Have I mentioned that I LOVE fairy tale retellings? Especially dark ones. Let’s be honest, original nursery rhymes and fairy tales were dark AF so really, Once Upon A Scream is just returning to its roots with these tales.
A warm welcome back to Reads & Reel’s favourite visiting author and reviewer…Theresa Braun!
Once Upon a Scream
Once upon a Scream is a collection of fantasy and horror stories that are retellings of old legends and fairy tales, with a macabre flair, of course. There are enough gory descriptions, creepiness, and twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. What is wonderful about the group of stories is that sometimes the connection to the original fairy tale is apparent and other times it is more veiled. In fact, there were some stories that referred to myths and lore I was unfamiliar with, which was extremely enjoyable. Another likeable quality about this anthology is that some were set in the old world and some in the modern, making for an interesting mix.
Overall, I think this compilation of stories is worth adding to your reading list, especially if you are into all things weird and unsettling. Some tales are better constructed than others, but I always feel that is the benefit of reading an anthology. You can’t expect to be in love with every story, but, in this case, there are a few horrific gems. “The Black Undeath” had such gruesome descriptions that I marveled at them. For that alone, the opening tale is a fantastic read. “Curse of the Elves” entertained me in another way—it was off the wall and had some humor. Not only was I repulsed, but laughing at the same time. “Lake Tiveden” is a classic plight of a father trying to rescue his daughter, almost Greek mythology style. There were some surprising shifts in the plot, and the descriptions were so vivid and captivating—especially when the monster arrives on the scene. “Wax Shadow” had amazing characterization and a true-to-life feel to it. This was one of the stories I couldn’t put down, since I had to know what was going to happen to the movie star and the dummy twin that he had delivered to his home. Having a replica of yourself in your house is in itself disturbing, but things don’t end there. And, lastly, “Mr. Shingles” is one of the best crafted tales in the collection. A group of boys, reminiscent of a Stephen King story, take to looking under a bridge for a troll. They find one who is willing to help save two of the boys’ dying sister, but for a price. Once they meet his demands, brace yourself for the shocking conclusion.
Invest in adding this book to your electronic or physical book shelf. It will appeal to your twisted imagination, and may make you glad that these were not the tales you were told as a kid when you got tucked in at night.
Giving this one 4 out of 5 stars.
Available on Amazon