New Treasures: Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani

New Treasures: Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales (Harper, September 2021). Cover by Julia Iredale

I admit it, my reading tastes are susceptible to the changing seasons (and publishing dollars). When Halloween is over my interest in scary fiction abates a little… though I still like my late fall fiction to have a little bite.

Soman Chainani’s Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales looks like a perfect choice. Chainani is the author of the bestselling School for Good and Evil series; his latest is a collection of a dozen re-told fairy tales, stories that include a dark-skinned Snow White, a South Asian Hansel and Gretel, and similar takes on Bluebeard, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rumpelstiltskin. Medium calls them “Terrifying, chilling, unexpected, and glorious. A must-read for any fairy tale devotee,” and Kirkus says they evoke “the wonder, terror, and magic of the fantasy realms.” Here’s a snippet from the Kirkus review.

Here are 12 familiar European fairy tales, folktales, and classic stories retold… The tales include, among others, an ironically named Snow White with dark skin, persecuted for the form her beauty takes; South Asian siblings who hopefully follow a trail of rosewater and saffron sweets after being left in the forest by their father and stepmother; and a beautiful brown-skinned prince cursed to appear as a beast and the Chinese girl who moves into his castle… The entries are expertly crafted with a deep understanding of the source material and are updated with feminist sensibilities, the addition of some queer relationships, and the inclusion of racial and ethnic diversity…. Chainani infuses his retellings with practicality while still evoking the wonder, terror, and magic of the fantasy realms.

Read the whole review here.

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales was published by HarperCollins on September 21, 2021. It is 321 pages, priced at $17.99 in hardcover and in digital formats. The jacket art and lettering is by by Julia Iredale.

See all of our recent coverage of the best new SF and fantasy here.

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