cover image The Midnight Circus

The Midnight Circus

Jane Yolen. Tachyon, $16.95 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-61696-340-8

Nebula Award winner Yolen follows How to Fracture a Fairy Tale with another, slightly more sinister collection of delightfully dark fairy tales. Each of the 16 stories is coupled with a companion poem and fascinating story notes that allow readers to delve into Yolen’s magical worlds. Yolen puts her own spin on the motif of fate weaving at a loom in the “The Weaver of Tomorrow,” an eerie tale about a young girl desperate to know the future, which stands out for its brilliantly deployed circular structure. Among the more chilling is “The Snatchers,” based on the history of bounty hunters conscripting Jewish men into the Russian military. The powerful final story, “Names,” also draws from Jewish history and is narrated by the daughter of a Holocaust survivor. The only entry that feels out of place is “Wilding,” which, with its focus on shape-shifting and murder, has a science fiction feeling and doesn’t quite mesh with the rest of the collection. Despite this blip, Yolen’s many fans will be thrilled to find her largely true to form. This collection is a gift for fairy tale lovers. (Oct.)