Anthology Review by Nicole: Fairytales Slashed 7 (edited by Samantha Derr)

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Fairytales Slashed 7, edited by Samantha Derr
Authors: Andrea Speed, Asta Idonea,
Camilla Quinn, Helena Maeve, K.M. Penemue,
Keelan Ellis, Nicole Field, and Tess Amram
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: March 15, 2017

Rating: Not Rated (See review)

summary

After Ever After by Nicole Field – After her fairytale wedding to Prince Phillip, Lotte comes to realize the ending she always imagined isn’t what she expected. Then she meets Meg, a chambermaid in the palace, and begins to wonder if she’d been imagining the wrong happy ending all along.

Bearskin by Andrea Speed – A soldier returned from war, instead of a warm welcome Arron finds himself homeless, alone, and dying of illness alone in a cave. When a strange man makes a bet, Arron takes it: for three years he must live as an outcast, telling no one the truth. If he succeeds, he’ll get a life of warmth and comfort. If he fails, he loses his soul.

No Witch’s Brew by Helena Maeve – After the trenches of the Somme and a brief affair with a man well below his rank, Alistair traded the soldier’s uniform for an earl’s suit. Now widowed, all that stands between him and prosperity is his late wife’s meddlesome boy, who has gone missing. If finding him means rekindling ties with Colm D’Arsy, avowed half-goblin and one-time flame, so be it.

Lovers at the Lake by Asta Idonea – When Prince Vladimir stumbles upon a lake and goes for a swim, he encounters Dušan. The two fall in love, but Vladimir’s father wishes to marry him to a foreign princess, and when Dušan seeks help from a wood dryad, he discovers a happy ending always comes with a heavy price.

The Mercenary’s Wedding by Keelan Ellis – Princess Adeline is a princess in misery, turned by magic into something she was never meant to be—magic that also affects the rest of her family by way of a terrible malady. Determined to make her a princess once and for all, a royal decree is issued: whosoever can tame the wild princess shall marry her and become king.

The Thief’s Daughter by Tess Amram – When a thief steals from B’s garden, taking a handful of roses and vanishing into the night, she doesn’t think much of it. Petty vandalism is par for the course when your entire town hates you. What she doesn’t expect is for the thief’s daughter to show up on her doorstep, ready to pay a debt B never asked for…

Dance Away by K.M. Penemue – Queen Saffron arrives in the kingdom of Vosetis for Princess Kimberline’s birthday, but there’s no celebration in the air. Kimberline has fallen into a deep sleep and nothing can wake her. Even stranger, her elder sister and Saffron’s beloved, the Crown Princess Aderes, disappears every night and returns with ruined shoes…

In the Land of the Damned by Camillia Quinn – Once upon a time Aldo proved his worth by going into hell and bringing back three golden hairs from the Devil, only to find himself in a marriage both he and his queen despise. Desperate to regain his freedom, Aldo goes in search of his missing father-in-law—and right back to the Devil he’s never forgotten.

tropes-tags

M/M and F/F Pairings
Gay Characters
Lesbian Characters
Bisexual Characters
Transgender Character
Paranormal
Fantasy
Romance
Fairy Tale Retellings

REVIEW

Please note: The reviewer for this anthology does have a story featured in it, so we have chosen not to include a rating for the overall anthology.

Oh wow, what a pack of amazing stories, all themed around the idea of fairytales with gay and lesbian characters. There was only one story featuring a trans protagonist, but I think that was my favourite one of this collection: ‘The Mercenary’s Wedding’ by Keelan Ellis starts with a queen begging a fairy queen to grant her wish to have a daughter after having many sons. This has unexpected consequences as time goes on. However, what I really loved was the interplay between the mercenary who falls equally in love with Adeline and her male alterego Puck, before realising they are in fact the same person.

There were many gay short stories in this collection, among them: ‘Bearskin’, ‘No Witch’s Brew’, ‘Lovers at the Lake’, ‘In the Land of the Damned’.

‘Bearskin’ could have been lifted straight out of the Grimm tales. It had everything, from a pact with the Devil, to the rule of three (three years in which the main character wandered alone and clothed in the bearskin) and of course the happily ever after at the end with the one person who was able to see beneath the bearskin, and see the main character for who he was. This whole story was incredibly sweet.

I had a love and hate relationship with ‘Lovers at the Lake’. On the one hand, it was very well written and had an interesting mythology that appeared to pull from Russian folklore combined with a little bit of The Little Mermaid’s themes. On the other hand, one of the main characters willingly entered into a spell that would risk his beloved’s life if Dusan even *thought* that he was being unfaithful to him. I dunno, it seemed a little bit sketchy, and I couldn’t believe that Prince Vladimir didn’t take him to task for it.

The Devil made his reappearance again for a story of his own with ‘In the Land of the Damned’, which I absolutely loved thematically, but also the story was really beautiful. Years ago, a child name Aldo came down into the Devil’s land and asked him for three of his hairs. Now he comes back to save his father in law and finds that the Devil is in a bad state due to being separated from those parts of himself. The story is interspersed with Aldo’s dreams of himself with the Devil and has quite the sizzling scene of them together once they are reunited.

Of the lesbian stories in the collection, those included: ‘After Ever After’, ‘The Thief’s Daughter’ and ‘Dance Away’.

‘After Ever After’ was my contribution to the anthology. It’s a post Cinderella inspired romance wherein Lotte falls in love with her lady’s maid when Prince Phillip is neglectful shortly after their fairy tale wedding.

‘The Thief’s Daughter’ is a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a bit of a difference. B is just some person who’s inherited a house in a suburb that doesn’t want her, and Belle just wants to escape from her father and sisters, and uses B as a foil to do that. But the interplay between the two of them is just gorgeous. B is grumpy and Belle is sassy and the two of them are just so much fun, especially when it comes to getting either of them to admit that they don’t want to separate.

Finally, ‘Dance Away’ seemed like an interesting fusion between Sleeping Beauty and The 12 Dancing Princesses, but in a completely new and unique kingdom straight out of K.M. Penemue’s imagination. The romance in this one actually took second place to the actual plot, which there was a lot of. Surprisingly, I absolutely ended up loving Kimberline, despite her being asleep for most of the story.

You can purchase Fairytales Slashed 7 from:

Publisher
Amazon
iTunes
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords

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