A collection of remixed and modernised fairytales.

At Midnight, edited by Dahlia Adler, is an anthology of retold fairytales that have been updated to be more relevant to a diverse YA audience. It includes fifteen original and retold stories, some of which are easily recognisable, and some that are a mashup of fairytale elements set in the world as we know it:

A Hansel and Gretel retelling where they stumble into a sinister upscale restaurant with a terrifying chef.

A version of Rumpelstiltskin where the quick-fix magic that is offered is in the form of computer coding and the titular character’s secret name is a cringy pop culture reference.

A Little Matchstick Girl set on the frozen New York streets in front of an opera house.

A Snow White with drag queens and non-binary teens escaping cruel parents who want to hunt their uniqueness from them.

The book also includes a collection of the original tales from Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault, and the Grimm Brothers, listed at the end after the modernised stories. It is fascinating to read the tales as they were when they were first published to a broad audience, contrasted to the retold versions. It is also telling to notice the differences between the two, what authors choose to keep and to omit, and what that says about how the world has changed in only a few hundred years.

These well-known tales are often about children and adolescents in a difficult situation, who must be clever or resourceful to survive, or who have been mistreated and are seeking escape or justice against those who have wronged them. The authors of this collection have taken these stories, which we have heard a hundred times in a hundred ways, and breathed new life into them, bringing them into the modern world and renewing their allegories and lessons to be recognisable to a whole new generation.

This is a fantastic anthology for lovers of short stories, fairytales, grim tales, and dark magic, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read such things.\

This review was first published on ArtsHub.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *