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I will start by saying that I love reading retellings, especially fairy tale retellings. I don't recall really liking fairy tales all that much growing up, but now as a adult, I cannot get enough of fresh spins on the classics.
However, I was kind of disappointed with this book. I didn't connect with the vast majority of the stories and didn't care for most of the writing styles. In my opinion, most of the stories were just a mess. It all comes down to style preferences and this just wasn't for me.
One thing I disliked about the collection was that many of the stories reworked elements of the original, but didn't include any of the magic or oddities. For me, this pretty much took all the fun out of the fairy tale and left the reader with a boring story that dragged on. The contemporary retelling of fantastical tales just can't compete with the original for me. Some of the stories felt way too long and didn't really end up anywhere. Most of the stories I did enjoy somehow worked in some of the strangeness that is characteristic of the original fairy tales.
I did like the variety of tales that were retold. It wasn't all Grimm and Perrault. Russian, Italian, Japanese, and Mexican stories are also included as well as some Greek mythology. It is always fun to read retellings of well-known stories, but it is also nice to experience stories you've never heard before to get you out and searching for the original tale.
In the collection, there were a few that really stood out. Aimee Bender's "The Color Master" was my absolute favorite. This story alone is what bumped this book up from two stars to three. I also enjoyed Joy Williams's "Baby Iaga and the Pelican Child", Ludmilla Petrushevskaya's "I'm Here", Chris Adrian's "Teague O'Kane and the Corpse", and Kate Bernheimer's "Whitework". Kellie Wells's "The Girl, the Wolf, the Crone" was also hilariously creative and fun.
While there were a few good stories strewn throughout this book, the majority were too long and lacked intrigue or were just a terrible mess of confusion that didn't satisfy the reader. I was sure I'd give this two stars, but after reading "The Color Master", I had to bump up the rating a bit.