Review: Kissing the Witch Old Tales in New Skins by Emma Donohague

kissing the witch by emma donohague

Published: May 4, 1999

Number of pages: 228

Format: hardcover

Publisher: Joanna Cotler Books

Genre: fantasy, fairy tales

Rating: older adults

Verdict: 2 hoots out of 5

Summary: 

Princesses, heroines, and villains from classic fairy tales tell stories of their work, struggle, and heart’s desires with alliances they form that are reckless, erotic, and unpredictable. Emma Donohague takes fairy tales and spins new stories told in a different style of storytelling. 

My Review:

If you love reading dark fairy tales with an erotic twist and with strong female characters then you’ll like this book. If you love stories where women don’t play the typical fairy tale role of damsel in distress and choose their own fates, then you’ll like this book. These stories are told in first person point of view of female characters young and old. They all share each other’s stories about their past and how they came to be the person they are in the present. There are 13 interconnected stories each with a feminist and mystical quality.

As with all collections of short stories, there were a few that I really liked and some that I didn’t enjoy. Some stories started out strong with a cast of confident and seductive characters from The Tale of the Shoe and The Tale of the Rose both based on Cinderella and Snow White. But there were quite a few stories that are weak such as The Tale of the Brother where the narration is hard to follow because of the character’s language, and the story left a lot of unanswered questions with an irritating cliffhanger in the end. Other stories were similar, although I did like the style of how each character shares their own story leading to a chain of events starting from the past to the present. I found the ending of The Tale of the Witch to be satisfying as it tied up the collection nicely.

Sometimes it was difficult to figure out the point the characters were trying to get across, and other times I had trouble liking some of them because they were confusing. But I still liked reading this book with stories told from the greatest villains and heroines from classic fairy tales. Every character tells their story of love, passion, power, transformation, and revenge. It’s a good light read and you can easily speed through it in one sitting. Recommended for older adults but definitely not for children.

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