[I got a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]
I found this anthology quite inspiring in general, and it left me with a better impression than anthologies generally do. I appreciated that most stories, while building upon the foundations of original tales, didn't hesitate to stray from them at some point, instead of being "mere" retellings almost identical to their inspirations. For instance, the one inspired by "Rapunzel".
The ones I liked best:
- "When Pigs Fly" (original story: The Three Little Pigs): airship and their badass captains, on a backdrop of Alliance vs. Rogues conflict. I was bound to like this one.
- "From the Horse's Mouth" (The Goose Girl): a gritty retelling, that doesn't shy away from the grim realities of a country at war.
- "The Giant Killer" (Jack the Giant Killer): with Jack being more of a Jane, with interesting devices and a tendency to get into trouble... but always with a certain style.
Remarks on a couple of other stories:
- "The (Steamy) Tale of Cinderella (Cinderella, obviously): set in a fleet gathered around the princely ship, where the fated ball is to be held. But the Prince isn't just some charming vapid man, Cinderella is more interested in machines than in snagging a man, and there's a nice LGBT dimension. I do regret, though, that the latter was presented a little abruptly, out of nowhere—there could have been so much more, instead of the (at first) traditional approach of shaming same-sex relationships. Fortunately Cinderella's and the Prince's decision is an interesting one.
- "The Hair Ladder": I liked the different relationship dynamis between "Rapunzel" and "the witch". I wasn't convinced by the mother, however, as she was much too selfish and vain, and felt like a cardboard villain.
But overall, these stories were more 3 to 4 stars each than anything really bad. "The Walking House" (Baba Yaga) is probably my least favourite.