Title: Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales
Editors: Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt
Publisher/Publication Date: Little, Brown and Company; pub. date Oct. 22, 2013
I absolutely love short story anthologies. I lead a fairly hectic and busy life and I have a tendency to get sucked into books. This means I often stay up all night to read just one more page. And then one more. Then just one more. Until it’s 3 AM and I have to be up in 3 hours. It’s not pretty. So short story anthologies are my preferred before bed reading because I can finish a story and almost always pry myself away at a decent hour since I’ve reached the end of something. So between that, the absolutely gorgeous cover, and the amazing author line up, I was sold on Rags & Bones before I even cracked the first page. I was not disappointed.
Marr and Pratt have put together a collection of re-tellings of some great classic tales. When one hears classic tales, fairy tales are probably what first spring to mind. And there are a plethora of fairy tale re-tellings out in the world. These timeless tales are a little bit less of the traditional classic, but still classic in their own right. With re-tellings of tales like Chopin’s The Awakening and Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, the anthology has a slightly more off-beat feel to it than the more traditional re-telling anthologies.
As with all anthologies, I tend to have mixed reviews about the stories. Some I love, some are just okay, others don’t really appeal. It happens with every anthology I’ve ever read. All the stories in the book were extremely well-written and there’s a little something for everyone, ranging from the magic and mystical to the chilling to the more sci-fiish. Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle, Marr’s Awakened, and Armstrong’s New Chicago were probably my three favorite tales. Marr’s especially since I love both Chopin’s novel as well as the Selkie myth. Gaiman’s tale has a nice kick-ass heroine who happens to be my favorite princess. Armstrong’s re-telling of The Monkey’s Paw also had a nice nod to The Lady and the Tiger that I particularly enjoyed.
Overall, the book is a great set of tales that is sure to provide something for many different readers. The author line-up is incredibly impressive and the tales are short enough to enjoy a quick read before bed or when you have some down time. The illustrations by Charles Vess add a nice air of magic to the book and remind me of the old school fairy tale books I always read as a kid. So, go read this book. Seriously. Do it.