Wolves and Witches: A Fairy Tale Collection

Rating: 4 of 5

9780615763231Witches have stories too. So do mermaids, millers’ daughters, princes (charming or otherwise), even big bad wolves. They may be a bit darker…Happily-ever-after? Depends on who you ask. In Wolves and Witches, sisters Amanda C. Davis and Megan Engelhardt weave sixteen stories and poems out of familiar fairy tales, letting them show their teeth.”

My favorite of the collection was “Questing for Princesses” by Davis. It did what I like retellings to do: show me the other side of a fairy tale, and either go dark or go really funny. Different POVs, backstory, fractured viewpoints, whatever – I like to explore multiple versions, all the angles. In this story, the other side was a prince who thought it ridiculous to do all that just to snag a bride. That being fight dragons, treat a monster with TLC, search an entire kingdom for an anonymous chick who dropped her shoe, and so on.

The poem “A Shining Spindle Can Still Be Poisoned” by Davis explained why Sleeping Beauty was never a prince, and I might have to agree. 😉

A Mouth to Speak the Coming Home” by Engelhardt was a mash-up of Hansel and Gretel with other folklore, and the one story I wanted more of. I immediately fell into Maryn’s world and wished the story was longer!

The collection felt whole; it read like stories meant to be collected and presented together. I thought it quite clever to include side-by-side retellings of the same original. So yeah, I’d definitely read more by either of these authors.

(And how cool is it that they’re sisters?!)

Read excerpts on the publisher’s website.

(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)