the physical book is gorgeous with lovely internal illustrations, I’ll be buying my own copy). There was a good representation of countries as well as a nice mix of modern retellings with more classic ones.
Little Red Riding hood as a western by Seanan McGuire started things off with a dry dreamy bloody adventure. Underground (East of the Sun and West of the Moon) adds modern drugs to the classic story. I *loved* Seasons of Glass and Iron as two fairy tale heroines meet, one sitting on top of a glass mountain, the other able to walk up in in the iron shoes she has to wear out, both teaching the other that they don’t have to finish out their stories just to please men. Garth Nix’s Match Girl retelling went dark and pyromaniacal. Some Wait (Pied Piper of Hamelin) was a chilling horror story. The Jack and the Beanstalk story by Max Gladstone went in a science fiction direction using a space elevator and evolved humans to tell the story. Marjorie Liu’s take on Sleeping Beauty was pitch perfect, with a guard falling in love with the girl who’s only awake one day a week while the witch who possessed her body sleeps, but the two women can’t touch or the witch will wake up. This one wove in story telling in a meta narrative as well. The Other Thea by Theodora Goss told of a woman having to fight to get her shadow back after it was snipped off and hidden away in a fairy tale world, musing on how you need the dark to balance the light. Reflected, a retelling of The Snow Queen, also went sci fi with researchers working on quantum entanglement and spooky action at a distance and losing one of their scientists to a mirror world. It end with Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik (seriously, read Uprooted and His Majesty’s Dragon), where a money lender’s daughter has to turn fairy silver into gold.
I’m only rating it 4 stars instead of 5 since there were a few stories that I only liked instead of loved, but there were a lot of 5 worthy tales in here.