‘Villains. Stories are nothing without them. our heroes can not rise to greatness without them. In the absence of an enemy our heroes are left kicking rocks in the Shire, or take tea and biscuits in a mind-numblingly dull Spare Oom.’
In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.
These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!
What I thought:
It was enjoying reading a range of back stories for villains, some of them are well known fairy-tale bad guys and others are new ones, or at least new to me anyway. Villains have always interested me because of how they often get that way as well from their point of view what happens is logical and there is an explanation (providing they are written well and not just moustache twirling Eeevil). While the saviours refuse to cross a line and one sacrifice is too many, the villains will do whatever it takes to see their goal reached and the end will always justify the means. Also villains are mostly just more fun, who cares about stupid things like morals anyway!
I don’t normally read short stories as I find at times they can be a bit clunky, or too rushed. But I was still up for reading a collection of them about villains and why they are who they are. This book different from any other collection of stories that I have ever read (not that it’s that many) due to the fact that between each story there is a blog post by a well known blogger (although I hadn’t heard of any of them). These posts are all related to the story and all are in different styles, one is an advert for a vaccine you can take to ‘keep the evil at bay’. I really enjoyed these interjections, they were a nice breather separate from the stories but still linked. The only one I really loved was the one I mentioned above, the others were good but weren’t stand out.
Of the thirteen short stories in this book two of them really stood out for me. Ursula and the giant from Jack and the beanstalk. Ursula’s story was a really tender one, although still a bit extreme at times. I really felt for her as well as raging at the people who have wronged her. If they had written it without naming her Ursula I wouldn’t have known/thought that she was going to go bad. Not that it came from nowhere, why she turned was completely logical. But what happened to make her that wake was a wrench to read. She starts as someone who wants to see the good in people to someone who is quite happy to make deals and manipulate others.
The Giantess/Jack and the beanstalk one was really interesting and a get character story. It only ever has two characters – Jack and the Giantess – and it’s about how they get to know each other and are forced to grow into themselves and their responsibilities. I reread this one almost immediately after finishing it so I could pick up on and fully understand all the clues that I had missed. The end seemed to come from nowhere the first time round but after the reread it was quite clear that the seeds were sown quite early on.
I didn’t like all of these stories but that is the nature of these kind of collections, there are always going to some that stand out, others that are ok, and others that you can do without. But just because I didn’t like them doesn’t mean they aren’t written well. My least favourite is the first one (which worried me), however even in that one there are still things to like. The reason the MC goes bad is because he lives in a matriarchal society and he’s not happy about the fact that his younger sister is considered above him.
This book took me a while to read, about a week or so, purely because I needed time between each short story to digest what I had just read and to let each individual story settle. And for the record guys, THIS ISN’T WEIRD! A couple of my friends laughed at me for saying this and don’t seem to understand that even if it’s a short story and only 12 or so pages. I’m still in this world and can’t just jump immediately into another.
Why I read it:
I picked it up because it was about villains. I nearly didn’t buy it because it was all short stories, but I knew and liked a couple of the authors plus I figured that it would be nice to read something slightly different.
I’m glad I read this but it’s probably not something I’ll pick up again. I loved 2/13, enjoyed another 5, found 4 of them ok and another 2 that I actively disliked.
Would I recommend: Yes, but it depends who to. This wouldn’t necessarily be my immediate thought, but if people like the back story part of shows like ‘Once Upon a Time’ then I would suggest that they try this one.
Popsugar: About a villain/anti-hero, book by two authors, problem facing society today.
I don’t normally read anthologies so if you have any to recommend please let me know.
As always your comments mean a lot and tomorrow I am putting up a special post as Abi Silver will be doing a Q&A on my blog as part of her blog tour for the Aladdin Trial (The Aladdin Trial – Abi Silver).
P.S The next review is for Leah on the off beat by Becky Albertalli. sequel/spin off to Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda