How to Fracture a Fairy Tale

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale

Fantasy legend Jane Yolen presents a wide-ranging offering of fractured fairy tales. Yolen fractures the classics to reveal their crystalline secrets, holding them to the light and presenting them entirely transformed; where a spinner of straw into gold becomes a money-changer and the big bad wolf retires to a nursing home. Rediscover the tales you once knew, rewritten and...

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Title:How to Fracture a Fairy Tale
Author:Jane Yolen
Rating:
Edition Language:English

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale Reviews

  • Jessica

    Absolutely stunning stories, one of the best collections I've read in years! Jane Yolen knows how to capture your imagination from the first line, and keep it, whether the story is two pages or twenty. I'd read a few of these before, like Sleeping Ugly, and was delighted to have it collected here (I really must get the illustrated edition for my kids!) and there's a shortened version of her wonderful novel Snow in Summer to start it all off. Interesting how well it worked as either a story or a

    Absolutely stunning stories, one of the best collections I've read in years! Jane Yolen knows how to capture your imagination from the first line, and keep it, whether the story is two pages or twenty. I'd read a few of these before, like Sleeping Ugly, and was delighted to have it collected here (I really must get the illustrated edition for my kids!) and there's a shortened version of her wonderful novel Snow in Summer to start it all off. Interesting how well it worked as either a story or a novel! I also really enjoyed the brief notes at the end that told the original of each story and how she "fractured" it. Wonderful all around!

  • Stephanie

    by Jane Yolen is one of those once in a lifetime books you’ll probably love but never fully reread. My anticipation of this book was immense, largely due to the subject matter of this book and the introduction written by the wonderful Marissa Meyer. I admit, I did squee a bit upon seeing her name. Yolen does a fantastic job of reworking the stories from this world’s past, weaving deeply moving and poignant reimaginings of the tales many of us know and love.

    And they

    by Jane Yolen is one of those once in a lifetime books you’ll probably love but never fully reread. My anticipation of this book was immense, largely due to the subject matter of this book and the introduction written by the wonderful Marissa Meyer. I admit, I did squee a bit upon seeing her name. Yolen does a fantastic job of reworking the stories from this world’s past, weaving deeply moving and poignant reimaginings of the tales many of us know and love.

    And they were quite fascinating in a great number of ways. From

    to

    , Yolen’s writing has an adicting quality and manages to touch on some very important topics with some very important morals to be gleaned from them. The thing about

    is that you will likely enjoy a great many of her stories very much. Others, however, you will grow bored of and wish to skim. I think the most difficult piece of reading this book was the fact that I would fall in love with a story, grow increasingly interested, and then it would be over and I was on to the next one, still reeling from what I’d read moments previously. As such, some stories seemed quite subpar when they followed masterpieces like

    .

    Overall, I am rather fond of this collection of stories. Yolen even goes so far as to leave a few paragraphs at the end of her book to give the reader further information regarding where the tales came from, their inspiration, and what brought her to write it. I really enjoyed the experience of learning these bits and pieces, especially since I (shockingly) did not recognize all of the stories which had inspired her work.

    is certainly quite worth reading and I think a great number of people will have a blast of a time with it. I know I did.

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  • Lizzy (Bent Bookworm)

    ~*Check out my blog,

    !*~

    First of all, I'm a complete sucker for fairy tale retellings. All the more when they aren't your typical, prince-rescues-princess-and-they-live-happily-ever-after type stories. I love a good twist and a dark underside to fairy tales (which, if you read a lot of the ORIGINALS...was often the case!). When I saw this book was a collection of short retellings I immediately requested it and was absolutely delighted to receive it just a few days before it came

    ~*Check out my blog,

    !*~

    First of all, I'm a complete sucker for fairy tale retellings. All the more when they aren't your typical, prince-rescues-princess-and-they-live-happily-ever-after type stories. I love a good twist and a dark underside to fairy tales (which, if you read a lot of the ORIGINALS...was often the case!). When I saw this book was a collection of short retellings I immediately requested it and was absolutely delighted to receive it just a few days before it came out! It's now available and totally worth checking out. :) Also, apparently Jane Yolen is something of a MG/YA fantasy scion...and I had never heard of her. Ever. Never read any of her books, didn't have any of them on my TBR.

    How to Fracture a Fairy Tale contains tales from many different countries. Some of them I recognized, some of them I did not. They were all interesting and most of them entertaining! Some of them were funny, like one of the two Cinderella shorts. A couple raised the hairs on the back of my neck (most specifically the very last one in the book, "Wrestling With Angels." My favorite of all the tales though, was "Great-Grandfather Dragon's Tale," which is a cute and funny remake of Saint George and the Dragon.

    A few of the tales are most definitely only suited to a YA or older audience, as they contain heavy implications of sexual assault or rape if they don't state it outright. I was a bit startled by these, to be honest, as they don't really seem to fit in with the overall tone of the book...but then, the collection is very random. The author has included, in the last section of the book, an explanation for why she told each tale the way she did, as well as given a poem for each. It is extremely fascinating, but I think due to the randomness as well as the content of this particular section, a lot of younger readers will lose interest and probably only read the stories - which are the important part, anyway!

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  • Faith Simon

    I really enjoyed this collection of short stories, ranging from lush to outwardly bizarre takes on classic well-known tales. I liked it a lot more than I originally thought that I would. But as with books consisting of short stories, I find it difficult to review the book as a whole, so instead, I'm going to highlight a few of my favourite stories from this collection.

    The Bridge's Complaint.

    I really enjoyed this one, and it was unique because of its central point of view, that which is from an

    I really enjoyed this collection of short stories, ranging from lush to outwardly bizarre takes on classic well-known tales. I liked it a lot more than I originally thought that I would. But as with books consisting of short stories, I find it difficult to review the book as a whole, so instead, I'm going to highlight a few of my favourite stories from this collection.

    The Bridge's Complaint.

    I really enjoyed this one, and it was unique because of its central point of view, that which is from an inanimate object, a bridge. I enjoyed reading about the bridge's tales originally told from a troll.

    Godmother Death.

    I don't know if this is common knowledge, but I absolutely love any sorts of re-tellings and/or personifications related to death, the angel of death and others. And so this story was especially interesting to read, and I quite enjoy tales told from somebody simply recalling a story somebody else told them. In this case, godmother death.

    Happy Dens.

    This was by far my favourite story. An original spin on a nursing home, certainly, this story entails the untold stories of well-known wolves in classic tales like the Three Little Pigs, where of course the wolf is portrayed as the bad guy of the story. This story sets out to paint such wolves in a different light, cleverly suggesting there are two sides to the same coin, and so far a world has only looked upon one side and taken it as absolute fact.

    Brother Hart.

    I just found the very present theme of family in this story very heartwarming, though it has heartbreak as well, but the enchantment in this one is interesting, especially since it's never really explained. But in this case, it makes it more enchanting to have finished reading.

    Slipping Sideways Through Eternity.

    This one was a bit confusing at first, and by the end, you're a bit less confused but still haven't really been explained anything to. However, there's a payoff so it's acceptable. This was really sad, taking place in the Holocaust. You really just need to read it to really understand the emotions that come with it.

    Great Grandfather Dragon's Tale.

    Told in the point of view of an old grandfather dragon to his young dragon grandchildren, this story entails the history of how dragons and humans came upon an agreement that impacted both creatures of this very day. This has a present theme of story-telling, as most of the stories in here do, however, this one is more impactful considering it's centred around dragons.

    The Golden Balls.

    What the hell. I don't know what else I can possibly say about this one.

    The Woman who Loved a Bear.

    I was getting serious 'Brother Bear' vibes with this one, once the bear of the story actually shows up, and the child which the grandfather is telling this story to is very impatient for the bear to come in. This is fantasy but one that clearly mirrors colonialism, it was transfixing from start to finish, and if you didn't see the plot twist from the beginning, the payoff at the end should be just magnificent for you.

  • Annemieke / A Dance with Books

    Concentration Camps, Rape, Body Shaming, Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Incest

    I will admit that I have never read anything by Jane Yolen before. But when this cover with that title, I mean how can you pass up How to Fracture a Fairytale as a title, passed me by I knew I had to give it a shot. This book is a collection of short stories Jane Yolen has read over the many yea

    Concentration Camps, Rape, Body Shaming, Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Incest

    I will admit that I have never read anything by Jane Yolen before. But when this cover with that title, I mean how can you pass up How to Fracture a Fairytale as a title, passed me by I knew I had to give it a shot. This book is a collection of short stories Jane Yolen has read over the many years of her career. She is in her seventies. I had no idea.

    A lot of these stories have been published in other anthologies before because of various prompts and anthology ideas. This book puts all of the explanation per story in the back. I think it would have done my reading a lot of good had each story had their explanation right after. There were some interesting things to read in there and each explanation came with a poem. Some of those had been published before too. Others were written just for this collection. It just felt weird to have all of the explanations in one go, like a big info dump.

    There is a variety of stories in here, all retellings of fairytales or mythologies. Cinderella was however quite a reoccurring one with at least 3 stories based on it. It was fun to see though how each story was twisted a bit. My personal favorite of those three was Cinder Elephant as the main character here was fat. Unfortunately there was also some bodyshaming going on in this story which she does slightly address in her explanation but not enough.

    I think what I liked seeing most was how a bunch of the stories had a Jewish character or Jewish influences. Jane Yolen herself is Jewish and I thought that was great to see. One does not often see Jewish characters in fantasy. With that came however some heavy topics like the concentration camps.

    I had a large fondness for the story Mama Gone. I suppose that cut into my own mom heart. The emotional feelings along with the rising of a vampire. Of having to say goodbye. But there were also funny bits like the wolves in retirement home and a goat nurse.

    Overall I think this is a great collection of short stories and poems to read if you enjoy fairytales. Yolen certainly has her own style and twists she makes. Not every story hit home for me, but what didn’t hit for me will hit for someone else. It is certainly worth the effort. But be aware of some heavy hitting subjects and triggers.

  • ✨Brithanie Faith✨

    How To Fracture A Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen is a collection of classic fairy tales retold with added twists.

    ❇I'm a sucker for retelling's, so of course I requested this because it sounded right up my alley. I loved the writing, and some of the twists I definitely did not see coming.

    ❇Like any short story collection this one had it's ups and downs. Some of the stories in this were brilliant, but I

    How To Fracture A Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen is a collection of classic fairy tales retold with added twists.

    ❇I'm a sucker for retelling's, so of course I requested this because it sounded right up my alley. I loved the writing, and some of the twists I definitely did not see coming.

    ❇Like any short story collection this one had it's ups and downs. Some of the stories in this were brilliant, but I unfortunately didn't love them all.

    ❇I discovered as I was reading this that I have in fact read some of this authors previous work, and I would definitely be interested in reading more from her in the future!

  • Jenna Bookish

    I have mixed feelings about this anthology, making it difficult to give it an overall rating that feels accurate. There were a few stories that I really enjoyed, but a few too many that never sufficiently grabbed my interest. I love fractured fairy tales, and think I was looking for more drastic changes from the original source material in some cases. What's the point of writing a retelling without turning the whole story upside-down and making us think about it in a totally new light?

    One thing

    I have mixed feelings about this anthology, making it difficult to give it an overall rating that feels accurate. There were a few stories that I really enjoyed, but a few too many that never sufficiently grabbed my interest. I love fractured fairy tales, and think I was looking for more drastic changes from the original source material in some cases. What's the point of writing a retelling without turning the whole story upside-down and making us think about it in a totally new light?

    One thing that I loved about this collection was the sheer variety of stories and cultures represented. This anthology includes dragons, princesses, a vampire, and even time travel; you will find stories that feel like they could have been plucked out of a Brothers Grimm book as well as much more modern tales. The Jewish themes seemed to be the most prominent throughout the anthology, but Yolen has reworked tales from Europe, Asia, and more.

    Here is a small sampling of the sources of inspiration for some of Yolen's stories:

    The Bridge's Complaint - Billy Goats Gruff, Norwegian

    One Ox, Two Ox, Three Ox, and the Dragon King - Chinese dragon stories

    Brother Hart - Brothers Grimm story (Little Brother Little Sister)

    Sun/Flight - Icarus, Greek Mythology

    The Foxwife - figure from Japanese folklore

    The Faery Flag - Scottish folklore

    One Old Man, With Seals - Greek mythology

    The Undine - inspired by Little Mermaid and various French stories

    Sister Death - Jewish myth

    The Woman Who Loved a Bear - Native American myth

    The stories vary quite a bit in tone; many of them use somewhat antiquated language, while the occasional tale reads like something a friend is telling you over coffee. These differences helped to break up the anthology and keep it from feeling overly uniform or repetitive. The variety assures that there will be something in this collection for just about everyone. Whether you're looking for something totally re-imagined, something with a classical feel, something whimsical, or something dark, you'll find it somewhere in these pages.

    My thanks to NetGalley and Tachyon Publications for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher.

    You can read all of my reviews at my blog, 

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  • The Captain

    Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this short story collection eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

    While I have read many of Jane Yolen's works, most have been her novels.  It has only been recently that I have been reading her short stories.  This collection has 28 varied tales.  In addition, the end of the book has author reflections on how the stories came to be along with some of her poetry.

    This collection didn't resonate with me as much as

    Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this short story collection eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

    While I have read many of Jane Yolen's works, most have been her novels.  It has only been recently that I have been reading her short stories.  This collection has 28 varied tales.  In addition, the end of the book has author reflections on how the stories came to be along with some of her poetry.

    This collection didn't resonate with me as much as the emerald circus collection did.  I only loved about half of them.  The others not so much even though I could appreciate the skill of the writing.  I will try to give ye an idea of the bare bones and thoughts on me favourites:

    "Snow in Summer" - a Snow White retelling with a fantastic answer to what happens to the evil queen.

    "The Moon Ribbon" - this one has a bit of Cinderella (which I know) and a bit of The Princess and the Goblin (which I don't).  It was weird but I rather liked it.

    "One Ox, Two Ox, Three Ox, and the Dragon King" - this was the seventh story in the collection and the first one I really loved.  It tells the story of dragons from a Eastern perspective but with a Western solution.

    "Brother Hart" - this tale was apparently based on the Russian/ Grimm story of Little Brother, Little Sister.  I am not familiar with that tale at all but I loved this story.  It deals with transformations and loving sibling relationships.

    "Sun/Flight" - a tale based on the Icarus myth.  I didn't love it but I found it oddly beguiling and interesting.

    "Slipping Sideways Through Eternity" - this is a story about a girl who goes back in time to the Holocaust with the help of Elijah.  Powerful and compelling"

    "The Foxwife" - this story features a kitsune.  Ever since I read shadow of the fox, I have loved takes on the kitsune Japanese folk tales.  Yolen also recommend foxwife by Kij Johnson.  I will have to check that one out.

    "The Faery Flag" - this is based around the Faery Flag legend of Scotland about the McLeods on the Isle of Skye.  I got tired of faery stories a while back.  This was a breath of fresh air.

    "One Old Man, with Seals" - this one is based on the Greek shapeshifter, Proteus but set in 20th century America.  It has a lighthouse and the sea.  Awesome!

    "Sleeping Ugly" - an absolutely lovely fracturing of Sleeping Beauty.  The ending!

    "Green Plague" - a fun mix of frogs and the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  Silly and fun.

    "The Unicorn and the Pool" - it has an unicorn!  Short and bittersweet.

    "Sule Skerry" - this is a tale of selchies of the Scottish Islands inspired by the song "The Great Selchie of Sule Skerry."  Lovely.

    "Cinder Elephant" - another Cinderella retelling where our protagonist is overweight and a bird watcher.  This was a lovely, wonderful tale.  The poem and description about writing this tale was absolutely fabulous as well.  I think this was me favourite.

    "Mama Gone" - a fairy tale about vampires that is both sad and sweet.  Seriously.

    I be very grateful to have a chance to read these stories.  While I didn't love every story, I do have a few new favourites of hers.  Arrrr!

    So lastly . . .

    Thank you Tachyon Publications!

    Check out me other reviews at

  • Tahlia

    Blog Post:

    *I was provided with an ARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. All quotes used may be subject to change upon publication.

    This is going to be a very short review as I was deeply disappointed by something in this book, that led me to DNF it, which is a first for a book I’ve been sent for review. I started out really enjoying this, I’d been rating each of the short stories individually and they were either 4, 4.5 or

    Blog Post:

    *I was provided with an ARC of this book through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest opinion. All quotes used may be subject to change upon publication.

    This is going to be a very short review as I was deeply disappointed by something in this book, that led me to DNF it, which is a first for a book I’ve been sent for review. I started out really enjoying this, I’d been rating each of the short stories individually and they were either 4, 4.5 or 5/5 stars. The writing was really haunting and most of the stories had a very creepy atmosphere surrounding them, that I actually liked quite a lot. This book definitely channels the darker undertones that some of the classic fairy tales have and up until a certain point I was utterly compelled and heavily anticipated the next story. However, my love for this book quickly came to an end around 35% in.

    In the story Sun/Flight, a well stationed girl takes the protagonist as a lover and he falls for her quite hard. But one day she stops coming to see him and then he discovers her whispering in the ear of someone else. Now this is where it went horribly wrong for me. This new interest of the young woman is described as having “skin almost as dark as the wings of the bittern, and wild black hair. His nostrils flared like a beast’s.” I don’t think that this line is okay at all, I think that it’s racially insensitive to refer to a male with a darker complexion as being in any way similar to a beast. There are a lot of racial stereotypes that feed into the idea that men of a certain complexion are aggressive, inhuman and ultimately ‘beastly’. This character has no name and is simply referred to as “A new slave”. His sole purpose is to be used to taunt the protagonist. And the ‘slave’ doesn’t appear to be that ‘with it’ either “Perdix placed her hand on his shoulder and turned him to face me. When I flushed with anger and with pain, they both laughed, he taking his cue from her, a scant beat behind.” I don’t want to get into how slaves and POC in general, were/are used in this way, but it was very disappointing to read.

    To make matters worse, the male protagonist then has a dream in which he recalls a voice from his past that awakens him and he creeps around the corridors of the house. And then he ‘apparently’ sees something in the girl’s room “then I heard it truly, the monster from my dream, agonizing over its meal. It screamed and moaned and panted and wept, but the tears that fell from its bullish head were as red as human blood. I saw it, I tell you, in her room crouched over her, devouring my lady, my lost Perdix. My knife was ready, and I fell upon its back, black Minotaur of my devising.” Now I could be wrong, but after the way the slave was described as resembling a beast and he was sharing some sort of intimacy with the girl before, is it far fetched to link this “monster”, this “black Minotaur” and its “bullish head” with the slave, and that the “devouring” could of just been the slave and the girl being intimate. I could of completely misread this all, but that’s how I interpreted it. Either way it made me uncomfortable enough to the point where I couldn’t concentrate or attempt to enjoy the next pages I read. Unsurprisingly, I would not recommend this.

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