The classic Disney tales. We all know them. Most of us can even quote them. Some of us even know them word for word. They are comforting stories that we can return to again and again whenever we need a little pick me up. But sometimes tried-and-true becomes old and boring. When this happens it’s an author’s responsibility to step in and imagine something new. And that’s the premise for A Twisted Tale Anthology. Elizabeth Lim brings together tales from a variety of authors that take our beloved Disney stories and change one vital aspect to create a completely different tale.
Come along to see what could have been, if but for the grace of a mouse. Though just know, these stories are not exactly as you remember them!
[Warning: My review of A Twisted Tale Anthology contains some spoilers!]
A huge variety of new twists on classic Disney tales
As you would expect, there are a lot of different stories covered in A Twisted Tale Anthology. What I especially loved is that not all the stories were focused on the quote, unquote, classic Disney stories. Sure there’s a Peter Pan “What if…?”, “Dust to Dust” by Micol Ostow, and a Beauty and the Beast “What if…?”, “The Journey Home” by Farrah Rochon, (which was especially interesting as she never even meets the Beast!). But there’s also a Ratatouille “What if…?”, “Et Voilà” by Liz Braswell, and a Treasure Planet “What if…?”, “Rattle the Stars” by M.K. England. And let’s face it, most of us don’t even remember that Treasure Planet exists. So there was a nice range and variety of tales being told.
Some of the source material in A Twisted Tale Anthology has already received the twisted treatment in the series (Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast both have stand-alone Twisted Tale novels for example). But the nice thing is that in A Twisted Tale Anthology, they are given new twists that really do create completely new stories.
For instance, “Dust to Dust” makes Tinker Bell the focal point of the story instead of Peter Pan (Peter Pan) or Wendy (see Straight on Til Morning). It gave a fresh feel to the classic story and even though Peter Pan has already been twisted, Micol Ostow’s Tinker Bell take felt new and exciting. The same is true for the other tales that were previously twisted.
Short tales are the perfect format in A Twisted Tale Anthology
I really do love the Twisted Tales series. Having grown up in a family full of Disney movie lovers, I came to love fairy tales, and getting a fresh perspective on an old story is fun. Still, sometimes it feels like the authors have to really stretch to turn a fairy tale that originally was just a few paragraphs long into an entire novel.
The short story is really a better format for a fairy tale twist. It allows the author to build an interesting story with fun characters that we already know (no need for character build-up, just jump right into the adventure) without drawing things out and pushing the story into irrelevant areas just to get a word count. Plus, I felt like I got a bunch of books all in one with a multitude of stories. And more books are always a plus, although my husband might not agree!
Another plus of the short stories is that A Twisted Tale Anthology is able to highlight multiple authors. Some of the writers are already Twisted Tale veterans, with some having written more than one. But others are new to the Disney Twisted Tale series. Each of them offers a new voice and interesting perspective on these well-known tales. Being able to hear so many different styles was really nice. It helped to keep the stories fresh as I read through them.
Sometimes when the whole anthology is written by the same author the stories can be too similar. The voices can become muddled. But with each story having a different author there is a distinct feel to each adventure. This really helped to reset the scene (so to speak) as I moved between the different stories. I greatly enjoyed hearing from all these different authors and am hoping that a similar project will be in the Twisted Tales’ future.
A focus on new Disney characters
Some of the tales in A Twisted Tale Anthology focused on the same heroes as their original tales (“Cast Out” is about Snow White and “The Secret Exchange” is about Ariel and Eric). However, I found myself drawn to the ones that focused on supporting characters from the source material.
Anastasia is the heroine of “The Envelope” and “Fates, Three” is about Merida’s brothers searching for their place in the world. I think the reason I like these tales so much is that they flesh out the original worlds. By focusing on what was originally on the periphery, our view becomes that much wider and the worlds of these characters become that much more real. It is a great way for the magic of Disney to grow with you from a childhood movie to an adult book.
Perfect book for curling up on a cold Autumn night
Something about the longer, chillier nights of Fall just begs to be read to. I think it’s in our genes. After all, for millennia our ancestors would gather around the fire as the darkness descended. They tell each other stories to pass the time and distract them from the dark until the sun returns once again. Now that we have our warm homes and electric lights our souls still yearn for something to entertain us and keep the monsters at bay.
A Twisted Anthology is the perfect book to do just that. There is a hint of magic and a dash of danger but everything turns out okay in the end. These grown-up Disney tales are here for you when you need a little bit of an escape. So grab your hot cocoa, get your warmest blanket, and curl up with A Twisted Tale Anthology tonight.
My Rating: 8/10
A Twisted Tale Anthology edited by Elizabeth Lim is available now! Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discorder if you plan on reading this novel!