Black Heart, Ivory Bones takes our love of fairy tales and brings them into a shiny new light. Sometimes funny and absurd, sometimes deep or disturbing, the authors of this anthology definitely take you for a spin. They don’t attempt to make every story an epic summer blockbuster like so many of the fairy tale movies these day, but instead they attempt to get in your head.
Black Heart, Ivory Bones is the sixth volume in this anthology series, but it was the first I purchased. It inspired me to seek out the rest and buy them as well. That’s one of the great advantages of short story anthologies. You can jump in anywhere and enjoy. The series itself is a collection is short stories, retelling fairy tales in a more adult setting. Adult in the same way Stephen King or Michael Crichton are not children’s book authors.
There are contributions from the likes of Neil Gaiman and Charles de Lint. There are two takes on Rapunzel in this book, one is a lighthearted look at the tale. The other… well, the other still to this day makes my heart hurt every time I think of it. “And Still She Sleeps”, a take on Sleeping Beauty, is also chilling in its telling. I highly recommend this book and the others in the collection. If you can get your hands on a copy, they’re all well worth the read, but I believe this volume is my favorite of the series.