Saturday, May 25, 2013

Review: Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koetge

Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses by Ron Koertge
Illustrated by Andrea Dezso
Hardcover, 88 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Candlewick Press
Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Yes it's blue and Yes it tickles and Yes
he's had a lot of wives
and nobody knows what happened to them

but he's fun at the party and omigod
that castle!

Once upon a time, a strung-out match girl sold CDs to stoners. Twelve impetuous sisters escaped Daddy’s clutches to jiggle and cavort and wear out their shoes. Bluebeard's latest wife discovered she'd married a serial killer. And Little Red Riding Hood confessed that she kind of 
wanted to know what it's like to be swallowed whole. 

You see, Ron Koertge knows what really happened to all those wolves and maidens, ogres and orphans, kings and piglets of fairy tales, and he knows about the Ever After. So come closer--he wants to whisper in your ear.

My Review:

I heard about this book from Misty over at The Book Rat. I have noticed a tendency to like a lot of the books she recommends and dislike the same types that she does. She was actually not a fan of this book but the cover definitely caught my attention so I had to check it out for myself.

Since the cover is the first thing we see, we will talk about that first. I really loved the front cover with the red accent color and just the overall look of it. The artwork on the inside is the same type and stays on the creepy side but still interesting to look at. Most of the stories have an accompanying picture with it.

This book is a dark retelling of a bunch of different fairytales. Some of the stories are told in free-verse (although a couple do rhyme), and some are just told like a story. They have almost all the fairytales you can think of from basics like Cinderella and Red Riding Hood to Rumpelstiltskin, and even Thumbelina. Now I would like to say that I actually like dark retellings of stories. I have read and reviewed a book of Mother Goose retellings called Two and Twenty Dark Tales (review HERE) and like this book there were some hits and misses.

One of the ones I liked best in the book would have to be Thumbelina. It is told in free-verse form from Thumbelina’s new boyfriend’s point of view. Her new boyfriend is a mole and tells how Thumbelina leaves a path of bodies. This was one of the better ones to me. I really thought the picture went well with the story too.

I also liked Rapunzel. This was a story told in 5 parts, the Husband, the Wife, the Witch, the Prince and Rapunzel. It told their points of view and what they were thinking at each moment. There was no picture with this one but I felt like this was an excellent opportunity for a really good one.

Hansel and Gretel was also a good one. This was the type of story I was expecting. This kept to the main story but with a much darker twist. The artwork that went with it was definitely creepy too.

None of these stories were really bad per say but I think they could have been better. I do think that the stories should be short but this book went through 23 retellings in about 80 pages and that includes all the artwork that was scattered throughout. The font was also rather large and spaced out. In Misty’s review (HERE) she mentioned that you would blink and the story was over and I think that is a perfect explanation of it.

Do I Recommend this Book/Series?

This is a hard book to recommend. I would say if you are into dark retellings then you should check it out to at least decide for yourself. Retellings and most fairytales in general are reacted to in a different way by each and every person. I could see how some people would love this book.

My Rating:

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