Friday, October 12, 2012

Two and Twenty Dark Tales (Ashley's Review pt. 1)

My Pre-Reading

I know this seems like a really long review, and I apologize for that. I tried to review each story briefly, but when there are twenty stories it gets a little long winded. So, I split it into a few different posts. Bear with me on this one!

Overall, I liked how the original nursery rhymes are included before every story. It's nice to have a refresher for rhymes I already know, and to get an idea of what the story will be about for ones I  don't know. The titles of the stories don't always give away what nursery rhyme story is based on, so the inclusion of the rhymes really helps to see some of the correlations that I might otherwise miss.

As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old: I didn't know the original rhyme that this story is based on, but I was intrigued as to how author would approach it after reading it. I really enjoyed how it was done, although it seemed kind of jumpy and kind all over the place at times. Nothing really settles down long enough to get a real grip on this story. I found it hard to get to know the characters and decide who was good and who was evil, but I still liked the way the that the story played out. 3/5

Sing a Song of Six-Pence: I honestly had no idea what to expect when I saw that the story was based on "four and twenty blackbirds." How can you possibly make blackbirds baked in a pie interesting rather than gross? But I really thought that it worked here! The character of the maid was not as developed or relateable as she probably could have been, but the mystery of her was done well. I loved Blackbird, and how his four and twenty siblings were "baked in a pie." Very clever. I would have liked to know if Blackbird was supposed to be more man than beast, or more beast than man. Also, why were his siblings baked in the pie to begin with, and why wasn't he there with them? How did the maid know she would be dealing with him and not another demon? I want to know more about the world and the characters, but the information provided was good for a short story. 3.5/5

Clockwork: I loved this one! I had never thought of the mouse as enchanted human, but I really enjoyed that take on it. Plus the mystery behind who she was, who enchanted her, and why she was enchanted was done well enough that you could figure it out if you really try, but isn't terribly obvious if you don't. The story had good flow, and the incorporation of the clock and time was very interesting. Not too many questions were left unanswered, but I would love to know what happens to the girl after the end. 4/5

Blue: This one is VERY abstract, and a little too artsy for my tastes. I kind of see where author is trying to go, but I felt like I was missing something the whole time. The connections were a little too stretched for me, and I had to read it several times to figure out what was going on. An interesting concept, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. 1/5

Pieces of Eight: I wasn't familiar with this nursery rhyme either, but I still enjoyed how it was dealt with. The world is different, and I think it was built well within the realm of a short story. Not too much attention was given to details such that the story lagged, but enough were given to create a fairly clear picture of the world. I do wish that the conflict had been explained a little better. I liked the wolf/protagonist dynamic, and the last few lines were exactly the kinds of things I feel they would say to each other. I was kind of confused with the ship fiasco, but eventually figured it out after re-reading the scene. 3.5/5

Wee Willie Winkie: This was definitely one of the darkest stories so far, and also the scariest. I liked how the author took such a seemingly innocent nursery rhyme and turned Wee Willie Winkie into such a monster. In the amount of time, I think the world and the characters were developed very nicely. I didn't like that the main character and her parents lied about her age, but I did kind of like that the lie had its consequences. There were a few unanswered questions - did her parents know before they brought her to this town? What does Willie do with the children's spirits? Still, very good. 4.5/5

Boys and Girls Come Out to Play: I love that the story was twisted to be about witches. I do wish the witches had been further explored, and that it had been explained what they do other than call out children to come and play. Also, the world seemed to lack depth. I felt like the world could have been constructed with so much more detail. I didn't really connect with the characters either, and wish we had been given more about Maddox and Rhys. This story had a lot of potential, but never really got there. The ending was very interesting though! 3/5 


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