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At Midnight, Edited by Dahlia Adler - Review

Sunday, January 29, 2023

I saw people talking about this book on Twitter - in fact it might have been Jo from Once Upon A Bookcase who first alerted me to its existence. I had followed Jo on Twitter for years and we were friendly, and I loved her book recs which always included the newest and best LGBTQIA+ books that were coming out. I can't tell you how many books I bought because Jo recommended them! So I'm sure you'll understand why I was really upset to hear that she died just before Christmas. She had a bad cold and was tweeting about it, and then apparently it turned to pneumonia and she died from that. It's terrible and shocking! Book Twitter will be a much poorer place without her. I know that Dahlia was shocked by her death too and was tweeting about her. So this review is for Jo <3

So, this is a short story anthology of retellings of fairy tales. I love retold fairy tales - one of my favourite  books of all time is The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. As with all anthologies, I really enjoyed some stories and found others fell flat. I will say that each story here mentions the story it is based on right at the beginning, which I found really good as it helped me to know what to expect. Also, all the original stories are at the back of the book, which is helpful if you're not familiar with them. I didn't read these as I am quite familiar with stuff, but if you're interested it would help. There's the usual suspects - Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, as well as Charles Perrault and E T A Hoffman.

So the stories I really liked included "Sugarplum"  byAnna-Marie McLemore,
"In the Forests of the Night" by Gita Trelease which reimagined "Fitcher's Bird" in colonial India, "Say My Name" by Dahlia Adler which was a very modern interpretation of Rumpelstiltskin, and was absolutely brilliant, "Mother's Mirror" by H E Edgmon which was about a trans boy coming out from under his mother's thumb (this was probably my favourite in the entire book) and "Just A Little Bit" by Roselle Lim which reimagined Hansel and Gretel. I liked others too, don't get me wrong. This is a powerful and positive book, featuring queer kids, kids of colour, kids of all religions, and so on. The editing is brilliant, the stories well chosen with such a range of stories. I am recommending this if you like fairy tales! 

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