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Publisher's Summary

In the fairy tale realm of Arilland, stories are told at children's bedsides - and not the stories you think you know.

Tales of Arilland is a collection of fairy tales, presented in the magical topsy-turvy way that only Alethea Kontis can do. Discover the story of Bluebeard's first wife ("Blood From Stone"), what really happened to Snow White in those dark woods ("The Unicorn Hunter"), how dangerous the Little Mermaid might have been ("Blood and Water"), and just how far Little Red Riding Hood was willing to go ("Hero Worship").

Included in this collection is "Sunday" the original novelette that inspired the award-winning novel Enchanted, as well as "The Cursed Prince", the previously untold history of Prince Rumbold of Arilland...and more.

Woodcutter enthusiasts will rejoice at this opportunity to delve into the secret worlds beyond Kontis's intricately woven fantasy novels. If you are not a fan yet, you will be!

©2015 Alethea Kontis (P)2017 Alethea Kontis

Critic Reviews

"This collection is the fifth book in the Arilland series, which combines the Woodcutter Sisters books and the Trix Adventures, offering alternate views of folktales with new characters and ideas. Narrator Gabrielle Baker's deep, reedy voice gives earthy weight to Kontis's stories. Her atmospheric delivery, measured pacing, and empathetic characterizations work well with Kontis's prose, building a world of vivid landscapes and complex beings. Knowledge of Kontis's earlier books may aid readers in understanding the scope of these tales, but this collection is enjoyable for those unfamiliar as well." -- AudioFile 

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic Fairy Tales retold

This was a great listen. I adore fairy tales in all their forms, but especially the originals with their often dark endings. Tales of Arilland fits perfectly with the classics with new spins on Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Little Mermaid, The Frog Prince, and so many more. This was a delight to read/listen to. The narration added a sparkling layer to the author’s amazing stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unique take on Fairytales

Tales of Arilland is a collection of fairy tales set in the universe of Alethea Kontis’ Arilland series and it is the first book by this author that I have partaken. I listened to it in audiobook form and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed these tales!

I believe there were 8 more “traditional” fairytales (traditional meaning that they were self-contained) and 2 excerpts from a couple of books the author had already published. Those excerpts were the last tales in this book, and although they were well written and just as beautifully performed as the others, I did not find myself enjoying them as much. I think someone who is familiar with the rest of the series would find the insights into the characters enjoyable. The rest of the stories were really engaging. They are darker than most fairy tales we hear today (closer to the Grimm style of a fairy tale), but entertaining nonetheless. Honestly, that might have been part of the charm!

The grim nature of this collection of tales seems to gear the book towards Young Adults but I love fairy tales and believe they can be for all ages! Also, based on the tone of this book, I would say that the Arilland series, in general, is written for the Young Adult population.

I particularly liked the variation in writing style. The Red Riding Hood story was told through a collection of letters, and the story was just as vibrant and bittersweet as the others. The medium gave us insight into the protagonist without clunky language (she felt, she seemed, etc).

Another story, titled Sunday, started in first-person and transitioned to third-person. The transition was a little confusing to get a grip on through the narration but after a couple of minutes, it started to make sense. (It started as a first-person diary entry, and then suddenly the story of the protagonist started in third, and eventually, the diary entry was read to someone). This framing might be a little clearer in the print version of the book, but it was difficult to follow through the audiobook narration. But, I think this might have been the only flaw in the narration.

Gabrielle Baker breathed life into these stories! Her tone, voices, everything about her seemed perfectly fitted to the fairy tales in this book. Soothing but still emotional and vibrant and evocative. I imagine this is what it’s like having your grandmother read you fairy tales before bed, but better because she is amazing. I would definitely listen to other books narrated by her!

All in all, this book was entertaining and worth the time to listen. Alethea Kontis has a great way of re-spinning fairy tales into recognizable but very different stories. Gabrielle Baker is a talented voice actor and perfectly suited for this book.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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The dark side of fairy tales

Beautifully written book. I've always loved the retelling of familiar stories. Some of these are just a little too dark for my taste, but I enjoyed most of them immensely.

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Fairytales with chills

The stories in this book are not wore away in the retelling into magical children's bedtime tales. They are sweet and bitter. I found myself enamored by the good and ill deeds of the characters.

Thanks to the author for bringing some darkness back to make the light that much sweeter.

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I am Mesmerized....or should I say "AletheaTized"

What made the experience of listening to Tales of Arilland the most enjoyable?

The writing of course... the stories were different and brilliant. And Gabrielle. OH MY WORD. I'd listen to her read the book of Numbers

Have you listened to any of Gabrielle Baker’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

It's possible but I'm not sure.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did listen to it all in one setting. =0)

Any additional comments?

What do you get when you mix the dreamy voice of Gabrielle Baker and the Brilliant quit witted and amusing writings of Alethea Kontis? THIS.. this Audio book. This is a MUST read/listen. I am an Audio Book Judge and have been for 12 plus years and I know good quality Audio books.. and this is one to add to your collection.
A wonderful take on Fairy Tales, these are NOT the tales from your childhood, but deeper darker tales to tell for more mature readers.
Dragons: Check
Unicorns: Check
Demons: Check
Mermaids: Check
Revenge: Check
Strong Female Characters that don't depend on men to be rescued: Check
Suspense: Check
Emotional roller coaster: Check
Dreamy Delicious British accent that is Brilliant with Character voices: Check
"Well I didn't see THAT coming": Check

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Unique and Different

What did you like best about Tales of Arilland? What did you like least?

I tried this audiobook out and had to get used to the smaller stories and the nature of the stories. They are some of the fairy tales redone in a very unique manner that was not as I expected. It was dark as I know it was meant to be. If you like that sort of thing, then you will enjoy this book. If you don't like it, then I might not recommend it. The stories were well written though I will say.

Which character – as performed by Gabrielle Baker – was your favorite?

I am not sure which character would be my favorite, but I know the narrator did a good job in regards to the voices of the different characters and making the stories come to life.

Any additional comments?

The great thing about books are that there are so many types and certain genres appeal to a particular audience while not to others.