Author: Petra Pavlikova
Publisher: Self Published
First Published: July 6, 2018
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
Heavily inspired by folktales and fairy tales, this short story collection explores the lives of women who find themselves in unfortunate and strange situations. In these five stories, you’ll meet mothers, daughters, friends, lovers, librarians, queens, witches, and other supernatural beings from the tales of old.
I was pretty excited to read this collection after reading the synopsis and all the praise for this book on Goodreads, I’m always on the lookout for indie gems and absolutely love short stories. While this book was certainly a quick read, I don’t feel like I particularly liked any of the stories included, and that’s pretty rare as I’m usually able to find something I like in an anthology.
The primary issue that I had with this book is the way that strength of character for women is portrayed. The book celebrates what to me came off as extreme selfishness, and being ‘wronged’ in some way is used as an excuse for the characters to do terrible things. They are petty, entitled, steal, abandon responsibility, or otherwise cause harm to other people. These are not empowering stories by any stretch of the imagination.
“At that moment I understood: this was what I wanted. To live as I pleased, not as I was supposed to.”
The collection also advertises that it is inspired by folktales. Inspiration is a loose term, however, as it was nothing more than random mythical creatures or characters thrown in as plot devices or background decoration just to add a supernatural element. Placing random characters in without incorporating the themes from the original stories is just lazy writing. This book was a reminder that poor writing can still come in a pretty package, the good grammar and gorgeous illustrations couldn’t save stories that were boring and borderline infuriating.