Cover Image: Cinder the Fireplace Boy

Cinder the Fireplace Boy

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for giving me access to the advanced copy of this book to read.

Was this review helpful?

I wasn't familiar with most of these fairy tales before reading this book. On the one hand, that might have been a good thing because the stories were new to me, but it also meant that I don't have an emotional connection to them, so seeing them retold in this way wasn't a particularly meaningful experience. I appreciate the intention, though, and it was certainly nice reading about princesses falling in love with maidens and heroes using they/them pronouns. I think if I were younger or less immersed in queer stories, it would have been much more meaningful.

This collection made me think about what we change when we retell stories. This is specifically focused on adding queer and trans characters to the stories, usually without changing the story very much. I enjoyed it the most, though, when the character's identities did have an impact, like one story where the princess has set an impossible challenge that men have to meet to marry her and it turns out the reason for that is because she doesn't want to marry any of the men. When a woman meets the challenge, the princess is happy. For me, that's where retellings shine, but I also understand the value of stories that just swap in queer characters.

There were also incidences of racism that were removed from the stories, which I support. I did notice, though, that no characters are ever described as people of color. The illustrations (which were lovely) would indicate that some of them were, but it's not in the text, which I thought was a missed opportunity.

Overall, I think Ana Mardoll did a good job retelling these stories. It wasn't something that I desperately needed, but I enjoyed it.

Was this review helpful?

Very interesting take on the Grim Tales, I like more one than the others, which is normal for a collection of short stories. I think this new LGBTQIA+ was very good please send copies to Florida they will need them!

Was this review helpful?

I found this slow to get into and struggled to connect. I really wanted to love these but just didn't quite do it for me.

Was this review helpful?

Just in case anyone was wondering, this isn’t a retelling, it’s a re-pronoun-ing. If you loved the rhythms and patterns and vibe of the original Grimm fairytales, but wish they were a bit more… inclusive…, this book is absolutely for you.

Was this review helpful?

Couldn't get into its found it slow. Wasnt for me I wouldn't recommend it. I didnt finished the book.

Was this review helpful?

Actual rating: 3.25⭐

This is a collection of Grimm's Tales 'rewoven'. This book emphasized in a way the importance of using the right pronoun for a person.

I assumed going in that a lot of things will be modified from the original since it will be weird to just edit out a few then bam, "new story". I have this expectation that the rewoven tales would be sort of revolutionary. I guess my expectations were too high that when I finally read this, I felt disappointed.😓

There are lots of stories here, lost count of how many are there. There are short ones and a few that are a bit long. Some fell flat and some did leave an impression on me.

The rewoven tale for Cinderella was quite new to me. I like the additional stuff added on the plot. Also Thumbelina's story was quite fun. I also like the artworks in the book.

But there are stories where the 'modification' made was a change in pronoun or a gender swap, then the story is somehow the same as the original one. It felt like lazy writing for me.

It was a quick read at least and I read new to me Grimm's Tales.

*Thanks to the publisher for making this book available for review via Netgalley. This review is voluntary and contains my honest thoughts and opinions of the book.*

Was this review helpful?

I absolutely loved this MM romance.

Such a great book with a solid storyline and great characters.

I eagerly look forward to reading more from this author.

A definite recommend

Was this review helpful?

I really wanted to enjoy these stories. I mean who doesn't love fairytale retellings!
Me apparently.
I was pretty excited for this collection, but it just wasn't the vibe. I dnf at 30% because the 8 or so stories I'd read by that point had all been 2 stars and it just didn'r seem to be getting better.

Was this review helpful?

Definitely not what I was expecting at all. Did not finish, but seems like it should be tagged children's books. Basically just the fairy tales as is with some pronouns changed and sometimes an extra plot point. No added depth.

Was this review helpful?

Cinder the Fireplace Boy; And Other Gayly Grimm Tales by Ana Mardoll is currently scheduled for release on Jan 4 2022. This collection of inclusive fairy tale retellings also features eight original illustrations by artist Alex Dingley.

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful prince who kissed a frog, a cinder-smudged child who hid a secret, a princess who climbed a long braid of golden hair for love, a thumb-sized boy with the courage of a giant, and a valiant little tailor whose wit was as sharp as her needle. These stories and many more await you in this collection of classic fairy tales, lovingly retold and featuring characters who receive wonderfully queer happily-ever-afters! Let these new takes on the Brothers Grimm warm your heart and nurture your yearning to see yourself reflected in beloved favorites.

Cinder the Fireplace Boy; And Other Gayly Grimm Tales is a wonderful collection of fairy tale retellings missing the various forms of prejudice that can be seen in the originals. The spirit of each story holds true, with some tweaks that make them more inclusive and engaging for all readers. I like that there were some very well known stories included, like Rapunzel and Hansel and Gretel, as well as lesser known stories- some of which I do not remember ever having encountered before. All of them captured my attention and had me fully engaged. The story length of each story helped me break out of a reading slum, that had made it hard for me to become invested in what I had been reading lately. I dove into this book, and will be revisiting some of the stories again in the near future. I think readers that have always enjoyed reading fairy tales, and enjoy seeing them evolve, will definitely want to pick this up. Readers that have been put off by the prejudices and attitudes found in many of the originals might want to give collection a try to see a new take on the old tales.

Was this review helpful?

I received a free eARC of this work from NetGalley in exchange for a review.

Ana Mardoll's tales are told in the style of the Grimms but keeping to Ana's own morals (Cinder's sisters did not cut off their heels & toes, for one!) and humor (most ended happier than the Grimms) with a trans queer style all their own.

This style of the writing seems to have been interpreted as some as only a copying of tales rewritten to add queerness? I don't see it that way but perhaps I am more familiar with Grimm than others. It is written in a style that is a homage to the Grimm translation we know, very few writers pull it off but Andre Norton's Garan the Eternal own take nodding to Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars books comes to mind.

Fairytales were queer once - until Stith Thompson got a hold of them, many were! -but precious few survived, like Silence, or The Dog and The Sailor, but I hope this shows a wider interest in revival of retelling queer fable and fairytale.

Certainly it had my interest!

The art was eye-catching and I hope this is not the last in the Rewoven tales collection.

Was this review helpful?

This turned into so fun!! i love fairy stories (and retelling) so this become proper up my alley. They had been all so homosexual and queer and actual. I would really like to study longer, expanded versions of a number of them too! I cherished Rapunzel, The three Snake Leaves, and The Robber Bridegroom the most I suppose. there is 31 stories so studying them one after the other like a ordinary e-book felt tedious and repetitive so I do not advise that. one by one to experience how secure they feel could be great.

maximum of my complaint falls with how overly long the tales were however it's at the brothers Grimm in preference to Ana Mardoll. I do want xie had protected extra incapacity rep tho. i was watching for more from the author's word at the start.

thanks NetGalley for the arc!!

Was this review helpful?

Oh, man, the punctuation in that title sets my teeth on edge. It also bothers me that it's part of a series but there's no numbering for said series which, as of writing, consists of a novel and two short story collections. I suppose it doesn't matter if the books are read out of order, but there's value in knowing at a glance what was written when in an author's career, without having to research publication years.

That said, the content of this book is a lot of fun. Ana Mardoll grabbed a bunch of Grimm's Fairy Tales straight from Project Gutenburg and re-wrote them to be inclusive of trans and queer characters, while excising anti-Semitic and other questionably religious messaging. The introduction talks about how fundamental fairy tales often are to the early career of a reader, and the importance of seeing yourself represented within their pages. To that end, this book succeeds tremendously. Whether it be having the classic tale of Cinderella feature an AFAB boy named Cinder who enthralls the King's son during local festivities, to the Brave Little Tailor being a young cis woman who understands the power of marketing, the selection is well-curated for all genders, with significant disability rep as well. I was also pleased that the villains aren't predominantly female either, with a good balance of evil parents and rulers as foils for our protagonists.

Helpfully, there are content warnings (which I far prefer as a term to the oddly reader-blaming slant of "trigger warning") and guides to pronouns at the beginning of each story. While I freely admit to finding many neopronouns cumbersome and arbitrary -- and, to be clear, I strongly believe in using people's preference of he/she/they/no pronouns altogether -- this collection is helpful in rubbing the edges off of my dislike and making said neopronouns easier to assimilate into one's reading.

What I would like to see in the very near future is for stories like these to be included side by side with heteronormative fairy tales in more mainstream collections, so that young readers are exposed to how very normal and loving -- even banal!-- non-hetero, non-cis relationships can be. Ofc, that's outside the scope of this collection, which on its own is a very good step in the right direction, and a really valuable resource for the young readers in your life, especially those who don't find themselves represented in your average fairy tale. I also greatly appreciated the interior illustrations by Alex Dingley, even in their black and white versions, for capturing the charm and whimsy of these tales with diverse character personifications.

Cinder The Fireplace Boy: And Other Gayly Grimm Tales (Rewoven Tales) by Ana Mardoll was published January 4 2022 by Acacia Moon Publishing and is available from all good booksellers, including <a href="">this comprehensive list</a>.

Was this review helpful?

Told in the vein of the original Grimm Brothers tales, these stories are the perfect alternative to give to young children today, as they remove the problematic aspects inherent to those old tales and instead imbue our fantasies with diversity and love for all. The stories overall remain the same as the originals, but with the characters more queer and diverse, in worlds where that queerness and diversity is accepted (for the most part).

Was this review helpful?

DNF @ 19%

I really can't bring myself to continue this and I don't know if it was me having wrong expectations or what but when I read "new takes on the Brothers Grimm" I couldn't have imagined that it meant "basically the original story with edited pronouns and genders for the characters" and no I haven't actually read the original ones (and if I had it wouldn't have been in English) and I also don't care about trying to find the originals to compare but I feel like that's pretty much what happened here. I'm sorry but, as an avid queer reader and lover of queer retellings, this is not queer retelling. And it wouldn't be fair of me to continue reading this when I don't agree with the core concept.

Was this review helpful?

This is a fabulous anthology for kids, parents, and anyone really--it fills a really needed gap in children's lit, updating Grimm's fairy tales of all sorts (from the super popular to the extremely obscure) through an LGBTQIA+ lens while countering the originals' heteronormativity and ableism.

Was this review helpful?

Cinder the Fireplace Boy is nothing out of the extraordinary; however, it succeeded in what it wanted to achieve and that is what makes it special.

It diverges itself with a variety of modern gender roles that provides inclusivity to people of our modern times. Rallying people that cannot find themselves within the classic fairy tales, the book delivered in giving us the representation that we have been looking for.

In its core, the book followed the stories almost directly. Staying faithful with the tone and model of fairy tale — whimsical, childish, and has that cliche happy ending with a moral lesson. Albeit dark and gruesome for most of the part, I can see how this can still be something to read for a kid. Regardless of their face value, the principle at the heart of each story is a true beauty.

Within the small alteration of the stories, Ana Mardoll gave us something to diversify these short stories and paved a way for great representation.

Overall, Cinder the Fireplace Boy is a gorgeous collection of stories that I am looking into revisiting and to share to friends. A fantastical story given more life by the colourful representation of modern gender themes.

Was this review helpful?

Cinder the Fireplace Boy is a collection of classic Grimm tales infused with LGBTQ+ characters. I don't quite know how to rate this, as it wasn't was I was expecting, so I was a bit disappointed, but that doesn't mean it was bad. When I read "retelling," I was assuming it would be these classic tales told in a different way and would include this author's writing style, but the book read just like the Grimm tales with a few words switched out to make it more LGBTQ+. This is good, because I can see parents reading this to their children or young people reading it and it can be just like the classic tales. However, it also did not engage me like I was expecting it to because there was nothing super interesting about the writing. The stories are still enjoyable, but definitely for primarily a younger audience who have never read the Grimm tales before. I will say that I appreciated that there was an introduction of everyone's pronouns at the start of every story and trigger warnings as well.

Thank you to Netgalley and Acacia Moon Publishing for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I loved every single word of it, Every story was wonderful. I love seeing more representation of the queer community. Highly recommended.

I don’t know what else to write. It really was a journey. QUEER RIGHTS.

4 stars.

Was this review helpful?