- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition/First Printing edition (October 22, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316212946
- ISBN-13: 978-0316212946
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,191,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales Hardcover – October 22, 2013
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Editors Marr and Pratt asked 10 other writers to join them in creating short stories based on classics that had influenced their writing. With a stellar cast of popular and critically acclaimed authors (besides Marr and Pratt, there’s Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Rick Yancey, and more) and a wide variety of styles and settings, there’s something here for every reader of science fiction and fantasy. Inspirations range from classics (Kate Chopin’s The Awakening) to fairy tales (Sleeping Beauty) to gothic thrillers (Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla”). Vess provides six delicately evocative illustrations based on fantasy classics. Fans of dystopian fiction will enjoy the many stories exploring a postapocalyptic future, and hopefully will seek out lesser-known works such as E. M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops,” inspiration for Carrie Ryan’s contribution. Of particular interest is Saladin Ahmed’s take on Sir Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, which shows us another side of the villainous Muslim Saracen brothers. With such diversity of styles and topics, it’s likely that not every story will please every reader, but it’s great fun sampling and discovering new authors and titles to explore. Grades 9-12. --Debbie Carton
Praise for Rags & Bones:
"[An] eclectic anthology...plenty for readers to savor."―Publishers Weekly
"An interesting mix of fantasy, science fiction, and horror-well written and highly varied-that is sure to appeal to older teens..."―School Library Journal
"...Most of the stories-wildly various, like their predecessors-hit their mark and brilliantly contemporize themes considered decades in the past."―VOYA
Praise for Melissa Marr's (editor) Enthralled:
"Fans of the paranormal will discover a rich primer of the genre's current offerings, from sweeping romance to grisly zombies."―VOYA
Praise for Tim Pratt's (editor) Sympathy for the Devil:
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Quick & Dirty: An amazing collection of retellings with wonderful twists on some amazing classics.
Opening Sentence: It isn’t until he’s nearing the bottom of the ladder that Tavil realizes his sister hasn’t followed him.
Rag and Bones, edited by Melissa Marr and Tim Pratt, is an amazing collection of retellings. Twelve authors have given the reader a glimpse into who they are, by retelling a significant classic. Authors such as Carrie Ryan, Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, Tim Pratt, Holly Black, Rick Yancey, Margaret Stohl, Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Kami Garcia, Saladin Ahmed, and Gene Wolfe are some of the famous YA authors to date. Together, they have created this newly reinvented collection of classics and I couldn’t wait to dig in.
One thing about retellings is just that. It’s a tale retold. With classics, such as fairy tales, it must be hard to reimagine or reinvent and tell it in a way that grasps new and old readers. For me, I enjoyed reliving these tales from my childhood in a new and different way. Whether it be through new age technology, a strong heroine instead of a charming prince, or even deathly vampires, I enjoyed it all.
There really is nothing like a twisted collection of fairy tales to get you ready for the fall season. Everyone needs to read this, because every story is wonderful. Let me tell you about a few of my favorites.
That the Machine May Progress Eternally – Carrie Ryan
The original, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, talks about how technology overrules our lives. It was written in 1909, predating much of what we know today. In Carrie Ryan’s version, she takes it a step further, fueling fears of those who do not wish to disconnect, and paints a picture of gruesome measures. Tavil is trapped in a world where humanity is reduced to life, automated. I love how Ryan drew out the symbolisms of faith and worship. And without any sort of activity beyond the machine, humans are trapped in a machine in a world “perfectly wrought.”
Losing Her Divinity – Garth Nix
Rudyard Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King” is about two travelers who become kings of a remote part of Afghanistan. Nix’s version is much more personal, in my opinion. He changes the narration/voice of the story, bringing it to a first person narrative. I found it to be more enjoyable, like an old friend telling me a tale of travel. There were a few parts that I glanced over, but overall I enjoyed it.
The Sleeper and the Spindle – Neil Gaiman
Everyone knows Sleeping Beauty; the lost princess who struck her finger upon a spindle and caused a whole kingdom to slumber. Neil Gaiman has beautifully retold this story unlike I’ve read before. I won’t spoil the twist, but let me just say that there is an amazing crossover that surprised me. It was easy to get lost in this new version, and every part of my being wished there was more to the story.
The Cold Corner – Tim Pratt
I haven’t read The Jolly Corner since college, so I couldn’t exactly tell you the similarities and differences. I will say that I enjoyed The Cold Corner. This had a very interesting Twilight Zone theme, and it was enjoyable. There are many contemporary, present day, pop culture-esque qualities incorporated and it made it that much more enjoyable.
Millcara – Holly Black
This was an amazing retelling. The original tale, Carmilla, was about a tale of two young girls and their budding friendship. In reality, that friendship was about a vampire’s advances of that young girl. In Black’s version, Millcara, she wrote it from the eyes of the vampire. To hear inside the mind of a vampire has become more engaging than I can express. Black knows just how to lure a reader in, and she has definitely done so with Millcara.
When First We Were Gods – Rick Yancey
Rick Yancey is a very talented author. He has managed to take a classic like Hawthorne’s The Birth Mark and translate it into the present century with When First We Were Gods. Immortality is something that has always been coveted, especially to the rich and wealthy. Yancey’s main character, Beneficent Page (fitting name, right?) covets immortality. It is attainable for the elite and can be purchased on credit. To me, it was like seeing the differences of the “upstairs” and “downstairs” for the technology age. So many topics weaved into this story, and Yancey knows how to make it all interesting.
Sirocco – Margaret Stohl
It’s interesting the point of view that Margaret Stohl has taken for The Castle of Otranto. I always remembered this story as one of darkness and goth. Stohl’s version, Sirocco, has brought a lighter tone to the story. Stohl’s version brings the limelight of Hollywood to the castle. Tolerance plays a huge theme, playing on the stereotypes of famous actors.
Awakened – Melissa Marr
I have never read The Awakening, but I enjoyed Marr’s story. The sea has always been a symbol of eternity; eternal death or eternal life. In this case, Marr showcases a woman trapped, only to enter the sea for freedom. Selchies are normal sexy and seductive, but I found Marr’s main character to be full of melancholy. It was an emotional read, but that is a testament to Marr’s writing.
The Soul Collector – Kami Garcia
Kami Garcia tells a tail of a young girl who ended up in the wrong side of the streets. Slowly, we see where the girl came from, who she is, and who she will become. A man who appeared to help her was a collector. He didn’t steal anything, but instead the helpless souls offered themselves to them. As for the young girl? She was gladly given by someone near and dear to her.
FTC Advisory: Little, Brown BFYR/Hachette Book Group provided me with a copy of Rags and Bones. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
And I still loved it more than I expected to. In the interest of balance, I'll mention that the last story left me cold and the organizational structure of the stories didn't make too much sense to me, but enh.
I loved it, you should buy it, and this will be going onto the list of some of my favorite books, with an honoured place. I am going to seek out the authors, too; some of the stories really caught my attention. It's well-written, spooky, mournful, romantic, haunting, and still very simple. It crosses genres.
Long story short, I can't say enough good things about it. Buy it and see why for yourself.
Retellings are an endless source of fascination to me, whether they're retellings or fairy tales, classic pieces of literature, or grand oral traditions. I think they offer some interesting insights into how people interpret the original stories and it's surprising and cool to see what resonates with the re-teller when it appears in the retold form. It's like catching a glimpse into the brain of the re-teller, which I really like since I am a nosy person.
Rags & Bones includes stories from the editors Pratt and Marr, and Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Carry Ryan, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Rick Yancey, Saladin Ahmed, Kelley Armstrong, Gene Wolff, and Garth Nix, plus six illustrations by Charles Vess. The design of this book is lovely, and it's all about looking at classic tales through new and surprising lenses. The Post-Apocalyptic/Futuristic seems to be the most popular lens in this collection (no big surprise), but Neil Gaiman's "The Sleeper and the Spindle," a gender-bending (and fairy tale bending) take on Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, has all of the classic trappings of fairy tales, and it's gorgeous and surprising and probably (no, definitely) my favorite in the collection and makes this book worth purchasing, in my opinion.
I also enjoyed Garcia's retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, set in gang culture. Combining gritty, brutal realism with just an edge of magic was super fascinating, and she pulled it off magnificently. The fairy tale retellings weren't my only favorites: Pratt's version of The Jolly Corner was haunting and nostalgic, and Yancey's version of Hawthorne's "The Birth-Mark" was weird and tragic. I love that the writers aren't afraid to explore tragedy and hubris and unhappy endings--something that we see a little less of in YA novels.
This is probably not the most read-able anthology of YA fiction out there, but it is one of the more literary, interesting ones. It's one that you might not be able to power through, but will enjoy sifting through slowly. Even the illustrations offer playful twists on known tales and legends, making it a great one for teens who are interested in literature. You don't have to know every tale that is retold here, but it might inspire you to seek out a few. If you enjoyed The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff, this is a book for you!