Monday, April 21, 2008

Book Review: Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite sized book reviews.

Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears has just been re-released by Prime Books but the copy I'm reading is the original Avon Books version. Again, the duo of Datlow and Windling use their talents to create an anthology of adult fairy tales. Suffice to say, if you enjoyed their other fairy tale anthologies, you'll also probably enjoy this. Perhaps one thing I noticed (or perhaps my memory is simply fading) is that this book seems to contain more adult themes than the norm. Tragedy and horror seems to be more common although it also has its fair share of fun and playful stories. I quite enjoyed many of the stories and poems in this collection but having said that, here's my top three: Gary Kilworth's "Masterpiece" is one of the more memorable pieces and is a good example of how a fairy tale is appropriated for modern sensibilities. The setting is quite urban yet it has a distinct fairy tale element to it. What impressed me with this variation of Rumplestiltskin is the way Kilworth injects subtle horror into the story. Another dark tale is "The Real Princess" by Susan Palwick which expands on the Princess and the Pea concept. While readers are more prepared for the horror evident in this piece, it nonetheless doesn't hold back as it covers ideas both cruel and taboo that is developed right from the start. "The Fox Wife" by Ellen Steiber is the longest story in this anthology yet her language and character keeps the reader going. Revolving around a more oriental motif, Steiber executes a well-crafted story that features complex characters and does more than a hand wave to resolve the various dilemmas. There are several other interesting stories in this collection including Anne Bishop's first professional sale and an easygoing Roberta Lannes story. Also, there's the usual recommend reading list at the end of the book. Again, this is another great anthology from Datlow and Windling and if you want your fairy tales delving more into dark and taboo topics, Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears is for you.

Rating: 3.5/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've actually read this book and also the Snow White, Blood Red back in 2002. Found it in the bargain bin in NBS. I find it quite a steal actually coz I loved how they've rewritten our most-beloved fairy tales. I also love the story about sleeping beauty, wherein all of the people in the castle were asleep and she was the wide awake and when the price got to her, she was really old na...