Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes by Georgia McBride(editor) and Michelle Zink(editor)
My rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars
Genre: YA Fiction, Horror, Retellings
Synopsis: 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.
Note: There are three short stories that are not included in the ARC version of this book
My thoughts: I I loved the idea of this anthology. I love dark retellings so I was very excited to read this anthology which is filled with retellings of the Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Many of the original nursery rhymes were already creepy so I was expecting a lot.
My high expectations of this anthology went down when I started reading the first short story. It was a pretty bad opening to the anthology. Unfortunately, there were many stories that had a lot of potential but were not executed very well. The anthology was filled with stories that had at least one of these faults: “dark and mysterious men”, insta-love, aimlessness, and not much relation to a nursery rhyme. It seemed like the story was written and then had some vague references to a nursery rhyme shoved inside of it. And some of them made about as much sense as this:
I got bored and my mind started drifting off which is obviously not a good sign. Fortunately there are some short stories that were able to snap me to attention.
The good short stories in this anthology were amazing! They had everything I wanted. There was sadness, horror, and creepiness inside the stories and I was a little sad when they were over. These short stories were a breath of fresh air and I loved reading them.
My favorites include:
Sing a Song of Six Pence: a dark and heartbreaking retelling of Four and Twenty Blackbirds
Wee Willie Winkie: very creepy and had me scared to stay up past eight o’ clock
Candlelight:a sad story about two people who don’t appreciate what they have
Sea of Dew: a story about four teenagers lost at sea that made my heart break
The Well: a retelling of Jack and Jill that tells us the sad truth about what really happened.
If you mind digging through all the bad and so-so stories in this anthology to find the gems then I don’t think you should try reading this. But if you can then I say go for it!
*An advanced copy was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley