The Wrong Girl & Other Warnings is a darkly subversive collection of stories from
the queen of twisted fairy tales, Angela Slatter.

These stories explore themes of innocence and violence, of the seemingly meek not as defenceless as they seem, and of the dangers that befall those who underestimate their opponents.

The collection includes tales inspired by traditional and well-known folklore, such as a modernised version of Angela Carter’s classic Bluebeard tale, and a story with the strong Welsh folklore of trapped women turning into birds. A detective story features a young woman who helps Holmes and Watson with a murder investigation in Victorian London. Slatter retells stories from classical mythology from the point of view of maligned women. An angry Alice also appears, the magic of Wonderland thoroughly worn off. From each chapter to the next, you won’t know what surprises await you, just that it will be delicious.

Slatter consistently subverts her reader’s expectations, usually by portraying her (often young) female characters as violent, merciless, and revenge-driven, fighting back and gladly feasting on those who would subdue them.

At the end of the book, Slatter includes a short explanation of the origin of each story, many of which have appeared in anthologies and literary magazines. This is a very enjoyable, dark and subversive collection of new and re-spun tales that will leave you wondering if there is such a thing as innocence.

This review first appeared in Aurealis magazine, issue #166.

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