Sometimes readers need a break from novels and long series, so what better way than to pick up an anthology of short stories? Fiction-Atlas Press has published a few anthologies covering various genres that will reach out to a wide variety of audiences. For fans of fantasy and fairy tales, A Twist of Fate: A Collection of 11 Twisted Fairy Tales may be that next collection of short stories to read.
Adults who grew up with Brother’s Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Aesop’s Fables, and so many more fairy tales from around the world are in for twisted takes on these childhood fantasies. The keyword for this collection is “twisted”, meaning these stories are more for adults to enjoy, not children, as readers never know what kind of twist the author will put on their story. Some stories really do read like the old classic fairy tales, a few read like a modern-day fantasy, and others take a surprisingly dark and morbid turn. No matter what the twist, readers are in for a treat as they will come across tales they know all too well, tales they may have only heard of, and tales they may not even know.
A fairy tale everyone knows is “The Frog Prince” by Brothers Grimm. In this collection, two authors chose to put their own twists on this particular story in two unique ways. Author Mirren Hogan set her story, “The Dragon Prince,” in more of a fairy tale setting with the frog being replaced by a small dragon. While her story is perhaps one of the shortest in the collection, Hogan makes a change that offers an excellent new moral to the classic tale. Author Rebecca D. Bruner put a modern-day twist on the tale in her story “The Pre-Med and the Frog Prince.” Bruner almost combined two fairy tales into one with her story, placing elements of “Cinderella” within it, as well. Witty, heart-wrenching, and sweet, readers will have no idea what to expect with this take on “The Frog Prince.”
In any classic fairy tale, what are princes without princesses? Three well-known princess stories are tackled in this collection and these three definitely go beyond what any reader would expect of a princess story… definitely no Disney versions here. Author Nanea Knott took on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Princess and the Pea” with her version, “The Princess Tests.” Another story told in the classic fairy tale setting, readers will be able to tell that Knott just had fun writing her story which, in turn, paints a very entertaining picture in readers’ minds. To not spoil the entertainment, all readers need to know just to get their interest peaked is the fact that the story is told from the perspective of a “character” one would least expect.
Author Kayla Matt takes a rather dark turn on another Brothers Grimm tale with “Rampage,” her twisted version of “Rapunzel.” “Rampage” follows a present-day musician with beautiful hair. However, once some modern day magic takes a hold of it, it develops a mind of its own and not in the best of ways. And the final princess story is Charles Perrault’s “Sleeping Beauty.” Author Damian Connolly most certainly impresses with his twist on this well-known princess in his “The Lost City.” Readers won’t even recognize the story within the first couple of pages, but with his excellent use of description, Connolly gives readers a rather clever fairy tale that goes horribly wrong for its characters.
A few more fairy tales readers will know more than others also include Brothers Grimm “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” Charles Perrault’s “Little Red Riding Hood,” and the nursery rhyme “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater.” Author Sarah Buhrman’s “Free Gift with Purchase” puts a fascinating modern twist on “The Elves and the Shoemaker.” This story offers a cute classic twist where a modern-day human aids a certain creature only read about in fairy tales. “Raulin and Red” is author Aziz Sphinx’s take on “Little Red Riding Hood” and what a modern crazy twist she takes. Sphinx leads readers along, making them believe one thing, then does a complete twist to lead readers down a different clever path. And saving the most morbid for last, author Chandra Trulove Fry’s “Peter, Peter.” From the title alone, readers already know what this tale is based on; however, they may not be prepared for the dark twist Fry puts on her modern day story.
With so many of the aforementioned fairy tales being ones readers will most likely recognize, there are other tales that may not be as well-known. Yet another Brothers Grimm story is added to the list as author A.F. Stewart wrote “The Quest of the Sixth Swan,” her take on “The Six Swans.” This story was fascinating for it was a continuation of what could happen after the original tale and is the only story in the collection to take place in more of a steampunk setting while still holding elements of a fantasy. Author Stephanie Barr wrote “Fiona Fae Silvertongue and the King,” her take on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale.” Taking place in a more fairy tale fantasy setting, this is another story in the collection to briefly hint at a second fairy tale within it, mentioning something along the lines of another Andersen tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Barr’s use of description for her character’s performance as a bard is absolutely beautiful. Then there is author C.L. Cannon’s “East of the Bronx,” a modern day retelling of Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe’s “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” This may be the one story in the collection that sounds the least familiar of the fairy tales; however, once readers begin to read it, it will sound very similar to another well-known French fairy tale. And Cannon is to be commended for doing an amazing job forming an excellent bond between two very likeable characters within just a short story.
Upon completing each short story in this collection, readers will be excited to see what the next tale has in store. While it will always be known what fairy tale readers will be diving into on page one, they will have no idea what will happen. The characters could possibly live happily ever after just like the old tales. The characters could be heading down a good road, then take a very bad turn or vice versa. Or the events of the story could be doomed from the start. It is easy to see these eleven enjoyable new takes on old tales were carefully crafted by these eleven talented authors and this anthology is definitely one to lose oneself in if one simply needs a break from reading novels or series. Perhaps the only downer is the fact that there are only eleven stories in this anthology. With so many fairy tales told all over the world, what other amazing ideas could be formed? What other clever twists could be written? If anything, after reading these fun new tales, readers may just find themselves delving into those old fairy tale books, revisiting childhood for old time’s sake.