Book Review

Book Review: Red as Blood

Red as Blood: Tales from the Sisters Grimmer
By Tanith Lee

My Edition:
Hardcover, 186 pages
1983, Daw

After a rough start to the year with my first ever Tanith DNF, I was glad to pick up this shorts collection. I knew I was bound to like a few of the stories within and I was right.

If you hadn’t already gathered this from the title, this is a collection of fairy tales from Tanith. Many were familiar spins on classic tales, though there were a couple whose source I didn’t recognize. The table of contents does have the country and time period during which each tale is set.

As I usually do with shorts collections, I’m just going to highlight the standouts:

Red as Blood – the title story; this is a spin on Snow White with a mild Biblical touch. It switches up who the “villain” is too.

Thorns – I’m not sure if I really understood this one, but it was an interesting interpretation of Sleeping Beauty. The end left me a little puzzled, but I liked the atmosphere.

When the Clock Strikes – my notes just say “satanic Cinderella with a vengeance” and I’m just going to leave you with that!

The Princess and her Future – this was a creepy and rather grim take on the Frog Prince tale. It definitely didn’t end the way I expected.

Beauty – after getting partway through this, I realized I’ve read it before. I think it’s in more than one collection, or maybe I’ve actually read this entire collection and forgot everything – either is possible! Anyway, this is a sci-fi spin on Beauty and the Beast about aliens who summon humans to come live with them by sending down a rose. I really loved it.

Also, I’d forgotten that Tanith has illustrated a few of her books and this is one of them! Here’s my favorite:

I would definitely recommend this if you enjoy fairy tale shorts or if you’re a fan of Tanith’s writing. I feel like she really works wonders with a short story – establishing characters and setting in broad, bold strokes that really pull you in, despite the limited length.

ICYMI – Judging A Book By Its Cover: Red as Blood (this features the newer Daw reprint as well as the original mass market paperback – the interior illustrations in the mass market are the same. My hardcover just has updated cover art by Victoria Poyser.)

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