I love fairy tale retellings, I never get tired reading stories I love being reworked and remastered by Authors today. Sometimes the stories are hit, sometimes they are miss. That being said, I was a bit underwhelmed with Two and Twenty Dark Tales.
This anthology has 20 stories included in it, many of them told by well known Authors. Still I felt many of the stories fell flat. I also believe since a couple were lesser known tales that could of led to some of the disappointment as the stories in original form weren't that interesting to begin with and reworked were barely better.
Now, I'm not going to review each individual story involved. I will share my favorites though. I believe that will help you understand my position in regards to the book.
Little Miss Muffet by Georgina McBride- This story was a total win. I loved how Georgina McBride retold the story of Little Miss Muffet. Plus, those spiders *shudder* I don't think I'll look at one normally for a long time.
Life in a Shoe by Heidi R. Kling- This was one of my favorites in the whole collection. Had a great beginning, middle, end. If expanded into Novella or even full book length I would gobble it up.
Tick Tock by Gretchen McNeil- If you have ever babysat before this short story will unnerve you. The poor,poor girl..... Really, well told.
The Well by K.M. Walton- I will never read Jack and Jill the same way again. Such a masterful retelling of the story. It has completely ruined the original for me. So good.
Wee Willie Winkie by Leigh Fallon- This one was super creepy. I'm a big horror reader/watcher and even this one got under my skin. Let's just say I watched a couple episodes of Spongebob before falling asleep that night just to make sure I went to bed not dreaming about this short.
The Lion and the Unicorn by Nancy Holder- I loved this short and was completely sucked into the world within the downside, only part 1 was in the e-Arc and that was a huge disappointment. It sorta angers me that they kept it out. I would rather half the completed tales be left out then only give me one half of a story to see.
The above mentioned were my favorites and the ones I still remember. While some of the other stories were good, they weren't memorable. Only a few did I downright dislike and those were:
Pieces of Eight by Shannon Delaney with Max Scialdone- I don't know if it is because two authors collaborated for this story or what but I didn't like this one. I just was left confused and annoyed by the end.
Sea of Dew by C. Lee McKenzie- Beautiful, haunting, a lovely story overall. Why I disliked this one though was it felt out of place in the overall anthology. As a novella I would probably praise this story and give it 5 stars. In this collection however it just completely left me emotionally drained and brought down the creep factor I had been feeling up until this short. Good story, wrong book for it to be in.
The Wish by Suzanne Young- This story just sorta plodded along for me. It was written well but it was also just a bit to predictable and dare I say it, yawn inducing.
One for Sorrow by Karen Mahoney- Like The Wish this one was written well but I found myself bored partway through. It didn't have the creep factor I was craving like some of the other short stories did.
Overall this Anthology was very hit or miss for me. I expected some really scary retellings and yet a good chunk of the stories were more sombre if anything. Certainly not what I expected based on the title and cover. Would I recommend Two and Twenty Dark Tales? Yes, I'd recommend it for those who love retellings and are looking for a nice collection to read through in one or two sittings. But I am going to stress, if you do think this book is worth a go, I highly suggest checking it out from a library or borrowing from a friend first before purchasing. That being said I will be rating Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes ★★★.
*I received this book to review from Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way for providing them.