Review: The Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen

The Emerald CircusThe Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

[Disclaimer: I was provided a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes.]

Jane Yolen has been a longtime favorite of mine. I guess you could say, a lifelong favorite of mine. I started reading her in middle school, I think (at least, that's the point at which I became aware of the authors of the books I enjoyed). Her Sister Light, Sister Dark trilogy, and the Jackaroo books are probably the ones I enjoyed the most. But in all my years of being a Yolenite, I've never actually read any of her short stories or poetry.

Jane Yolen has published over 300 books. And I have yet to find one that I don't enjoy. This collection of short stories, mostly published elsewhere before, were almost entirely "twists" on the traditional. The opening story about Hans Christian Andersen started the book off with a punch to the gut. I loved almost every story that followed. The one with the take on Red Riding Hood wasn't very interesting to me, and I wasn't sure exactly what to think of the one with all the frogs and witches (although I did enjoy it). I think my favorite of the bunch was the story about the island of women, where Guinevere gets her start. The story about the monk's confession did not immediately strike me as being about Merlin's birth because I'm not wholly versed in his mythology, but once that was explained (in the notes at the end - make sure you read those!), I liked it a whole heck of a lot more.

This was a quick read, as I find most short story collections to be. It is definitely one worth reading. I loved it! It's a little funny that this is being released this year, as I just re-read Sister Light, Sister Dark a few months ago. Up until then I hadn't read a Yolen book in years. It was sitting on the shelf in my bedroom staring at me, and so I picked it up and loved it all over again. Seeing this on the NetGalley roster brought back a flood of emotions. I was excited to read The Emerald Circus, and was not disappointed in the least.

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