cover image Cursed: An Anthology of Dark Fairy Tales

Cursed: An Anthology of Dark Fairy Tales

Edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 9

O’Regan and Kane, who previously collaborated as editors on Wonderland, an anthology of stories inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, bring together 18 new and reimagined fairy tales in this spellbinding anthology, bookended by poems from Jane Yolen. Karen Joy Fowler’s “The Black Fairy’s Curse” is a dreamy, disorienting rendition of “Sleeping Beauty”; Neil Gaiman’s lovely, tragic “Troll Bridge” draws from “Three Billy Goats Gruff”; and Angela Slatter’s standout “New Wine” is a truly chilling modernization of “Bluebeard.” While most of these stories transpose fairy tale elements into contemporary England, Lilith Saintcrow conjures a fully realized fantasy world with “Hanza and Ghana.” The anthology’s original stories also draw from folklore, as with the screaming skulls of Maura McHugh’s “Faith and Fred” and the beguiling but dangerous fae folk of Catriona Ward’s “At That Age.” These stories are by turns eerie, grotesque, and delightful, ranging in tone from the broadly humorous fantasy of Charlie Jane Anders’s “Fairy Werewolf vs. Vampire Zombie” to the visceral body horror of James Brogden’s “Skin.” Readers won’t have to be Brothers Grimm fans to appreciate this dark mélange. (Mar.)