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Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes - Lisa Mantchev, Francisco X. Stork, Leah Cypess, C. Lee McKenzie, Sarwat Chadda, Karen Mahoney, Suzanne Young, Heidi R. Kling, Angie Frazier, Shannon Delany, Suzanne Lazear, K.M. Walton, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, Jessie Harrell, Gretchen McNeil, Nina Berry, Leigh Fallon, Max I think everyone must be familiar with at least one Mother Goose nursery rhyme, children have been reciting these rhymes in the playground for hundreds of years so even if you don't realise it I'm sure you'll recognise some of them. In the Two and Twenty Dark Tales anthology some of today's most popular YA authors have come together to look at the dark side of these nursery rhymes and give us their own take on them in the form of short stories. These short stories cover a whole range of genres ranging from historical to futuristic dystopian, from modern settings to fantasy lands and everything in between. The stories also range from fairly light hearted with a hint of romance through to downright creepy and with a touch of horror thrown in for good measure.

Personally I enjoy reading anthologies as a way to try out new to me authors. I was particularly interested in this anthology for Karen Mahoney's story called One for Sorrow though and I enjoyed it as much as I was expecting to, I love Karen's writing style and the story had a fab twist at the end. As with any anthology, particularly one with twenty different stories in it, there were some tales I really loved and others that I wasn't so keen on. What did surprise me was how many of the Mother Goose rhymes that I didn't actually recognise - thankfully each story starts with the rhyme it was based on because I have to admit that there were some stories I wouldn't have had a clue about otherwise. I think my main problem with the anthology was how short each story was, I know I should probably have expected that considering how many different stories are included but every time I started to really get into a story I'd reach the end. There were a couple of stores that I didn't enjoy because the author didn't have enough time to complete the world building needed to tell the tale, these stories had a lot of potential though and could have been wonderful as a full length novel or even a longer novella.

In spite of my problem with the length of some of the stories there were still some that really stood out as memorable and didn't get lost amongst the crowd. I'm not going to talk about each individual story in this review (although you can see my opinion about them all in my status updates on Goodreads) but I will mention that my favourites (along with Karen Mahoney's One for Sorrow) were Sing a Song of Six-Pence by Sarwat Chadda, Boys and Girls Come out to Play by Angie Frazier, I Come Bearing Souls by Jessie Harrell, Tick Tock by Gretchen McNeil and A Ribbon of Blue by Michelle Zink.

The good thing about having so many different authors and writing styles is that there is sure to be something that catches the imagination of everyone who picks up the book. I'm sure everyone will have different favourites but I don't doubt there being something that you like in here. One thing I was very happy to discover is that this is a charity anthology and the proceeds from the sale of the first 5,000 copies will be donated to www.yalitchat.org an organisation that works to increase awareness of YA literature. This is a fun anthology full of dark little stories that are quick and easy to read and include the occasional shock ending. You'll never be able to look at your favourite nursery rhymes in quite the same way again!