Hello dear readers! Isabelle here, with her first book review. And because I never do anything simple, I decided to review the YA anthology, StereoOpticon: Fairytales in Split Vision published by Drollerie Press, which contains not one, but twelve YA stories! That’s right. TWELVE. So get comfy, because we’ve got a buffet of young adult goodness coming your way.
The book starts off with an in-depth introduction by publisher Deena Fisher about some of the classic fairytales of her youth and how the anthology offerings pull from these in completely original ways. And as I read, I found she was right. Many of these stories felt familiar, they had a certain magic about them that brought their perspective worlds to life yet when I dug deeper, I could still find the heart of classic fairytales at their core. There’s a lovely flow to the book as a whole and I was always surprised when one ended, making me eager to jump into the next one right away.
The highlights for me were: Castle of Masks by C.S. Inman, a moving and surprising retelling of Beauty and the Beast; The Gallows Maiden by Francesca Forrest which had some of the most disturbing and memorable imagery I’ve read in a long time; and Falling by Imogen Howson, a futuristic retelling of Rapunzel which works so well, I’m hard pressed to believe the original took place in a stone tower long long ago.
These three stories stuck with me long after I finished the anthology and are some of the best examples of how truly talented this collection of authors are. They managed to put their own stamp on stories that we’ve heard many times before and do so brilliantly.
But don’t think just because I’ve highlighted those three that the others were only mediocre. Quite the contrary! This book is full of gems. I was left wondering about the true identity of the mysterious Don Joaquin all throughout A Necklace of Rubies by Cindy Lynn Spear, and I cheered when Jac decided to follow his heart in The Orb of Enori by G.L. Simmons. Trust me, when I tell, this book is full of what makes YA fantasy great.
I give it a hearty: A