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Black Thorn, White Rose [Paperback]

Ellen Datlow , Terri Windling
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 8.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Jan 2008
The award-winning editors of Snow White, Blood Red return us to distinctly adult realms of myth and the fantastic - with 18 wondrous works that cloak the magical fictions we heard at grandma's knee in mantles of darkness and dread. From Roger Zelansky's delightful tale of Death's disobedient godson to Peter Straub's blood-chilling examination of a gargantuan Cinderella and her terrible twisted "art," here are stories strange and miraculous - remarkable modern storytelling that remold our most cherished childhood fables into things sexier, more sinister... and more appealing to grown-up tastes and sensibilities.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wildside Press (1 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809557754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809557752
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 449,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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BLACK THORN, WHITE ROSE was a finalist for the 1995 World Fantasy Award. For more information on this and other "adult fairy tale" collections, please visit the Endicott Studio web site. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time fairy tales were for adults 18 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Many people don't realize that the fairy tales we grew up on were not always stories aimed at children. As is discussed in the forward of this book, the original fairy tales were frequently much darker and disturbing than the ones we are familiar with today. Sleeping Beauty, for example, is not brought awake by the chaste kiss of Prince Charming but rather the suckling of the twin babies she has born, having been impregnated by the less-than-charming prince while she slept. It was only during the Victorian period, when realism became the fashion, that these stories were relegated by men to the domain of women and children, being sanitized in the process so as not to upset the more delicate sensibilities.
This anthology, along with its companion volumes, returns the fairy tale to its roots. In doing so it strikes a chord deep within us. The stories contained within are both familiar and strange at the same time. Because of this they are sometimes eerily disturbing, sometimes heart-wrenchingly poignant, always entertaining.
The one drawback of this collection, as with any anthology, is that style and quality vary according to author. The good news is that most of these stories are very well written and if you run across one you don't like, you can always move on to the next.
If you're looking for something enjoyable to read, you could do far worse than this collection. Overall I strongly recommend this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best one I've read 5 Jun 2008
By Rubbah
Format:Paperback
This is my favourite of the series by Ellen Datlow. In other collections of the series, there have always been stories that I skipped but I enjoyed every story in this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent 19 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I required this book for a book club I belong to. It was interesting to read fairy tales brought up to date.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time fairy tales were for adults 18 Mar 1998
By Keith Vaglienti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Many people don't realize that the fairy tales we grew up on were not always stories aimed at children. As is discussed in the forward of this book, the original fairy tales were frequently much darker and disturbing than the ones we are familiar with today. Sleeping Beauty, for example, is not brought awake by the chaste kiss of Prince Charming but rather the suckling of the twin babies she has born, having been impregnated by the less-than-charming prince while she slept. It was only during the Victorian period, when realism became the fashion, that these stories were relegated by men to the domain of women and children, being sanitized in the process so as not to upset the more delicate sensibilities.
This anthology, along with its companion volumes, returns the fairy tale to its roots. In doing so it strikes a chord deep within us. The stories contained within are both familiar and strange at the same time. Because of this they are sometimes eerily disturbing, sometimes heart-wrenchingly poignant, always entertaining.
The one drawback of this collection, as with any anthology, is that style and quality vary according to author. The good news is that most of these stories are very well written and if you run across one you don't like, you can always move on to the next.
If you're looking for something enjoyable to read, you could do far worse than this collection. Overall I strongly recommend this book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of this series I've read yet... 7 Dec 2001
By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
...Now, admittedly, I'm only halfway through the series. I've read _Black Heart, Ivory Bones_ and _Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears_, liked them both for the most part, and yet this volume (second in the series, chronologically) tops them both. There are so many wonderful stories...here are some of the highlights:
"Stronger Than Time", a poignant take on Sleeping Beauty, sad yet hopeful.
"Somnus' Fair Maid", Sleeping Beauty again; this time it's a delightful Regency romp. No supernatural elements, but plenty of magic.
"The Brown Bear of Norway", a touching teen romance between a lonely girl and her mysterious pen pal.
"Tattercoats"--this is what comes _after_ "happily ever after". The Princess has been married to her beloved for ten years, and their marriage has become a dull routine...but she is going to fight for it, with the help of three magical gifts. Sexy, sexy, very sexy, and also made me cry.
"Godson", in which a young man has the Grim Reaper himself as a mentor. They fall out over whether certain people should be spared. Darkly comic; the ending is hilarious.
"The Black Swan"--seems to be a blend of Cinderella, Swan Lake, and Pygmalion. A pretentious serving-man trains an awkward princess in social graces and gives her a makeover; this story is both a heartbreaking tale of shapeshifting, and a barbed commentary on beauty standards of any time.
And the trouble is, I just know I'm going to think of three more stories I loved as soon as I log off the computer. BUY THIS BOOK. All these incredible stories, and cheap! LOL...
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More of the (great) same 18 April 2001
By Fabio Rossi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The good AND bad thing about Datlow's anthologies is that they sort of lack a common theme in the selection of stories. Thus with each book you're bound to find some items which fit your tastes and capture you, and some which you'll find absurdely boring or uninteresting just because of some old grudge against a particular character or theme. Having said this, if you're even remotely interested in "mature audiences" fairytales, you'd better go and get hold of this and the other titles in the series.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More mature and skillful than the first 9 Dec 2006
By Emera - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Having read this shortly after "Snow White, Blood Red," I was pleasantly surprised to note a definite improvement. Though the first collection did boast a number of strong stories, overall, I thought that those in "Black Thorn, White Rose" were more consistently effective, meaningful, and well-written. A key improvement was the avoidance of the previous volume's reliance on sex and gore for shock value, the overall effect of which was to create the impression that the authors were trying too hard. Mature elements alone do not necessarily constitute an "adult" story - the authors here instead work largely with emotional texture and maturity, without losing the simple pleasure of innovation and recreation (or of a good sex scene, as needed!).

Although all the stories that I enjoyed are too numerous to list, a few of my favorites were the following:

- Daniel Quinn's "The Frog King, or Iron Henry." Though confusing at first (I had to read half the story before I could begin to understood it at all), the cumulative effect of its repetition and circular dialogue is deeply tragic. It would be wonderful to read it in complement with Gahan Wilson's "The Frog Prince" from the first collection - both elusive, ambiguous portraits of lost and lonely frog princes.

- M. E. Beckett's "Near-Beauty." Hilarious, quirky, and wistful. A wonderfully bizarre sci-fi Frog Prince (another good counterpoint to the previous story), featuring a talking cane toad.

- Isabel Cole's "The Brown Bear of Norway." A frustrated and lonely young girl finds, loses, and remakes a connection with her enigmatic Norwegian penpal. Not only one of my favorite slightly-obscure fairy tales, but beautifully and eerily told in language that is both personal and mythically poetic.

- Jane Yolen's "Granny Rumple." Definitely packs a punch - an exceedingly sharp Rumpelstiltskin retelling set in a Russian Jewish ghetto, with an edge I haven't seen in many other Yolen stories. It only falters when it unnecessarily pounds in the theme of Jewish victimization.

Of course, this volume still had its down notes - Ann Elizabeth Downer's "Somnus's Fair Maid," which had the enormous detraction of its ineffective and poorly-written (at least for a staunch Austen and Susanna Clarke fan) veneer of Regency language; Midori Snyder's predictable and frothily, forcedly romantic "Tattercoats;" and Howard Waldrop's "The Sawing Boys," which, though sustaining a fantastically funny hick-town resetting of the Bremen Town Musicians, eventually gets lost in its own conceit, rendering its melancholy ending somewhat sudden and awkward.

Overall, though, I much more consistently enjoyed this collection, and hope to continue reading the series; I'll be very interested to see developments in later collections.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Fairy Tales Rewritten 6 Sep 2000
By AllieKat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the fourth anthology of Datlow and Windling's that I have read. If you've read any of the fairy tale anthologies and liked them, then you shouldn't be disappointed with this one. "Stronger Than Time" tells the story of "Sleeping Beauty" from an original perspective. "Godson" is a story about a young man whose "god"-father is Satan. "Sweet Bruising Skin" is an interesting and disturbing take on "The Princess and the Pea." With stories by Peter Straub, Roger Zelazny, Patricia C. Wrede and more, this is an anthology that's definitely worth the read.
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