Amazon Digital Services (2012)
What an astonishing collection. If you have ever read Robin McKinley’s fairy tale retellings, or any of the Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow anthologies which reboot traditional stories, you might have some idea of what Shattered does to tales you think you know. In three short pieces, Gale truly breaks the established conventions of well-known stories and turns you upside down in your understanding of how these should work, with excellent results.
The three stories contained in Shattered are all fairly short, so I don’t want to go into too much detail. The three pieces are based on the tales of Snow White (such a clever construct!), Beauty and the Beast (a wonderful exploration of what comes after “happy ever after”), and Cinderella (the most cleverly put together idea of the three, for my mind). I would happily have read another dozen by the author, so am counting this book as just a taster of more to come!
It must also be noted that this is perhaps the most polished and professional self-published production I have come across. Not only are the stories themselves of the high quality standard I would expect from any mainstream publisher’s anthology, but the collection is error-free and well designed. There is clear attention to detail here, resulting in an ebook that is as good as any I’ve seen from any level of publisher. It shouldn’t have to be such a point of interest, but amidst so much self-published material that is beyond sub-standard, a superior product deserves comment.
Absorbing, dark and twisted, these three stories take you back to the shadowed elements of the Grimm’s, and nowhere near where you expect to be. Highly recommended.
This review was first published at ASiF! on May 11, 2012.