Beyond the Woods: Fairy Tales Retold by Paula Guran
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a broad and varied collection of fairy tale retellings and fairy tales inspired - a number of the stories within are not based on a specific narrative, but capture the feel of a certain type of fairy tale. (A lot of these are also among the best stories in the book.) It spans everything from dystopian science fiction to urban fantasy (even historical fiction) to traditional fantasy ... you will probably find a story precisely to your tastes within.
For me, the anthology improved as I progressed within it. There were some stories, particularly in the beginning, that I simply didn't care for - not so much because they seemed to be flawed, but because they were darker than my usual tastes. There are a few others that seem to be paying lip service to the fairy tale, or diverging so far they don't seem to quite fit the theme. There were a few more that I wanted to like, but they just felt hollow or incomplete.
Further into the anthology are the gems: the wonder tales, the stories (like Shveta Thakrar's "Lavanya and Deepika") that fuse fairy tales of one culture with the setting of another, capped off with Tanith Lee's gorgeous scifi piece "Beauty." Ken Liu's "Good Hunting" was a favorite of mine, and a lovely take on technology vs magic.
As mentioned above, this is a huge anthology with a big range. As such, I don't think every story will be a match for every reader, but you will definitely find something to enjoy.
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