Review Detail

Between Worlds: Folktales of Britain and Ireland
(Updated: September 21, 2019)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
BETWEEN WORLDS: FOLKTALES OF BRITAIN AND IRELAND is a collection of short stories that have been passed down over centuries in the United Kingdom. Most of these legends and myths were first committed to writing more than one hundred years ago and have probably existed via oral lore way before that. Having amassed all these gems into one book, Kevin Crossley-Holland presents these stories with a slight hand. Instead of using the originals as a jumping off point for new work or reimagining, he updates these stories with fresher and modern language, thereby making them more accessible to a wider audience.

Altogether, there are forty nine different folktales in BETWEEN WORLDS that range from one page to eighteen pages in length. They are bite-sized, so it’s comfortable to read a story or two at a time. Because the subjects shift so quickly, this is not the kind of book to be consumed in a few sittings. Some stories are more interesting and engaging than others, which makes it hard to set a reading pace. With that being said, the stories are broken up into different categories: (1) Magic and Wonder, (2) Adventures and Legends, (3) Fairies and Little People, (4) Power, Passion, and Love, (5) Wits, Tricks, and Laughter, and (6) Ghosts. Because of this structure, it’s easy to jump around and explore the topics that are most interesting to you. Personally, my favorite section is “Power, Passion, and Love.”

As a huge fan of other tales from this region, such as Deirdre of Sorrows, Tristen and Iseult, and all the Arthurian legends, I was hoping to find a bit of them in BETWEEN WORLDS. Unfortunately, they weren’t there and most of the stories that Crossley-Holland included were quite different, some even nonsensical. However, while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend BETWEEN WORLDS to someone looking for a fun read, it does offer a great deal of insight into the history and people from that region of the world. This book, overall, could function quite well as a reference for those needing artistic inspiration or those doing anthropological research.
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