Unfairy Tales – #AtoZChallenge 2019

Unfairy Tales? Do these exist? Have we grown up reading only one side of the page, with the other holding a different point of view altogether? We might have been. Fiction is what the author imagines, and how those thoughts flow onto paper. I grew up reading fairy tales, so reading the title, I was unsure what to expect. I knew the author and his capabilities, so I was sure to an extent that it wouldn’t let me down. That expectation did turn out correct.

An evil dragon. A damsel in distress. A concerned father seeking a savior. A hero galloping off to the rescue – a knight in shining armor. Now THAT is stuff of fairy tales. But what if the father’s real concern is for the dragon’s hoard; what if the damsel’s reason of distress is the marriage proposal by her pompous savior; and what if the story is told by the horse who bears not only the overweight knight but also his heavy, shining armor all the way to the dragon’s lair and back, facing certain death in the process? What if there was more – much more – to all your favourite fairy tales than meets the eye?

Retold stories, but which were the original?

I don’t mind retellings of stories. It’s something very popular these days. I knew these seven stories were too. But the author narrated it from a different point of view, so one doesn’t really know which the original fairy tale was until a bit into the stories themselves. He has titled each story in such a way that only one or two titles actually give away the original story being retold. Even if they were retellings that turned the tale on its head, the story was familiar, so it kept me engaged from first word to last. The character sketches now feel odd, and in a good way I mean. It holds true to this version of the tale. There is cruelty where there was kindness in the original, and at times vice versa too.

Two tales I loved, and two not so much…

I enjoyed two tales more than the others. “What the Hobgoblin Did” and “The Frog Who Would Be King” gives brilliant twists to the original tale. The former tale brings a character twist I liked, but the ending to that was undeserved perhaps. And the latter tale brings a twist to the ending that was deserved. I also didn’t like two tales as much as the others, but they weren’t badly told, just they fell short in comparison with the other five… “The Beans of Avarice” and “No Country for Wild Beasts”. I liked the point of view in each of these tales too.

I have reread it once and it works. So I’d say that if you have an open mind when it comes to retellings of fairy tales you’ve grown up reading, this is a book you can try. I hear that a second volume of Unfairy Tales is on its way, so that’s something I look forward to as well.


This is the 10th year of the #AtoZChallenge and my tenth year attempting it. My theme this year is Books – Read and Loved. As evident by the theme, I am going to write on books I’ve read and loved.


Liked this? Read some of my earlier posts written about Books.


Vinay Leo R.
24. 04. 2019

Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

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