Title: Hansel and Gretel Author: Encalve
Source: Hansel and Gretel Character(s): Hansel & Gretel
Rating: T Genre(s): Adventure / Hurt / Comfort
Chapter(s): 1 Status: Complete
Author’s Synopsis: one-shot. A retelling of Hansel and Gretel with a little twist and post-apocalyptic-ish thingies.
Welcome Readers, it’s that time of the week for another review. Today I have a retelling of a classic fairy tale, a post-apocalyptic version of Hansel and Gretel. Interesting, right? Well, let’s begin. I am your reviewing host, the Fan Fic Reviewer; here to review the good, the bad, and those that should never exist in fan fiction.
This is the part where I normally give my version of the story but…it’s Hansel and Gretel the story has been told so many times and this version doesn’t really add much to the original. I will say that “retelling” is a loose term for this story because while some aspects have been altered it doesn’t enhance or change the original story.
I have so many points to make about the story’s weaknesses that I guess I’ll start with the better parts of the story. The writing is not the worst; it’s not the redeeming quality of the story either, but it’s about the only praiseworthy part of this story. There are plenty issues with sentence structures, incomplete sentences, tense fluctuations, and grammar, but in comparison to other stories this is not the worst.
Although, writing does not help this story. Everything is exposition! There is no emotion, no connection between the story and the Reader, or the characters within the story. There are situations that should rouse sympathy from the reader but it’s all one dimensional. For instance, the story has Gretel forced to be a whore to bring in additional income. As the Reader, I know I should feel bad for Gretel and I should be mad at the stepmother for forcing it upon her. However, I’m just not invested. I don’t know the characters and their experiences. For all I know Gretel could enjoy being a human sex doll. I assume she doesn’t but with how the story is written I don’t know if that’s true.
Gretel and Hansel’s relationship shows the lack of connection between the characters. It can be assumed that the siblings are close, but there’s little in the story to back it up. Hansel could despise Gretel and just be bound by some sense of familial obligation, I don’t know. The story doesn’t show what kind of relationship the siblings have, only that they are siblings and they stay together throughout the story. I’m not saying that the writing could have fixed all of this, but it would’ve helped the Reader understand the kind of relationship these siblings share and how they feel about their situation.
Then there’s the setting, according to the synopsis it’s meant to be a post-apocalyptic(ish) world. I don’t think the apocalypse has taken place before the story. There are subtle hints that the world has become a bit chaotic, like using ammo casings as oppose to breadcrumbs, but it doesn’t show how or why there are ammo casings around the area. Is there a gun range nearby? Is their home often near firefights? If so, why? Saying that the setting is “post-apocalyptic” doesn’t tell me why there are so many shells in a secluded area or how Hansel would have known to find some. How is the setting “post-apocalyptic?” Because ammo cases on the ground doesn’t necessarily mean “post-apocalyptic.”
Plus, if this is meant to be a “post-apocalyptic” setting then how have things changed to conform to the lifestyle Hansel and Gretel live? Has humanity returned to bartering, so if the family wants goods then they have to trade for them? Is that why Gretel was forced to sell her body? Having this undefined version of “post-apocalyptic” is leading towards more questions and is unnecessary to the story’s narrative. I think the only thing the “post-apocalyptic” setting did was make it convenient for the passing doctor to have robots to help stitch up Hansel at the end.
Another weakness is the events of the story. Anyone having heard the original Hansel and Gretel tale knows about the witch’s house made of sweets. Well, in a retelling I don’t expect it to necessarily be a witch’s house or that it needs to be made of sweets. What I do expect is that most of the action take place in the house since that’s where the two siblings were supposed to be kept prisoner until they were ready to be baked. Apparently, my expectations are lofty.
The siblings come upon this cabin in the woods (no candy) and enter it only to come face to face with a hunter who tries to kill them. The changes of the cabin and hunter (instead of witch) are great and make sense for the type of story being crafted. However, I think the story did itself a disservice by summarizing the events in the cabin in 2-3 paragraphs. It is essentially, Hansel and Gretel enter a residence and are attacked by the owner which results in Hansel killing the hunter.
It could be argued that the hunter was going to kill Hansel first and Hansel killed the hunter in self-defense. I would agree but Hansel enters the house without permission and doesn’t make his presence known and that he meant no harm. Hansel (from the story’s narrative) goes into an “empty” cabin in the woods, alone and armed with an axe. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Personally, I’m on the hunter’s side and think it was appropriate to attack Hansel in this story. An unknown man enters the hunter’s home with an axe. If anything the hunter seems to be the one in danger, not Hansel. For all I know the hunter had come out of the bathroom only to discover an armed person in his living room and freaked.
Finally, the whole thing about Gretel being whored out is an all right idea, but it didn’t amount to much. There isn’t a reason for Gretel’s whoring except to be an excuse for a confrontation between Hansel and the stepmom. This plot would have been an opportunity to bring together Gretel and Hansel’s seemingly separate tales; the Hunter could have purchased Gretel from the settlement and as he brought her back to his place they find Hansel in the cabin. Gretel pleas for Hansel’s life and the Hunter decides to keep Hansel alive only to be the “main course” for the after consummation celebration (or whatever other reason). In that kind of story, it ties in elements from the original source, brings a twist, and gives the Reader this survival-horror story.
By the way, if anyone’s a writer, feel free to take the above idea and make it your own. I hold no copyright over it.
In the end, the idea behind the story (post-apocalyptic, fighting a hunter instead of a witch, and Gretel being forced into prostitution) is good. It’s a dark idea and it works well within the original source. However, the execution leaves much to be desired. The characters are one-dimensional, the setting is forgettable, the writing dry, and the main meat from the original source is reduced to a few paragraphs.
I don’t recommend this story to anyone. It felt like a waste of time and it doesn’t bring anything new to the tale of Hansel and Gretel.