Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review + Giveaway: Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales (Anthology)

Young Adult, Fantasy, Anthology, Short Stories
Publication.Date  October 22nd 2013
Published By:  Little, Brown Books For Young Readers

Rags & Bones on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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The best writers of our generation retell the classics.

Literature is filled with sexy, deadly, and downright twisted tales. In this collection, award-winning and bestselling authors reimagine their favorite classic stories, ones that have inspired, awed, and enraged them; ones that have become ingrained in modern culture; and ones that have been too long overlooked. They take these stories and boil them down to their bones, and then reassemble them for a new generation of readers.

Today's most acclaimed authors use their own unique styles to rebuild these twelve timeless stories:

Sir Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene - Saladin Ahmed

W. W. Jacobs's "The Monkey's Paw" - Kelley Armstrong

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla" - Holly Black

"Sleeping Beauty" - Neil Gaiman

The Brothers Grimm's "Rumpelstiltskin" - Kami Garcia

Kate Chopin's The Awakening - Melissa Marr

Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King" - Garth Nix

Henry James's "The Jolly Corner" - Tim Pratt

E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops" - Carrie Ryan

Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto - Margaret Stohl

William Seabrook's "The Caged White Werewolf of the Saraban" - Gene Wolfe

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birth-Mark" - Rick Yancey

"There is no honor," gasped the queen, "in fighting an opponent who has no idea that you are even there. No honor in fighting someone who is dreaming of fishing or of gardens or of long-dead lovers."
Mother told me that keeping going when other folks don't is the difference between them that succeed in this world and them that lie down in a ditch and die, but I don't know if I can keep going if you're not with me.
When the Machine stops, there is nothing. The walls cease their vibration, the constant hum finally stills. Tavil mumbles lines from the Book to himself, clinging to the comfort of his eternal adoration of this marvelous Machine. Otherwise the world would be too silent.

     Rags & Bones is an excellent collection of short stories that showcases some of the best writers of our generation and their ability to take something old and well-known and then flip it inside out, creating something new, flavorful and often times even better than the original sources of inspiration. Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black, Rick Yancey, Garth Nix and Neil Gaiman are just a few of the bestselling authors who contributed to this eclectic anthology. Edited by the utmost talented Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt, Rags & Bones invites the reader to join the authors as they re-visit some of the iconic tales that inspired generations of writers and artists

     There are twelve stories in this collection, and they all range in styles, structures and tones. From fantasy and fairy tales to gothic thrillers, futuristic dystopian visions and disturbing post-apocalyptic worlds, they're all flavorful, imaginative and undeniably compelling. Some are more hopeful and optimistic, others ooze darkness and desperation. Similarly, some are closer to their literary origins, while others depart farther and make bolder statements. Overall, though, all these stories are utterly fascinating and executed with care. They're entertaining, thought-provoking and magical

     Of course, some of them were more to my taste than others, but I can honestly say that there wasn't a story in this anthology that I didn't enjoy. Even if I knew next to nothing about the original tale that inspired it. No need to worry about feeling lost or confused, though, each story in this book is accompanied by an author's note that tells us all we need to know about the inspiration behind it.

     If I were to pick one story that made the biggest impression on me, I'd have to go with Carrie Ryan's That The Machine May Progress Eternally, in which she revisits the bleak post-apocalyptic reality from E. M. Forster's The Machine Stops. E.M. Foster's tale envisions a future in which human kind has abandoned the surface of the Earth and was forced to move underground, where people now live in isolated chambers with "the Machine" taking care of all their needs. The story is sad and disturbing in many ways, but it's also thought-inspiring and profound in its essence. It's a meaningful tale about humanity's crippling addiction to technology and the dangerous consequences that follow. In her tale, Carrie Ryan shows us what happens to a person from the surface who accidentally gets trapped in one of the underground cells. Her story is just as fascinating and eye-opening as it is deeply disturbing and bone-chilling. 

     I highly recommend this anthology. It's the most delicious box of chocolates you'll ever taste, and you'll be delighted with the variety of textures and flavors you'll discover within. 

1 copy of RAGS&BONES (thank you, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
RUNS TILL: October 24th
OPEN TO: 13+, US Street Addresses Only

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