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Once Upon a Scream Paperback – April 23, 2016
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Shaurette earned a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science at Arizona State University.
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“The Black Undeath” combines the ravages of the plague and leprosy with the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. I love the description of Rumpelstiltskin in this one, good story and I loved the dark tone to it.
“Melody of Bones” is a mashup of the German tales of the “Singing Bone” and “The Pied Piper of Hamlin.” Death can make beautiful music. I love the imagery in the story. The description of the setting really brought it to life.
“The Godmother’s Bargain” is based on Cinderella but instead of relying on a fairy godmother, Cinderella makes a deal with the devil.I love a good retelling of Cinderella and I liked how there was a twist ending to it.
“Leila” is a story about vampires and an old witch that lives in a haunted forest. I can’t say enough good things about this one. Great setting, great idea, I think this would be a good one to get expanded to a novel.
“Nothing to Worry About” Nothing killed Old Smelty, don’t let it kill you too. This story has a good sense of humor to it.
“The Cursed Child” Witches do what they must to save a child. I love the story in this one and the action in it.
“The Healer’s Gift” An odd pale boy begs to get into a wounded healer’s cottage just before sunrise, conjuring her darkest fears of who – or what – he may be. I liked the poetry in this one and the concept behind it.
“Briar” is the story of a man who is lost deep in a mythical Black Forest, where he stumbles upon an abandoned fairy-tale palace with a forgotten sleeping beauty. This is another story in this anthology that has great imagery. The writing paints a picture and you feel like you are there.
“Curse of the Elves” This story gives a horrifying spin on the old tale “The Shoemaker and the Elves.” What if the elves were grotesque murderers and you wanted them to go away. This one had me laughing out loud in a couple of places. Well told story and I loved how it ended.
“Lake Tiveden” The modern retelling of the legend of Tiveden and the epic encounter between a fisherman, his daughter and the fearsome Nokken. I love that this is a new take on an old mythology.
“Wax Shadow”is a Horror fairytale modern retelling of “The Shadow” by Hans Christian Andersen. I loved the characters in this one, this would be another good one that could get expanded into a novel.
“Without Family Ties” is a modern horror tale based on the story of Pinocchio. One of the best ones in the anthology.
“Commanding the Stones”has a murder, a troubled marriage, a mysterious benefactor and a Russian fairy tale add up to terror and redemption in the sewers of Paris. I love the married couple in this one, I could relate to how they were feeling and was hoping they would get a happy ending.
“Gollewon Ellee” Two young girls follow the Gollewon Ellee, Fairy Lights, and discover that Fairy Folk are real and more sinister than they imagined. Great horror tale, this is how I wish all fairy tales were told.
“Mr. Shingles” Bay Area boys meeting with a certain rhyming troll who may or may not still be living under the Carquinez Bridge. Once again I love this concept and its a fun story.
“The Boy and His Teeth” A cautionary tale against deceiving the Tooth Fairy. Good spooky tale that will really scare kids.
“The Other Daughter” It’s nice to see Hannah looking her old self, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The problem is Hannah – the real Hannah is already upstairs. This one had some good moments and I loved the ending.
“Old and in the Way” Atmospheric tale about an old man who can no longer do his duty. I love the concept in this one. This one is short but powerful, I love finding out who the old man was and really felt for him..
Just looking at the cover of this book made me want to buy it. I love books that create their own mythology or put a new spin on an old legend. Once Upon a Scream is a book that has a little bit of everything, its funny in parts, scary in others, and it gives you a fresh horrific look at some old fables . If you love a good fantasy/ horror mix, you don’t want to pass on Once Upon A Scream.
Overall, I think this compilation of stories is worth adding to your reading list, especially if you are into all things weird and unsettling. Some tales are better constructed than others, but I always feel that is the benefit of reading an anthology. You can’t expect to be in love with every story, but, in this case, there are a few horrific gems. “The Black Undeath” had such gruesome descriptions that I marveled at them. For that alone, the opening tale is a fantastic read. “Curse of the Elves” entertained me in another way—it was off the wall and had some humor. Not only was I repulsed, but laughing at the same time. “Lake Tiveden” is a classic plight of a father trying to rescue his daughter, almost Greek mythology style. There were some surprising shifts in the plot, and the descriptions were so vivid and captivating—especially when the monster arrives on the scene. “Wax Shadow” had amazing characterization and a true-to-life feel to it. This was one of the stories I couldn’t put down, since I had to know what was going to happen to the movie star and the dummy twin that he had delivered to his home. Having a replica of yourself in your house is in itself disturbing, but things don’t end there. And, lastly, “Mr. Shingles” is one of the best crafted tales in the collection. A group of boys, reminiscent of a Stephen King story, take to looking under a bridge for a troll. They find one who is willing to help save two of the boys’ dying sister, but for a price. Once they meet his demands, brace yourself for the shocking conclusion.
Invest in adding this book to your electronic or physical book shelf. It will appeal to your twisted imagination, and may make you glad that these were not the tales you were told as a kid when you got tucked in at night.