Sunday, February 4, 2018

A Feast of Sorrows by Angela Slatter

28536276A Feast of Sorrows by Angela Slatter

3.75 stars

This is a short story collection that is dark, gritty, and slightly unsettling at times. Slatter tackles many simple and famous stories and puts her own spin on them. It was incredibly fun and entertaining to read new tales that have connection to the past. I do enjoy a good retelling and Slatter is capable of creating new worlds and building upon old ones and expanding on them. This makes her a strong short story writer and since finishing this collection in 2016, I believe she is one of the stronger modern short story writers I’ve come across. In fact, I still think about this collection and it’s February 2018. I think that says something about these small and simple tales. They stuck with me in a way that some novels struggle to do.

Whimsical Writing Scale: 4.25

Sourdough4 stars This story follows a woman who kneads bread dough and falls madly in love with a witch’s soon-to-be husband. I loved the twist Slatter took and I was immediately impressed with her writing style. It’s a strong starting story, but it isn’t an absolute favorite.

Dresses, Three4.25 stars This story is absolutely immersive. The descriptions of the dresses are amazing- peacock feathers, butterfly wings, and words. I loved the ending and it definitely won me over.
“I live, now, in one room. The rest of the huge house is quiet around me; nothing runs along its artery- like corridors. No life.”

Bluebeards Daughter5 stars A stepmother plots to get rid of all of the daughters through fairy tales one-by-one. This is one of my favorite short stories EVER! I think about this one often and how the rug was completely pulled out from under me. I don’t want to say too much about this one, but if you read only one short story out of this collection, make it this one!
“We’re all bad witches at some point.”

The Jacaranda Wife4.5 stars This story follows a woman born from a jacaranda tree. It greatly reminded me of The Brides of Rollrock Islands and the selkie myth. I loved it and thought it was stunningly beautiful.

Light as Mist, Heavy as Hope3.25 stars An interesting take on Rumpelstiltskin! The problem is that I’ve never been a fan of this story and it has its moments to set itself a part from the tale, but it’s not a favorite.

The Coffin Maker’s Daughter3.5 stars (I originally gave this 2 stars, but no longer agree with that rating) I changed my rating because this is a story that has stayed with me. I thought the writing wasn’t as lyrical as the previous stories and found it to be disjointed. However, the plot and overall theme of this story has stuck with me and I’m glad that my opinion has changed on it. Plus, this story Is about a lesbian coffin maker who has supernatural powers. What more you could want?

By the Weeping Gate3 stars Prostitutes and young girls are being murdered by a man obsessed with immortality. Voldemort is that you? Mediocre plot and meh feelings towards this one.

St. Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls3 stars Interesting tale about an assassin academy and the man trapped to the earth who is tied the schoolgrounds. There’s a reoccurring character in this one and that was super fun, but I think this is one of my least favorites of the collection because it’s choppy and far too long.

By My Voice I Shall Be Known4 stars A young woman loses her tongue after a horrible attack. This is a story of revenge – a lover’s revenge. It sounds cliché, but this story was wild. Slatter has a way of making cliché stories slowly progress away from the direction you are expecting them to go.

Sister, Sister4.75 stars A former queen now finds herself living as a whore after her sister steals the palace. One, Theodora is a badass. Two, this story has trolls and changelings. How awesome is that?!?!!

The Badger Bride3.25 stars A copier of books is given a dangerous book and finds a badger. This book could destroy her, but the badger could save her. Cheesy, but it’s a cute story and I really did enjoy the ending.

The Tallow Wife2.75 stars Incredibly long story about a woman and her family. Yeah, I have nothing to say about this one. It was underwhelming and it didn’t stick with me at all.

What Shines Brightest Burns Most Fiercely3 stars This is a continuation of The Tallow Wife from the PoV of Theodora’s (from Sister, Sister) grandson. I loved the deep connections between the stories, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, but it was better than The Tallow Wife.

Bearskin3 stars Cordelia’s (The Tallow Wife) son, Torden, is forced to be a hunter and it is a sweet story. I don’t think it was the best way to end the collection, but it was nice. I really want more stories set in the world because I need to know if Cordelia gets her children back and exacts revenge.

Overall, Slatter’s short story collection, A Feast of Sorrows, is a strong set of stories that stand out individually and compliment each other. I recommend this to fans of dark retellings and someone who is looking for something along the lines of Tor Shorts. I’m definitely looking forward to more from Slatter.

Cover Thoughts: I don’t like this cover, but I knew immediately when I saw that it had something to do with fairytales. I also think it may be a little hint to the Bluebeard’s Daughter and the “Have an apple” line.

Thank you, Netgalley and Prime Books, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
What are some of your favorite fairy tales? Are you a fan of retellings? Are you interested in A Feast of Sorrows? Let me know down below in the comments! 

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