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Book Review: Human Tales

Human Tales short story anthology is available from Dark Quest Books.

Human Tales short story anthology is available from Dark Quest Books.

Dark Quest Books’ anthology Human Tales edited by Jennifer Brozek is not your usual book of fairy tales. It takes the fairy tales you think you know and turns them on their heads. The monsters aren’t the villains of this book, the humans are.

As the cover warns, “Be Wary and Beware…. There are tales that every parent knows and must pass on to their child… Tales of warning and terror…of those who break their vows and kill for no reason other than malice. Tales of saving the lovely princess from a prince that is much less than charming…and what it takes to bring her home, of rescuing babes from parents not fit to raise them, and the reason no supernatural can truly win a bargain with such vile creatures.”

The anthology features tales from Ivan Ewert, Matthew McFarland, Seanan McGuire, Ari Marmell, Chuck Wendig, Sara M. Harvey, Spencer Ellsworth, Ryan Macklin, Jess Hartley, Shannon Page, Dylan Birtolo, Deborah Brannon, Alma Alexander, Renee Stern, David Lee Summers, James Sutter, and Nathan Crowder.

Pulling from The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Irish folklore names just a few of the inspirations for the stories. Shifting point of view from the supposed hero and heroine to what has traditionally been perceived as the monster, and telling their side of the story is a novel twist on these fairy tales.

These are not fairy tales for children, this is a very adult book. There are a few adult themes, but the whole tone of the book is for a more mature reader. These are stories that you contemplate, not just light brain candy to be devoured and forgotten.  Several have stuck with me long after the book was closed. Caleb takes the Changling story and makes it a story not of stealing a child, but of saving a child. No imaginary monster can outstrip the human creature for cruelty. The sadness of The Human and The Sea Sprite will bring you to tears. The full circle of life is visited in A Tithe For Homecoming and then nature of humans in discord with nature.

This book will keep you turning pages and then stopping to consider them when you reach the end of a tale, but then reaching for it again for the next. Well worth the read and a book that will stay with you even when the cover is closed. You can get this book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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