Fierce Fairytales – Nikita Gill

I was given an e-Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley and the Publisher in exchange for a fair review. Many thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to do so.

Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill is a collection of poems relating to fairy tales, some well known and others not as much. However, these poems rarely talk about what happened during the fairy tale but what happened before or after it occured. For example: one poem talks about what made Gaston become a villain, making a point in saying that children are not born wicked, the become wicked due to the circumstances of their youth. This moral is repeated several different times using characters that are considered villains of their respective fairy tale.

I enjoyed reading this book of poetry considerably. Each poem, even the ones that were only a few lines, had something to take away from it. One of the big ones being the circumstances that cause someone to become a villain. I appreciated this being talked about as I have always found villains to be more interesting. Their history is rarely talked about and leads me to ponder what made them become the way that they are. Gill offers takes on this from child abuse to a broken heart. Each one leading to a sympathetic outlook on the character. And like fairy tales are meant to teach, the moral for these poems is that everyone has a story that is worth telling, if you are just willing to listen.

Gill also take a huge stance on female empowerment, something that is often lacking in traditional fairy tales. Making a point to note that women are strong on their own and don’t need a Prince Charming, or a Knight in Shining Armor. All they need is themselves, anyone else is just an extension of them, not a piece to the puzzle. She picks Sleeping Beauty to showcase this. The Princess, after learning of her fate, studies all that she can about the spell. In doing so she finds a way to undo the spell . She, after falling into her one hundred year slumber, fights her own personal demons until the ninety-ninth year when she wakes because she loves herself for who she is. Using this love of herself to replace a true love’s first kiss.

Gill’s usage of language makes for beautifully written poems, creating stories that are worth reading. However, if you don’t like retellings of classic fairy tales I would caution a reader’s decision in picking this up. These poems are all retellings in some way either from changes to the actual story to talking about events that happened either before or after a fairy tale takes place. I usually enjoy retellings and this is what made me what to pick the book up and read.

The illustrations in this poetry book are beautiful. I love that the style is sketch like but still feels like a complete piece. The variety of the sizing also makes them more interesting. Some of them cover a whole page while others take up less than a quarter. This draws the eye to them and allows the reader to see them as well as the poem/story that it is associated with.

All and all, this book made for a fun read while also being thought provoking. It’s good for people who enjoy fairy tales and those who like to read poetry, especially more contemporary poems.  It’s definitely a book I would consider buying a hard copy of.

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