Cover Image: The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales

The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales

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Member Reviews

Very relevant. One would say very nowadays, almost. Heavy and NOT fun, as it should be. Well written. Recommended to the lovers of dystopian genre.
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I may well not have enjoyed this the way I might ordinarily have done due to the fact we seem to be living in a post-apocolyptic world as it is. As such, it was a bit too dreary for me. Others may love it - the fairytale aspect is intriguing but a miss for me.
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I wanted to like this book. I really did, but it just never came together for me. The fairytales didn’t really go with the rest of the story or add anything to it. Two characters improbably find each other again and then one just decides to leave without the other. I don’t need a happy ending but I need one that makes sense.
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A mournful exploration of a post apocalyptic world that blurs reality.  Jesse's an unreliable narrator who is not exactly likable, but found his journey (interior and exterior) compelling all the same.
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The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales first attracted me with its title. Then the description drew me in further (a talking dog? a set of fairy tales being told on a journey?). Unfortunately, my attraction didn't go much further than that. The telling is very uneven and there does not seem to be much focus, other than the narrator, Jesse Vanderchuck, ultimately seeking out his sister in a post-climate-apocalyptic world. But even that only gradually comes out: it's not until nearly halfway through the book that an objective appears; until then, it is Jesse wandering around, getting exiled from the underground society he lives in, and meeting a mysteriously speaking dog. 

Once Jesse sets himself to find his sister, the narrative gains a little focus, but it is still not entirely clear where the narrative is going. It reads as if the author were trying to tell a different story, but decided to pick up and use the narrative structure of a post-apocalyptic world. Why, though? It truly felt as though the author were making this post-apocalyptic 'just coz'.

When Jesse finishes his journey to find his sister, we finally get drawn in to Jesse's psyche. For so much of the book, the reader (this reader, at least) is left trying to care about Jesse. We are actually made to care more about Doggo, the speaking dog, than about Jesse. It's only at the end that we really come to care about our narrator, but by then it is too late.

Even though the above might be a bit strongly worded, I found myself able to get to the end of the book and want to encourage the author to continue writing. This book showed potential but was ultimately lacking a firm editorial hand to bring it into focus.
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The summary:
Overall, this book was not to my liking. I had difficulty connecting with any of it. I didn't feel much about the characters, the worldbuilding, or the plot. They felt very blah to me. I'm sorry to say, I was glad this book was over, just so I didn't have it nagging at me in the back of my mind to "finish me and write your review!" I've read worse things, but honestly, I just didn't want to DNF my first book from NetGalley.

The review:
This was a slough for me. I can kind of understand that the emotional and environmental stress that Jesse is under can lead to the blahs. I think after covid-19, most of us can understand how stress can turn into the blahs. Maybe that's why I didn't connect as much as I could have with this book. Maybe what feels like Jesse's blahs are my own or are just so blah that they're background at this point in history. I don't know. What I do know is that the characters and world felt at best one dimensional. The plot? The character's on a journey to find their lost sibling. They decided to take this trip after stumbling across Doggo, who gives them something to live for and something else to hide from their community, so they kinda are scaring two birds from the bush with one stone: keep Doggo safe from the community and while they're at it, might as well look for their sister that jumped ship a long time ago. Jesse tells stories during the trip. Honestly, you've basically now read the book, baring some things that I can't delve into here because of spoilers.

The description of the book (which you can also see it at https://www.dundurn.com/books/Doomsday-Book-Fairy-Tales) is not bad. It is, in fact, a credit to the marketing department of Dundurn Press. As is the cover, which I really do like.

Why do I say that's a credit to the marketing department? Well, to be blunt, for me, this book was not an astounding tale, about a dangerous quest, nor in an eerie world. Jesse did fight illness. The world above and Underground was hostile, I guess, but it felt like it was hostile in the same way that hiking in the true wilderness can be hostile, like the funny posts that were making the rounds a while back about how aliens would react to life on Earth and how we deal, interact, and live in it (like https://www.boredpanda.com/humans-are-weird). The hostility of both above and Underground is, as you probably won't be the least bit surprised to see, also is rooted in interactions with humans and human society. Again though, that doesn't feel like a new level of hostility and I couldn't feel any newness or hightened hostility from what a lot of people feel every day, either when faced with too much human and society interaction or too little. It wasn't even the hostility that Stephen King was/is the top at incorporating, the low-level dread of things being "normal" but just off enough to trip your brain up and make your stomach clench. It felt like it was presented as a "oh, so all that's totally normal," and so while a concern, it's on par with walking into a spiderweb and trying to make sure the little house spider isn't now on you as opposed to walking into a spiderweb and finding you're now covered with giant, terrifying spiders who consider you a perfect meal. Even the climate disaster portrayed wasn't on par with Snowpiercer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowpiercer) but was shown as a few steps above what we have now. Not to minimize the climate changes we're seeing today, but it didn't set off "THIS IS HORRIBLE, HOW COULD PEOPLE SURVIVE?!?" bells. It barely even made sense, based on the description of the changes provided, why people would say "Screw this, I'm going Underground to be safe!" especially when later in the book, Jesse, their sister, and so most likely others, were clearly living above those Underground and while there was serious degredation to lifestyle, it honestly still sounded better than what pioneers faced.

As for the tale and quest, as I said above, they didn't do it for me. The fairy tales were nice and decently written, but as with so much else about this book, they were just there. They didn't seem more than vaugely (if even that) inspired by issues, dangers, or events during Jesse's journey and they didn't seem to add anything to anything. They didn't even seem to reflect the possibilitiy of what was offhandedly thrown in towards the end of the book, which I shall not discuss here, because spoilers. The "or die trying" bit of the description, while not a complete lie, seems to deal more with ... oooh, I almost gave into spoilers. 

Maybe this is more of a reflection on me than on the book, but I didn't connect with the characters, their world, or the point of this story. At all. I barely even connected with Doggo and trust me, that should be ringing warning bells to you, if you know me. That Doggo became a kind of guiding beacon, a reason to do something besides give up and die didn't even really reach me on an emotional level, although I think a lot of dog or pet owners, myself included, can identify with that in our own lives. I won't delve into Doggo's other aspects or what happens to him, because again spoilers.

Can I just say that the denouement of this story really didn't do it for me? I can't get into it too much becase again, spoilers, but it was just so unrealistic to me, that I am ashamed I almost wrapped this review without mentioning it. To have [blank] just [blank-ity blank] out of all the [blanks] along the [blank-ity blank] possibilities is just not good. [Blank] might have been [blanking] around looking for [blank] but the probabilities seem just so miniscule that I honestly can't believe an editor didn't circle this in red ink with the annotation of "Really?! That's how you have [blank and blank] [blank]?!"
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Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales.

A story set in a post-apocalyptic world based on climate change you say and added Fairy Tales, while I am self-isolating due to a global pandemic... sign me up! 

I think the book was great. I have to admit that I enjoyed the added Fairy Tales more than the bigger story about the protagonist, Jesse Vanderchuck. To be honest I didn’t like that fact that she was “telling” the fairy tales, coming from her for some reason I just couldn’t get it to fit. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of doggo, he was just so unnecessarily gross. 

Overall, I did enjoy reading the book and I can safely say that this has been the most unique book I’ve read all year. I am looking forward to reading more from the author. 

* 3.7
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is exactly as its name describes. It is a doomsday book of fairy tales. Set in the future in a world uninhabitable by humans Jesse and his family take to the underground in order to survive.

This book had a couple issues for me that made it difficult for me personally to get into....

The writings was very fanciful and descriptive however it made it difficult for me to feel any personal connection at all with Jesse. When he met the talking dog I was so excited but then the writing made the dog unnecessarily gross (like I finally have a character to bond with and then the detailed writing of some things was toooo far and I got grossed out again)...

The fairytales were interwoven throughout the second half of the book which was a bit more interesting. To me it seemed like Jesse was fabricating all these stories and adventures rather than actually going on them which was interesting to read. 

Overall if you like dystopian post apocalyptic books this might interest you! I just personally prefer more positive emotional ties to characters. Like I need some good things to happen or some redeeming qualities to feel connected to the story and want to keep going. But this story is definitely unlike anything else I’ve read!
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The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales tells the story of Jesse and his family. The book is set in a dystopion future where the earth has become uninhabitable, because humans destroyed the climate. For this reason, people now live underground. When Jesse's little sister, Olivia, runs away, Jesse meets a talking dog and decides to look above ground for his sister. Jesse is battling with illness and the climate during this adventure. Jesse tells fairy tales during his adventure.

Honestly, this book was just not for me. The story was okay and the world building was good, but the whole dystopian future with humans destroying the climate is just a bit too close to home for me. I usually enjoy dystopian settings, but for some reason this book just didn't really hook me. I was a bit lost on the plot too.
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A very realistic and human account of society collapsing and moving underground following a climate apocalypse. Interspersed with nostalgia-inducing fairy tales that fit the novel so well.

Jesse Vanderchuck, his sister, and his mother have fled their farm in the rural areas outside of Toronto for a make-shift society in the Toronto underground. I was entirely wrapt until around 60% when you kind of get to the point where you're like, ok, we get it, it's the end of days - now what Jesse? But at the same time, Jesse is such a storyteller that I can't fully believe that he actually made it out of the underground and that the back 1/2 of the novel isn't just another one of Jesse's stories. That is something to be decided by each reader I imagine.

The fairy tales interspersed throughout are ones unique to the story and are perfectly timed. It's like - life is shit, hungry, sick, lonely - here's a nice fairy tale.

I don't think the average rating for this novel properly reflects within. This is a damn good post-apocalyptic book. I have to say for myself though - if I make it through the first wave, if something like this was to happen - I would definitely not move to an underground.
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I could not finish this book.  What I was able to read was interesting and well-written, but it's all too much right now.  If the world were different at the end of 2020-beginning of 2021, I might have finished it and been able to give a better review, Unfortunately, right now is a bad time for post-apocalyptic fiction.  Maybe I'll try again in a couple of years and be able to give it a true review.
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Thank you to the publisher for giving me an eARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This, unfortunately, was not for me. Which is a shame because the post-apocalyptic world and the fairytales made it sound exactly like it would be.

First of all, I would say this needs a content warning. I read the first half of the book in like a day, curious about where the author was going with it. I enjoyed the presence of the talking dog even if for some reason the author tried their hardest to make him as disgusting as possible (I mean, seriously). But then the thing happened and it took me two weeks to force myself to pick it up again.

But if that was my only issue with this story I would have forgiven it. My real problem was that nothing really seemed to lead to anything. The fairytales lacked any real substance and I thought at least they would be relevant to what was happening in some way, especially because there was a hint early on where the doctor seemed to resemble a character from the stories, but nothing came of it. Unless there was some hidden meaning that went right over my head for some reason, they were just there for Jesse to pass the time.

Thoughts on the ending have been included with a spoiler tag in the goodreads version of this review.

Honestly, there were so many interesting threads that were put in place that could have made for such a great story. I equally loved and was horrified by some of the things people did post-apoc to survive and I commend the creativity. It was why I was initially taken by this story. Unfortunately, the book as a whole was not a satisfying experience for me.
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I got a copy of 'The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales Emily Brewes' from Netgalley in return of an honest opinion, and this is what I think about the book.
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The story is set in a world post the climate collapse. It is the story of a Jesse Vanderchuck who fled the growing climate disaster to live out her remaining days in the Underground with her mother and sister, Olivia. They survived by picking through trash heaps in Toronto’s abandoned subway tunnels, living but barely.
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Olivia, never being onboard with leaving their father behind, runs away leaving Jesse with her mother. But after the death of her mother and spending decades in the Underground, Jesse decides to leave. The lonely existence gets to her, and she decides to find out what happened to her sister out in the world which had collapsed. It is then that she meets a talking dog who becomes her only companion. 
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They set out on a journey out of the Underground while along the way, Jesse spins a series of fairy tales from memory to pass the time and to ignore the gnawing hunger. Will she find Olivia, and what will she find when she leaves the Underground?
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What I liked about the tale was the setting and the way the author wove it around a few characters. You could feel the loneliness of Jesse. You got invested in her adventure and fairy tales. It was a different kind of a read, one that I found quite intriguing. It was also strange reading it during a pandemic. 
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There was an uncanny feeling at the back of my mind while reading this, which kept making me feel that this could happen to us. Yes, even though the story was set in a dystopian future, somehow it felt very believable and real.
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It was good with an exciting premise. Check it out if you feel it's something you would like.
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I loved the cover art and synopsis. Plus, the title is definitely intriguing. I started the book with high hopes but my initial enthusiasm started to wane. I found the pacing uneven and the story meandering and slightly unfocused. My immersion followed sinusoid. All told, a solid book, but not the one I will recommend to everyone.
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DNF at 15%.

Just couldn't get into the writing unfortunately. Leaving an average rating as I this is just an issue of personal preference, and not a fault of the book itself.
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Book Review: The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales
Author: Emily Brewes
Publisher: Dundurm Press
Publication Date: June 8, 2021
Review Date: January 16, 2021

From the blurb:
“An astounding tale about a dangerous quest in an eerie post–climate collapse world.

A long time ago, the Vanderchucks fled the growing climate disaster and followed their neighbours into the Underground. Jesse Vanderchuck thought it was the end. Of the world. Of life. Eventually, Jesse’s little sister, Olivia, ran away and Jesse started picking through trash heaps in Toronto’s abandoned subway tunnels. Day in, day out.

Then, years later, Jesse meets a talking dog.

Fighting illness and the hostile world aboveground, Jesse and Doggo embark on a fool’s errand to find Olivia — or die trying. Along the way, Jesse spins a series of fairy tales from threads of memories, weaving together the past, present, and future into stories of brave girls, of cunning lads, of love in the face of wickedness, and of hope in the midst of despair.”
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I was initially drawn to reading this book because I read the words in the blurb: “Jesse meets a talking dog.”

That’s all it took for me. I realized about half way through the book that the interspersed telling of fairy tales reminded me of The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights.

The dystopian part of the book was quite depressing. Life in the Underground, working the scrap heap. I can see how we’ll get there, and am grateful that I’ll be long gone before it gets to that. 

I loved the book because of the fairy tales. The book is worth reading because of that. The rest of the dystopian plot, it wasn’t for me. However, the writing in the book is gorgeous. The imagery is sublime. The characters are well done. The plot is perfect, despite me not caring to read any more dystopian novels.

What especially impressed me was the fairy tales, the tales themselves, and how they were interspersed with the story. I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to Dundurm Press for allowing me early access to this book. Best of luck to the author, Emily Brewes.

This review will be posted on NetGalley and Goodreads.

#netgalley #thedoomsdaybookoffairytales #dundurmpress #emilybrewes #dystopian #fairytales
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I have read a lot of post apocalyptic fiction and The Doomsday Book of Fairytales certainly earns its place as a superb work of the genre. 

It opens with Jesse Vanderchuck along with his mother and sister, Olivia, venturing to live Underground with a community if survivors escaping the pending downfall of humanity due to climate change. Years later, Jesse and his dog, Doggo, leave the community in search of his sister who had left some time earlier. Along the way, Jesse regales his dog with made of fairytales that loosely weave memories of his own life. 

Brewes’ writing is both engaging and quick witted. This book was an absolute joy to read and a nice change from typical apocalyptic novels. Highly recommended for both fans of fairytales and apocalyptic/climate fiction alike.
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The Doomsday Book of Fairy Tales is a melancholy little tale about a dystopian future. This story follows Jesse. He's been living underground for a long period of time and one day he finds a talking dog. This talking dog is named Doggo. 

Jesse and Doggo's bond is adorable and their conversations and companionship throughout this story is so sweet. Doggo refers to Jesse as the food bringer, which is how my dog Alfie would probably refer to me. It really captures the character of a dog. 

Jesse becomes poorly at some point and is banished from.the underground, forcing he and Doggo above ground. Jesse realises the weather is worse than he remembered. His only solace is to tell fairytales to himself and Doggo. 

What he doesn't remember, he makes up and it's so sweet. He and Doggo have such a sweet bond and it's obvious they love one another and the ending actually had me tearing up. 

This is a beautiful but sad tale and it left me feeling like hugging my own idiot dog.
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I chose to DNF this book after reading about 10 to 15%.

I try to avoid reviews before I read a new book so that someone else's opinion doesn't sway my view and enjoyment of the book but as I was reading 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐷𝑜𝑜𝑚𝑠𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝐵𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑜𝑓 𝐹𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑦𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑠, something didn't feel right with the book and I broke my cardinal rule and checked reviews.

I couldn't continue 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐷𝑜𝑜𝑚𝑠𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝐵𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑜𝑓 𝐹𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑦𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑠 after learning about certain events that occur further on in the book. There are character deaths that I would find too close to home along with events that occur that may cause me to trigger unpleasant memories of my own life. I had high hopes for the book and whilst post-apocalyptic books aren't something that I have read before, I had wanted to expand my reading pattern beyond the genres I do enjoy of which, as many who read my reviews and follow my bookstagram are aware.

I cannot give much insight into 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐷𝑜𝑜𝑚𝑠𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝐵𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑜𝑓 𝐹𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑦𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑠 as I didn't read that much of the book itself before stopping, I will say it seemed quite slow to get going and there is quite emotional moments from the first chapter.

I'm disappointed that I chose to DNF as I try my hardest to avoid doing that and go into every book with an open mind but 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐷𝑜𝑜𝑚𝑠𝑑𝑎𝑦 𝐵𝑜𝑜𝑘 𝑜𝑓 𝐹𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑦𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑠 was just upsetting and not a novel I wished to lose myself in.
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The Doomsday Book of Fairytales an original and haunting yet bleak shape-shifter of a novel. 

It is set in a post-apocalyptic future Ontario (some Toronto, mostly Northern Ontario) in which humanity has moved underground. Climate change has resulted in volatile weather patterns, food shortages, and the rise of new diseases. The protagonist, Jesse, is one of the many people just trying to survive. At the beginning of the novel, we get some background on Jesse's past: their mother ran away with Jesse and their sister, Olivia, to the underground, leaving behind their father on their northern property. Jesse's sister, Olivia, left the underground as a young adult. Decades later Jesse makes the choice to leave the underground in search of Olivia along with their pet dog, Doggo. The bulk of the story follows this journey, but the story also includes flashbacks to significant moments in Jesse's life. Most importantly, the main narrative is interspersed with fairytales of Jesse's own creation. I use the pronouns "they/them" to describe Jesse because their gender is never specified: this is an element that I really liked.

Formally, I really enjoyed this novel and I think it is well done. The use of flashbacks and fairy tale interludes to break up the central narrative is effective. I also liked the use of magical realism throughout. All in all, it's a very original novel that combines dystopian fiction with magical realism and fairytales in a unique and skillful manner. 

For some reason, however, the story didn't entirely land with me all the time, and I feel like the end drags a little bit. I don't think this is a problem with the novel itself so much as a matter of personal taste. 

I also didn't feel personally connected to Jesse. At the end I was left wondering, okay, what did Jesse learn from this journey? What is the message? I don't know if there is one. The story definitely explores themes like connection and kinship, particularly between humans and non-humans. Further, being climate fiction, there is also an implicit exploration of climate issues and the structures that led to societal collapse. However, I wanted these elements to be explored a bit more or teased out more explicitly. 

And also, when I say it is a bleak novel, I mean it is BLEAKKKK. And this is coming from someone who typically enjoys bleak things. But at times it felt like an onslaught of heaviness without much of a reprieve.

Overall, this is a very interesting story that combines genres in a novel way; however, there are some elements that I did not personally connect with. I would recommend this for people interested in dystopian, post-apocalyptic fiction and dark fairytales.
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