The Rose and the Beast (2000) by Francesca Lia Block
In this collection of nine short stories, Block offers surprising retellings of fairy tales ranging from “Thumbelina” and “The Snow Queen” to “Cinderella” and “Snow White.”
Every story has an eerie, otherworldly quality thanks to Block’s unique writing style that reads more like free verse poetry than traditional prose. Although the interpretations vary, some with elements of fantasy and others grounded firmly in the modern world, each story in The Rose and the Beast is imbued with feminist discourse and strong characters.
It’s always difficult to give a short story collection a proper review, especially in this case when the stories are so similar in style yet also so different in their execution. There are not a lot of happily ever afters here. Princes don’t always come to rescue princesses. Magic isn’t always friendly. And the stories here are rarely kind.
Ideal for readers who enjoy short stories or reluctant readers looking for some quick reads. The Rose and the Beast is also sure to appeal to readers who like twisted fairy tales or fairy tale interpretations with more bite.
Possible Pairings: The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy, Poisoned Apples: Poems For You My Pretty by Christine Hepperman, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, Curses, Inc. by Vivian Vande Velde