Monday 11 February 2013

Guest Post: Alma Katsu author of The Taker and The Reckoning on The Influential Power of Fairy Tales.

 The Reckoning (The Taker #2) by Alma Katsu
Publisher: Arrow
Release date: January 31st 2013 (First Published April 2012).
Ages: Adult

I turned to Luke and reached for him. My blood felt as though it had seized up in my veins.
"Lanny, what is it?" Luke asked.
I clutched his lapel desperately
"It's Adair. He's free."

He gave her immortality.
She tried to destroy him.
Now he is searching for her.
They must not meet.
Or there will be a RECKONING

The Influential Power of Fairy Tales: Rise or Fall?

Alma Katsu is the author of The Taker and The Reckoning (Arrow Books), the first two novels in trilogy about love, magic, betrayal and redemption.  The Taker has been published in fifteen languages and was named a top ten debut novel in the US; The Reckoning has been nominated for several fantasy awards. She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband, musician Bruce Katsu. You can find out more about her writing at

Fairy tales never quite leave us, do they? The stories that we’re told when we’re young—often the first stories we here—echo in the back of our minds for our entire lives.  Some might argue that this is because fairy and folk tales are derived from legend and myth, which are themselves so old that they’re rooted in our DNA, part of what Jung called the collective unconscious.

Even so, it would seem that fairy tales are enjoying a resurgence in our popular culture lately, what with the release of several movies—Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror, Mirror and most recently, Hansel and Gretel—and here in the US, not one but two hit television series, Grimm and Once Upon A Time. Can this be mere coincidence or is it a manifestation of our collective longing for the stories of our childhood?

As an author, I understand the power of fairy tales. I drew on fairy and folk tales in writing my two novels, The Taker and The Reckoning, combining history, magic and mystery to caution readers against being too reckless with one’s heart. While the Taker novels are not fairy tales themselves, I wanted them to have the same off-kilter feel and dark, evil (and sometimes sensual) thread running through them as the old fairy tales. Little bits of folk tales—Pinocchio in the case of The Taker, Beauty and the Beast in The Reckoning—were sewn throughout the books with a light hand to make the reader feel a subtle connection.

Fairy tales are referenced so often in literature, however, that one can hardly say they are enjoying a resurgence because they’ve never left—although the trend does seem to have heightened the past few years. It’s a common device in young adult books, used to great effect recently by authors such as Jackson Pearce (Sweetly, Sisters Red and most recently, Purity) and Marissa Meyer and books Cinder and Scarlet.  And while fairy tales have long been a staple in fantasy fiction, it seems lately that more literary writers are rediscovering fairy tales. For instance, very interesting work is being done at the Fairy Tale Review, founded by Kate Bernheimer, whose 2010 anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, proved that these familiar tales can inspire great original new works.

What do you think? Are fairy tales enjoying a resurgence in pop culture, and if so, why? Are we attempting to retreat to a simpler time in our lives? Or do you think it’s because fairy tales tell enduring simple truths? Which are your favorite fairy tales, and why?


Thanks for the fabulous guest post, Alma. It's always great to have you stop by the blog!

If you would like to find out more about Alma Katsu and The Taker trilogy, check out these links:


  1. Oh I absolutely adored this post. I'm a huge, huge fan of fairytales and think they still carry a lot of power within them. I've come across quite a few that we can look forward to this year. Ther'e's a quote by Neil Gaiman (I think), that goes a little something like this, and that I think sums it up perfectly:

    “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons
    exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

  2. Love this! I studied Grimm's fairy tales with my students last year and we discussed the reemergence in pop culture.  In fact, I shared that very quote that Tammy just posted below from Neil Gaiman. I, for one, hope fairy tales continue to be popular. I'll never get sick of them! 


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