I’m going to combine both of these in one review since they are very similar and share the same editor and publisher.
I actually tracked these down because a friend of mine, Matthew Sylvester, wrote one of the stories in Volume Two. They both looked enticing, and the price was right, so I grabbed both volumes.
The premise for both books are the same: the original tales as told by the Brothers Grimm were a lot darker than the sterilized versions we see in Disney movies now. Prospective authors were tasked with writing stories which returned to the stories of old, telling stories that were either harsher, more stark or even, in a couple of cases, simply a little off-kilter.
I must say these stories deliver. Having a warped sense of humor myself and a having grown up watching Fractured Fairy Tales as a kid, most of these were right up my alley.
My favorites from Volume One were “Building The Dream” by Lynda Collins and “Pork, Hammy And Chop” by William Meikle.
Collins’ story is told from the perspective of the person responsible for the building of various structures in fairy tales, most notably, the tower in the story of Rapunzel. Fans of fairy tales of all sorts will love subtle references to other characters in her story. While more humorous than dark, it’s still quite entertaining.
The yarn Meikle spins for us is a retelling of the story of The Three Pigs. And, oh yeah, the Big Bad Wolf is actually a zombie. Twisted and hilarious, this one was absolutely one I wish I had thought of telling. Outstanding.
In Volume Two, my favorites were “One Hundred Lost Years” by Jennifer Loring and “Death’s Messengers” by Matthew Sylvester.
“One Hundred” is a mishmosh of a couple of stories, primarily that of Sleeping Beauty. Loring takes the tack of trying to find out why Sleeping Beauty was in such a slumber, the resulting direction definitely a dark path.
As I mentioned in the opening portion of this review, I was turned onto these books by my friendship with Matthew Sylvester, so I feel obligated to note that calling his story one of my favorites is not just glad-handing a fellow author to help promote his work.
I found “Death’s Messengers” quite original, being the story of the Grim Reaper told in a futuristic / sci-fi world. In this world, the Grim Reaper is actually one of many individuals, enhanced by combat suits which aid them in attack, defense and healing, who are contracted to eliminate people when their time is due. The story takes a twist when the Messenger’s primary hit unknowingly saves the Messenger’s life following an unplanned battle. Where the story goes from there is what gives it its depth.
Overall, the tales by Loring and Sylvester aside, I found Volume Two less original than Volume One. But both still contain quality writing.
5 stars (out of 5) for Volume One
4 stars (out of 5) for Volume Two