Two Dark Fairytales by Neil Gaiman

Okay so I have two books to review today.

sleeper hansel and gretel

I thought I’d review them together since, you know, they’re both dark fairytales and they’re both by Nail Gaiman and they both have pretty pictures.


Author: Neil Gaiman

Illustrator: Chris Riddell

Source: I bought it!


 A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

So first of all this is an absolutely beautiful book.

CAM00632There’s no way my crappy camera quality can do it justice, but seriously: the illustrations, the hardcover, it’s all just beautiful. It’s a perfect book for a gift to someone, or a book to have on a stand.

I bought it for myself because we all deserve presents now and again.



So basically it’s a retelling of both Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. It was really interesting how these two worked together and how something entirely new was created. There were also some interesting twists that I didn’t expect.

Though there are some more mature themes, kids a bit older could easily love this book, and of course adults as well (never too old for fairytales).

Oh and did I mention the illustrations??

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Not going to lie, the beautiful illustrations were my favourite part of this book. Sure, the story was good, but if it was just plain text, it wouldn’t have got more than a three…possibly less. So yay Chris Riddell for bumping it up somewhat.

Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties


hansel and gretel

Author: Neil Gaiman

Illustrator: Lorenzo Mattotti

Source: I bought it!


Best-selling author Neil Gaiman and fine artist Lorenzo Mattotti join forces to create Hansel & Gretel, a stunning book that’s at once as familiar as a dream and as evocative as a nightmare. Mattotti’s sweeping ink illustrations capture the terror and longing found in the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Neil Gaiman crafts an original text filled with his signature wit and pathos that is sure to become a favorite of readers everywhere, young and old.


Okey dokey so we go from beautiful black and white illustrations to…uh, smudged ones. You can hardly tell what most of the pictures are supposed to be showing.

But I didn’t come here to rant.

If you’ve never read Hansel and Gretel, I totally recommend this edition.

However, it is not a retelling as such. It’s basically just the same story with slightly more creepy illustrations and a few interesting tidbits. But that’s all they were: TIDBITS.


Ha. See what I did there?

Unlike Sleeper and the Spindle (which I read first out of these two), nothing stood out as really original or different or Neil Gaiman-esque. Plus the pictures weren’t as pretty. It’s not my kind of style, I guess.

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I did like the section at the end, though.

CAM00641It basically tells you how the story started, and how it’s changed since then. Also it talks about similar tales and other creepy fairytales…which is EXCELLENT because technically I’m reading this as research for a thing I’m writing at school.

Dark fairytales FTW.



In summary, though – not much of a retelling, very dark illustrations, but pretty good as fairytales go.

Rating: 3/5 Wonderkitties



10 thoughts on “Two Dark Fairytales by Neil Gaiman

  1. I love Neil Gaiman’s books (The Ocean at the End of the Lane is my absolute favorite) and I can’t wait to get my hands on these. Great reviews!

  2. I WANT THEM BOTH. Because….dark fairy tales are my life. I love fairy tales. I will read all the fairy tales of ever if I can. (I actually just borrowed a book called Grimm’s Grimmest. HEHE. Sounds promising, right?!) XD
    They are beautiful too, and I have a deep attraction to beautiful books. *nods*

  3. Glad to see you liked both of these Em 🙂 The Sleeper and the Spindle definitely got bumped up a notch for me as well because of those stunning and intricate illustrations, plus the twist on those two fairytales that was a bit darker and more mysterious. I agree that the illustrations weren’t *quite* as beautiful on Hansel and Gretel, though I suppose it was meant to convey a different ‘vibe’ to the story. I loved reading about the history at the end which was definitely a nice touch and background info.

    If you like fairytale retellings and novels that play on how they originated, I’d definitely recommend
    Bitter Greens’ and ‘The Wild Girl’ by Kate Forsyth. I just finished the latter recently, and it was fantastic for giving an insight into how the Grimm brothers wrote the fairytales in the first place. They’re historical fiction, but there are some extra notes, plus a lot of research went into writing them as well.

  4. Oh my goodness aren’t these books just gorgeous! I totally regret not buying them when it was the bloomsbury half price sale because i want these sorely.

    Lovely reviews, Em <33

  5. Neil Gaiman is one author whose books have been on my TBR for AGES. I actually want to start with one of his graphic novels, so perfect timing with these reviews, Em. 😉 The Sleeper and the Spindle has a gorgeous cover and I’ve been wanting to purchase it since I first saw it in our local bookstore. Definitely excited to see the art inside!

    Personally, I like the art for Hansel & Gretel, but I’m worried that I won’t like how not much changed from the original story. >_<

    Lovely reviews, girl!

  6. I’m really interested in The Sleeper and the Spindle. It looks absolutely gorgeous. Hansel and Gretel never really interested me much so I think I’ll give that one a miss. Great reviews.

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