Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review: Once Upon a Curse by Anna Kashina and others

Buy from the Book Depository
Title: Once Upon a Curse: Stories and Fairy Tales for Adult Readers
Editor: Anna Kashina
Authors: Peter S. Beagle, Siobhan Carroll, Imogen Howson, Anna Kashina, Nancy Kress, Lucy A. Snyder, Cindy Lynn Speer, Patricia C. Wrede
Publisher: Dragonwell Publishing
Paperback: 250 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
Fair maidens, handsome princes, witches, and fairy godmothers all show their dark and dangerous side in this anthology inspired by myths and fairy tales, retold by some of the best authors in this generation and by some upcoming new talents. Each beautifully crafted story brings an unusual twist to the traditional tale, from Cinderella’s story told from the not-so-kind fairy godmother’s point of view, to the Bluebeard tale showing the lure of this dark and dangerous man that drives young girls to rush willingly to their fate.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

It's rare for me to wholeheartedly recommend an anthology, but I am recommending this one. Once Upon a Curse is a collection of amazing fairy tale interpretations from some pretty fantastic authors. With short story collections, I usually only like a couple and am neutral about the rest, but for this one there isn't one story that I didn't like. Most of them, I loved.

There are some things keeping me from giving this book a perfect rating. The last story definitely could have been cut by at least ten pages. While it was interesting to read about all the different cultural retellings of Cinderella, I don't think it was necessary to the main plot and all the stories-within-the-story made it drag. There were also a couple of others where the endings fell a bit flat, but not enough to make me dislike them outright.

There are two Sleeping Beauty stories in here (both excellent), along with Bluebeard, Cinderella, "Diamonds and Toads," among others. Anna Kashina has become my new favorite fantasy author with her story "Solstice Maiden," and I most definitely plan to check out her other works. If you're at all a fan of fantasy, you will find at least one story in this book to love (although, I'm betting that you'll find more). These stories are all entertaining, full of twists, and have interesting characters.

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.*