Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes - Lisa Mantchev, Francisco X. Stork, Leah Cypess, C. Lee McKenzie, Sarwat Chadda, Karen Mahoney, Suzanne Young, Heidi R. Kling, Angie Frazier, Shannon Delany, Suzanne Lazear, K.M. Walton, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Jessie Harrell, Gretchen McNeil, Nina Berry, Leigh Fallon, Max One of the better anthologies I've read. My absolute favourite story in this collection is Life in a Shoe by Heidi R. Kling, one of the more faithful stories to it's original nursery rhyme -"There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe".As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old by Nina Berry ★☆☆☆☆Based on "Taffy was a Welshman".I couldn't get past Aderyn's horror movie Too Stupid To Live nature, following a stranger into his car and motel room.Sing a Song of Six-Pence by Sarwat Chadda ★★★☆☆Based on "Sing a Song of Sixpence" (Four and Twenty Blackbirds).A sad story revolving around the misery a king has caused and a deal made between the maid and the last free Blackbird.Clockwork by Leah Cypress ★★★★☆Based on "Hickory Dickory Dock".The most well-rounded story so far, about a princess-turned-mouse, a magic-infused clock and knife, a witch, and a political coup.Blue by Sayantani DaGupta ★★★☆☆Based on "Little Boy Blue".The Children of Ink reminded me of [b:Safe-Keepers|241976|The Safe-Keeper's Secret (Safe-Keepers, #1)|Sharon Shinn||1391552] and [b:Truth-Tellers|97969|The Truth-Teller's Tale (Safe-Keepers, #2)|Sharon Shinn||1153787] but they appear to be wraith-like Fates. Although the story is a little amorphous, I still liked it.Pieces of Eight by Shannon Delany with Max Scialdone ★☆☆☆☆Based on "Sleep, Baby, Sleep" (The Papa Guards the Sheep).This one didn't interest me at all despite the mention of a prophecy, a human sacrifice and a journey. The writing style and structure of story didn't help. I'm unsurprised by my lack of enjoyment since I gave up on Delany's Twilight-esque 13 to Life series.Wee Willie Winkie by Leigh Fallon [unrated]Based on "Wee Willie Winkie".I doubt I could give an unbiased opinion of this one so I skipped it due to Fallon's actions earlier this year. Boys and Girls Come Out to Play by Angie Frazier ★★★★☆Based on "Girls and Boys Come Out To Play".Witches in the woods kidnap or call children to their den in the woods, where most are never heard from again. The protagonist finds the summoning in her catatonic sister's hands, knowing the consequences for not attending she goes in her sister's place. There's a dash of forbidden love and an ending that didn't quite satisfy. Reminded me of Sarah Jessica Parker's song calling children from their beds to their deaths in the movie Hocus Pocus.I Come Bearing Souls by Jessie Harrell ★★★☆☆Based on "Hey Diddle Diddle".Egyptian mythology, yes! The protagonist is a reincarnation of Hathor with the duty to welcome the dead to the afterlife, her brother is Anubis and sister, Bast. The teens live and work in a funeral home doing their mythological duty.The Lion and the Unicorn: Part of the First by Nancy Holder ★★★★☆Based on "The Lion and the Unicorn".Part one of the story. Reminiscent of Joan of Arc, our protagonist dresses as a boy and hears what she perceives as the word of God via an angel, telling her to serve King James I who has just been crowned King of England (the Lion) and is all ready King of Scotland (the Unicorn). While she serves him food, she witnesses his war on evil witches plotting to bring him down. He throws them in filthy cells and tortures them into confessing. But all is not as it seems...Although part two isn't included the ending is implicit: the king is a warlock sucking the life/souls out of the witches he kills. The girls vision might mean she one day poisons the king. At least that's my interpretation.Life in a Shoe by Heidi R. Kling ★★★★★Based on "There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe".Brilliant. I practically highlighted the whole story. After the Rule was implemented, the two children one couple has turns into ten with an eleventh on the way. More children than they're able to feed, as the the eldest son says, "We're like crops to them, raised to fight in their never-ending wars." The eldest daughter replies, "You'd think if they wanted decent crops, they'd figure out a way to feed them better." She's the protagonist who reaches the end of her tether. This story has the feel of [b:The Handmaid's Tale|38447|The Handmaid's Tale|Margaret Atwood||1119185] about it.Interlude: Humpty Dumpty, a poem by Georgia McBride ~*not included in the ARC*Candlelight by Suzanne Lazear ★★★☆☆Based on "How Many Miles to Babylon?".Take [b:Stardust|16793|Stardust|Neil Gaiman||3166179]'s Babylon Candle and two typical naive teens fed up of the usual parental discipline, and you get this story. Travelling to Babylon, a paradise too good to be true, two teen sisters escape their mother. But when they come to miss her and return home, they find that thirty years have passed, and they've been declared dead.One for Sorrow by Karen Mahoney ★☆☆☆☆ [DNF]Based on "One for Sorrow".DNF. Reads like it's from someone new to writing. Very simple, slow and dull. Seemed to be inspired by Poe's [b:The Raven|264158|The Raven|Edgar Allan Poe||256076] but with a crow instead. Those Who Whisper by Lisa Mantchev ★★★☆☆Based on 'When I was a little girl, about seven years old, I hadn't got a petticoat, to cover me from the cold.'When her mother dies, a girl is forced out of the village and ekes out her living in the woods with the birds. I'm unsure exactly how this one ended: whether the boy and girl went their separate ways or stayed together.Little Miss Muffet by Georgia McBride ★★★★☆Based on "Little Miss Muffet".Were-spiders! That's a new one on me. A satisfying short story.Sea of Dew (short version) by C. Lee McKenzie ★★★☆☆Based on "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod".Damn, that was depressing. I'm reminded of: Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. Surrounded by the salty sea, three boys and one girl are adrift in a small boat after their vessel capsized. Water becomes increasingly scarce and they all either kill themselves or die of thirst.Tick Tock by Gretchen McNeil ★★★☆☆Based on "There's a neat little clock, in the schoolroom it stands, and it points to the time with its two little hands."One word: creepy. Good creepy, not bad creepy. But then children always are, especially identical ones with synchronised identical movements and words from their mouths.A Pocket Full of Posy by Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg ★★☆☆☆Based on "Ring a Ring o' Roses".A teenage boy comes to with blood on his hands and jeans with no memory of what happened, until he finds his girlfriend dead and fears he might be a murderer. Turns out a vampire did it. Meh.The Well by K.M. Walton ★★☆☆☆Based on "Jack and Jill.The Shiver Rash Virus is responsible for killing thousands and finally hits Alaska where Jack and Jill believe their the last living inhabitants of their town and are probably immune. Jack loses his marbles and tries to kill Jill. There is no happy ending.The Wish by Suzanne Young ★★☆☆☆Based on Star Light, Star Bright.Can be summed up as the following: Be careful what you wish for.A Ribbon of Blue by Michelle Zink ★★★★☆Based on "Oh Dear! What Can the Matter Be?".I'm surprised I liked Zink's story since I disliked her writing in [b:Prophecy of the Sisters|5271066|Prophecy of the Sisters (Prophecy of the Sisters, #1)|Michelle Zink||5338444]. The female protagonist, Ruby, has cerebral palsy causing her difficulty in walking. Her grandmother whom she lives with is suffering severe emphysema and could die at any moment causing Ruby to worry about what her life will be like after she dies, until she sees a fortune-teller at a carnival who gives her hope, telling her she'll meet a boy working at the carnival who'll bring light, freedom and love. So she visits the carnival every year to the day she finally meets him. A bittersweet ending.Sea of Dew (extended version) by C. Lee McKenzie ~*not included in the ARC*The Lion and The Unicorn: Part the Second by Nancy Holder ~*not included in the ARC**My thanks to Month9Books and Netgalley for the ebook in return for an honest review.*