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Once Upon A Curse: 17 Dark Faerie Tales (Once Upon Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
Shadows cannot exist without light, however, and you’ll find enough happily-ever-afters to lift your spirits in this anthology full of adventure, dark powers, and ultimately the enduring power of true love. *Volume 1 in the Once Upon Anthologies Series featuring dozens of faerie tale retellings. Don't forget to grab Once Upon A Kiss (Volume 2) and Once Upon A Quest (Volume 3).
YARROW, STURDY AND BRIGHT by Devon Monk – Sweet music cannot hide a wicked heart…
FAE HORSE by Anthea Sharp – Faerie bargains can grant any desire, but be careful what you wish for.
THE QUEEN OF FROST AND DARKNESS by Christine Pope - Her heart is the only thing colder than a Russian winter….
BONES by Yasmine Galenorn - Sometimes, your most cherished dream can turn out to be a nightmare.
MAGIC AFTER MIDNIGHT by C. Gockel – The Wicked Stepmother is about to meet her match…
DANCE WITH THE DEVIL by Donna Augustine - When the devil makes a deal with a dancer, he gets more than he bargained for.
NO GIFT OF WORDS by Annie Bellet - Never steal from a witch...
THE GRIM BROTHER by Audrey Faye – Not all walks in the wood end well…
BEAST INSIDE BEAUTY by Danielle Monsch - Happily Ever After ain't guaranteed when Once Upon a Time is here.
FAESCORNED by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson - The Morrigan, Celtic goddess of war and strife, must relive a painful memory that reminds her of what she can never have.
DRAWN TO THE BRINK by Tara Maya - Sajiana's job is to hunt down monsters brought alive from paintings. She never expected to meet one so handsome... or to need his help.
THE VARIANCE COURT by Alexia Purdy - Anna, a struggling college student, discovers a mysterious ring that turns her quiet life chaotic when the ring's magic doesn't do what it's told.
THE MORRIGAN by Phaedra Weldon – A young man discovers he has leprechaun blood – and is wanted by dark faerie forces.
ALICE by Julia Crane - A twisted tale of Alice and Wonderland. Facing madness and an ominous prophecy, Alice chooses to follow her heart despite knowing her world is about to change forever.
STILL RED by Sabrina Locke – When the Hunters come, can there be any escape?
THE FINAL STRAW by Jennifer Blackstream - To banish a gold-spinning demon, first you must guess his name...
THE UNICORN HUNTER by Alethea Kontis – Only Snow White knows what really happened in the forest…
- ASIN : B01G35DZAW
- Publisher : Fiddlehead Press (May 23, 2016)
- Publication date : May 23, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 1149 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 416 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #335,744 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #914 in Fantasy Anthologies & Short Stories (Kindle Store)
- #1,008 in Fantasy Anthologies
- #2,152 in Metaphysical Fantasy eBooks
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Top reviews from the United States
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For example, "Beauty Inside Beast" (which is 10 chapters but I think under 30 pages.. the first chapter is one sentence long) sets up a few interesting characters and some mysterious murders and teases.. .what? I'm not sure, because it ended with no resolution to anything, really not even a START on the murders, but it did have an ad for the author's other work.
"The Morrigan" is probably the longest story, but I stopped reading after a few chapters. It's like the author didn't re-read it to check for inconsistencies.. After getting beaten senseless, the main character wakes up, dazed, and looks at the ceiling. He thinks it looks like the ceiling of his uncle's trailer.. hey, it IS the ceiling of his uncle's trailer! And there's his uncle, yep. Then a minute later he notes that he hasn't seen his uncle since he was about 10 years old (but apparently has perfect recall of what the ceiling looks like). Then he remembers a mug his uncle has and what he likes to drink. Then he notes that he "barely remembers" his uncle. And so on. Lots of "I must be going insane.. this magic stuff can't be real!" type of thing, which always drives me nuts if it goes on for more than about 5 seconds of the person's life. And if you're told that a group of men in black hoodies are beating people who fit your description with iron pipes at night, and ten minutes later you get attacked at night by a group of men in black hoodies wielding iron pipes, you should probably figure out PRETTY QUICKLY what's going to happen next.
Anyway, like I said, a mixed bag. Some good short stories, and a lot of what might as well be free Kindle previews of other work.
However, most of the writing is highly amateurish, and even the editing lacks professionalism.
The stories themselves are all "rewrites" or "darkenings" of familiar fairy tales, most of which were far better served by the Brothers Grimm, Hand Christian Andersen, and Andrew Lang or else they are "retellings" of ancient myths--which were also a lot better in their original forms.
However, the most egregious sin is that none of the "stories" in this book are COMPLETE! They're all actually samples, first chapters, or "teasers" for larger works written by each writer. What you're holding is actually one big ADVERTISEMENT that you had to pay for.
If you like the novelists then go ahead and read their books, don't waste your time and money on what is actually only a big sales pitch.
"Drawn to the Brink" (Painted World)
Devon Monk's "Yarrow, Sturdy and Bright" is a treat with the unexpected strength of women determined on a goal based on the Pied Piper. It follows the concept of the original tale but with a grimmer goal on the part of the piper.
Anthea Sharp's "Fae Horse" is a sad tale of sacrifice with a woman denounced as a witch by the fearful and yet she'll struggle to save her love's life.
Christine Pope's "The Queen of Frost and Darkness" is a tale I've heard before of young love stolen, suppressed but where sacrifice can bring him back. A chilly tale.
Yasmine Galenorn's "Bones" is not one of my favorites here. Probably because it has such a grim ending that comes to such a stop.
C. Gockel's "Magic After Midnight" is a modern twist on Cinderella. Even more of a twist was Joshua. It's a boy's name, but Gockel kept referring to him as if he/her were a girl. I have nothing against a transgender choice, but it was confusing. Other than that, this was a crack-up of a story that turned this story's selfish Cinderella over and out, lol.
Donna Augustine's "Dance with the Devil" is the standard tale of selling one's soul to the devil. Throughout the story, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop...or should I say ballet slipper? It's that ending that surprised the heck out of me. Who knew such compassion could exist?
Annie Bellet's "No Gift of Words" is about bullying and the lengths to which this meanness can push a person. Like so much of what happens in our own world, when a person snaps from it, the results are not pretty. Well, in most cases, Afua does become beautiful but the angry witch curses her twice over. It's a hard case, but she does learn.
Audrey Faye's "The Grim Brother" is truly wicked with a brother who fears to speak out and reveal the truth of that day. Even as he watches her destroy life after life. A horror of a good story and quite the twist on Hansel and Gretel!
Danielle Monsch's "Beast Inside Beauty" is a modern tale of a police detective devoted to her work and forced to play politics due to her new reputation as a beauty for a charity calendar.
Jenna Elizabeth Johnson's "Faescorned" is a Morrigan tale and truly grim with a struggle between mother and son as well as a cursed struggle with betrayal, a geis, and power.
Tara Maya's "Drawn to the Brink" is a fascinating tale of drawing your own world, and Maya's title is quite literal as Sajiana's ability to draw, does indeed draw her to the brink, a creature of a picture. It's a chase, a kidnapping, a battle, and a release that will have you sighing. I do wish Maya had been clearer in defining a "brink".
Alexia Purdy's "The Variance Court" is an interesting tale of a Snow White who lost her father and is all alone while on another plane of existence is a college student frustrated with failing her exam. It's a family split by strife although the girls have no idea. It's a cute concept but...ehhh...I wasn't excited.
Phaedra Weldon's "The Morrigan" isn't a twist on a fairy tale so much as a twist on the tale of Tam Lin with Janet Bostwick making an appearance and the Morrigan being the Queen of Faery. It's power she seeks that can only come from Tam's hidden secret.
Julia Crane's "Alice" is a nasty, nasty twist on Alice in Wonderland! In this tale, Alice is a nasty, venomous tyrant who's in love with an unsuitable man. It's really only part of the story with Crane "promising" a continuation in "Down the Rabbit Hole". I hate it when authors do this. I have no idea what the prophecy is about.
Sabrina Locke's "Still Red" is a twist on Little Red Riding Hood from the perspective of a little old lady...Red. Still Red, no matter what that bossy activity director says. This was truly nasty and grim with Red being kidnapped, abused, and "imprisoned". I do wish Locke had included an explanation about the "feral trial attorneys". It certainly left me confused about the time period. I don't know if this was supposed to be metaphor or what??
Jennifer Blackstream's "The Final Straw" twists on Rumpelstiltskin and the bargain he made with the miller's daughter. Blackstream has me truly confused as to what world we're in when she talks about kingdoms, vampires, King Midas, and Midgard.
Alethea Kontis's "The Unicorn Hunter" is definitely topsy-turvy in this twist on Snow White that includes a demon and three unicorns. The twist comes with the happy-go-lucky, tra-la-la princess who is so incredibly clueless about evil. It takes a demon to point it out...
The Cover and Title
The cover is a black and white of snow and hazy trees with a sparkling silver title superimposed on top of the lone blonde woman wearing a red hooded cloak, a long train in front of her. At the top are the authors in white with a red marker separating the names. At the bottom is a bit of information in red informing us of the number of short stories within.
The title twists those fairy tales with a curse, for when it's Once Upon A Curse, who knows where that twist will take you.
Top reviews from other countries
Some shorts ended in surprising ways, while others didn't feel finished. There were a couple which ended so abruptly it felt more like the author had contributed a couple of chapters from her book but hadn't adjusted them to work as a short story, while others only felt partly concluded with the main enemy still undefeated. And then two were so much longer than the others I almost forgot I was reading an anthology.
I recognised most of the originals behind the short stories which I always love, especially when new twists are introduced. I grew up with fairy tales and didn't realise until last year how much I enjoy a good retelling!
My favourites were Yarrow, Sturdy and Bright; Dance with the Devil; No Gift of Words; The Grim Brother; and Still Red. The rest fell flat for me unfortunately.
I'd recommend this if you're curious about anthologies or love dark fairy tale re-tellings. And if you find your new favourite author in this book, you'll be thrilled to find details of other releases at the end of each story.
Definitely made me realise that I'm actually a bit of a sucker for a good romantic tale... especially if there's a hint of dark fantasy involved... Great stuff!
I look forward to reading the other collections in the series.