Two and Twenty Dark Tales by Georgia McBride and Michelle Zink

December 18, 2012 Reviews 0

  • Date published: 16th October 2011
  • Publisher: Month9Books
  • Format: Paperback, 340 pages
  • ISBN 13: 9780985029418 ISBN 10: 0985029412
  • Categories: YA – Fantasy
  • Goodreads / The Book DepositoryBooktopia / Bookworld
  • Source: provided for review by the publisher

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. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.

An eerie collection of stories adapted from famous Mother Goose Rhymes, Two and Twenty Dark Tales gave me chills and some of the stories will haunt me for some time! It’s amazing how authors have subverted the nature of the rhymes to something even darker than I could have ever imagined, and there are some stories that I wish were longer, or had full length novels accompanying them!

Very short notes on each of the stories follow:

As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old by Nina Berry

A brilliant choice to kick off the anthology, this is one of the stories I really wish was longer. The idea of re-incarnation is always appealing to me, and this particular story has a wonderfully creepy twist that I loved.

Sing a Song of Six-Pence by Sarwat Chadda

Another one of my favourites, with intriguing world building and themed around fallen angels (but nothing like any other fallen angel book I have ever written). Even the bittersweet ending was perfect.

Clockwork by Leah Cypress

An intriguing story about a witch, a curse and a princess, well realised and told effortlessly. The author uses an old device brilliantly, and slowly unfolds the past so we can see what happened.

Blue by Sayantani DasGupta

Another story I would have liked to be a full length novel. The world-building is intriguing and I loved the characters.

Pieces of Eight by Shannon Delany with Max Scialdone

As one of the longer stories in the collection, this is very enjoyable and reads almost like an epic fantasy where the protagonist goes on a quest to bring music back into the world.

Wee Willie Winkie by Leigh Fallon

Another one of my favourites, it really creeped me out!

Boys & Girls Come Out to Play by Angie Frazier

Not as well realised as the other stories, and while I liked the character motivations, something fell flat about it. But a nice witchy story none-the-less.

I Come Bearing Souls by Jessie Harrell

I love Egyptian mythology, and the clever way in which it is used in the story amazed me. I want more, definitely more.

The Lion and the Unicorn: Part the First by Nancy Holder

I liked this one too, but since the second part of the story isn’t in the review copy, it obviously felt unfinished.

Life in a Shoe by Heidi R. Kling

Set in a Dystopian world where families are forced to have as many children as they can, to aid a war effort, with no thought to cost or space, this story will stay with me because of the difficult decisions the eldest children had to make. A scary, scary world, this one.

Candlelight by Suzanne Lazear

This story is for every child who thought their parents were unjust and wanted to run away, and it made me very sad. Even though I liked it, I don’t think I’ll read it again.

One for Sorrow by Karen Mahoney

A personal favourite, this is a story about a girl who befriends a crow, only to find that one of her classmates is her crow. Although predictable, I think it is a sweet, and brave, story.

Those Who Whisper by Lisa Mantchev

Predictable but enjoyable, the thing I liked about the story was the main character, but I didn’t like much else about it. It wasn’t very dark either, so I was a little disappointed.

Little Miss Muffet by Georgia McBride

I have this irrational, debilitating dear of spiders, and this story did nothing, nothing, to help. 5/5 for guts alone.

Sea of Dew by C. Lee McKenzie

I didn’t like this one. It was directionless and sad. Not creepy so much as darkly melancholy.

Tick Tock by Gretchen McNeil

Another story I didn’t like. The MC was really very stupid and should have trusted her instincts.

A Pocket Full of Posy by Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg

I started off liking it, but then it turned into a vampire story.

The Well by K. M Walton

This is about Jack and Jill, two siblings who are somehow immune to the disease that’s killing everything else in the world, and how they deal with it. Deliciously dark.

The Wish by Suzanne Young

I really liked this one!! It’s a little corny, but I still enjoyed it 🙂

A Ribbon of Blue by Michelle Zink

Clever, heart-wrenching and cute, this was the perfect way to end the anthology. The more I read, the clearer the end became, but it was great to watch Ruby fall in love for the first time.

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