Here’s our spoiler-free review of the Dark Fairy Tale Queens Series by Anita Valle. This special edition brings together three of Anita’s Dark Fairy Tale Queen stories: Sinful Cinderella, Sneaky Snow White, and Rotten Rapunzel.
These stories span several generations of princesses and queens as they deal with the repercussions of, and contribute to, a terrible curse laid on the kingdom. Get your copy by becoming a member today and then join us in the member portal to get your questions answered by Anita!
The Dark Fairy Tale Queens Series begins with Sinful Cinderella, a cloyingly sweet and eerily doll-like young woman using her good deeds for selfish and vengeful ends. Her Fairy Godmother, derisively referred to as Godnutter, tried to set Cinderella straight by using white magic as a carrot for good behavior. Despite her well-intentioned, cigar-smoking, magic-pipe-wielding Fairy Godnutter’s attempt to set her on the straight and narrow, Cinderella finds the loophole in this arrangement and pursues it no-holds-barred.
If only she would listen to her Fairy Godnutter. Cinderella unwittingly falls into a trap of her own making and breeds contempt in her own stepdaughter, Snow White. Violence and revenge beget violence and revenge.
Here’s the breakdown of the Dark Fairy Tale Queens Series using our scale:
Not offensive to women = 1/1 pt, Features a woman as the main protagonist and/or supporting character = 2/2 pts, Passes the Bechdel-Wallace test = 3/3 pts
Throughout this series we see through the eyes of several princesses and queens. They are delightfully selfish and mean, to others and to each other, in multiple scenes that easily fulfill the Bechdel-Wallace test.
Artistic and/or Entertaining = 4/4 pts
As a long time fangirl of the 500 Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey, an avid reader of Robin McKinley’s various fairy tale retellings, and an obsessed re-reader of Ella Enchanted, I practically inhaled these three novels over the space of 24 hours. I love, love, love the fairy tale retelling sub-genre, but Anita takes it to a whole ‘notha level.
These. Are. So. Much. Fun!
Thanks to Disney we are all very familiar with the basic underpinnings of the stories of Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Beauty & the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, and the Snow Queen. But what if these cleaned up versions are sheer propaganda? Anita weaves these traditional narratives into and on top of one another, delighting the reader at every turn and linking the personal lives of every princess involved into one messy inter-generational conflict that you just can’t take your eyes off of.
Put on a muumuu, grab a box of truffles, and snuggle in for one guilt-free and indulgent reading session of Real Housewives: Evil Enchanted Edition.
Above and Beyond General Media = 5/5 pts
Beneath the artifice and glam outfits, Anita shows artfully how the world and unfortunate circumstances shaped these women into the bad apples that they are. Fairy tales were originally meant to scare children into behaving, and there are dark notes here as well. Matricide, loss of parents, child abduction, abuse and neglect; each of these princess’s histories incites sympathy in the reader.
These princesses are complicated messes; it’s not all their fault, but a lot of it is. For the nuanced writing of their backstories, the Dark Fairy Tale Queens Series definitely goes above and beyond its peers.
You see glimmers of the princesses’ better natures shine through when they are loved. Aren’t we all our best selves when we are fully nurtured, cared for, and seen? But Anita is ruthless, and twist after twist takes us down a dark rabbit hole where the light we do see is more likely the rainbow sheen of an oil slick.
How does it end? Depends on your point of view. It’s not happy, but it’s also not all bad, much like the characters themselves.
Watch the Dark Fairy Tale Queens book trailer: