The Hinterland — a fairytale world filled with magic, violence, and wickedly beautiful promises. In this collection of twelve dark fairytales, author Melissa Albert brings to life the stories that make up the very backbone of her debut novel, The Hazel Wood. Within these pages, girls grown from apple blossoms, women in bearskins, and grooms with the eyes of lions perform a precarious dance, toying with the fibers of life. Travelers look for truth, sisters seek vengeance, and maidens strike deals with Death, whose shadow is an ever-present reality that looms over the stories’ throbbing heartbeat like an unspoken oath. A land of enchantment and nightmarish tales waits for you — but are you brave enough to jump?
I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of the stories. They were delightfully twisted and enchantingly macabre, and I was utterly captivated by the sheer beauty they possessed. The writing itself was elegant and almost read like poetry, and I loved how striking the illustrations were as well. I did find that the stories tended to collapse into common “dark fairytale” tropes, such as those involving pacts with Death, doomed brides, or trials to overcome, but I wasn’t bothered by the repetition of these classic motifs at all. All in all, this collection of short stories was wonderful and I would highly recommend it.