A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Unlike more traditional fairytales with messages of abandonment or loss, these tales are suffused more with an air of wonder, and risk. The young women, and in the third story Hatchling that includes both the mother and the daughter at various times, are supported and inspired by the upbringing they have had. The women in their lives have passed on stories of what might happen; but these girls are independent and wise enough to know they must make their own choices.
Positive Role Models
Features strong, wise, and brave females, although they do not all choose to give up love for safety.
Violence & Scariness
Some fairy tale type violence; goblins who steal souls, a demon who trades adult lives for those of babies. In one story, a girl is cursed -- if she speaks she will kill all those who hear; in another a race of demons have the ability to borrow human bodies and enjoy having sex from within them. In that world, children are kept as pets, cats are fed to monsters as bridge tolls, and two human pets are forced to have sex while "overtaken" and conceive a child. These sex acts are not described in any detail and are viewed as depraved by the humans.
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Infrequent or single use of "hell," "damn," "bastard," "ass," and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The only story set in modern times has a teenage girl who smokes cigarettes and drinks wine at a picnic.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, like all fairy tales, these three tales have a dark side. The third and longest story is the darkest and most adult, with a land of demons who can take over human bodies and make them have (barley described) sex. The first two stories involve older teens coming of age and having first romances. There are goblins, curses, demons, and danger throughout but it's not to the point of feeling like a horror novel. Also of note: One of the stories has characters who visit Hell, and a demon who can visit above. The author's Afterward discusses her views of Hell and some of the world religion stories she was inspired by.
Is It Any Good?
Each of these three fantastically imagined tales could stand as the quintessential fairy tale. Each heroine is modern enough to make up her own mind about love, despite inherent dangers. Each is helped by a distinctively wise older woman, and handsome, honorable, and good men are also cast. Delightfully creepy goblins and monsters and not a few demons also come to life: Like all fairy tales, there is some danger mixed in with the beauty.
The lush language is as delicious as a peach, with phrases so beautiful you could almost believe that Laini Taylor sold her soul for the magic ability to craft them. A beautiful book design with rich endpapers and several pages of black, white, and red illustrations for each story depict the worlds within. Readers of fairy tales and fantasy both will love this book.
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Our Editors Recommend
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