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February 16, 2023

The Scarlet Circus by Jane Yolen ~ a Review

by MK French

The Scarlet Circus
is the third volume in Jane Yolen's circus series of short story collections, with an introduction from Brandon Sanderson and Jane Yolen herself. Here, the focus is on romance, love, and connecting with others. Previous volumes include The Midnight Circus (my review here) and the related How To Fracture A Fairy Tale (my review here).

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of fantasy anthology The Scarlet Circus by Jane Yolen
February 2023; Tachyon Publications; 978-1616963866
ebook, print (256 pages); fantasy anthology

This collection has poems and short stories with ghosts, fey, and ordinary humans caught up in the extraordinary. As much as curses are thought to be foolish, there can still be a grain of truth in them. 

I laughed at the end of "Dusty Loves," once I realized who the characters were about to become. "Unicorn Tapestry" stars a middle princess with average skills who wishes for a place to belong as herself, a feeling we can all commiserate with. "Dragonfield" feels like a fairy tale that I would have read as a child in Andrew Lang's color fairy books, and I loved it to pieces. No collection of romantic stories will be complete without an Arthurian tale, and the one here was very cleverly done, with a historical air to it.

If you've never taken a look at any of Jane Yolen's novels, take a look at these short stories. Her work spans multiple genres, so there might be something for you even if high fantasy isn't your thing.

Buy The Scarlet Circus at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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