Genres: Anthology, Short Stories
Themes: Fantasy, Personal Growth, Magic, Empowering Women (to name a few!)
Rating: 4 stars
Little Book of Fairy Tales is an anthology of 20+ short stories, infused with magic that will leave you in awe. The idea behind this anthology was to create a space for under represented authors to share their stories. In the foreward, the editors write:
“We’ve decided that we aren’t prepared to sit and wait for representation to happen, we are going to make it happen ourselves.”
And that’s exactly what Little Book of Fairy Tales does.
Before each story begins, there is an author page which shares with readers who they are, the inspiration behind their story, and how best to get in touch with them. I personally felt like this was a lovely feature because the editors are consciously saying to readers: get to know these authors! Check out their other work and support them, which is such a fantastic thing for new authors who are trying to get their work out into the world. For that reason, this anthology felt very sincere.
There were lots and lots of great stories, all different in style and approach but for the purpose of this review, I’ll talk about just a few of my favourites.
The anthology opened with a story which truly showed how books can be a great source of comfort for whoever might be reading. To Disappear by Caoimhín De Paor was about a girl whose imagination conjures up a giant from one of her storybooks. Standing just outside of her bedroom window, the girl goes off with the giant, leaving behind her parents who can be heard arguing downstairs. Short and sweet with a strong take home message: that stories really do have the power to help us escape to a world other than our own. Reading is truly amazing.
A story that left a big impact on me was Tin Girl by Joma West. This was about a young girl who spent years in a castle guarded by a dragon whose purpose was to fight off any potential suitors that may come to rescue the girl. What I loved, was that this girl and the dragon were very close friends. They had lovely conversations and were more alike than they realised. It was a well thought out plot- I enjoyed the way the story progressed but the ending did leave me feeling unsettled (but not in a negative way). Let’s just say that this book mirrors our own world very well. I’m glad for the main character’s free spirit- she didn’t want to be controlled by a society that just wanted girls who “dreamed of weddings and talked of love.”
His Eyes Were Green by Josie Deacon was another one of my favourites. This one was a little different- the author described it as being a love story to herself, and anyone else going through a heartbreak. I thought the narrative was really powerful- the process of falling in love with someone, breaking up with them, and then learning to heal from the heartbreak was described so well. And whilst the story was only a few pages long, as a reader, I really felt all the emotions that came with that journey. Also, I’m such a fan of people’s growth towards self-love and so of course, this story became an instant favourite of mine.
And last but not least, I’d also like to talk about I’ll Show You a Villain by Amirah Mohiddin. The main character in this book is described as a jinn, who is trying to retrieve the location of an important object, a special book. This short story is on level 100 from beginning to end- there isn’t a dull moment due to the action packed scenes full of adventure. Not to mention the main character herself is full of life- she is strong, witty, unforgiving and totally ruthless. I’ll Show You a Villain had everything going for it, the story was very refreshing, had a really good pace, and of course it is amazing being able read about a powerful and confident female Muslim character who absolutely owns every other character in the story. We need more women of colour being represented as the strong leads that they deserve to be!! And because I love and enjoy Amirah’s writing so much, please read more of her amazing work over on her blog: Paper Wings- the stories untold.
To conclude, Little Book of Fairy Tales was well worth the read. I am so all for providing spaces for minorities to share their work, and diversifying the world of literature. I think it’s absolutely amazing that all of these writers have been given a space to share their work, as well as have their work placed alongside other talented writers. It is such a positive book, thank you to all the authors!