Review: “Shattered: Broken Fairy Tales” by Rabia Gale

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Rabia Gale’s Shattered: Broken Fairy Tales. I have a soft spot for fairy tales that are twisted and explored and reclaimed, so was intrigued by the blurb:

Once upon a time, stories ended happily ever after. Or did they? What if the magic mirror couldn’t decide on the fairest of them all? What if Beauty’s kiss didn’t break the curse? What if choosing a bride based on her shoe size was a bad idea?

In Shattered we are introduced to three fairy tales that we should be familiar with, but that are markedly different to what we remember.

“The Most Beautiful Woman in the World” takes the obsession with female beauty to an absurd extreme. I read this story quickly, finding in it a powerful message about not judging a woman’s (or indeed any person’s) worth based on looks alone. Beauty is subjective, and what happens when the Mirror can no longer differentiate beauty from ugliness?

“Beauty, Unravelling” sucks us into the tragic life of Beauty and her Beast, unchanged by her kiss. The spell isn’t broken, but is fading. I admit I wanted more of a resolution at the end, but the story is still poignant even with the question left unanswered.

“Lily in Winter” was my favourite of the three stories. Imagine if the Prince had found another with the same shoe size as his beloved Cinderella? Imagine if you had knowingly stolen the place of another woman? I was moved by the ending, I felt quite teary!

Things of note: Shattered is self-published but don’t let that stop you from reading it. Rabia Gale’s writing is beautiful — it is polished, evocative and clear. I know first hand how hard it can be to sell fairy tales in the current market and these stories are very worthy of publication. I will definitely be seeking out more of Rabia Gale’s work, starting with her new title Unseen.


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