Title: In the Dark Corner, I Stood Alone
Author: Petra Pavlikova
Illustrator: Anastasia Telegina
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: July 6, 2018
Source: Free Promotion
Heavily inspired by folktales and fairy tales, this short story collection explores the lives of women who find themselves in unfortunate and strange situations. In these five stories, you’ll meet mothers, daughters, friends, lovers, librarians, queens, witches, and other supernatural beings from the tales of old.
I was pretty excited to read this collection after reading the synopsis and all the praise for this book on Goodreads, I’m always on the lookout for indie gems and absolutely love short stories. While this book was certainly a quick read, I don’t feel like I particularly liked any of the stories included, and that’s pretty rare as I’m usually able to find something I like in an anthology.
The primary issue that I had with this book is the way that strength of character for the female characters is portrayed. The book celebrates what to me came off as extreme selfishness and being ‘wronged’ in some way is used as an excuse for the characters to do terrible things. They are petty, entitled, steal, abandon responsibility, or otherwise cause harm to other people. These are not empowering stories by any stretch of the imagination.
Also I’m sorry but throwing in random mythical creatures or characters as plot devices or background decoration just to add a supernatural element does not actually make the story inspired by folktales. Placing random characters in without incorporating the themes from the original stories is just lazy writing.
This book was a reminder that poor writing can still come in a pretty package, the good grammar and gorgeous illustrations couldn’t save stories that were boring and borderline infuriating.
Strengths: Beautiful illustrations
Weaknesses: Stories felt extremely juvenile, supernatural plot devices, no real character development
Warnings: Mild violence, mentions of sex, language