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Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings…
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Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes (edition 2012)

by Georgia McBride, Michelle Zink (Editor), Francisco X. Stork (Foreword)

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Title:Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes
Authors:Georgia McBride
Other authors:Michelle Zink (Editor), Francisco X. Stork (Foreword)
Info:Month9Books, LLC (2012), Paperback, 340 pages
Collections:November 2012
Rating:****
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Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes by Georgia McBride

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I assumed this was going to take the nursery rhymes of Mother Goose and expand them into short story form however these are mainly complete reinterpretations with elements of the original nursery rhyme. It was a little dissapointing if I'm honest. However, once I got over that, there are some good elements to this.

Wee Willie Winkie was without doubt the best story of the collection and it's no coincidence it's one of the few that actually took the rhyme and created a short story from it (as I'd been hoping).

All in all an interesting little collection of stories that, unfortunately, didn't quite deliver what I was hoping.

Full review here ( )
  ElaineRuss | Sep 23, 2013 |
Anthologies are like a sampler, an assortment of boxed chocolates. You never know what are you going to get read but you get an opportunity to taste a lot of new flavors authors. I don’t know why I did not read many anthologies before, but I must admit I am getting addicted. I got a feeling 2013 is going to be my anthology-addiction year. :)

Two and Twenty Dark Tales is an anthology of horror and paranormal stories for young adults inspired by Mother Goose Rhymes. Francisco X. Stork said it all in Foreword:
“Who would want to transform innocent nursery rhymes into dark and scary fairy tales? What kind of perverse minds would twist words meant to put us to sleep into colorful and sometimes fun, but nevertheless scary, nightmares?”
Well, as a matter of fact – a lot of authors. 22 of them to be precise. The stories they wrote are not exact retellings since they sometimes just use motives from rhymes as inspiration or main plot elements. Of course there are a couple of stories that are literal retellings, but most of them are not.
If you are not familiar with Mother Goose Rhymes, don’t worry. Before each story there will be a song that was an inspiration. Since I only knew song about Jack & Jill, this was a great help to me. I loved reading these stories and finding out how writers mind ‘click’, how they make the connections and what they will make from a couple of simple rhymes.

I will not do review of each story separately because that will be too long. And since they are all short, it is very hard commenting without spoilers. So I will try to in general comment what to expect.
This anthology is for young adult audience. What does it mean? It means that main characters are coming of age teens and stories usually center at some crucial event in their life. As usual, most of the stories are told from female point of view except “A Pocket Full of Posy” by Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg which has a male main character.
The title of the book tells you to expect dark retellings, so there will be a lot of stories with gothic/dark fantasy or horror elements (although there is one lonely sci-fi dystopian). As for HEA it will happen in 50% of cases. So if you must have your happy ending, you will be disappointed sometimes.

Reading this anthology was fun and interesting adventure. I was not familiar with any of these authors before, although I recognized a lot of the names, but after tasting what are they able to do, I will be definitely reading more of their work. So if you don’t know what next to read, try this book and you will definitely find a couple of new authors that are worth checking out.

I recommend this book to fans of: ya paranormal, ya horror, ya fantasy, retellings or to those who contemplate reading something from these genres.

Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This text is also posted on Amazon and my blog. ( )
  bookwormdreams | Apr 10, 2013 |
1. As blue as the sky and just as old- I’d like to see more of this one, but the POV shifts made it less interesting to me. I’d almost rather it intercut bits, without it needing to be in chronological order. It has little suspense until the very end, but that may be due to my familiarity with folk tales.

2. Sing a song of six-pence-Interesting world, but the twist ending I saw coming from the moment the woman said what she wanted.

3. Clockwork-Simplistic. Very, very simplistic.

4. Blue- This is where the anthology really caught my attention. I really, really like her style. I’d read more from this author.

5. Pieces of Eight- Interesting concept twist, but slow

6. Wee Willie Winkie- Nice twist on this one.

7. Boys and Girls Come Out to Play-Reminded me of The Near Witch, but simplified. And with a soul crushing ending

8. I come Bearing souls- This would make a great concept for a YA novel, but feels like everything’s glossed over.

9. The Lion and the Unicorn-part 1- without the other half, reserving judgment. But doesn’t make me want to go out and get the full version for the other half.

10. Life in a shoe- Pretty good, gritty, not that fantastical.

11. Candellight- Awesome.

12. One for Sorrow- A bit slow, but very good. Reminded me of something Maggie Stiefvater would write.

13. Those Who Whisper-This one both bored me and interested me at the same time. I like the nod to other nursery rhymes and Disney style archetype, while then turning it on its head.

14. Little Miss Muffet—EW. Seriously. I should have known not to read this one, thinking about the original story, but it started out fairly harmless…. EW.

15. Sea of Dew (Short version)-This version is noted to be shorter than in the full, so I don’t think it’s fair to judge this one. As it is, I don’t really care about what happens to the characters.

16. Tick Tock- Now this one, I liked. Creepy and to the point, reminds me of something from the Twillight Zone. Really shouldn’t read it at night, but this was the first one that actually was scary, to me.

17. A pocket full of Posy- This has novel length potential as well. Even though, yeah, vampires aren’t the newest thing, they should be scary. Vampires don’t glitter, any more than Klingons do.

18. The Well- Postapocalyptic, which I normally like. This time, not quite so much. Maybe because Jill annoyed me from the second line on.

19. The wish-Nice twist on it, NOT what I was expecting at all. But I didn’t feel any sympathy for Lauren. And the end slips into telling, rather than showing, and dampens the shock value. It still works, granted, but could have more power.

20. A ribbon of Blue-I know someone with CP, and a lot of the things she says about the way people treat her is spot on. I liked this story probably most of all, because it has so much hope in it, despite the darker elements.

Overall, there are some hits and some misses, but an entertaining spin into the odd, twisted world that happens when you look through the nursery rhyme lens. This one took me longer than it usually would, because I wanted to give all the stories a fair review.

( )
  Jami_Leigh | Mar 31, 2013 |
I'm afraid I was less than pleased. I wanted to like it. No, I wanted to love it, but so many of the stories fell flat. None of them made me shiver. None of them made me gasp. Very few had any strong connections to the rhyme chosen (okay, the one based on Hickory Dickory Dock did a pretty good job both at being interesting and connecting to its rhyme). Only a handful made me wish for a full-length tale based on the characters presented. In most cases, the authors seemed to think that having someone die qualified the tale as "dark." As someone who has read and reread Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories That Scared Even Me, I beg to differ. Now THAT is a dark anthology.

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT: http://shelversanon.blogspot.com/2013/02/4-in-1-review-techno-thriller-two.html ( )
  Shelver506 | Feb 22, 2013 |
I didn't dislike the book and I didn't love it either. Some of the stories seemed to be missing that key spark that makes me get all tingly inside. I thought-- for the most part-- that the stories were a very interesting interpretation of Mother Goose's nursery rhymes. In fact, I thought some stories were awesome. (i.e. versions of Little Boy Blue and Hickory Dickory Dock)

But, some stories were really lacking in the fundamentals department. They felt like a classroom creative writing assignment that never went anywhere. The stories start great, they are original, and then the pizzazz fades away. In the end, I was left with smoke... and stinky smoke at that.

As with most short stories, there is no room for deep character development. You get a little insight into some of the characters' thoughts and actions, but that's it. It's hard to make connections because the stories average around 10-15 pages. There are no intricate plots, but the stories were entertaining.

If you enjoy short story anthologies, you'll probably enjoy this one. A+ to all of the authors for their creativity. This is the first book of nursery rhyme retellings I have ever seen, and I thought that was worthy of a big hoorah. ( )
  flashlight_reader | Jan 4, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0985029412, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:40 -0400)

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