Sep 25, 2008

Nightmares & Fairy Tales by Serena Valentino & FSc

Nightmares & Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time collects the first six volumes of this comic book series, which is about a doll named Annabelle. Annabelle has had many owners over the years, and unfortunately most of them came to tragic ends. For this reason, she fears that she might be cursed.

Annabelle says,
How shall I begin this tale so you will get some sense of what manner of creature I am? I have only come to learn these things through my experiences. Perhaps then you shall learn about me and my nature as I did, in the context of others.

As these stories unravel, tiny shreds of myself shall come to light and a portrait of suffering and self realization will present itself for all to examine.
Then you can decide what I am…
…For I do not know.
Annabelle herself, then, remains mostly in the background as she tells us the tragic stories of those she has loved. This book has more nightmares than fairy tales, though there are two particularly twisted retellings in this collection – "Cinderella" and "Snow White".

I really enjoyed these stories, but they were very dark, often brutal, and full of sadness. These are tales of violence, neglect and abuse. But the collection ends on a hopeful note, with Annabelle finally being able to make a difference in the life of one of her owners. It’s to this girl, Gwen, that she is telling her story.

FSc’s haunting black and white illustrations were perfect for the story. I look forward to seeing where the second book in the series will take it.

Other Blog Reviews:
Rhinoa's Ramblings
Bookgirl's Nightstand (Book 3)


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this first installment and I hope you conintue with the rest of the series. I have the fourth one left to read and I can't wait! I saw a comic by FSc in NYC but had already gone way past my book buying limit by then. It was a small gothic tale and you should find details online if you are interested in more of her work (I think she only illustreated the first one or two collections of Nightmares and Fairy Tales).

  2. You make this sound so good, but I try to avoid very dark stories. Hmmmm

  3. Oh, I love reading dark stories, especially if they're retellings of my favourite fairy tales! Thanks for the review, Nymeth! :)

  4. Man. I am seeing so many graphic novels lately that I want to read! I am going to have a hard time picking books with the gift cards I get for my birthday...

  5. This looks really good! I like dark and dreary most of the time. I'm still not too sure about the whole graphic novel medium though. It takes some getting used to.

  6. Oooh! Sounds really cool. I wish my library had a bigger selection of graphic novels :(

  7. I know Serena, she's a friend of a friend -- soooo talented!

  8. Oooh, great review, yet another one that has me tempted it enlarge the TBR pile!

  9. once again, you're sending me off to amazon - hope you're happy now...

  10. Rhinoa, I'll definitely read the others. I read about FSc only illustrating the first two volumes somewhere, but I'm sure the other artists that did the series are great too. And thanks for letting me know about that book! I'll look for it for sure.

    Eva: They aren't as dark as, say, "24 hours" in the first Sandman book (though to be honest I don't think I've ever read anything that is! That one gave me nightmares), but they are definitely still dark.

    Melody, you're welcome!

    Kailana, I know the feeling well :P

    Stephanie: It does, but I really think it's worth it!

    Ladytink: Me too. More and more libraries are starting to have them these days, but around here it's still pretty bad too.

    Daphne: She really is!

    Bart: I hope you enjoy it if you decide to pick it up :)

    Ken: lol, I am :P

  11. I put this one on my wishlist after reading Rhinoa's review of one of the future takes place in New Orleans! This one sounds just as good. Lord knows when I'll read it though...I've been saying "oooh, I have to get that" way too often lately :p

  12. Naida: It's a great cover indeed!

    Chris, I remember Rhinoa's review too. I think that was book 3, and I can't wait to get to it. What she said reminded me of The Witching Hour, particularly of Marguerite Mayfair. And yes, I find myself saying that very often too :P

  13. I was so surprised by the third book because I didn't realize it would be so dark. It was very good though and the illustrations were fantastic.

    Thank you for pointing out about Annabelle because I didn't realize that it's a doll that ties the series together! I need to see about finding the first books!

  14. Nothing to do with this book.
    Just wanted to let you know how much I liked THE THIRTEENTH TALE, can't wait for the review. It hooked me to gothic tales :}

    Wish me luck starting Monday into the next few weeks...lawyers and a juge (scary) and my ex's lies i am sure, he is so good at it, should have been an actor.

  15. Iliana, I can't wait to get to book 3! I hope you enjoy this one just as much.

    Madeleine: it hooked me too. And good luck with everything! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

  16. I ordered this after reading Rhinoa's review. Sounds like I made the right choice there. I'm saving for the read-a-thon...thought it would be good for those "bleary-eyed hours".


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.