Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes

I just want to give everyone a heads up. This is my most recent favorite book of 2019. I usually don’t even like anthologies, but the writing, and the darkness in these stories were so enjoyable that I can’t help but praise it to anyone who will listen. This gets a full 5/5 stars from me.

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Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Ryhmes

Genres: YA, Fairytale Retelling

Edition: Ebook

Source: Free

Pages: 382

Rating: 5/5 Star

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.

“This book is meant for young adults, so the tendency towards the more complex is an attempt to respond to the more complex mind of the young adult person.”

So to start off with, Two and Twenty Tales…is awesome. Even the forward is awesome. The writing finesse exhibited by some of these authors is mindblowing, and ya girl really loves dark retellings of seemingly innocent stories, so this was TOTALLY up my alley.

Some of my favorites in this anthology were:

As Blue as the Sky and Just as Old by Nina Berry
Clockwork by Leah Cypess
Wee Willie Winkie by Leigh Fallon
Come out to Play by Angie Frazier
Candlelight by Suzanna Lazear
Those who Whisper by Lisa Mantchec
Tick Tock by Gretchen McNeil
The Well by K.M. Walton
and The Wish by Suzanne Young

What really made these stand out is that…well…they stood out. Now, don’t get me wrong, each of the stories in this anthology were worth reading, but these were the SUPERSTARS of the book. Not only were they creepy, they were also provocative and were written almost seductively…especially Come Out to Play.

These stories were so good that I didn’t put my phone (which is where I read most of my ebooks) down until I finished. Not even (maybe TMI) when I had to pee! They were just so enticing!

The characters were all so well written that although these are all short stories, I grew attached, and despised, some of them. The plots were well thought out, and none of the stories seemed rushed in any way. Really, this was one hell of a book.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“Bad things cycle round and round. Those who were harmed seek to harm. Those who were blamed seek to blame. If we all choose to do otherwise, maybe someday it will stop.”

“We do not walk, but float, like wisps of breathy yearning escaping a lover’s lips.”

“If words be weapons, what madness might music make?” the Wolf wondered aloud.”


And that’s all, folks. Have you read this book? If you have, what was your opinion? Did you have any favorites? If you haven’t, what is your favorite fairytale retelling? Leave a comment if you’d like.

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