The imaginatively titled Kane’s Scary Tales Volume 1 collects 4 short stories and the novella, Sleeper(s). Now, before I begin, I didn’t realise that Sleeper(s) and Snow were both included when I agreed to review this, I’ve read them both before and though I chose to reread Snow, I couldn’t put myself through Sleeper(s) again. Snow is certainly a fun and gruesome retelling of Snow White where a young girl is seemingly left for dead, only to return with some new friends to wreak havoc on her abusers. This is a dark, dark take on the classic fairy tale and it starts the collection off superbly. It’s fast-paced and was very satisfying even on a second read. Sleeper(s) on the other hand is a lot more plodding. It isn’t bad at all, it just broods and takes a little while to get anywhere. It isn’t my favourite Kane read, but still, It is enjoyable for the most part and fans of post-apocalyptic tales should latch onto it with ease.
There is a definite Se7en vibe to Sin (What’s in the box?) in what turns out to be a dark take on Cinderella with elements of noir creeping into the storytelling. It’s a pretty solid tale that I quite enjoyed, though I didn’t love it. Similarly with the Goldilocks influenced Who’s Been…? which sees a young girl on the run from her wretched home life stumble across a seemingly empty home. The story takes a vengeful turn as our young protagonist returns home with her new-found friends in tow. Claws and blood feature in a bloodthirsty finale. A fun tale, for sure.
The last tale, Giants, didn’t really work for me I’m afraid. The concept was cool but I found it got to the point where it was difficult for me to engage with it as it was just so damn silly. Towards the end, I was laughing to myself at some of the discoveries our young thief makes and for me, it ended the collection with a bit of a whimper.
Fairy tales are stories cloaked in darkness and Paul Kane has done an admirable job of reworking these to appeal to horror fans. As a big fan of Paul’s work, admittedly, this wasn’t my favourite book of his. The writing is great but the concept overall didn’t really float my boat.
3/5 deformed dwarfs from the Grim Reader.
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Sleeper(s) is, thus far, the only book I’ve read by Paul Kane. Some of these other ones do look interesting though.
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I really like Paul Kane. This collection is definitely not my favourite of his, but if you like twisted fairy tales you will probably love it.