The writer who has been called America's Hans Christian Andersen collects 16 stories and poems that draw on folklore and fairy tales to unsettle and chill. Here, Central Park becomes a carnival where you can transform into a wild beast. The Red Sea will be deadly to cross due to a plague of voracious angels. And the South Pole is no place for even a good man, regardless of whether he is living or dead.
... readers are treated to a showcase of the strange, the obscure, and the dark musings of the author’s mind. This collection of short stories and poems is pleasing and greatly entertaining. From haunting angels to origin stories of unforgettable characters, and plenty of ocean and sea life, The Midnight Circus has something for everyone. Yolen is her descriptive and wild self, taking the reader on an experience they won’t soon forget. In these sixteen stories, we see the author at her unnerving best ... fairy tales we know or think we know, told in ways that will surprise, amaze, and, ultimately, entertain us. Always beautiful, dark, and imaginative, but never sentimental, these are fairy tales for a new age.
... dark and trippy ... mesmerizing, haunting, and often not for the faint of heart. This collection teems with Yolen’s weird, folkloric verve ... Her foreword and endnotes offer additional context for the work, creating a satisfying—if often unsettling—reading experience. Although she draws from conventional roots, Yolen has a talent for mashing up traditions to create something entirely her own ... The second half of the collection goes darker, to the extent that I might suggest a trigger warning ... Not that it’s all gloom and doom. There are enough powerful weavers, witches, and revenge against patriarchy to warm the cockles of a reader’s girl-power heart.
... this one focuses on the darker side of Yolen’s fiction. Some of her devoted readers might be a bit surprised to realize there is a darker side, and Yolen herself seems to share the surprise, but those Holocaust novels were pretty uncompromising, as is the one Holocaust tale that appears here, 'Names' ... As with her earlier Tachyon collections, Yolen offers not only fascinating story notes, but poems—some published here for the first time—that reflect on and add to the complexity of stories that, like the great story traditions she so knowledgeably draws upon, are never quite as simple as they first seem.