Release date: January 15, 2016
Gay teenager Hart could finish his fairy tale for class if his horrible stepsiblings would stop harassing him. Talia’s depression is like a sleeping curse and may kill her if she doesn’t ask for help. Independent, overweight bisexual Sienna deals with her “nice guy” neighbor while visiting her grandmother. When a mysterious girl climbs up Rachael’s fire escape, Rachael might finally break free from her overprotective mother. Transgender Amelia is bullied regularly for her identity, but she’ll show everyone exactly who she is. Princess Rellyn must face down a dragon since she’s seventh in line and battle her father since she’s not a boy, and she’s not sure which one is scarier. An adventurous knight whisks away genderfluid Noll when all they want is a quiet life on their farm. Mermaid Astrid wants revenge on the man who betrayed her, but is confused by her attraction to the one sailor immune to her song. Asexual Myka might love Princess Lysandria, but Myka must learn to control her inner werewolf before the king marries her off to “cure” her. With the help of a witch, blacksmith’s apprentice Malcolm must find his missing prince.
I love fairytales, and the fact that this anthology contained stories all about queer protagonists was a delight. The first part is five retellings, set in the modern world, while the second contains five original (I’m assuming since I don’t know if they are retellings of any obscure stories) fantasy stories, all contains characters on the spectrum. There are gay and lesbian characters, as well as asexual, bisexual, and genderfluid and transgender characters.
The first half, containing modern adaptations have nice interesting twists on the original tale, like depression being a sleeping curse, or the ‘nice guy’ being the wolf. Then there’s Rapunzel who finds her princess on a fire escape. The second half consisted of fantasy stories, and I loved how non-cisgender/cissexual they were. Goes to show that any story can be beautiful, just that people aren’t ready to accept anything other than “normal” romance. Out of all the stories, I definitely liked Myka’s, because in addition to being a story of an asexual character, it also showed her
‘breaking’ her curse on her own, and getting her happy ending herself. The other beautiful one was that of the mermaids, because I saw that idea of lesbian mermaids being tossed around on Tumblr, and finally someone wrote that story! Overall, I loved this anthology, and the varied types of stories presented.
Received a free galley from Harmony Ink Press via Netgalley; this does not influence my opinions or the review.