INTRO (5/5 stars)
THE BLOOD OF IMURIV BY RENEE AHDIEH/POLANDBANANASBOOKS
With this, as expected, Renee Adheih’s writing was immaculate, and beautiful as always! It’s a shame that the prompt was rubbish; there was not anything to really do with it. And the BookTuber’s piece was really not my thing; I didn’t get the satire at all and it just wasn’t good. Unfortunately this knocked the rating down for the short story. If the prompt was better and there was no BookTuber piece, this could’ve EASILY been 4.5+ stars.
JACK BY AMERIIE/THE LUSHABLES
THIS. WAS. FANTASTIC. I really underestimated Ameriie’s capabilities coming into this as I don’t really know any work she’s done. But my god, I loved this! A classic take on Jack and the Beanstalk, but from the perspective of the giant! And the giant was a PRINCESS! You can really see the moral battles that came from the protagonist, from the development of the relationship between her and Jack, and the responsibilities she has with being the future heir to her kingdom. We also got a look into the Giants’ world above the clouds and how the magic worked. The prompt from the BookTuber was really clever, and worked really well. Also how the BookTuber broke down and explained the story was really good, and was what I was originally expecting with the BookTuber’s pieces.
GWEN AND ART AND LANCE SOMAN CHAINANI/THOUGHTSONTOMES
This had so much potential. The prompt would’ve been good, if it weren’t for the ‘Modern-Day Mash-Up’. It really let me down because a retelling on King Arthur/Persephone-Hades sounded amazing. The characters were not at all likable or relatable. I didn’t really care about the BookTuber’s piece either, nor did I really understand it! The format I really did not enjoy and I think it ruined the story a little bit. I was quite disappointed with this one.
SHIRLEY & JIM BY SUSAN DENNARD/ABOOKUTOPIA
Ah! I really enjoyed this one, as it was a modern take on Sherlock Holmes where Sherlock was actually Shirley. Susan Dennard did a really good job with the development of the characters; they were so immensely complex and intriguing that even though you know who the villain was going to be, you would find yourself second-guessing yourself! There’s a big battle of wits which we see between Shirley and Jim, and certain points it felt like Jim was going to help Shirley, but no! I really wanted more from this, and if a follow on ‘novella’ came out regarding this, I would pick it up in a heartbeat! The BookTuber’s prompt was brilliant however the piece fell short, I didn’t understand the ‘agony aunt’ vibe that came from it, and honestly dropped my rating from what was a really great short story.
THE BLESSING OF LITTLE WANTS BY SARAH ENNI/THEBOOKBASEMENT
I was really intrigued with this one, and I got a Hogwarts vibe from it too (with teenagers learning to harness their magic, and a female protagonist which felt a bit like a villainous Hermione!) Again, this could’ve benefited if it were longer. The twist at the end I really wasn’t expecting, and I really enjoyed it. You see the main protagonist develop and showing villainous traits such as a desire for power. I liked how the BookTuber’s piece broke down the motives and characterisations of the protagonist which I feel really improved the overall story.
THE SEA WITCH BY MARISSA MEYER/READBYZOE
I guess I wanted a little bit more from this story for it to have been a 4+ star read. I really wanted to love it because I love The Little Mermaid so much! I still really enjoyed it; it sadly felt a bit rushed and didn’t really have a lot of time to develop. The prompt was good, and the kind of stuff I was looking forward to aswell. The BookYubers piece was okay, it did resemble a teen quiz but I still quite enjoyed it; it was fluffy and enjoyable.
BEAUTIFUL VENOM BY CINDY PON/BENJAMINOFTOMES
This was gets a 5 star from simply how it impacted me and how the under-lying message was so important, and I really praise Cindy Pon for doing so. You look back into the life of Medusa BEFORE she was Medusa, and also what made her become such a terrifying creature. This story was also one of those I was expecting when I heard of the anthology. When I was younger, Medusa scared the $@!# out of me, so I found it interesting reading this and actually feeling sorry for Medusa! The BookTuber’s piece goes more in depth into the story and it’s underlining message which really complimented the story.
DEATH KNELL BY V.E. SCHWAB/JESSETHEREADER
Classic V.E. Schwab and I LOVE IT! This pulled on my heartstrings in so little pages, it was just beautiful. I really wanted this to be a full-on novel now! Following the perspective of Death was very interesting, and you saw what was inevitably going to happen, and yet still tearing up when it happened! God, it was fantastic and I wouldn’t expect anything less from V.E. Schwab; that girl just gets me! Also the BookTubers piece was really good too, it was a very daunting, heartfelt letter to Death and I was really on board. I think a lot of people could relate to this. Simply outstanding, definitely my favourite of the anthology and we’re about halfway.
MARIGOLD BY SAMANTHA SHANNON/PERUSEPROJECT
This story was so mystical and enchanting, and a really good take on the Erl-Queen. It was one of those which convinced me to pick up more from this author (i.e. The Bone Season), and although it was quite short, a lot did happen and twists happen and it was one of those grey areas where you do something bad but not intending to do so. I really felt for Marigold and her fate at the end, it also touched into how not doing anything can be as bad as the main ‘bad’ thing. I really liked how the BookTuber’s piece complimented the story by exploring the folklore and how it tied into her prompt and thus the story. This was a very solid pairing and was a thrill to read!
YOU, YOU, IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU BY ADAM SILVERA/LITTLEBOOKOWL
I’m not too sure how to feel about this one, as I love Adam Silvera’s writing so much, this wasn’t in his typical style and I found it quite difficult to follow at times. The main character was interesting and also the types of ‘drugs’ there were in this world. Overall I didn’t really feel much of the story at the end. Although I would admit the main protagonist was pretty bad-ass. The BookTuber’s piece was really good though and it was a bit of a fun ‘what mask would you have’ kind of thing and I actually enjoyed it.
JULIAN BREAKS EVERY RULE BY ANDREW SMITH/PADFOOTANDPRONGS07
Again, another one where I haven’t heard of anything by the author, but will now actively search for more of their work. Andrew Smith has a really unique and talented way of writing/portraying teens and their inner monologues really well, you could see the thought process of this kid who has this huge power of being able to bring death. He struggled to perfect it as by the end he resorts to doing the dirty work himself. It was a very intriguing read and it sucked me in, I think I read this one quicker than most of the previous stories. Sadly, I didn’t think much of the BookTuber’s piece and kind of skim-read most of it.
INDIGO AND SHADE BY APRIL GENEVIEVE TUCHOLKE/WHITTYNOVELS
This was an interesting take on Beauty and the Beast, and also from the perspective of a Gaston-like character. He was one of those bad guys that you secretly love, and in this story that was no exception. He was so clearly an arrogant and obnoxious character, but I still wanted to see things work out for him! The twist with the Beast caught me by surprise and the explanation behind it made me feel sorry for the two characters, as you could then see that things were boomed to fail. The BookTuber’s piece was interesting, as it explored how the intentions of villains and heroes are pretty similar, however the outcomes are completely opposite.
SERA BY NICOLA YOON/CUDDLEBUGGERY
This came me major ‘creepy-child’ vibes! It was a very enjoyable read and I just love how easy Nicola Yoon’s writing is. Everything flowed, especially with the development of Sera’s character and her childhood/upbringing. You could see she was the outcast and you can’t help but think that may have fuelled the ending. The BookTuber’s piece, however, was quite disappointing; I was expecting something a lot better for the final story and it kind of deflated the overall feeling of the anthology. Ending with a silly quiz-type thing was not a good idea personally. Maybe they should’ve put this one more in the middle?
Overall, this was a very enjoyable anthology! I got to experience many new authors, and also fall more in love with some favourites. Honestly I did enjoy the stories which revolved around retellings or back stories the best. My favourite was definitely ‘Death Knell’, with my least favourite being ‘Gwen and Art and Lance’. I enjoyed the stories more than I did the BookTuber’s pieces, however the concept of the anthology was really clever and I hope they do more in the same style!
OVERALL = 4 STARS!!
THANKS FOR READING!!