Cursed: An Anthology of Dark Fairy Tales
Published March 3rd 2020 by Titan Books
“Proposition. Bargain. Offer. Deal. Chance of a lifetime, et Cetera. Slightly Faustian, but still good. Well, good’s a slippery concept, but compared to most of these arrangements, I’m offering you a golden ticket.”
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 Littlewood.
Here in this book you’ll find unique twists on the fairy tale conceit of the curse, from the more 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
If there’s one thing I love more than Fairy Tales it’s curses and I was so excited to hear that Titan books were publishing an anthology full of dark Fairy Tales and curses! As with my other anthology reviews, I took notes as I read and have a bit to say about each one.
Castle Cursed by Jane Yolen – XXXXX
I wasn’t expecting a poem but it was a perfect start to this cursed anthology.
As Red as Blood as White as Snow by Christina Henry – XXXXX
A Perfectly Christina Henry style tale with a very different version of Snow White.
Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman – XXX
Well Written and with a great twist but didn’t really do it for me personally.
At That Age by Catarina Ward – XXX
Super creepy and weird but interesting concept.
Listen by Jen Williams – XXXXX
A beautiful and well-told tale with a satisfying ending.
Henry and the Snake Wood Box by M.R Carey – XXXXX
An absolute masterpiece. I loved this immensely, my favourite story out of all of them.
Skin by James Brogden – X
Trigger warning: Body horror and self-harm. Reading this was incredibly hard and I had to stop reading the book for a couple of days.
Faith and Fred by Maura McHugh. – XXXXX
Interesting, well written and intriguing but also simple. Great cliffhanger style ending.
The Black Fairy’s Curse by Karren Jay Fowler. – X
Confusing and didn’t make much sense to me.
Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden. – XXXXX
Trigger warning: Mention of infant murder. Absolutely chilling and a turn I didn’t expect it to take! Dark.
Fairy Werewolf vs Vampire Zombie by Charlie Jane Andres. – XXXX
Okay so this was a weird one but I did really like the way it was written and reminds me of all the Mary Janice Davidson books I used to read. Was a bit over the top ridiculous at times.
Look inside by Michael Marshall Smith. – XX
This read a little disjointed and had an unreliable narrator. It felt like it was cut a little too short although I liked the premise. It also creeped me out the most out of all the others so far.
Little red by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple. – XX
Major trigger warning for self-harm and sexual abuse. I almost didn’t finish this one. It’s written well but felt a little disjointed and the subject matter made feel very uncomfortable.
New Wine by Angela Slatter. – XXXXX
I’m not sure how this one fit in with the cursed theme but I really loved it, it was intriguing and kept me guessing the whole time.
Haza and Ghani by Lilith Saintcrow. – X
Didn’t enjoy this one, it’s wasn’t very clear and felt like it missed a lot and was lacking. I ended up skimming over the end.
Hated by Christopher Fowler. – XX
This would have been a much higher rating but there was just something that rubbed me the wrong way, not to mention the unnecessarily repeated mention of race and a racial slur.
The Merrie Dancers by Alison Littlewood. – XXX
A good tale but I found the narrator very unlikeable.
Again by Lebbon. – XXXX
Brilliant story! I definitely could have read more. I wasn’t sure about the ending but overall the whole thing was great.
The Girl from Hell by Margo Lanagan. – X
Did not enjoy, very disjointed. I didn’t find it particularly interesting or making a lot of sense to me.
Castle waking by Jane Yolen. – XXXX
I prefer the first one but this was still good, I loved that the book is opened and closed with linked poems.
There were definitely a few hit and miss stories in this anthology for me, most of the ones I didn’t like were due to personal preference more than the quality of the actual content so there are definitely some here that I think others that would enjoy that weren’t personally for me. It’s definitely worth checking out if you enjoy the darker side of fairy tales and the curses within.