I’ve had this book on my shelf for a few years now (it’s the first I’ve completed for my To-Be-Read Challenge), and it’s also the first work I’ve read by Tanith Lee. It’s a book of nine short stories in which Lee takes traditional fairy tales and twists them into new, mostly darker, tales.
By the end, I’ll say that I did enjoy it, although the first couple of stories were dull. Her prose is interesting – very descriptive and full of powerful imagery – but sometimes I felt that prose was wasted on stories which really didn’t go much of anywhere interesting. There was one (the Sleeping Beauty retelling) which left me wondering just what the heck happened, and there was one story whose original I didn’t recognize. (At first, I thought it might have been Aladdin, but on second thought, no).
Those are the negatives. On the plus side, a few of the stories were excellent. My favorites were the Little Red Riding-Hood story (Wolfland), and a science-fiction-y Beauty and the Beast (Beauty). In “Beauty” especially, I found myself engaged with the characters, and hoping for the outcome I wanted. (With many of the earlier stories, I simply didn’t care how they turned out). So, this book has some wonderful moments, although the whole thing isn’t to a consistent standard, IMO. Still, it’s a small volume, and the stories that weren’t great were also not very long. So, I’ll give this 7/10.