Pdf Cursed By Marie O'Regan – Blockdiagramwiring.co
I just wanted to state even though I gave this book as a whole 3 stars There was 4 stories within this collection that I would whole heartedly give 4 stars each and they are As Red As Blood, As White As Snow by Christina Henry, Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden, Fairy Werewolf vs Vampire Zombie by Charlie Jane Anders and New Wine by Angela Slatter These four stories in particular I loved and definitely feel they deserve 4 stars. Fairy Tales Take A Weird Twist In This Anthology Compiling Stories From An All Star Cast Of Fantasy Writers, Including Stories From Neil Gaiman, Charlie Jane Anders And Alison LittlewoodHere In This Book You Ll Find Unique Twists On The Fairy Tale Conceit Of The Curse, From The Traditional To The Modern Giving Us Brand New Mythologies As Well As New Approaches To Well Loved Fables Some Might Shock You, Some Might Make You Laugh, But They Will All Impress You With Their Originality Review to come on Friday Thank you so much to Titan Books for sending over a review copy On the whole, I really liked this anthology There s a lot of great stories in here filled with originality and fun ideas Some shine brighter than others, and you can see a detailed review of my thoughts in my percentage updates But I d definitely recommend to anyone who likes fairy tales, urban fantasy, and just weird stuff. A nicely strong fantasy compilation, with many a fine new piece set alongside recent classics of the short form The theme is really well maintained, and explored from so many aspects this is bound to have much to appeal.For a full round up of contents, please go to Content warnings A lot of death, blood and body horror, throughout Vivid descriptions of self harm in Little Red Implied sexual assault stalking in Look Inside Baby death in Wendy, Darling Strong authorial misogyny in Skin and Look Inside.This collection of short stories really ended up surprising me, as the stories I was looking forward to weren t necessarily the stories I ended up enjoying the most I was pretty meh by the names pulled out for the cover I don t tend to like MR Carey s writing, and I find Neil Gaiman s overt zaniness much less palatable than I did in my teens I was really looking forward to Jane Yolen s and Margo Lanagan s stories, and the rest of the authors I was going into without any experience of their other work I found that strangely, the anthology ended up being heavily weighted to have the most impressive stories to me at the beginning, and I struggled to connect to the latter half.Let s start with the standouts I adored the first story in the collection, Christina Henry s As Red As Blood, As White As Snow , which mashes up Snow White and Bluebeard in a wonderfully creepy, fairy tale feeling way I also unexpectedly really liked Neil Gaiman s Troll Bridge , and At That Age by Catriona Ward, both of which slide ancient folklore into modern life in a deliciously atmospheric way Listen by Jen Williams starts as though it will be the story of the Pied Piper, but instead does something really inventive and clever with the idea of a curse that lasts longer than the giver intends Henry and the Snakewood Box really surprised me as I say, I m not a fan of MR Carey generally, but I thought the voice of this story was really good fun, and it offered an interesting take on morality Again by Tim Lebbon was a really sweet and thoughtful story about whether immortality is a blessing or a curse.There were, as I ve mentioned, some that didn t work for me The Black Fairy s Curse by Karen Joy Fowler is a Sleeping Beauty riff that leans on one of the worst writing clich s for me, and though it was lyrical, it didn t really have enough body to it Faith and Fred by Maura McHugh just bored me, as did Haza and Ghani by Lilith Saintcrow a take on Hansel and Gretel that for me, struggled to get its plot across Fairy Werewolf vs Vampire Zombie by Charlie Jane Anders was so aggressively quirky I felt like Zooey Deschanel was shoving emoji cupcakes at me the entire time I was reading it I wanted to, but didn t love Margo Lanagan s story, The Girl from the Hell , largely because I genuinely didn t know what was going on, and Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple s Little Red suffered both from the fact that I don t like Little Red Riding Hood as a story, and it contained graphic depictions of self harm.There are also some real problems with a couple of the stories from a female reader s perspective Skin by James Brogden was wonderfully atmospheric, but weirdly and overwhelmingly misogynistic the curse is given by a woman for a good reason, but she ends up having to take on the emotional labour for the pain she s caused the man she cursed, and though the writing was good, I can t get over the sexism It echoes every abusive relationship I ve ever heard about, in that the man, who has become terrifying, tells the woman you re the reason I m a monster and SHE AGREES And the narrative voice AGREES that she is the monster here And then she forgives him and appeases him sexually It s a disgusting sentiment and one I cannot believe no one involved in this anthology thought to question it I also found Look Inside by Michael Marshall Smith to be unfortunately sexist given that it s about a woman whose home is invaded by something supernatural, and she s upfront in the first few lines about the fact that it has impregnated her, she seemed remarkably unconcerned The tone felt totally wrong, and it felt deeply weird as a storyline for a male author to narrate from a female voice I enjoyed the concept of both Skin and Look Inside , but this casual sexism male author obliviousness ruined both stories for me.So of the 18 stories not counting the opening and closing poems in this collection, I thought five were fantastic, six were just not for me personally, two were very problematic, and the remaining five were enjoyable but perhaps not the kind of thing that will stick with me But there s a really interesting mix of fairy tale, horror, and urban fantasy, and with the exception of Skin and Look Inside , I think it s a really well put together collection I ve been dithering for about ten minutes as to how many cats it gets, because my instinct is somewhere between 3.5 which feels a bit harsh for an anthology that I, on the whole, enjoyed and 4 which feels too high given the strength of the issues I had but I don t want to get into.75 ratings, so let s go for a qualified 4 cats out of five but skip Skin I wanted to love this collection, I really did Some top names in fantasy, a publishing company that has a talent for interesting and intriguing collections Sadly I found myself bored to tears, struggling with almost every short story in here I finally gave up about halfway through the book, not willing to continue through the pain I will give you the reviews of the stories that I did finish.The basic premise of the twenty short stories and poetry was a focus on curses, both classic and modern The best that I can say about this is that it was a free ARC from my monthly book swap at the Martin County Library before they were closed due to the COVID 19 pandemic 2.5 out of 5 Castle Cursed by Jane Yolen.A poem invoking the essence of Sleeping Beauty Evocative Poetry is not my thing, other than story based ones such as Poe or the ancient Roman and Greek classics 3.5 out of 5 As Red as Blood, as White as Snow by Christina HenryPrince Charming, as many in the court called him, wanted to marry Snow White, having worked compulsion magic on all in the court to ease his way Only Snow and her beloved stepmother are unaffected Snow is trapped nonetheless, going with her new husband to his own country A lot of potential here that would ve been better served in a longer version Frankly this was like a working overview than a completed story Lost the buildup too quickly 3 out of 5 Troll Bridge by Neil GaimanJack is just seven years old the first time he meets the troll under the old railway bridge, the creature ready to eat the boy s life But as Jack quickly explains, he hasn t actually lived enough to make him worthy A bargain is made Jack will live and experience all he can, then return to the face the troll Sad and strange, lonely and just a tiny bit satisfying in an unexplainable way 3.5 out of 5 At That Age by Catriona WardJohn is dealing with tragedy in his family when he meets a new pair of twins at his school The temporary respite from grief turns twisted I didn t care much for this one at all I understand that trying to fully flesh out a short story is a real art, but I found Ward s story to be a scribble of an idea 2.5 out of 5 Listen by Jen WilliamsErren traveled across the world, forced to play music that brings the dead back to dance and reveal the cruel secrets of the living they left behind All due to a moment s weakness and longing by Erren Time passes as she desperately wishes for a final release Now this is like it Williams has woven a mystical, magical world that still leaves so much to the imagination 4 out of 5 Henry and the Snakewood Box by M R CareyHenry Mossop isn t too bright, but he is good hearted and lonely The demon in the box considers him perfect Henry makes wishes that are small, but have unseen consequences for others that Henry knows nothing about Until he uses one of his wishes for understanding There is so much humor in this tale despite the seriousness of the events I enjoyed the demon s level of snark If this ever becomes an animated feature, Robert Downey Jr MUST be the voice of the demon 4.5 out of 5 Skin by James BrogdenHannah is shocked to find her ex following her home She s even shocked by his ravaged features Could she have unwittingly caused it Okay, that was gross It also reminded me of an old CSI episode in which models, frantically searching for perfection, tore at any imperfections of their flesh A weird and unsatisfying tale And a little gross as well 2.5 out of 5 Faith Fred by Maura McHughWhile renovating Caldwere Farmhouse, Owen finds two skulls encased in a metal cage, accompanied by a card wtih Here be Faith Fred Keep them homestead, Lest they wail Afraid the discovery could ruin any possible buyers, Owen bribes his contractor to not call the police, to forget all about them I honestly loved this, but poor Owen didn t seem to catch the possible option in You, or another in regards to staying as the skulls caretaker There is so much that could ve been explored here 4 out of 5.While reading, or trying to read, The Black Fairy s Curse by Karen Joy Fowler, I gave up I have absolutely NO doubts that this book could appeal to some fantasy readers, but I m not one of them. Curses they re a staple of Fantasy fiction, aren t they From Snow White s cursed apple in the Brothers Grimm s fairy tales 1812 to Guy Endore s The Werewolf of Paris 1933 , stories about deals with a unexpected cost or the unexpected price victims have to pay for their misdeeds have been a staple of the genre for hundreds of years.It may therefore be a little difficult, if not intimidating, therefore, to come up with an anthology of new recently published fiction that looks at curses with a fresh eye However, Marie and Paul have done well This is a cracking collection of stories.There are 18 stories here and 2 pieces of poetry by Jane Yolen bookending the collection 13 of these are new to this collection.What impressed me most here is the range of stories included Some are written as fairy tale Christina Henry s take on Snow White, for example , some contemporary Christopher Fowler s Hated There re stories that are amusing M R Carey s take on what can happen when you are granted a demon s wishes, Henry and the Snakewood Box, Charlie Jane Anders s magical tavern tale Fairy Werewolf vs Vampire Zombie and those that are definitely not James Brogden s Skin is a memorable story that digs deep into body horror Some, such as Maura McHugh s Faith Fred a story of two screaming skulls found in an old house are deceptively easy to follow and lure you into a sense of familiarity often mistaken , whilst some are deliberately and discordantly odd Jen Williams Listen There s nasty and nice and tales of good and evil, all of which seem to cover the remit admirably Some of the characters are victims, others are most definitely not.There s also some unusual takes on traditional fairy tales Neil Gaiman s Troll Bridge deals with those elusive creatures in the title, Christina Henry s As Red as Blood, As White as Snow and Karen Joy Fowler s The Black Fairy s Curse are both adult takes on the traditional Snow White story, Christopher Golden s Wendy, Darling is an alternate reimaging of Peter Pan and Alison Littlewood s The Merrie Dancers is Hans Christian Andersen s The Red Shoes given a makeover Little Red by Jane Yolen and her son Adam Stemple is a new take on the Red Riding Hood fairy story.In the end, the collection delivers a strong set of stories and gave me what I would anticipate from such a book Each story is different from the one before it, which meant that I went from one story to the next, never quite knowing what to expect.Whilst there are big hitters that will sell the book Neil Gaiman, naturally, Christopher Golden, Charlie Jane Anders it was the surprises that the lesser known authors provided that will keep you reading I particularly enjoyed Lilith Saintcrow s Haza and Ghani, a chilling tale of sisterly revenge that fans of Game of Thrones will enjoy not something I was expecting to type in this review In summary, Cursed is a superior collection that I think you will enjoy enormously and will keep thinking about after you have finished It may introduce you to some authors you may not have read before, and also remind you how good some of the better known authors are I suspect that you will probably want to read of some of these authors afterwards, and the editors provide a very useful aide memoire at the end of the book for you to use to go and discover It is a sign of the quality of this book that after reading this I went and bought which I guess is what an author wants This is a really difficult review to write because Cursed really was a book of 2 halves for me, I was both enraptured and non plussed at times The first part of the book was definitely stronger insofar as the types of story I found enjoyable and that s the balance I have to make, because with 20 short stories and poems its going to be impossible to please every reader with every story This was actually a strength though as no matter what your reading preference there will be something here for you I m a traditional fantasy girl at heart so some of the contemporary tales dragged a little with maybe a DNF or two, but some of the high fantasy tales were instant re reads Each author really did fulfil the brief though and I very much enjoyed how diverse the ideas were, be it taken from existing mythology or through an entirely fresh approach.I have to say that the start was so strong with Christina Henry s As Red as Blood, As White as Snow it remains I think my favourite of the collection, it felt like a completely rounded story with all the boxes ticked and is actually a tale I feel I would love to read as a full length novel, I have to also give kudos to Henry for not making the Step mother evil, which is such an outdated viewpoint Henry and the Snakewood Box was another stand out and I enjoyed how it flipped with ingenuity, I ve not read any M.R Carey before but I think I might off the back of this I also loved how Jen Williams was able to weave such weariness and resignation into her storytelling, giving the reader a true sense of the toll of the curse in Listen I found myself unexpectedly liking New Wine when I started I felt that it was too contemporary with a heavy dose of angst, but actually it really pulled me in with a sense of foreboding.There are a lot of tough topics covered most of which you would expect to find in an anthology of this type, by which I mean darker malevolent twists but there are some truly dark stories which some readers may find troubling I always struggle with depictions of child loss, so I found Wendy Darling a tough read, and those that are triggered by self harm may want to give Little Red a miss as it s depiction is pretty graphic I also struggled with the depiction of what can be deemed as a controlling relationship in Skin that even after being treated abysmally by her ex partner the protagonist still felt that she was the one that needed to atone for the curse she placed upon him, maybe there was a point there, if there was it didn t translate well.I ve also tried the website mentioned repeatedly in Charlie Jane Anders s Fairy Werewolf Vs Vampire Zombie and i m kind of gutted there isn t a comedy page set up I m not going to call out the stories that weren t for me, the writing and ideas are sound in their execution, and for the most part I found lots to enjoy in many of the tales Editing this type of collection must be much like a band preparing an album playlist, keeping the rhythm and pulse steady in order to keep people listening to the end, and for the most part this was achieved The diversity across the stories must have made this quite tough to put together so on that basis a good job was done.Because there were so many stand out stories I feel that it s fair to give this collection 4 Anthology books can be a gamble The very nature of compiling a book with a dozen or different authors, with varying styles and takes on a certain subject means that there could very easily be some parts of a book, perhaps even a majority, that won t quite be to your taste Luckily, readers seemed to have dodged this curse see what I did there with Cursed An Anthology of Dark Fairy Tales.The brilliant duo of Marie O Regan and Paul Kane have once again produced a collection of short stories and poems that not just manage to entertain, but make some bold choices As the name of the book suggests, there are some stories in this collection that have their roots in the world of fairy tales, and are intriguing reinterpretations of classic stories, whilst some others do something completely different and bring the magic and horror of curses into the modern world As Red As Blood, As White As Snow by Christina Henry is the first story in the anthology, and draws upon the tale of Snow White as inspiration If you re at all familiar with Henry s work you ll know that she has a history of taking stories that you know and twisting them into new and interesting tales, such as Red Queen, Alice, and Lost Boys, and this story is no exception It completely flips two of the central characters, making Prince Charming into a truly frightening villain, whilst the character of the wicked stepmother is actually a caring figure out to help the heroine Haza and Ghani by Lilith Saintcrow takes the well known Hansel and Gretel and gives it an Indian twist, having the twins run away from home instead of being abandoned, and finding refuge a temple to the Flayed God rather than a witch s home Despite these differences the story manages to stay true to the themes of the original whilst giving readers something new Similarly, Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden uses the character of Wendy Darling from Peter Pan as the basis for what proves to be an incredibly dark and haunting story that also seems to draw upon imagery from the legend of la llorona.It s not just re imagined fairy tales on offer here, however, as some of the stories in the collection are completely original and set in recognisable, modern worlds Hated by Christopher Fowler takes a very modern look at what a curse could be in the modern world, and how it could affect someone and change their life It s probably one of the most subtle stories in the book, and doesn t push magic or mysticism in your face It shows how one tiny thing could go on to alter your life in huge ways Henry and the Snakewood Box by M.R, Carey takes a somewhat lighthearted approach to the idea of curses, and mixes in some interesting notions about the inner workings of the universe and how time can change Faith and Fred , on the other hand, is a much haunting story, and would fit right at home in an anthology about ghosts and hauntings, packing in some seriously creepy moments.These aren t the only stories in Cursed An Anthology of Dark Fairy Tales by a long shot, and there are some others that I haven t even mentioned that stand out too The book is packed with great tales, and some amazing authors Whatever style that you enjoy, or writers that you like, is sure to be met here The book has something for everyone, and continues the tradition of Titan producing some of the best anthology books around.