Title: Tales of Arilland
Series: Books of Arilland, #5
Author: Alethea Kontis
Genre: Anthology, Fantasy, Fairytale Retellings
Publisher: Alethea Kontis
Release Date: July 15th, 2015
Source: Received from Prism Book Tours in exchange for a review
In the fairy tale realm of Arilland, stories are told at children’s bedsides–and not the stories you think you know.
Tales of Arilland is a collection of fairy tales, presented in the magical topsy-turvy way that only Alethea Kontis can do. Discover the story of Bluebeard’s first wife (“Blood From Stone”), what really happened to Snow White in those dark woods (“The Unicorn Hunter”), how dangerous the Little Mermaid might have been (“Blood and Water”), and just how far Little Red Riding Hood was willing to go (“Hero Worship”). Included in this collection is “Sunday,” the original novelette that inspired the award-winning novel Enchanted, as well as “The Cursed Prince,” the previously untold history of Prince Rumbold of Arilland…and more.
Woodcutter enthusiasts will rejoice at this opportunity to delve into the secret worlds beyond Kontis’s intricately woven fantasy novels. And if you are not a fan yet, you will be!
After reading Trixter, I was craving more from the magical kingdoms Alethea Kontis is so good at carving out. Tales of Arilland absolutely satisfied that craving. It’s a short collection of fairytale retellings all based in that world, utilizing the same sleight of hand at combining our known folklore and turning it on its head. Because so many of the big fairytales (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rose Red, Cinderella, etc.) are covered in the Woodcutter Sisters books, the ones here are much more subtle. Some aren’t even retold fairytales so much as morality tales (as the original fairytales were) with surprising and charming twists.
Not all of the stories are amazing, but there were far more that impressed me than fell flat. These tales are condensed in such a lovely way, it took me some pondering to realize how many layers they had. Stories about love that kills (but still, it’s valid and true love), personal choice and consequence, how the act of seeing someone change also changes the watcher, and of course, vampire mermaids.
The only major flaw of this book, in fact, is that there isn’t more of it. It could’ve been three times as long and still a very fun read. Plus, the missing Chapter 20 from Dearest is in there, and revisiting Conrad, Friday, and Velius made me want to re-read all three books. AND I’m still pining for the tales of Thursday.