!Read Epub ⚣ Once Upon a Curse: Stories and Fairy Tales for Adult Readers ⚣ eBook or Kindle ePUB free

!Read Epub Í Once Upon a Curse: Stories and Fairy Tales for Adult Readers õ 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 fateForeword by Anna Kashina A Necklace of Rubies by Cindy Lynn Speer Come Lady Death by Peter S Beagle Summer Wind by Nancy Kress Stronger than Time by Patricia C Wrede Words Like Pale Stones by Nancy Kress Every Word I Speak by Cindy Lynn Speer Remains by Siobhan Carroll Frayed Tapestry by Imogen Howson The Cold Blackness Between by Lucy A Snyder Solstice Maiden copyright by Anna Kashina But Can You Let Him Go by Cindy Lynn Speer This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.Once Upon a Curse, edited by Anna Kashina, is a collection of short stories and novellas by Cindy Lynn Speer 3 stories , Peter S Beagle, Nancy Kress 2 stories , Patricia C Wrede, Siobhan Carroll, Imogen Howson, Lucy A Snyder and Anna Kashina, all of them previously published and all purportedly twists on fairy tales like Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin However, also included is a completely unrelated vampire story Remains, by Siob This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.Once Upon a Curse, edited by Anna Kashina, is a collection of short stories and novellas by Cindy Lynn Speer 3 stories , Peter S Beagle, Nancy Kress 2 stories , Patricia C Wrede, Siobhan Carroll, Imogen Howson, Lucy A Snyder and Anna Kashina, all of them previously published and all purportedly twists on fairy tales like Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin However, also included is a completely unrelated vampire story Remains, by Siobhan Carroll and a long novella, Frayed Tapestry by Imogen Howson, that is actually a retelling of the Persephone myth Although I liked some of the stories, I was not happy that they were all reprints rather than original to the anthology, and I found the conflation of myth, legend and fairy tale to be, well, kind of insulting as the three forms have very different meanings and purposes Overall, a disappointment the reader interested in retellings of fairy tales would be much better off with any of the numerous anthologies edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling Snow White, Blood Red, for example Like most anthologies, this is a mixed bag there s the great stories, there s the decent ones, and then there s the terrible ones With a total of eleven myth fairy tale retellings, Once Upon a Curse contains examples of all three.I couldn t bother to review the six stories that turned out either bad or unremarkable, I ve already largely forgotten them in any case But the overall rating of 3 might give the wrong impression that there s nothing worth your time in this anthology There are, an Like most anthologies, this is a mixed bag there s the great stories, there s the decent ones, and then there s the terrible ones With a total of eleven myth fairy tale retellings, Once Upon a Curse contains examples of all three.I couldn t bother to review the six stories that turned out either bad or unremarkable, I ve already largely forgotten them in any case But the overall rating of 3 might give the wrong impression that there s nothing worth your time in this anthology There are, and it d be a pity to miss the gems because of the chaff There s five stories here that stood out to me THE GOOD ONES Come Lady Death by Peter S Beagle gets 3.5 stars It sa legend inspired short story than a proper retelling, and has an intriguing plot a bored high society aristocrat decides to shock the London ton by extending an invitation to the unlikeliest of guests, Death itself Nobody believes Death will actually deign to come, but Death does surprise everyone and does come What happens because of this unexpected attendance isn t anything the other guests would ve been able to imagine, including Lady Neville, the host, who s going to have to face an important choice because, naturally, inviting Death has a price It s a well written story, and with just this my first sample of his writing, I think Mr Beagle is as good a storyteller as I was led to believe However, this story would really have benefitted from a bit of expansion Oh, it s fine enough as a short story, but in parts it feels so condensed that one or twoparagraphs would ve done wonders for it, such as when it comes to explaining motivations Like, why exactly is Death who it is What did it do to become Death originally Summer Wind by Nancy Kress gets a 3 star rating It s the first of two retellings of Perrault s Sleeping Beauty in the Wood, and the least developed of the two The premise, that Briar Rose escaped the sleeping curse, is novel enough to be attractive to a retellings fan Unfortunately, Kress doesn t handle motivation and cause effect very well she outright ignores the need to give a motive for Briar Rose to be spared whilst the rest aren t Yes, there s an outcome that pretends to wrap up and lend some sense to the plot as it unfolds, but no word on reasons for it to exist Like, if Rose was going to be spared, why did the curse exist in the first place And who are all those women that appear out of nowhere Are they witches or fairies And why exactly did they manipulate events to force such an ending on Rose Like the previous story, this one s well written But so infuriatingly plothole y And would ve benefitted from a bitlength as well Solstice Maiden by Anna Kashina gets 3.5 stars Not a proper retelling exactly, but it does take a lot from Russian folktales as to be classified as such It s mainly based on the various existing tales about Koschei the Deathless, Maria Morevna, and Prince Ivan It s not mentioned in the anthology s notes whether this was written in Russian the author s native tongue , but if it was so, then translation could be to blame for the somewhat bumpy and off flow of the story Whatever the case, this story would also benefit greatly from expansion, for which I was glad to read by the end that Kashina was making this into a full novel If Koschei is better fleshed out in the novel, and if some unexplained parts dealing with Ivan are explained, then that might be a novel worth checking out.THE GREAT ONES Stronger than Time by Patricia C Wrede gets 4.5 stars It s the second Sleeping Beauty retelling, and the best one A lot of the great remakes of this fairy tale deal with people other than the sleeping princess, as it gives a broader room to authors to manoeuvre and less passivity, and this story is no exception Told from the POV of a woodcutter living a stone s throw from the briar surrounded cursed castle, who s enlisted to help a princely quester with entering the castle, it s a bittersweet story Love, honour and promises to keep are the main motifs, and there s a dose of tragedy that only becomes evident by the end, when some truths about the Prince are unveiled.Finally, there s the 5 starred story, my favourite and bestest of em all But Can You Let Him Goby Cindy Lynn Speer It s honestly the best retelling of Cinderella I ve read, and I say this even though I m not a big fan of this fairy tale Well Not liking the source of inspiration has never stopped me from adding some excellent retellings of non favourite tales to my favourite books list This one s told from the POV of the fairy godmother Ach, ja, I m aware that this isn t the first to tell it from the perspective of the godmother, but this one is really, really original in how it tells it It s not merely showing the other side and calling it a day, thank you, here s a biscuit and a pat on the back for your creativity No, this goes beyond flipping the coin It s a story of redemption, of working hard to earn it But what on Earth could the good old Fairy Godmother have done to need to redeem herself, she being such an angel You ll have to read it to find out I m only going to give you a wee hintThe things I do for loveIf you catch the hint, do treat yourself to a biscuit and to this anthology, if only for the good stories Fairy Tales and it s subsequent retelling s are a genre, that despite my advanced age continue to fascinate meMaybe because in the end, good always triumph normally and maybe because when I should have read them , I didn t So..apparently I still feel thisneedto devour them.everytime I see a shiny cover with some promising stories inside Basically my inner six year old self is still the boss of mebut do not be fooled, this is not a kid s fairy tales.This anthology, wel Fairy Tales and it s subsequent retelling s are a genre, that despite my advanced age continue to fascinate meMaybe because in the end, good always triumph normally and maybe because when I should have read them , I didn t So..apparently I still feel thisneedto devour them.everytime I see a shiny cover with some promising stories inside Basically my inner six year old self is still the boss of mebut do not be fooled, this is not a kid s fairy tales.This anthology, well it seemed so intriguing that I was sure I was going to love it As you can see, it didn t quite happened I admit however, that at the moment, I am having one too many Mr Darcy not interesting enough to tempt me moments when reading books o.OThis one, well it suffers from the basic anthology issues It has some interesting stories, others that are okay, and others that are just plainly bad This three star rating signifies an okay being one star bad, two mediocre reading Two would beaccurate, but there s a couple of stories in this that don t deserve so lower rating.A Necklace of rubies by Cindy Lynn Speer, 2 Stars A Bluebeard re tale.The writing was okay, but the characters were just too much one dimensional and stupid to live ,to make me appreciate the tale It doesn t much matter, you see It s what I was saying about the hunting cats He may be a murderer, and I may be the next victim But when he scolds me gently for sleeping on the sofa It s freezing in this room You ll be sick and when he picks me up and carries me upstairs promising a present for me he s so soft and so loving, I cannot feature it.He s often a cold, hard man, but he softens for me He cherishes me It makes me feel special, as if I ve done something no other woman could.Come Lady Death by Peter S Beagle 3.5 stars This was the name that made me notice this anthology in the first place And in thuth, I can t say that it disappointed me Unfortunately this whimsical tale of a bored Lady who decides to invite Death itself for her grand party, was just too short The characters are mostly irrelevant Here the only thing it matters is the quality of the writing, and the tale itselfBe sure, said Death Be sure of what you want, be very sure Do all of you want me to stay For if oneof you says to me, no, go away, then I must leave at once and never return Be sure Do you all want me And everyone there cried with one voice, Yes Yes, you must stay with us You are so beautiful that we cannot let you go Summer Wind by Nancy Kress 4 starsA Briar Rose re telling, this turned out to be one of my favorites in this anthology It gives us the full extension of a curse during the girl s lifetime And I am afraid, no happy ever after for her The first old woman repeated sharply, It is no little thing you have gained, sister Rose said, I would rather have had my lost life Stronger Than Time by Patricia C Wrede 3.5 starsAnother Briar Rose Sleeping Beauty re taleAnother good story, that I think would have benefited immensely if it had been longer It s another sad story Yes, all of them arebut some I just couldn t care less about failure, doing the right thingand of ghosts Words Like Pale Stones by Nancy Kress 2 stars A little too much of a mess I just couldn t connect with the story or characters The pale fire moved up from the ground and onto my fingers, charring them to stumps A vision burned in my head I screamed, but only from pain Dirk was saved, and I didn t care that I would never spin again, nor that every gold thread in the kingdom had suddenly become stone, pale, and smooth and ordinary as a true word.Every Word I Speak by Cindy Lynn Speer 3.5 StarsOkayyyyy..so when I first read this, I honestly didn t like it all that much, but now after having re read it in another anthology, I found myself liking it Soclearly my opinion is really realiable OO.It is the story of how a blessing can turn into a curse My husband is gone I can be silent today, tomorrow, and until his return There s freedom in that, knowing that I can go and sew by the lake, perhaps, or take meals in my room by myself.Remains by Siohban Carrol 1 StarI have no idea what this few pages were fora draft, maybe We hear on the radio that a body has been found Some of the unliving rise, put on thick woolen gloves, get ready for the drive In other, farther places, we lie hoping for an ending that never comes.Frayed Tapestry by Imogen Howson 2 StarsAn apparently contemporary setting you ll understand this if you read it for a Persephone and Hades story.imaginative yes, butin the end i don t see myself re reading this And i can t help wondering what will happen in Winter.or, is Spring going to be eternal Bottom line I like re tellings, but there are some things that shouldn t be alteredAnd Candy Really Wasn t there another name less.sugared andappropriate With every step the earth welcomed her The grass softened under her feet, grew lush with spring growth The wind lost its cold bite, threading gentle fingers through her hair Sweet night time scents rose around her Candy He was following her She didn t look back at him That s not my name She heard him swallow Persephone Please understand I love you The Cold Blackness Between by Lucy Ann Snyder 0 Stars..Reading this is like having a WTH moment Why, was this included in this anthology This is paranormal romance Mary trudged up to her bedroom on the third floor to change She wondered how she was ever going to break the news of her affair to William He was stillher employer than her husband She d started as his personal nurse, but when sex became a part of their relationship, he decided they should be married She was fond of him but he was not a passionate man and never had been And he had grown increasingly cold over the past year he hardly spent time with her any.Solstice Maiden by Anna Kashina 3.5 Stars The writing is above average, but the characters were just too stereotypical Or maybe i m just too jadedand the insta attraction moment I know it s a short, but even so didn t convince me.Even though is worth reading for the quality of the writing alone It is a tale, old as time, true as life Every Solstice, a maiden must die to appease the god of the crops, to keep hunger out of our simple kingdom And I, the Mistress of the Solstice, must be the one to sacrifice her On that night, every one of our subjects gathers around a bonfire, consumed by the power of love Of lust, really, for no love could possibly bloom for one night and fade into nothingness, But Can you Let Him go by Cindy Lynn Speer 4.5 Stars my favourite I know I ll probably sound contrary, because in some of the previous tales I ve mentioned that their short length ruined the tale for me, but this one, who was longer than the other ones, I reached a point in which Okay, okay, i get it It s always the same thing This is Cinderella and her prince curse, told by Cinderella s Fairy Godmother And it is pretty good.despite the events repetitionsThis is me The caution in your tale, the one with the thousand guises Right now my disguise is nothingness, As I tell her the tale, I long to I sink myself into that tree, allow myself to move into it, my body becoming wood grain, my blood becoming sap It is a dangerous tree, because it is so very deep that you could get lost in it The further you go in, theisolated from the world you become Like i said Some interesting tales, but most of them are not that great Once Upon A Curse is a collection of stories and fairy tales by a handful of authors Some new, some well known, all very capable Like many fairy tales, these stories are not for children Some travel familiar paths and some re invent myth All feel fresh and original The first story, A Necklace Of Rubies by Cindy Lynn Speer, retells the tale of Bluebeard I have read the story before in another similarly themed anthology and enjoyed discovering it all over again A young woman is wooed by Once Upon A Curse is a collection of stories and fairy tales by a handful of authors Some new, some well known, all very capable Like many fairy tales, these stories are not for children Some travel familiar paths and some re invent myth All feel fresh and original The first story, A Necklace Of Rubies by Cindy Lynn Speer, retells the tale of Bluebeard I have read the story before in another similarly themed anthology and enjoyed discovering it all over again A young woman is wooed by a mysterious man already sounds like a fairy tale, doesn t it and after they wed, she discovers not all is as it seems The writing is spellbinding and the pace perfect The repetition of several motifs, the foxes, the jewels and the motto Be Bold , lures the reader into the story and keeps them there I am not familiar with the original tale, but this interpretation inspires me to read it I can only hope I enjoy it as much Come Lady Death by Peter S Beagle is next on the list Bored with the usual parties and the usual guests, Lady Neville invites Death to her next ball The invitation is accepted and Death arrives, dramatically, after the last stroke of midnight, in the guise of a lovely young woman Throughout the course of the evening, she charms many, though few actually lose their fear of her When she tries to leave, however, the party goers beg her to stay She does, but there is a price Come Lady Death is a strange, fascinating and compelling story There are two versions of Sleeping Beauty , Summer Wind by Nancy Kress and Stronger Than Time by Patricia C Wrede Both are interesting interpretations, but Stronger Than Time was a truly moving tale When an impetuous prince fails to rescue the princess after one hundred years, he must find another way to break the curse I loved this version of the story the ending was quite simply beautiful Among the other stories, the tales of Rumpelstiltskin and Persephone are both retold with a twist There are also a couple of stories I had not read before, in any guise The stand out for me, however, is the last entry, also by Cindy Lynn Speer But Can You Let Him Go re interprets the story of Cinderella The origin of the tale is slowly revealed from the perspective of the fairy godmother There are hints early on, but as the story dips and weaves, interleaving related tales from other cultures, the reader is left wondering if this time the conclusion will be different It is and it isn t telling youwould ruin the surprise and the utter sweetness of the conclusion But Can You Let Him Go is a wonderful, wonderful story All in all, this is a great collection I would have liked to have seenvariety in authorship, but the stories are varied and all worthy of the reader s attention and the anthology does a nice job of showcasing the talent of some lesser known authors In addition, the size of the volume, a slim 250 pages, inspires the reader to start at the beginning and finish at the end rather than pick and choose a few stories somewhere in between.Written for and originally published at SFCrowsnest