Speculating on SpecFic

Fantastic Literature: From epic fantasy to fairytales to myth-making

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes - Lisa Mantchev, Francisco X. Stork, Leah Cypess, C. Lee McKenzie, Sarwat Chadda, Karen Mahoney, Suzanne Young, Heidi R. Kling, Angie Frazier, Shannon Delany, Suzanne Lazear, K.M. Walton, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Jessie Harrell, Gretchen McNeil, Nina Berry, Leigh Fallon, Max 4.5/5An eerie collection of stories adapted from famous Mother Goose Rhymes, Two and Twenty Dark Tales gave me chills and some of the stories will haunt me for some time! It's amazing how authors have subverted the nature of the rhymes to something even darker than I could have ever imagined, and there are some stories that I wish were longer, or had full length novels accompanying them!Very short notes on each of the stories follow:As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old by Nina BerryA brilliant choice to kick off the anthology, this is one of the stories I really wish was longer. The idea of re-incarnation is always appealing to me, and this particular story has a wonderfully creepy twist that I loved.Sing a Song of Six-Pence by Sarwat ChaddaAnother one of my favourites, with intriguing world building and themed around fallen angels (but nothing like any other fallen angel book I have ever written). Even the bittersweet ending was perfect.Clockwork by Leah CypressAn intriguing story about a witch, a curse and a princess, well realised and told effortlessly. The author uses an old device brilliantly, and slowly unfolds the past so we can see what happened.Blue by Sayantani DasGuptaAnother story I would have liked to be a full length novel. The world-building is intriguing and I loved the characters.Pieces of Eight by Shannon Delany with Max ScialdoneAs one of the longer stories in the collection, this is very enjoyable and reads almost like an epic fantasy where the protagonist goes on a quest to bring music back into the world.Wee Willie Winkie by Leigh FallonAnother one of my favourites, it really creeped me out!Boys & Girls Come Out to Play by Angie FrazierNot as well realised as the other stories, and while I liked the character motivations, something fell flat about it. But a nice witchy story none-the-less.I Come Bearing Souls by Jessie HarrellI love Egyptian mythology, and the clever way in which it is used in the story amazed me. I want more, definitely more.The Lion and the Unicorn: Part the First by Nancy HolderI liked this one too, but since the second part of the story isn't in the review copy, it obviously felt unfinished.Life in a Shoe by Heidi R. KlingSet in a Dystopian world where families are forced to have as many children as they can, to aid a war effort, with no thought to cost or space, this story will stay with me because of the difficult decisions the eldest children had to make. A scary, scary world, this one.Candlelight by Suzanne LazearThis story is for every child who thought their parents were unjust and wanted to run away, and it made me very sad. Even though I liked it, I don't think I'll read it again.One for Sorrow by Karen MahoneyA personal favourite, this is a story about a girl who befriends a crow, only to find that one of her classmates is her crow. Although predictable, I think it is a sweet, and brave, story.Those Who Whisper by Lisa MantchevPredictable but enjoyable, the thing I liked about the story was the main character, but I didn't like much else about it. It wasn't very dark either, so I was a little disappointed.Little Miss Muffet by Georgia McBrideI have this irrational, debilitating dear of spiders, and this story did nothing, nothing, to help. 5/5 for guts alone.Sea of Dew by C. Lee McKenzieI didn't like this one. It was directionless and sad. Not creepy so much as darkly melancholy.Tick Tock by Gretchen McNeilAnother story I didn't like. The MC was really very stupid and should have trusted her instincts.A Pocket Full of Posy by Pamela van Hylckama VliegI started off liking it, but then it turned into a vampire story.The Well by K. M WaltonThis is about Jack and Jill, two siblings who are somehow immune to the disease that's killing everything else in the world, and how they deal with it. Deliciously dark.The Wish by Suzanne YoungI really liked this one!! It's a little corny, but I still enjoyed it :)A Ribbon of Blue by Michelle ZinkClever, heart-wrenching and cute, this was the perfect way to end the anthology. The more I read, the clearer the end became, but it was great to watch Ruby fall in love for the first time.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.