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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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5620210,933 (3.38)2
Member:alcarinqa
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:Your library, In the blog
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Netgalley

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Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes by Georgia McBride

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One of the better anthologies I've read. My absolute favourite story in this collection is Life in a Shoe by Heidi R. Kling, one of the more faithful stories to it's original nursery rhyme -"There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe".

As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old by Nina Berry ★☆☆☆☆
Based on "Taffy was a Welshman".
I couldn't get past Aderyn's horror movie Too Stupid To Live nature, following a stranger into his car and motel room.

Sing a Song of Six-Pence by Sarwat Chadda ★★★☆☆
Based on "Sing a Song of Sixpence" (Four and Twenty Blackbirds).
A sad story revolving around the misery a king has caused and a deal made between the maid and the last free Blackbird.

Clockwork by Leah Cypress ★★★★☆
Based on "Hickory Dickory Dock".
The most well-rounded story so far, about a princess-turned-mouse, a magic-infused clock and knife, a witch, and a political coup.

Blue by Sayantani DaGupta ★★★☆☆
Based on "Little Boy Blue".
The Children of Ink reminded me of [b:Safe-Keepers|241976|The Safe-Keeper's Secret (Safe-Keepers, #1)|Sharon Shinn|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309210290s/241976.jpg|1391552] and [b:Truth-Tellers|97969|The Truth-Teller's Tale (Safe-Keepers, #2)|Sharon Shinn|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348752563s/97969.jpg|1153787] but they appear to be wraith-like Fates. Although the story is a little amorphous, I still liked it.

Pieces of Eight by Shannon Delany with Max Scialdone ★☆☆☆☆
Based on "Sleep, Baby, Sleep" (The Papa Guards the Sheep).
This one didn't interest me at all despite the mention of a prophecy, a human sacrifice and a journey. The writing style and structure of story didn't help. I'm unsurprised by my lack of enjoyment since I gave up on Delany's Twilight-esque 13 to Life series.

Wee Willie Winkie by Leigh Fallon [unrated]
Based on "Wee Willie Winkie".
I doubt I could give an unbiased opinion of this one so I skipped it due to Fallon's actions earlier this year.

Boys and Girls Come Out to Play by Angie Frazier ★★★★☆
Based on "Girls and Boys Come Out To Play".
Witches in the woods kidnap or call children to their den in the woods, where most are never heard from again. The protagonist finds the summoning in her catatonic sister's hands, knowing the consequences for not attending she goes in her sister's place. There's a dash of forbidden love and an ending that didn't quite satisfy. Reminded me of Sarah Jessica Parker's song calling children from their beds to their deaths in the movie Hocus Pocus.

I Come Bearing Souls by Jessie Harrell ★★★☆☆
Based on "Hey Diddle Diddle".
Egyptian mythology, yes! The protagonist is a reincarnation of Hathor with the duty to welcome the dead to the afterlife, her brother is Anubis and sister, Bast. The teens live and work in a funeral home doing their mythological duty.

The Lion and the Unicorn: Part of the First by Nancy Holder ★★★★☆
Based on "The Lion and the Unicorn".
Part one of the story. Reminiscent of Joan of Arc, our protagonist dresses as a boy and hears what she perceives as the word of God via an angel, telling her to serve King James I who has just been crowned King of England (the Lion) and is all ready King of Scotland (the Unicorn). While she serves him food, she witnesses his war on evil witches plotting to bring him down. He throws them in filthy cells and tortures them into confessing. But all is not as it seems...Although part two isn't included the ending is implicit: the king is a warlock sucking the life/souls out of the witches he kills. The girls vision might mean she one day poisons the king. At least that's my interpretation.

Life in a Shoe by Heidi R. Kling ★★★★★
Based on "There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe".
Brilliant. I practically highlighted the whole story. After the Rule was implemented, the two children one couple has turns into ten with an eleventh on the way. More children than they're able to feed, as the the eldest son says, "We're like crops to them, raised to fight in their never-ending wars." The eldest daughter replies, "You'd think if they wanted decent crops, they'd figure out a way to feed them better." She's the protagonist who reaches the end of her tether. This story has the feel of [b:The Handmaid's Tale|38447|The Handmaid's Tale|Margaret Atwood|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1294702760s/38447.jpg|1119185] about it.

Interlude: Humpty Dumpty, a poem by Georgia McBride ~*not included in the ARC*

Candlelight by Suzanne Lazear ★★★☆☆
Based on "How Many Miles to Babylon?".
Take [b:Stardust|16793|Stardust|Neil Gaiman|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328433738s/16793.jpg|3166179]'s Babylon Candle and two typical naive teens fed up of the usual parental discipline, and you get this story. Travelling to Babylon, a paradise too good to be true, two teen sisters escape their mother. But when they come to miss her and return home, they find that thirty years have passed, and they've been declared dead.

One for Sorrow by Karen Mahoney ★☆☆☆☆ [DNF]
Based on "One for Sorrow".
DNF. Reads like it's from someone new to writing. Very simple, slow and dull. Seemed to be inspired by Poe's [b:The Raven|264158|The Raven|Edgar Allan Poe|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347398489s/264158.jpg|256076] but with a crow instead.

Those Who Whisper by Lisa Mantchev ★★★☆☆
Based on 'When I was a little girl, about seven years old, I hadn't got a petticoat, to cover me from the cold.'
When her mother dies, a girl is forced out of the village and ekes out her living in the woods with the birds. I'm unsure exactly how this one ended: whether the boy and girl went their separate ways or stayed together.

Little Miss Muffet by Georgia McBride ★★★★☆
Based on "Little Miss Muffet".
Were-spiders! That's a new one on me. A satisfying short story.

Sea of Dew (short version) by C. Lee McKenzie ★★★☆☆
Based on "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod".
Damn, that was depressing. I'm reminded of: Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. Surrounded by the salty sea, three boys and one girl are adrift in a small boat after their vessel capsized. Water becomes increasingly scarce and they all either kill themselves or die of thirst.

Tick Tock by Gretchen McNeil ★★★☆☆
Based on "There's a neat little clock, in the schoolroom it stands, and it points to the time with its two little hands."
One word: creepy. Good creepy, not bad creepy. But then children always are, especially identical ones with synchronised identical movements and words from their mouths.

A Pocket Full of Posy by Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg ★★☆☆☆
Based on "Ring a Ring o' Roses".
A teenage boy comes to with blood on his hands and jeans with no memory of what happened, until he finds his girlfriend dead and fears he might be a murderer. Turns out a vampire did it. Meh.

The Well by K.M. Walton ★★☆☆☆
Based on "Jack and Jill.
The Shiver Rash Virus is responsible for killing thousands and finally hits Alaska where Jack and Jill believe their the last living inhabitants of their town and are probably immune. Jack loses his marbles and tries to kill Jill. There is no happy ending.

The Wish by Suzanne Young ★★☆☆☆
Based on Star Light, Star Bright.
Can be summed up as the following: Be careful what you wish for.

A Ribbon of Blue by Michelle Zink ★★★★☆
Based on "Oh Dear! What Can the Matter Be?".
I'm surprised I liked Zink's story since I disliked her writing in [b:Prophecy of the Sisters|5271066|Prophecy of the Sisters (Prophecy of the Sisters, #1)|Michelle Zink|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327870738s/5271066.jpg|5338444]. The female protagonist, Ruby, has cerebral palsy causing her difficulty in walking. Her grandmother whom she lives with is suffering severe emphysema and could die at any moment causing Ruby to worry about what her life will be like after she dies, until she sees a fortune-teller at a carnival who gives her hope, telling her she'll meet a boy working at the carnival who'll bring light, freedom and love. So she visits the carnival every year to the day she finally meets him. A bittersweet ending.

Sea of Dew (extended version) by C. Lee McKenzie ~*not included in the ARC*

The Lion and The Unicorn: Part the Second by Nancy Holder ~*not included in the ARC*

*My thanks to Month9Books and Netgalley for the ebook in return for an honest review.* ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
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 |
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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)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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