On the Horizon – how to fracture a fairy tale (Jane Yolen)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I received this short story collection eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  So here be me honest musings . . .

how to fracture a fairy tale (Jane Yolen)

Title: how to fracture a fairy tale

Author: Jane Yolen

Publisher: Tachyon Publications

Publication Date: TODAY!! (paperback/e-book)

ISBN: 978-1616963064

Source: NetGalley

While I have read many of Jane Yolen’s works, most have been her novels.  It has only been recently that I have been reading her short stories.  This collection has 28 varied tales.  In addition, the end of the book has author reflections on how the stories came to be along with some of her poetry.

This collection didn’t resonate with me as much as the emerald circus collection did.  I only loved about half of them.  The others not so much even though I could appreciate the skill of the writing.  I will try to give ye an idea of the bare bones and thoughts on me favourites:

“Snow in Summer” – a Snow White retelling with a fantastic answer to what happens to the evil queen.

“The Moon Ribbon” – this one has a bit of Cinderella (which I know) and a bit of The Princess and the Goblin (which I don’t).  It was weird but I rather liked it.

“One Ox, Two Ox, Three Ox, and the Dragon King” – this was the seventh story in the collection and the first one I really loved.  It tells the story of dragons from a Eastern perspective but with a Western solution.

“Brother Hart” – this tale was apparently based on the Russian/ Grimm story of Little Brother, Little Sister.  I am not familiar with that tale at all but I loved this story.  It deals with transformations and loving sibling relationships.

“Sun/Flight” – a tale based on the Icarus myth.  I didn’t love it but I found it oddly beguiling and interesting.

“Slipping Sideways Through Eternity” – this is a story about a girl who goes back in time to the Holocaust with the help of Elijah.  Powerful and compelling”

“The Foxwife” – this story features a kitsune.  Ever since I read shadow of the fox, I have loved takes on the kitsune Japanese folk tales.  Yolen also recommend foxwife by Kij Johnson.  I will have to check that one out.

“The Faery Flag” – this is based around the Faery Flag legend of Scotland about the McLeods on the Isle of Skye.  I got tired of faery stories a while back.  This was a breath of fresh air.

“One Old Man, with Seals” – this one is based on the Greek shapeshifter, Proteus but set in 20th century America.  It has a lighthouse and the sea.  Awesome!

“Sleeping Ugly” – an absolutely lovely fracturing of Sleeping Beauty.  The ending!

“Green Plague” – a fun mix of frogs and the Pied Piper of Hamelin.  Silly and fun.

“The Unicorn and the Pool” – it has an unicorn!  Short and bittersweet.

“Sule Skerry” – this is a tale of selchies of the Scottish Islands inspired by the song “The Great Selchie of Sule Skerry.”  Lovely.

“Cinder Elephant” – another Cinderella retelling where our protagonist is overweight and a bird watcher.  This was a lovely, wonderful tale.  The poem and description about writing this tale was absolutely fabulous as well.  I think this was me favourite.

“Mama Gone” – a fairy tale about vampires that is both sad and sweet.  Seriously.

I be very grateful to have a chance to read these stories.  While I didn’t love every story, I do have a few new favourites of hers.  Arrrr!

So lastly . . .

Thank you Tachyon Publications!

Goodreads’ website has this to say about the book:

Fantasy legend Jane Yolen presents a wide-ranging offering of fractured fairy tales. Yolen fractures the classics to reveal their crystalline secrets, holding them to the light and presenting them entirely transformed; where a spinner of straw into gold becomes a money-changer and the big bad wolf retires to a nursing home. Rediscover the tales you once knew, rewritten and refined for the world we now live in―or a much better version of it.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Jane Yolen – Author

To buy the collection go to:

how to fracture a fairy tale – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

Previous Log Entries for this Author

a plague of unicorns (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)

a glory of unicorns (On the Horizon – Fantasy)

the transfigured hart (On the Horizon  – Young Adult Fantasy eArc)

the emerald circus (On the Horizon – Literary eArc)

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12 thoughts on “On the Horizon – how to fracture a fairy tale (Jane Yolen)

  1. I also received an ARC for this book, but I was unable to read it before publication. (I’m so bad about that) — I am looking forward to reading these short stories. I also have read many of Yolen’s novels, so I’m interested to compare my experience reading this collection to your experience. I wonder where we will differ! Only time will tell. 😉 Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The publishing house is so nice that they gave me arcs on Edleweiss way after the publication date when I said why I wanted to read them. They are excited whenever their books get reviewed. So no worries about not getting them read before publication. Short story collections take me longer to read then novels because I have to space the stories out. Partly so I can ponder them and partly because if I don’t then they can blur together. I hope ye like these. And I be interested to see where we differ as well. I do wonder what yer take on the Jewish tales will be like since ye be Jewish. I only know Jewish religion things from a religions class, me Jewish friends, and working on the Dybbuk play. And me mind is a sieve so facts fall out a lot. Arrr!
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! I find that reading one story a day is all I can do with collections, oftem. I like to give them space and time to grow into their own place in my mind. I don’t like it when they all blur together — plus, this helps me write a stronger review.

        Ooooh. I didn’t realize there were Jewish tales in this collection. This doesn’t surprise me, as Jane Yolen is a practicing Jew. I am super curious… Is it clear which ones come from Jewish tales? I mean, obviously Slipping Sideways Through Eternity is. Does this come up in Yolen’s reflections at the end?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice review! I’m currently reading this one and only half liking it– like you, some of the stories just aren’t working for me. Then again, I also went into this only knowing about the picture books she has written! So, I am liking it enough to perhaps look up her other novels in the future 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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