cover image Twice Cursed

Twice Cursed

Edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane. Titan, $16.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-80336-121-5

Dark magic runs rampant through this star-studded sequel to O’Regan and Kane’s Cursed anthology. “The Bell” by Joanne Harris makes a fitting opener, warning readers to be careful of acting without knowing what the consequences will be. Some of these 16 tales are direct spins on familiar stories—among them “Snow, Glass, Apples,” Neil Gaman’s take on “Snow White”—while others are entirely new: one of the more surprising is “A Curse Is a Curse” by Helen Grant, which reveals a shocking truth about the Wall that encloses the heroine’s village. Another standout, “Shoes as Red as Blood” by A.C. Wise, examines the brutal fates that often befall women and girls in fairy tales. The members of the support group in M.R. Carey’s “Mr Thirteen” suffer from physical curses, while the characters of Joe Hill’s “Dark Carousel” are haunted by a cycle of violence. A handful of stories take a lighter approach: the circus provides refuge for the cursed in Angela Slatter’s “The Tissot Family Circus,” while the heroine of “St. Diabolo’s Traveling Music Hall” by A.K. Benedict uses curses to aid abused women. The anthology ends on a strong note with L.L. McKinney’s incredibly unsettling “The Music Box.” Fans of eerie fairy tales and dark fantasy won’t want to miss this. (Apr.)