Review Blog

Apr 03 2011

Wilful Eye. Tales From The Tower gathered by Isobelle Carmody and Nan McNab

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Book One. Allen and Unwin, 2011. ISBN 9781742374406.
(Age 16-Adult) Recommended. An alluring cover with the names of some of the best fantasy writers around was enough for me to put aside the other books I was reading and delve into six fairytales. Margo Lanagan, Rosie Borella, Isobelle Carmody, Richard Harland, Margaret Mahy and Martine Murray all wrote compelling stories that I could not put down.
First up was Catastrophic disruption of the head by Margo Lanagan. As one would expect from an author of her calibre, this was a disturbing take on Hans Christian Andersen's The tinderbox, which left me biting my nails and thinking about warfare. Eternity by Rosie Borella takes a look at The Snow Queen, but in a modern, drug-taking scene. Margaret Mahy's Wolf Night has a gang of Headloppers chasing her hero and heroine in suburban Woodlands. Richard Harland explores love and a nasty father in Heart of the beast. I shuddered with fear, thinking of the plight of the prisoners in the tower in One window by Martine Murray. And of course, Isobelle Carmody's take on Rumpelstiltskin was original and frightening.
There is a thought provoking foreword by Isobelle Carmody, and an afterword is included by each of the authors, who have written about their writing process and inspiration. These tales are not for the young. They are frightening and challenge with their universal themes of courage, love, war and greed.
I am a lover of re-tellings of fairy stories and I was not disappointed in this short story collection. And it is only Volume 1! I can't wait for Volume 2. Readers who enjoy this genre would also like books by Shannon Hale, Laini Taylor, Robin McKinley and Juliet Marillier.
Pat Pledger

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