on Dec. 2, 2013 :
Filled with vivid and memorable images, and equipped with the fictional warning that “effects are temporary and may be addictive,” A.F. Stewart’s Once Upon a Dark and Eerie presents tales with skillful stings appended, and a fine collection of brief dark eerie glimpses into the unknown. Haunting tragedy, lingering surprises, and short sharp shocks that succeed in being simultaneously complete and unfinished, all make for a book that can be picked up and put down at any time, a page per coffee cup perhaps. There’s a poetry selection at the end offering sometimes startlingly deep questions: “The truth shall set you free, but do you want to fly?” for example, asks if we wouldn’t rather hide in our “gilded cage;” then a well-crafted alphabet simply satisfies with gruesome fun. Short, fun reads in a short, fun collection with surprises for everyone.
Disclosure: I won a free ecopy and enjoyed it.
(reviewed 10 months after purchase)
Angela Yuriko Smith
on June 2, 2011 :
Here is a woman who loves words. A.F. Stewart’s dark gem of a book, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie is full of lovely word play. Stewart plays with words like a cat plays with prey, taunting the reader with delicate threats and keeping them held with the invisible, but irresistable, thread of a spider.
The variety of her tales keeps the reader’s interest piqued, each tale is a jewel giving a taste and a tease, leaving readers hungry for more and their imagination running wild.
From disturbing recounts of horror to wry retellings of classic fairy stories, Stewart will hold you entranced. My favorite stories were Invasion and Rendevouz on the Moor. Her imagery is haunting, she gives just enough to start my inner musings and I find myself lost in thought thinking of where Stewart’s words may lead me.
Her unplugged fairy tales spark with acidic wit and her darker stories are crafted with elegance and style, but it is her poetry that really moves me. Tapestries woven with gilded phrases and adorned with shimmering ideas that hang in the air, folded between your thoughts to return to you when the shadows lengthen like echos of whispers.
Once Upon a Dark and Eerie is not a book to devour in one gulp… it is a book to savor. Like wine, the scent must be inhaled and held in the lungs before letting it roll across the senses. I recommend this book as a reading experience not to be missed. Available on Smashwords in a variety of formats, it is a book you will return to whenever you have a craving for… something dark.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
on Feb. 1, 2011 :
If you’re expecting a full story, fleshed out and finished with everything neatly wrapped up at the end, this isn’t it. Once Upon a Dark and Eerie is a collection of snippets and teasers, short bits that hint at dark and twisted stories and characters. Some were haunting, others disturbing, a few laugh out loud funny. The book is divided into sections with an overall theme: Dark Musings, Past Echoes, Creatures & Fairy Tales, and Grim Poetry.
I haven’t been a fan of this type of work before. I refused to read it for years. I think I missed out on a lot of great reading, if this book is any indication. My only complaint is that the story snippets left me wanting more, much more. I wanted to see where the characters ended up. The very short writings caught my imagination and teased me with possibilities.
I will definitely be reading more works by A. F. Stewart. For now, go to Smashwords and download at least the free sample. Try this book. You won’t be sorry.
(reviewed 40 days after purchase)