book-coverReaders of revised fairytale stories are wary of Once Upon a Cursed Time: Dark Fairytale Anthology edited by Rebecca Weeks and Aimee Shaye. To quote the editors, “[It’s] a collection of fourteen dark fairytale stories written by eleven twisted authors.” It is also a retelling of childhood favorites from a very dark perspective.

First, I had issues with the editing of this anthology collection. I noticed spelling errors, misplaced words, and words omitted—all the negligence of the authors and editors. Finally, too many of the stories were narration intrusive. This is when authors fail to let their characters tell the story, but do it themselves. In too many of the stories in this anthology, the tales violate a sin of modern writing—they tell and don’t show.

I made it my goal to read the entire book, which I did with the exception of “Muerte De Los Corazones,” by J.Y. Delgado. This story was so poorly written I gave up on it when I realized it was a tale about Mexican children being eaten. Their parents would tell them this legend to keep them in line. What kind of mother or father would do that to their child?

I did enjoy a few of the stories like “Game of Roses,” by Steve Evans. It’s a retelling of the classic Rumpelstiltskin story, but takes up the tale a generation later when the miller’s daughter is queen and her daughter comes in contact with Rumpelstiltskin’s brother seeking revenge.

I also liked “Let Down Thy Hair” by Genevieve Moultrie, a Rapunzel story that showed originality, had good characterization, and a decent plot. 

If you must, I suggest you buy the Kindle version of Once Upon a Cursed Time rather than the paperback, which will set you back $15.00. That way you can pick the stories you like, ignore the others, and not feel ripped off.

Pop’s Rating:

Three pops

Michael is the author of four published novels—Goodbye Tchaikovsky, The Abduction of Joshua Bloom, and The Koolura Series—The Legend of Koolura and Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback. He is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Examiner writing articles about parenting and education. His blog features YA authors and books.

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