From the author of Vacillian and The Lights of Barbrin, these three novella-length tales explore psychological themes latent in the classic Grimm versions. Rather than presenting two-dimensional "good" heroines pitted against "evil" step-mothers, Grim portrays fully realized characters grappling with shame and self-doubt, suffering at the hands of mothers best thought of as narcissistic in modern terminology. Due to their dark themes and some graphic sexual material, these tales are not for the faint of heart and are unsuitable for children.
This audiobook is a retelling of 3 of the most well-known fairy tales of all time - Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel.
The twist in these versions, however, is that the author applies more human psychology to the situation which makes the stories far more believable. He also focused on parts of the stories which were glossed over in the originals, such as why the villains behaved the way they did.
In Cinderella, the story doesn't stop at the moment she's matched up to her glass slipper - Joseph Burgo imagines the quality of life a marriage would bring if it was based on nothing more than a night of dancing and some snazzy footwear. What kind of man would search the kingdom for a woman based on that one night alone? Listen to this story to find out!
Snow White was another excellent retelling, the story begins with the childhood of the evil queen (her mother) and all the events that led up to Snow White being poisoned. The dwarves are real people in this story, not just quaint little miners with no minds of their own, something which I haven't really read in any other version.
Rapunzel was my favourite of all these stories, possibly because it's not a story I was hugely familiar with beyond watching Disney's Tangled, when it came out. This story was particularly dark and covered themes like addiction, self-loathing and general ass hattery.
Stuart Packer didn't rock my world as a narrator, though the production quality was excellent and his accent spot on for these stories - as I was already familiar with the fundamentals of these stories it was quite easy to let my mind wander, I think it would have taken a bit more charisma to keep my head well and truly in the game.
I'm very much into fairy tale retellings and this one was pretty damn good, the only part of the psychological aspects I found a little bit odd was the sexual behaviour being shoehorned into the story - I'm not prudish when it comes to sexual content in books (immature, yes. Prudish, no.) but this seemed a little bit forced into the story to make sure it was in there alongside all the other additions.
If you're interested in fairytales with a twist, give this book a go! Be warned, though, this isn't 'dark' in the sense of 'horror' but more in the sense of 'Cinderella likes to self-harm, so trigger warnings ahoy!
Audiobook was provided for review by the author.
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