Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales ~ anthology (earc) review

Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales
Melissa Marr & Tim Pratt, editors
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
October 22, 2013
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

The best writers of our generation retell the classics.

Literature is filled with sexy, deadly, and downright twisted tales. In this collection, award-winning and bestselling authors reimagine their favorite classic stories, ones that have inspired, awed, and enraged them; ones that have become ingrained in modern culture; and ones that have been too long overlooked. They take these stories and boil them down to their bones, and then reassemble them for a new generation of readers.

Today's most acclaimed authors use their own unique styles to rebuild these twelve timeless stories:
  • Sir Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene - Saladin Ahmed
  • W. W. Jacobs's "The Monkey's Paw" - Kelley Armstrong
  • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla" - Holly Black
  • "Sleeping Beauty" - Neil Gaiman
  • The Brothers Grimm's "Rumpelstiltskin" - Kami Garcia
  • Kate Chopin's The Awakening - Melissa Marr
  • Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King" - Garth Nix
  • Henry James's "The Jolly Corner" - Tim Pratt
  • E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops" - Carrie Ryan
  • Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto - Margaret Stohl
  • William Seabrook's "The Caged White Werewolf of the Saraban" - Gene Wolfe
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birth-Mark" - Rick Yancey
  • And six illustrations by Charles Vess

The short story collection, Rags & Bones was a nice change for me from the anthologies I've previously read. Not only did it feature a couple of authors I was unfamiliar with -- usually even if I haven't read the books by the authors, I know their work -- but it was retelling of known tales, as well.

Some of the stories retold in this collection, like "Sleeping Beauty," "Rumpelstiltskin" are very well known, with others perhaps less so.

Rags and Bones features different types of retellings: sticking fairly close to the original plot while adding in some elements, supernatural or otherwise; sticking to the basic story but adding in some twists and turns to give it new life; something inspired by the original, with the same theme but a an original world; and more.

I was only familiar with about half of the original stories prior to reading this collection, so I can't compare all of the 'new' to the 'old.'  Kate Chopin's The Awakening is, however, a novel I love and Melissa Marr's "Awakened" was one of my favorite two or three stories here.

While this collection is probably not my favorite anthology or short story collection as a whole as there were a few stories that just really didn't work for me, there were some I loved. Rags & Bones surprised me when it came to the stories that stood out for me -- and those that did not. None of the stories (to my knowledge, as I'm not familiar with all of the authors) are part of any already established fictional worlds; Rick Yancey's tale seems like it almost could be, though. And I love that.

One of the great things about this collection is that it makes me want to explore the works of both some present day and some past authors.

It's hard to review short stories and not have spoilers, but even with the few that I didn't like, I recommend this highly. Those that are well done, are very well done and not to miss -- don't pass this one up.

My favorites:
"Awakened" by Melissa Marr
"Millcara" by Holly Black
"The Cold Corner" by Tim Pratt
"When First We Were Gods" by Rick Yancey

Rating: 7/10

Note: the illustrations are not reviewed as they were not the final, complete version in the review copy and I have not been able to view all of the complete versions. The one I have seen in a book preview online is great.

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my earc for review

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