ARC Review: Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume Two (anthology by various authors)

Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume TwoOnce Upon a Rainbow, Volume Two by Jennifer Cosgrove
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Your favorite stories from childhood have a new twist. Eight fairy tales of old with characters across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.

Coming Home by Jennifer Cosgrove – No one ever expects to be Prince Charming.

Snow Fox by Sara Codair – Jealous Queen E’s attempts on Snow Fox’s life are trending.

Deathless by Emmalynn Spark – Love means finding new ways.

At Her Service by K.S. Trenten – Dancing to her true desire.

Shattered Glass by Lina Langley – The resistance was never ready for this.

Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham – Setting out to save the sleeping princess does not go as planned.

Master Thief by Sita Bethel – He became the greatest thief in the world so he could steal his squire’s heart.

The True Love Curse by Tray Ellis – True Love would be wonderful, but the curse keeps getting in the way.

This anthology of queer retellings of fairytales had me quite interested, but the reality is that I was not very impressed by it. There are 8 stories of varying lengths and it would be better to get into them one by one (warnings mentioned below):

Coming Home:
Modern Cinderella retelling but from the point of view of the ‘Prince Charming’. It was cute and I loved the m/m romance. It mostly stays true to the original, swapping out Cinderella for a guy, and the ‘shoe’ is not really the thing that brings them together but a coffee shop and a phone

Snow Fox:
Ah, this one had potential – it had a black trans girl as the Snow White, but the villain and the whole circumstance are so ridiculous, combined with the terrible writing, that I was cringing hard. The story is set in modern times, with the rivalry being over Instagram popularity, not beauty. It does have a cute f/f romance, though, with a paramedic as the love interest.

Oh, this one was nice. It had Ivan fall in love with Koschei, and having to decide between duty and love. And a Koschei who was longing for an end from his immortality. The ending was expected and a little cliche, but I’ll take it.

At Her Service:
Another Cinderella retelling, but with an f/f romance that hints at a dom-sub relationship? Anyway, I am still trying to figure out how much of it felt abusive. Also, minus points for fatmisia.

Shattered Glass:
A good dystopic retelling of The Snow Queen, but the world-building was confusing and it took too long to even work out what was happening. Warning for gore, though!

Finding Aurora:
This one was my favorite of the bunch – it has a bisexual mage helping out the Prince to save Aurora. But on the way, the brambles are much more than thorns, and they have to wake and reunite a family.

Master Thief:
This was Puss in Boots, I am guessing? A thief sets out to steal the heart of his childhood friend, a squire in the nearby manor. Lots of challenges, and some sexy times. But writing was sub par.

The True Love Curse:
I would have loved this 12 Dancing Princesses retelling more if the romance had been developed better. Otherwise, it is still a good story of the true love trope.

Overall, it was an okay read, some stories were good, but some not so much.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from NineStar Press, via Netgalley.

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