Sunday, January 6, 2013

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes, by Nina Berry

In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall.

It's hard to review compilations of short stories as the tales vary widely, both in content and tone.

There were a few excellent narratives, most notably Sing a Song of Sixpence, Clockwork, The Lion and the Unicorn: Part the First, and The Wish. Since The Lion and the Unicorn: Part the Second isn't included in the galley, I'm definitely going to read the final published version.

One thing in particular bothered me about most of the stories: a complete lack of subtlety. As a reader, I already know that these are nursery rhyme rewrites; it's part of the title and the rhymes are written at the start of each narrative (which is a very nice touch). So reading, for example, the words ring, Rosie, pocket, posies, and ashes in a re-telling of that verse seems like a cop-out. There were too many pieces written in such a way and they came across as very amateurish.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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