ARC Review; How To Fracture A Fairytale- Jane Yolen

28 Fairy tales, but not as you know them…

I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Page Count 320

 Publication date Nov 2018/ Publisher Tachyon Publications

GoodReads / Amazon

Synopsis

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.

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This week I’m talking Anthologies.

In my determination to fix my 20% Netgalley score I read two collections this month and have one more to fight through. As mentioned in my previous post I’m not generally a fan of anthologies, here’s how I got on with my fantasy choice:

Review

We begin with a foreword by Jane, I have to be honest I skimmed this part, although I love re-tellings I didn’t want to dissect them. Yes, I realise the book is called HOW TO Fracture a Fairytale but I’m here for the re-tellings rather than the instruction. For those wanting to write their own I’d recommend taking your time over this section. 

On to the fiction…

The first retelling was brilliant- an alternate Snow White. I had a good chuckle at the ending and much preferred this version.
The Happy Den is an old folks home for wolves who tell their own versions of stories such as little red riding hood and three little pigs.
Sleeping Ugly was a nice short tale of the usual- a maiden awakened by a prince’s kiss.
I much enjoyed the story of St George from a family of dragons’ POV told as a bedtime story from grandpa Dragon.

HTFAF uses religion in most of the stories- as can be expected of fairy tales. There are Jewish themes threaded heavily through much of the content and the word God is only written as G-d in this book.

Unfortunately 50% of the fairytales didn’t work for me, some were too strange, some felt a little pointless and some were just plain boring.
I preferred the shorter of all these stories though I’m not quite sure why, perhaps it was harder to invest in any set up knowing the tales aren’t very long.

There are 28 short stories in this collection and I had fun trying to match them to their original fairy tales, there are quite a few in this anthology that I didn’t recognise but perhaps you will.
All are explained at the end of the book with an afterword and a poem though I would’ve preferred these to be printed alongside each tale rather than at the end.

How To Fracture A Fairytale is a useful instruction with varying examples for anyone considering writing their own re-telling or simply interested in the art.

 

Roxanne’s Reactions:

My Problem With Anthologies

What makes you read anthologies? I just can’t do it. Tell me the secret!

I’ve never really been a fan of anthologies sooo it was particularly silly of me to request 3 different kinds when I first joined Netgalley!

My feedback ratio has been abysmal from almost the beginning, so I’m attempting to force my way through the remaining two collections on my ARC list.

I couldn’t understand why I was put off reading them. I’d chosen three different genres- horror, dystopian and fantasy. I love these so why did I keep skipping over them?

There are so many brilliant reasons to read anthologies:
*Bite size stories you can start and finish in a matter of minutes.
*A fun way to discover authors new-to-you without a heavy time investment.
*A wide range of writing styles.
*Higher chance to find a story you enjoy.

So why don’t I like them?
I’ve narrowed it down to these points:

 1. I’M A MOOD READER.

I enjoy a variety of genres and can easily tire of reading the same one repeatedly. I tend to switch genre after two or three books at most. This depends on plot rather than length. I could read two 500 page stories from the same genre back-to-back, but 1000 pages split into several tales feels too repetitive. Weird huh.

2. ONE BOOK AT A TIME PLEASE

How do you guys read multiple books? My memory and concentration span are terrible. Once I start a book I have to read it to the end. If I started a simultaneous read I’d have all my characters and timelines so confused I’d never be able to follow them.
It’s bad enough I frequently go back a page whenever I pick up my current read, sometimes I fall asleep reading but other times its just flown right out of my head.
So when I start an anthology I will try to finish it in one, no back and forth.

3. CONTINUITY

Anthologies give me too many opportunities to stop reading. I like my books to hook me in and hold my attention to the very last page. I need the just-one-more-chapter reaction to cleverly placed cliff hangers, the urge to guess ahead, a race to discover how it all ends. I won’t give up in the middle of a novel, but in an anthology with so many endings it’s too easy for me to put it down for later… though later never comes.
I have a mountainous TBR to conquer so if I put down a book I probably won’t pick it back up.

Do you enjoy anthologies?

What am I doing wrong here?

Help!!

Blog Tour Review; The Hungry Moon- Ramsey Campbell

Page Count 256

 Publication date April 2019/ Publisher Flame Tree Press

The Hungry Moon Cover

Synopsis:

Isolated on the moors of northern England, the town of Moonwell has remained faithful to their Druid traditions and kept their old rituals alive. Right-wing evangelist Godwin Mann isn’t about to let that continue, and his intolerant brand of fundamentalism has struck a chord with the residents. But Mann goes too far when he descends into the pit where the ancient being who’s been worshipped by the Druids for centuries is said to dwell.

What emerges is no longer Mann, but a demon in Mann’s shape, and only the town’s outcasts can see that something is horribly wrong…

Goodreads/ Flame Tree Press detailed synopsis here

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Review:

The first thing you need to know is The Hungry Moon was originally published in 1986.
There are no markers of time in this tale to remind you that the character’s homophobic, prudish and overtly Christian attitudes were common in small towns of past eras. Children were caned at school and new comers or single women were instantly distrusted. Although familiar, I found it difficult to pinpoint exactly when in time The Hungry Moon was set.

Campbell writes a large cast of characters, but unlike similar style stories by others such as King there doesn’t seem to be much meaningful development. I got no sense of a main character per se, and there was nothing proactive from the ones we heard of most.

My strongest reaction was to Brian. His division between what he secretly desired and his own self disgust made for an interesting battle of willpower. I swung between pity and loathing through the course of his story line.

I did find the druid lore interesting but perhaps a little lacking in it’s deployment. I needed more of the link between the past and the present effects on Godwin Mann.

I enjoy the small town turned evil trope and that’s the main vein here. Religious cults and censorship scare me in their viability, humans really are the truest of all monsters. Though I would have liked to see more fight from our protagonists in The Hungry Moon, the Booths, Craig and Vera especially were quite defeatist.

I’ve a soft spot for 80s horror novels but perhaps they’ve saturated my reading, The Hungry Moon felt much like any other of it’s time and for me was missing the additional character connections I need to really pique my interest.

Campbell was at his best when writing suspense, conjuring goosebumps at the edge of the cave and giving me the sense of panic when facing the dark shrouding Moonwell. The helplessness of being entirely cut off from the world outside gave me that extra claustrophobia I like in a good horror.

The Hungry Moon is a mix of small town prejudice, religious extremism, ancient folklore and shiver inducing monstrosities guaranteed to make you cringe from the dark.

Roxanne’s Reactions:

 

 

I received a copy of The Hungry Moon in exchange for an honest review as part of this blog tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Flame Tree Press!

Blog Tour Review; After The Green Withered – Kristin Ward

I received a copy of Kristin Ward’s After The Green Withered for my review on The Ultimate Blog tour organised by The Write Reads.
I highly recommend any and all book bloggers out there to join us in ‘The Gang’ the largest most supportive blogging community I’ve seen. Head over to @thewritereads on Twitter to contact the wonderful Dave for more info.

But first…
Continue reading “Blog Tour Review; After The Green Withered – Kristin Ward”

March Reading Wrap-Up 2019

It’s been another full reading month for me! I’m still not back to work, hopefully the camera going into my stomach this week will find out why. In the mean time I am DEVOURING my TBR. For the first time in forever I am below 300 at only(!) 280 books to be read.

As always it’s a mixed bag, I traversed fantasy, horror, crime, suspense and dystopia genres in March, here’s a little bit about them…
Continue reading “March Reading Wrap-Up 2019”