Fairy tales are fun, but sprinkle in a little danger, a little mystery, and a lot of re-imagination and you’re in for a real good time. All sorts of magical things happen in the Hinterland, from half-lives to twice-deaths, and just about everything in between. “Tales From the Hinterland” is a collection of 12 stand-alone short stories that don’t fail to enchant the reader. However, it was less creepy and spooky, like I was expecting, but more mildly twisted and sinister. It wasn’t completely passive, though – many of the stories left my eyes wide until the last page – but it didn’t necessarily live up to the raw scariness I had braced myself for when cracking it open the first time. Besides that, though, the writing is almost poetic and authentic.
Some of the stories were about lost little children or misguided brides. Others about secret spirits or the magic of Death itself. But one thing they all had in common were their strong but sometimes underestimated women. Whether it be thwarting Death or evil suitors – or being the evil themselves – each story is fueled by its powerful and beautiful main character. Sometimes she finds herself in trouble, and other times she’s the one causing it, but all of them are unique and impressive all the same. Each story also has its own side characters, too, all quite well-written for how short the stories are.
And as with any tale, each one has a message, whether that be applicable in real life (like don’t trust something that’s too good to be true), or some advice for if you ever visit the Hinterland (like don’t keep your window open when you go to sleep lest you’d like to never return home). Each story takes place in the Hinterland, where magic and curses and bears who are women and women who are stars are quite the common occurrence.
All in all it’s a great book, and each story is just as thrilling as the one before it. Anyone who enjoys fairy tales with unconventional twists that are fascinating as much as they are enchanting is sure to enjoy it. And if it doesn’t seem your type, I always recommend reaching out of your comfort zone and trying something different, and you might really like this!
My only advice to anyone interested in reading it is don’t go into it with high expectations of horror and shock, and prepare more for thrill and, well, magic. Happy reading!
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