Fairy Tales for the Modern Reader

A Recap of the Amazon Faraway Collection

Did you like fairy tales as a child? I loved them! I fully bought into the Disney universe of princesses and their knights in shining armor when I was a kid. I remember my parents taking me to see Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast, and I loved every minute. I think I loved these movies so much because I was fascinated with the perfect endings – when everything comes together, the prince kisses the girl, and all is well beyond those final credits.

My love for fairy tales isn’t dead, even though I know that a fairy-tale ending is never going to happen. But, I get a lot of enjoyment from reading retellings so I can relive that euphoric feeling and also discover the twists that a new author will add to a story. My favorite of all, A Court of Thorns and Roses, is a series that starts out as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast but morphs into so much more than that. The series is a gorgeous tribute to love and magic and finding yourself. If you haven’t read it yet, please check it out soon!

But ACOTAR isn’t the series I need to talk about today. I added Amazon’s Faraway Collection to my e-reader on a whim, thinking that the short stories would be quick palate cleansers as I plod my way through my backlist of to-be-read books. But, each of these stories caught me off guard for a variety of reasons and they’re lingering in my mind.

The Cleaners by Ken Liu

The Cleaners is a haunting retelling of The Princess and the Pea, a lesser known fairy tale of a very finnicky princess. In Ken Liu’s story, Gui is a professional cleaner who erases memories from objects. Clara seeks out his services while her sister Beatrice wants to remember. This story was unique and interesting.

The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell

The Prince meets a female troll under a bridge. He brings her Starbucks and falls in love. That’s the gist of Rainbow Rowell’s short story, and while I didn’t love it, I applaud the creativity.

Hazel and Gray by Nic Stone

Hazel and Gray was my favorite story in the Faraway Collection. Nic Stone has crafted a story that stands on its own, full of magic and mystery, while blending in the integral components from the beloved fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. It is a great, quick read that has stuck with me.

The Princess Game by Soman Chainani

What happens when someone starts killing all the It Girls at a prestigious high school and cloaks each murder scene with fairy tale memorabilia? Two cops – one a desk jockey and one a young recruit undercover – must find out in The Princess Game. This was a fun story because of the many fairy tale Easter eggs throughout. With so much murder, it’s not an easy read, but it’s still worth your time.

The Wickeds by Gayle Forman

When three wicked stepmothers make a connection during a spa visit, they decide to take back their power and rebuild their reputations. After all, their stepdaughters – Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel – are really to blame for these mothers’ pain, right? Again, so many Easter eggs in Forman’s story! I loved imagining the other side of the story with this one.

Do you like retellings? The five short stories were each unique and fun to read and good to break up my long reads for the winter.

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