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.
So I want to say that I have very two, very different, feelings about this book. One is kind of positive and the other is negative. So I’ll go ahead and get the negative out of the way.
The biggest problem I had with all these short stories is how they really didn’t affect me. Yolen focuses so much on the different ways a fairytale could be shaped but not focus on the way it lingers. Thinking about my own experiences with fairytales, I focus on the way the stories lingered in my mind. How even after the book has closed I can’t take my mind off of it. Fairytales have the uncanny ability to grab and keep your attention as you read it, and I feel retellings must capture this as well. But Yolen’s stories missed this key aspect. Going through the book I was either bored or uninterested by the stories. I didn’t fall in love with them the way you’re supposed to with a fairytale.
In short, I felt the stories needed more imagination and spectacle.
While I didn’t like the stories, I totally respect what Yolen was doing with this collection. Together, the stories show how flexible fairytales are. How they can be stretched and twisted yet still have the same heart (meaning/point) beating at the center.