Thursday, 15 November 2012

Two and Twenty Dark Tales

Author: Various.  Georgia McBride (editor), Michelle Zink (editor)

Published: Oct 2012

What They Say: In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell, or if Jill pushed him instead, to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall.

What Elaine Says: There are many things that make this an intriguing book.  For one, it’s the first release by Month9Books which aims to provide speculative fiction to tweens.  Secondly, proceeds from the first 5000 sales go to charity.  Thirdly (and most importantly) it is a fascinating concept.  

Two and Twenty dark tales takes 22 nursery rhymes from Mother Goose and attempts to decipher the story behind them.  As a huge fan of The Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, this was a premise I couldn't resist.

Unfortunately for me, it didn’t quite deliver what I was expecting.  I was anticipating the nursery rhymes being expanded and explained in short story form.  Most of these however were complete reinterpretations which featured elements of the rhymes or used the rhymes themselves within the story. 
Once I got over my disappointment, there really are some interesting tales in here.  The book promises to be creepy and peculiar and that it definitely is.  A few of the stories manage to deliver more than a few goose bumps, while others are truly unsettling.

For me, the standout story of the collection was ‘Wee Willie Winkie’ by Leigh Fallon.   This also happens to be one of the stories that did what I expected.  It took the rhyme and broke it down into a genuinely creepy short story.  It is perhaps no coincidence that this is also one of the shortest stories in the collection.  For one of my problems with a few of the others is that they simply dragged out too long.  

All in all it’s an intriguing little collection and I think it will find a firm fan base with  tweens at which it is aimed. 

Please note this was a review copy with twenty stories.  Two extra stories will be in the final release.

Elaine's Rating: 6/10

"He bent over to catch his breath.  When he straightened, he laughed at his own foolishness.  He was nineteen.  No need to be scared of things he couldn't see - especially when what he could see was frightening enough"

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