Firstly, I’d like to thank Tachyon Publications for sending me an ARC of The Emerald Circus in exchange for my honest review. Since the book is a collection of short stories, this review will be a little different in order to give you a spoiler-free review.
Personally, I love short story collections. The talent and skill it takes to create an entire story and fit it into a few pages honestly blows me away sometimes. With Jane Yolen’s The Emerald Circus, I didn’t know what I was expecting, but regardless, it was well beyond my expectations. Not only is her writing style engaging and captivating, but the stories themselves are magical and fantastic to read. Every story in this collection is a retelling or recreation of stories or characters or historical figures many of us are familiar with, from The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland to Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, and Hans Christian Andersen.
The stories focus on different vantage points or alternate outcomes of stories that have enthralled the world for centuries. Have you ever wondered about where the famed sword of Arthurian legend, Excalibur, came from? Have you ever wondered how Hans Christian Andersen, a poor young man with little education became one of the most iconic and legendary storytellers in history? Have you ever wondered if Alice ever returned to Wonderland years and years later? All of these questions, these what-ifs, are answered in this collection in a fresh and charming style. It’s as if all of these characters and stories have come alive again through Yolen’s style.
The stories are full of magic and wonder, reminding you of those fairy tales you read or heard or even watched as a child, and yet, they are more than just fairy tales. They are an open invitation to exercise your childish imagination, to ask yourself “What if this had happened? How would the story have changed? Or how did this historical figure accomplish a seemingly impossible task? Was there magic involved or was it simply destiny?” There is so much playroom for one’s imagination to run wild with these stories and that is what makes this collection is such a joy to read.
I loved every moment of this book and I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. It grabbed my attention and I found myself wanting more of these stories. It left me thinking of other legendary characters or people and other fairy tales or myths, wondering how they came to be, if the stories we’re familiar with were true or whether there was indeed magic involved. If you are a fan of science fiction or fantasy, the classics or poetry, fairy tales or children’s stories, this book has something for everyone. I give this book a solid 5★s! The book will be released on November 14th, 2017 and I wholeheartedly recommend it!