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Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes - Lisa Mantchev, Francisco X. Stork, Leah Cypess, C. Lee McKenzie, Sarwat Chadda, Karen Mahoney, Suzanne Young, Heidi R. Kling, Angie Frazier, Shannon Delany, Suzanne Lazear, K.M. Walton, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Jessie Harrell, Gretchen McNeil, Nina Berry, Leigh Fallon, Max The Good
  1. The forward.  The forward not only sets the tone for the rest of the anthology, it helps to explain why such a collection of stories would be written.
  2. The unhappy endings.  The forward promises unhappy endings, which most of the stories deliver flawlessly. I hate it when stories have forced happy endings. They feel dishonest. These stories deliver the sad truth about the tragedy of the characters.

The Bad
  1. Hit or miss quality.  The story quality is unfortunately hit or miss with this collection. Some stories are absolutely perfect (Little Boy Blue, Wee Willie Winky) but some fall very short. Either they're too drawn out, they don't make sense, or they plot is so disjointed it's hard to figure out what is going on.
  2. The happy endings.  Some stories have forced happy endings and they don't fit with the tone of the rest of the collection. This made the volume feel less cohesive and didn't fit with the description given in the forward.
  3. Similar names.  Many of the stories have similar names, which wouldn't be a problem in a stand-alone short story, but when you have many short stories read back-to-back, the reader can get a little disoriented when everyone's name looks and sounds identical. Sometimes even within the same story you would have two or three characters with unrealistically similar names.


There were some stories within this collection that I absolutely loved, and the concept of dark retellings of Mother Goose rhymes is wonderful. Unfortunately, the mediocre stories outweighed the gems, making the overall volume just an okay read.