Edited By Anna Kashina
Dragonwell Publishing, $16.95, 256 pages
A story is only as good as its villain and a fairy tale only as interesting as its curse. But what happens when the curse is stronger than all the knights in the kingdom? Old hands such as Patricia Wrede and Peter Beagle come together with upcoming talents in this fantasy anthology where darker magic defines the direction of the stories.
Once Upon a Curse is recommended for fairy tale fans looking for their favorite stories taken in new directions. From beautiful retellings to twists on old patterns to familiar tales in an updated setting, we run the gamut of what can be done to a fairy tale. This anthology presents variations on well known classics like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, but also tackles such outliers as Bluebeard and Rumpelstiltskin. Though every story in this collection keeps its darker edges, there are still a number of reasonably happy ever afters. While enjoyable, these straight retellings lack the creative spark that would raise this anthology to a true gem. Still, Once Upon a Curse is a beautiful addition to the adventurous fairy tale fan’s shelf.
Reviewed by Meg Gibbs