Those saying, “I don’t” would do well to stay away from The New Death. For everyone else, read on. James Hutchings delivers 64 tales and all except one would qualify as either a fairy tale or a fairy tale poem.
The New Death defies convention a couple of ways. Fairy tales aren’t exactly on everyone’s “Hot, Fresh and New” menu. Not only that, the accessibility of some of the stories are beyond the general audiences, for-all-ages quality that most people associate with fairy tales, as James Hutchings puts in quite a few that are racy, adult only stories.
Being an adult, I found The New Death suprisingly entertaining in a number of places. Hutchings has a dry humor streak that’s just laugh out loud funny at times. There’s a story where a bunch of old school monsters are complaining about their changing status and so it goes:
“These are grim days,” the Werewolf lamented. “No one even thinks about us any more, let alone finds us terrifying.”
“Things are worse for us,” said the Vampire. “Everyone knows who we are – we are mascots for breakfast cereal, puppets who teach children to count, objects of lust for young girls.”
Lines like these pepper Hutchings’ tales, sometimes in quirky places you’d least expect. It makes for a light-hearted irreverent read.
Not all tales are fun filled. Some are sad, many are ironic, and a few are plain strange. This means there’s a lot here and plenty of variety for anyone who doesn’t mind a story that starts with “once upon a time” every now and again.
In today’s fiction markets, which is driven wholly on character based fiction, I found The New Death & Others to be a refreshing change of pace. Sometimes I don’t want to care about the character… sometimes people just aren’t that interesting, whether you made them up or not. Sometimes I just want the plot to drive the story and not have to keep up with a character’s nuances… I want a demon summoning wizard to stay in his evil lane, I want the princess to be a disposable pretty face in distress, yearning for her prince, and I want the incarnation of Death to be a sickle wielding skull face. Times like that are what The New Death was made for. Hutchings’ draw is the plot, sometimes way out there, sometimes close to home.
If you’re a fan a fairy tales, then I’m sure you’re going to get a lot out of the New Death. And for those of you like me, who enjoys the occasional trip to the land of far, far away, then you’ll get a decent amount of distraction with this one and for cheap at 99 cents.