Book Review: Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul

Published September 11th 2018

Author: Nikita Gill

Traditional fairytales are rife with cliches and gender stereotypes: beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take all the glory.

But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.

Complete with beautifully hand-drawn illustrations by Gill herself, Fierce Fairytales is an empowering collection of poems and stories for a new generation.

A sampling of one of the poems and its illustration

Here is another excerpt:

The Evil Queen

Oh dearie me,

Did you come here looking for a damsel in distress?

A queen patiently waiting for a dashing knight to save her from herself?

Did you really think this was going

to end with you playing the hero by

bringing the kindness out of the evil queen?

Look again, love, someone has lied to you

about my hidden virtue.

I have always loved being the beast.

Fierce Fairytales is a collection of familiar stories with a new look whether it be a twist on good and evil or a feminist look on the idea of the damsel (or princess) in distress. There is a large mix of poems and stories, so there is bound to be something that every reader will enjoy. There are princesses rescuing themselves, villains who are comfortable being villains, new perspectives on certain stories, and many other unique twists. Along with the writing are illustrations done by the author that accompanies each piece which was gorgeous. This is one reason I highly recommend the print over the audio, unless you do both, as you miss the drawings in the audio version. I loved how the two pieces went together for each poem and story as it gave a new level to my reading experience.

Overall, for me, this collection was both a hit and a miss. I loved some of the pieces, but not all of them worked for me. I think maybe if I spread them out more and read one at a time it would have been a different experience than just reading the entire collection. Some of the pieces seemed to be written more meaningfully and executed slightly better than others, so they felt a little out of place. Some phrases and ideas are repeated in a few of the works, which I may not have noticed as much if I didn’t read the collection together. Another element that varied was the “man-bashing” to put the female character on top. Some of the pieces emphasized this more than others, so, as a collection, it was a bit much. For me, the collection was great, but I think I am the type of reader that needs to spread this out a lot more over time. Other readers may love the collection together. It was still an interesting and enjoyable read and I would read more from the author in the future.

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul

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