Book Review: Red As Blood And White As Bone by Theodora Goss

"Fairy tales are another kind of Bible, for those who know how to read them.”

--Theodora Goss, Red As Blood And White As Bone

In Theodora Goss's dark fantasy Red as Blood and White as Bone, a kitchen maid who is infatuated with fairy tales takes in a ragged lady she finds outside the castle after a storm, sure that the woman is actually a princess hiding in disguise.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

The only place Klara finds to express her creativity is in fairy tales. She is the daughter of a woodcutter and currently works as a kitchen maid in the castle of a wealthy baron. She could be a princess in disguise, or at the very least be able to assist one eventually. In order to prepare for the next night's ball honoring the engagement of the baron's son, Klara brings a mysterious, lovely, and naked woman inside the castle. She shows her around and assists her with preparations because she is convinced that the woman is a princess who has come to dance with the visiting Prince Radomir and win his heart.

My reaction to this novel...

I’ve never read a short story like this and I haven’t read any novels by Theodora Goss before, but I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews of her work, so I’m eager to read this novel. I discovered this novel while searching for book titles to read, and after learning the title and synopsis, I immediately read and finished it. I initially thought I had downloaded the wrong book because it only had 32 pages, so I looked it up online and unearthed it was really a short story.

I like fairytales, and I never get tired of reading about princes and princesses, witches, and other mythical creatures. Red as Blood and White as Bone is another fairy tale retelling, however unlike the customary tales of this subgenre, Ms. Goss’ novel seethes with the horror of reality and unfulfilled hopes. The ability of this gifted writer to weave rich storylines into a condensed amount of pages and paragraphs is really astounding in my opinion. The story’s progression was wonderful. This story was made sense and creative by the smooth transitions from imagination to a reality and then setting up a written tale with fantasy aspects of fate smoothly woven in. Although there is no surefire method to foresee fate, it might sometimes feel a little predictable. Although it can be random, it can also exhibit connections that may indicate what is beyond. I believe that the fact that both of these components were there is what made this story so appealing to me.

I finished reading this book in just an hour in one sitting. It’s an entertaining narrative that keeps me turning the page. Even though I knew how the tale would end, I still loved reading it and wish there had been more to it. The narrative was originally drawn to me by the captivating book cover. I initially thought that this book would belong to the history genre because it reminded me of the picture of Monalisa, but I was mistaken. It went beyond that.

If you enjoy fairy tales, it is well worth your time to read this short book. Goss did a fantastic job of magically and subtly combining realities with fairy tales. The time I invested in reading this story has been well worth it. The incredibleness of this as a short story piece is beyond my imagination.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨(4.5/5)


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