Book Review: Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill

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Traditional fairytales are rife with cliches and gender stereotypes: beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take all the glory.
But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.
Complete with beautifully hand-drawn illustrations by Gill herself, Fierce Fairytales is an empowering collection of poems and stories for a new generation.

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I hardly ever read poetry, but sometimes some books just seem so interesting that they don’t leave you until you pick them up. This is one such book. Right from that captivating cover, this book has had my attention and when I finally had the opportunity to participate in Read-India-Thon last month during India’s independence week, I decided it was finally time to read it. Even if this turns out to be my token poetry book for the year, I’m so glad to have made the choice.

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We all love fairytales, with damsels in distress and prince charmings and evil queens – but what if each of these tales could be explored from a different perspective? What if the princesses never needed to be saved, the prince charmings had an evil abusive side to them, and the evil queens had a reason to be that way? The author takes on these questions and gives us a much more darker and fierce version of the classics like Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood etc. We get to see each of the women in these stories in different ways and the reasons for their actions. The author’s writing style is very simple and plain but effective at making us understand her thoughts and I really liked that. She also manages to tackle many important topics and themes in such few words that I thought it was masterful. I especially loved the way she talked about learning to love and believe in ourselves, to standup for our convictions, how we are complete by ourselves and don’t need a man to save us, and how we should be in solidarity with other women instead of viewing them as competition. There’s also a lot of emphasis on being both brave and kind. I thought the author brought all these messages to us in a very accessible way, even for poetry noobs like me, which is what makes this so special. Some tales make us angry, some evoke powerful emotions and some soothe and heal us – this collection has something for every kind of reader.

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To conclude, if you love reading poetry or books written in verse, you should definitely check this out. If you are a fan of fairytale retellings, especially ones which explore the classics in a more feminist perspective, then this collection is just perfect for you. It is powerful, evocative, beautiful and utterly fierce.

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14 thoughts on “Book Review: Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill

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    1. There’s one illustration after every couple of poems or stories… They are not very fancy looking but quite suitable for the themes… But it’s definitely worth a read 😊😊😊 I hope you enjoy it !!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This was the first book I read by Nikita Gill and I loved it so so much 💕 It definitely is different with the way it showcases all these classic fairytales. Loved reading your review too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s like you hear my thoughts!! I was wondering the other day, gosh I wish I knew of a book of poems. Thanks Sahi! I love the theme. Thank God for your diversity in reading. ❤️❤️❤️ loved your review.

    Liked by 2 people

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