Terribly Twisted Tales

Approaching famous fairy tales from a different direction, the eighteen stories in Terribly Twisted Tales will challenge the reader’s preconceived notion of a fairy tale. This anthology edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg includes stories by Dennis L. McKiernan, Annie Jones, Chris Pierson, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Mary Louis Eklund, Robert E. Vardeman, Kathleen Watness, Jody Lynn Nye, Jim C. Hines, Steven D. Sullivan, Brendan DuBois, Paul Genesse, Ramsey Lundock, Skip & Penny Williams, Elizabeth A. Vaughn, Janet Deaver-Pack, Kelly Swails, and Michael A. Stackpole.

From Grimm to Andersen, classic fairy tales are taken from new angles and sometimes transformed so much that the reader can hardly recognize the original. These stories range from funny to heartbreaking to slightly disturbing, each one distinct from the stories preceding and following it. Some of the best stories include the tale of Snow White’s falling out with the seven dwarfs, another of Rumpelstiltskin as the victim, and of Red-Riding Hood challenging a suffocating religious force.

Anthologies in general are often hit or miss. Terribly Twisted Tales falls somewhere in between, with quite a few absolutely fascinating stories that are scattered among mediocre tales along with a couple that are so complex they aren’t at all enjoyable. Nevertheless, it is worth picking up this anthology just for those great twists on your everyday fairy tales. In particular, McKiernan’s “Waifs,” Pierson’s “Once They Were Seven,” and Swails’ “Three Wishes” are not to be missed as they are very well-developed despite being short stories and are absolutely captivating. Also, fans of Jim C. Hines’ The Stepsister Scheme will appreciate a glimpse of Red who will be central to the third installment of this Princess series. Terribly Twisted Tales is a great read for those who only have short increments of time to read as the varying lengths of the stories and their independence makes the book one that is easy to pick up and put down. 7 out of 10.

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