Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: Two and Twenty Dark Tales

Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose RhymesAuthor: Multiple
Genre: Anthology, paranormal, fantasy
Pages: 340
Published: October 16th, 2012
Publisher: Month9Books
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young." ~Goodreads

 We all know our Mother Goose.  For centuries kids have been learning these nursery rhymes and most of them seem pretty light and harmless.  But when you really look into them, some of these stories have a dark undercurrent.  Two and Twenty Dark Tales is an anthology of work from some of the best YA authors out there that puts a dark twist on our classic nursery rhymes.  This book is a great collection of creepy stories that is sure to keep you up.  The best part about the anthology, though, is that it is the first in a series of charity anthologies that Month9Books will be putting out.  The proceeds from the first 5,000 sales will be donated to YALITCHAT.ORG, an organization that strives to increase the awareness and impact of YA lit and culture.  As with all anthologies, there were some stories that  chilled me to the bone and others that left me cold. Since these are short stories and I don't want to give any spoilers I will just give you my overall impressions rather than going too in depth with each story. So, without further ado, the stories:

As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old: I wasn't familiar with the original rhyme, which may have colored my opinion on this one.  It just sort of dragged for me.  Although, the story did get interesting after awhile and I did care about the main character.  I still would have liked to have a more  well-known rhyme start the book off.

Sing a Song of Six-Pence:  This one started off pretty creepy, but in the end it just didn't do it for me.  

Clockwork:  Probably one of my favorite stories.  This one felt like it could have been developed into a novel all on its own.  The main character was great and even though this was a bite-sized story, you really felt like you understood the world and characters.  Very cool.

Blue:  This was another one I just couldn't get into.  The idea was different but there wasn't much development.

Pieces of Eight:  I really thought this was going to be one of my favorites since it involves a quest and I love stories like that.  However,   the plot got so complicated so quickly that I got completely lost and couldn't enjoy the story itself. 

Wee Willie Winkie:  This has to be the hands-down scariest story in the book.  The creep-factor for this one was off the charts.  I read this right as I was falling asleep and let's just say - bad call.

Boys and Girls Come Out To Play: This is another story that I would love to see developed into a full novel.  It was definitely creepy but there was also a great backstory that I really wanted to know more about.

I Come Bearing Souls:  The incorporation of Egyptian mythology in this tale is really cool.  I could have gone without the ending though.  

The Lion and the Unicorn:  I don't really feel like I can pass judgement here because the second half is only in the finished version.  But so far, so good.

Life in a Shoe: Probably the most depressing story for me.  This one was sort of dystopian/post-apocalyptic and dealt with fun issues like child abuse and absentee fathers.

Candlelight:  Another creepy one.  This story starts off pretty cool and then gets super depressing.

One for Sorrow:  I just didn't like this story at all.  There wasn't a lot of depth and I got bored very fast.

Those Who Whisper:  Pretty cool concept and the execution was great.  This is another story that I wanted to know more about after it was over.  One of the best.

Little Miss Muffet:  Maybe it's because I hate spiders, but I just did not like this one at all.  Yes, it was creative, but it was a little aimless and the ending...oh my god.  Just gross.

Sea of Dew:  I literally was crying as I read the end of this story.  The best part is, that there is an extended version in the final copy!

Tick Tock:  This is a close second for scariest story in the anthology.  My only criticism is that I want to know more about the backstory of the kids.

A Pocket Full of Posy:  This story got off to a great start but the conclusion seemed rushed and I didn't care for it in the end.

The Well:  Oh god!  Jack and Jill ruined forever, in the best possible way.  This story is supremely screwed up.

The Wish:  This story was a bit predictable but the story was decent and the message was well layed-out.

A Ribbon of Blue:  I think this story was supposed to be sweet and beautiful, but it came off as sort of dull to me.    

Overall, I would say that this anthology is definitely worth the time.  It was really interesting to see how these different authors twisted around my favorite stories.  Pick this one up for a good, freaky time.


  1. I agree with you with most of the stories! Some of them were really good and scary, some were a bit disappointing. Great review :)

  2. Oh wow!!
    havent heard of this, but it sounds very cool!
    I love my nursery rhymes, and am still reading them to my own little ones, so It would be cool to see a dark twist on them!

    Thanks for the review!
    Im going to go find and buy this book now