|Rags & Bones is an anthology of classic stories retold with their own twists. It’s successful authors include: Melissa Marr, Tim Pratt, Carrie Ryan, Charles Vess, Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Rick Yancey, Margaret Stohl, Kelly Armstrong, Kami Garcia, Saladin Ahmed & Gene Wolfe.
This eclectic mix of stories are short stories at their best. They all have an element of fantasy about them. It was a captivating read, were the vast majority of the stories excelled. There was only one that I felt I had to force myself to read on.
My three favourite stories were:
With his life and head in a mess, he jumps at the chance to travel to his home town – Cold Corner for a family reunion. He hasn’t been one in years, normally avoiding them. But once in his home town, he discovers many copies of himself, all living different lives.
What I loved about this story is that TJ is just a normal guy, who happens to like men. His gayness isn’t made into a big revelation or issue. It is written brilliantly and is a great credit to Pratt (the author) who happens to be straight. This is the only story in Rags & Bones were any of the character’s sexuality is identified.
2. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
This story was inspired by Sleeping Beauty, so you can guess what it’s about. It is an absolute page turner, which is down to the writing and has some unexpected twists.
3. That the Machine May Progress Eternally by Carrie Ryan
This is the superb opening story in Rags & Bones. It tells the tale of Tavil the above grounder, who finds his way into the machine society below. The Machine runs everything in this underground society: it supplies the air, food, water, mental stimulation (through computerised intellectual discussions), deals with the waste, everything. Over time, Tavil becomes dependant upon The Machine, until it begins to fail. I loved the transformation of Tavil in this story.
All of the authors have great credentials. At the end of each story is an author’s note identifying which classic story inspired theirs, why they love it and what it means to them.