• The Good: Timeless, modern, macabre, and lyrical faerie tales
  • The Bad: Very little; a few stories feel decidedly “eastern” in an old-fashioned way
  • The Literary: Exceptional world-building and character development in a fairy tale format

Honeycomb is a collection of exactly one hundred original fairy tales. Many of the stories stand alone and feature humans, including kings, gardeners, dancers, toy makers, or animals like dogs and cats and those who life on the farm. But the heart of the fantasy narrative follows the selfish Lacewing King, who rules over the kingdom of the Silken Folk.

In the vein of Grimm’s Fairytales, The Thousand and One Nights, Aesop’s Fables, and Animal Farm, this book is dark and rich and scary, whimsical and violent, decidedly European, but not a retelling of myths you already know. The stories are familiar yet new, nostalgic in format while providing complex characters or comparisons to events in the news. You’ll recognize the World of the Fae and the Land of Death, but ride for the first time on the Night Train and the River Dream.

I think most readers will enjoy the primary narrative, which uses the standalone stories as a means to explore the fictional universe, but I enjoy savoring each short story morsel, and letting the interconnectedness reveal itself in due time. The format allows the reader to choose for themselves, just as the lack of an explicit moral allows the reader to form their own.

Transforming the Fae into insects, industrious bees who never forget, dancing moths, or armored cockroaches, makes them simultaneously intriguing, mysterious, and disgusting—not to mention otherworldly and terrifying. The Lacewing King, with all his power, can choose to walk among us in human form, or not be seen at all. He barely remembers his subjects, much less the humans who have suffered at his hands. But in time, through rejection and defeat (particularly against the Spider Queen and the Harlequin), the indulgent and proud Lacewing King experiences many adventures that teach sacrifice and, eventually, redemption.

I also particularly love the narrative of the Clockwork Princess, built and forgotten, beautiful but otherworldly, destined to outlive humans, for without a soul she cannot follow her love to the Land of Death.

A book of magic and wonder, after my own heart. Highly recommended for anyone who still believes in fairies!

Long ago and far away,
Far away and long ago.
The Worlds are honeycomb, you know;
The Worlds are honeycomb.