Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng – Book Review

Book: A Collection of Dreamscapes
Author: Christina Sng
Genre: Poetry Collection, Twisted Fairy Tales, Dark Poetry
Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press
Publication Date: 16 April 2020

Number of pages: 170

A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng is a poetry collection divided into 5 sections and featuring an array of beautifully dark poems.

I particularly enjoyed the rewritten "Fairy Tales" and "Myths and Dreamscapes" sections.

A Collection of Dreamscapes opens with "Allegra," a 5-star stunning and beautiful mythological story within a poem. I absolutely loved this one. I must note though, that the poems in this opening section should be read in order – as I realized – but you will enjoy them nonetheless.

As I said, I loved the "Fairy Tales," where Sng takes on common tales like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast and twists them all. Sng also has several different stories/poems about a single fairy tale, like Rapunzel.

My favorites were: "Little Red," "Snow," "The Girl from the Tower," "Jack and the Giants," and "The Mermaid."

"Snow," the poem on the Snow White and Seven Dwarves tale, is different from anything I've read. Sng introduces ideas such as social media into the story. That said, I felt the poem was a bit long, less poetic in some places, and unbelievable in others. Still, it was definitely a far cry from the prince charming theme known for these types of tales but still Snow White wasn't the strong woman, unlike Sng's version of The Red Riding Hood.  

An interesting take is Sng bringing the modern world into the fairy tales. Interesting but a bit jarring still. You can find this in "Snow" and "Rapunzel."

"Beauty Sleeps for a Century" is a good rewrite of the Cinderella story, however, there was a significant repetition of "but" throughout that, for me, disturbed the flow of the poem.

I also liked how Sng mixed some of the tales together as you'll see in "Cinderella," "Always a Beast" and "Living Well Is the Best Revenge."

I absolutely loved "When There Are Monsters." It’s a dark and powerful piece and easily relatable to the real world, where monsters aren't just confined to books or TV screens.

The poem "The Monsters Within" is one of the more gruesome pieces in A Collection of Dreamscapes. It sent shivers down my spine. Similarly, "Violation" is a dark, gruesome and heartbreaking piece.

"In the Tall Grass" is a full on sci-fi poem. And I've never read a poem like it before. It's interesting, exciting, and definitely different.

I absolutely loved "The Lady of the Lake," with Sng's take on it; dark but brilliant. I wish I can quote it whole.

"The Joy of Sewing" is a creepy and gruesome piece that reminded me of the movie The House of Wax.

One recurring problem for me with A Collection of Dreamscapes is that many of the pieces read as more prose than poetry. An example of this is seen in "The War of the Fall," which has a great story but is not very poetic. I also found the sequence of the poem to be a bit confusing.

I have no problem with free verse, I write in it mostly myself but when writing in free verse there is a fine line between just dividing your sentence and having poetic flow to the piece. At the end of the day, you want people to read your free verse pieces as poems not as a newspaper article.

Other recommended pieces in A Collection of Dreamscapes: "Margritte of Mer," "Concepts," "Lobotomy," "Annalise Wanders the Forest," "Noonwraiths," and "The Tooth Collector."

Overall rating for Christina Sng's A Collection of Dreamscapes: 4 stars

Originally I rated this collection 3 stars, but upon an inspection while writing the review, I think the book deserves 3.75 to 4 stars.

Note: I received an advanced reader's copy (ARC) of A Collection of Dreamscapes by Christina Sng from Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi. This review is part of National Poetry Month.

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