Review – Black Swan, White Raven

Cover of Black Swan, White Raven, ed Ellen DatlowBlack Swan, White Raven, ed. Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling
Received to review via Netgalley

As with all anthologies, Black Swan, White Raven is a mixed bunch, with some stories and I enjoyed and others I was more ambivalent about. That’s probably going to be the same for just about anyone, but Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling are legendary SF/F editors for a reason, and that’s apparent here.

Reading other reviews for these stories makes me laugh: complaining about the darker aspects of the stories, the fact that sometimes only a few vestiges of the original story (or rather, the story we usually know) are used, etc. Clearly these people have never looked at the ‘original’ stories — ‘negative and creepy’ is one person’s assessment, so goodness knows what they’d think of earlier versions of Sleeping Beauty and so on.

It’s an interesting selection of writers, too, some of whom are well known names now (I don’t know about when this was first published). I can’t pick out a favourite, but overall I enjoyed the collection, and while for some stories the theme seemed a bit stretched, it’s still worth reading — I actually read the whole collection in two sittings.

Someone does point out that the voice of women is fairly absent here. There’s one or two strong stories, particularly a retelling of Snow White, but there are also stories where women remain the objects of the quest rather than people. Somewhat to be expected, given the fairytale theme; still somewhat disappointing.

Rating: 4/5

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