A general comment on the Twisted Fairy Tale Anthology (instead of pointing this out in every story in which it occurred, I’ll get it over with now): there were some definite editing issues in a few of the tales. They were simple things, like missing quote marks, words, improper type-setting, and incorrect forms like “touchy” instead of “touching”. These are not necessarily the author’s mistake, but I felt they should be mentioned so the reader can be prepared.
On to the review…
“The Three Little Kittens ‘A New Tail’” (3/5) – Cats and dogs have never gotten along, but in Cassandra Lee’s story, they are in an all-out war. The three Horner boys are left fatherless when the tomcat was killed by a vicious dog. To make ends meet, their mother became popular with any cat who would take her, but her wicked ways go too far when she pits species against species.
“Glass Slipper” (5/5) – The anthology starts off strong with this empowered tale of Cinderella and what she really wants: freedom. Who needs Prince Charming? Not this cinder girl! Isabelle Rose’s lyrical style is a beautiful mix of prose and poetry.
“Natalie’s Garden” (4/5) – Rapunzel leaves her tower for a mental institution in this tale, but the witch isn’t far behind. I was a little confused by the end, but that’s more because of the way my mind works and less the talent of the author, Jessica Lynne Gardner. This short kept me guessing and enthralled until the very end.
“Green” (5/5) – The poetic construct of this piece reminded of the tower in which the narrator’s daughter was trapped. Isabelle Rose told the story from Rapunzel’s mother’s point of view, allowing the reader to see how the girl found herself trapped in the tower and how the prince saved her.
“Mrs. Culling’s Reformatorium for Wayward Children” (3/5) – John H. Howard guides us on our first trip through the retelling of Hansel and Gretel. It wasn’t just a brother and sister who stumbled upon the witch’s house, but an orphanage of children whose parents either couldn’t or wouldn’t care for them. I’m not convinced that a kid that young would know all the fancy dishes that were listed, but he was from an affluent family before being sent to the home, so I may be wrong; however, it felt odd.
“Snow” (5/5) – Isabelle Rose once again pleases with her strange prose. I love the fact that Snow White wanted Stepmother to find her. She was tired of being a slave to the dwarves, the very men who kept her from finding true peace, so she embraced the attempts of the psychotic mother-figure.
“Cinder Sister” (5/5) – Leigh Dragoon tells a darkly entertaining look at Cinderella through her sister’s eyes. The stepsister is not as evil as we would believe but actually another pawn of her mother’s machinations. My only complaint is that it was too short. I wanted more!
“Dylan and Megan” (3/5) – Another Hansel and Gretel tale, only this time with a beautiful witch and a brother and sister’s hope of redemption. I appreciated Charlotte Emma Gledson’s explicit detailing of the “holding cells” of the children but I wasn’t comfortable with the end. It could be that it was a child perpetrating the action; it was more violent than expected from the character.
“Jack and the Beanstalk” (3/5) – It would have helped if the author, Jeff Ezell, would have listed Jack’s age. He was described as young, but his personality flitted between that of a young man and a more mature man, from emotional to steady. Some of the things he said/did fit a person in his twenties, while others, a child in his early teens if not younger. The role of giants was more understandable, and I must say that I enjoyed their version of revenge.
“Bridge of Bones” (5/5) – Breaking the fourth wall usually bothers me but it forced me to become engaged in this story, as did Dave Rex’s extra long and supremely descriptive sentences. Then came the seductress…I’m torn (much like she was) between being disgusted and impressed. The description isn’t over done; the author included only what was necessary and did it in such a fashion that I could see the events unfolding before my eyes.
“Seeing Red” (5/5) – I cannot say enough how much I love Isabelle Rose’s contributions to this anthology. In this one, we glimpse from the emerald eyes of the wolf. He loves Red, becomes the Huntsman for her, and tries to protect her. What she gives him in return is anything but love. The author had three short pages to convey love, betrayal, and evil, and she did so better than some authors do in full-length novels.
“The Legend of Liddy ‘Red’ Hood” (3.5/5) – This story creates a world where Alien invaders have destroyed most of the human population. Red is part of the Resistance Corps and a rare “Seer” who can see the Alien in its human shell. The concept was original, and I loved how Jennifer L. Miller kept the patented Little Red dialogue at the end.
“I Wore Crimson” (4/5) – Rachel Ayers continues Red’s tale, this time through her mother’s eyes. Both mother and daughter had to make their own way through the world, through the temptations, and make her own choices.
“Snow White’s Release” (4/5) – Isabelle Rose’s last offering is the only erotic piece in the anthology. Snow White did, in fact, have seven male companions, but only one of them held her heart. He was her Prince Charming, and they lived happily ever after.
- Paperback: 268 pages
- Publisher: lulu.com (December 5, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0557187486
- ISBN-13: 978-0557187485
To purchase a print copy of Twisted Fairy Tale Anthology from Amazon click here.