Twice Upon a Time is a short story anthology with a focus on re-tellings and re-imaginings of fairy tales, folklore, and myths. I don’t tend to review anthologies, but I do love me a good fairy tale and as I’m also a fan of the Cinder series I wanted to read more re-imaginings of the same genre.
I’ll find it easier to review the anthology as a whole, as it would be too much to review each individual story. Of course, some I enjoyed more than others but I’ll try to speak generally when possible. In general, I really did enjoy reading the different stories. At times I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to identify the fairy tales/folklore they were inspired by and I’m not sure it’s as simple as my inability to recognize the story. Some were definitely based on obscure fairy tales (which there's nothing wrong with), while others weren’t a retelling but rather a completely new story with the same moral lesson as the original fairy tale. In that case, I likely wouldn’t have included it in the anthology or would have advertised it differently.
Some stories were not short stories at all, but instead were excerpts of a full novel. Those were the worst for me and I don’t think the editor should have included those at all. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them, but they don’t have a place in this type of anthology.
I also was not a fan of how the stories were arranged. There didn’t seem to be any flow or pattern to the entries. I likely would have tried to organize them in some form of pattern, such as moral lessons, type of retelling (alternate universe, sci-fi, role reversals, etc) but as far as I could tell it was a bit of a jumble. There was also the inclusion, near the end of the anthology, of two biblical narratives which seemed very jarring and out of place. I understand that the anthology was advertised as including myth, but I would be very careful calling Old Testament narratives myth, especially if they are based on events that have been historically confirmed. There’s a completely separate genre for stories set in that time period. Two in fact: historical fiction, and Biblical fiction.
Overall, the stories chosen for the anthology were well written and I enjoyed the imagination of the various authors. Again, some of the stories I wouldn’t consider re-tellings, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying them for the unique qualities. I would have preferred a bit more flow to the layout of the anthology as a whole. But overall I did enjoy the variety of stories.
You can buy the anthology on Amazon.