The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories - Angela Carter

Genre: Fairytale/Short Stories
Synopsis: From familiar fairy tales and legends - Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, Puss-in-Boots, Beauty and the Beast, vampires, werewolves - Angela Carter has created an absorbing collection of dark, sensual, fantastic stories. Includes: The Bloody Chamber, The Courtship of Mr. Lyon, The Tiger's Bride, Puss-in-Boots, The Erl-King, The Snow Child, The Lady of the House of Love, The Werewolf, The Company of Wolves, Wolf-Alice.


Review: I think this might be where I have to call it with short stories. They just don't work for me. There's too much disparity in quality across so many different tales that when it comes to rating the book as a whole, the average wins out, does my favourites no justice and ultimately renders the experience not worth it for what bits I liked. The beautiful writing, and one or two stories, were the only real saving graces of this book.

As a collection of darker fairytale retellings (something which, when done right, I absolutely love), I thought I might enjoy this. There were parts that I liked, and there was one story that I loved - The Werewolf. I can't say reading the whole book was worth it for that one story alone, as it was also one of the shortest, but I feel like it was one of the deeper stories. Which, probably doesn't say much for the longer stories. Wolf-Alice is the other story that was pretty okay.

I think the worst part was the amount of repetition, and recurring use of objects or descriptions. Particular amidst the frequency of wolf-related stories, it began to feel like a collection of slightly differing threads for one story rather than a set of distinct stories. Many of the stories also seemed kind of pointless - for example, the Beauty and the Beast retelling. There was nothing really new added to the story, and the motivations of the Beauty character were so poorly illustrated that they seemed not to exist at all.

I'm going to stop ragging on this book now. Absolutely masterful use of language, but wasted on these stories.

Rating: 2/5

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