When we are children we can believe anything and everything we see carries hidden, if false, meaning. It is the time when fairy tales enchant our imagination with just a little bit of detail, a simple story, a happy ending. We ask our parents "why?" and take their answers for granted. Later, we gain the experience to understand fancy from real, yet we rarely go back on the whys or on the fairy tales, to revisit them with our grand new outlook on life. They have become cemented into our childhood and have become the roots of our personality.

It seems to me that revisiting fairy tales is what Ursula Vernon, under the pen name T Kingfisher, wanted to do in Toad Words and Other Stories. So I enjoyed the dark ironic attention to details like why would a peasant girl wear a red hood, when the pigment is so expensive and unstable, or why would the grandmother choose to live in the forest rather than in the village with her niece. I liked the talking animals, often more wise and kind than the people. But it went from interesting to old really fast. At least the short stories were concise and to the point; if I didn't like one, I would maybe enjoy the next. But then there was the Boar and Apples novella which bored (heh!) the hell out of me.

So bottom line, an interesting concept, but I have not enjoyed the execution.


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