A Universe of Wishes – ed. Dhonielle Clayton

I love short stories. I love fairy tales. So it was a no-brainer that I picked up this wonderful collection from the folks over at WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS and Titan – edited by Dhonielle Clayton. This is a wonderful collection of diverse reinterpretations of classic tales.

Many thanks to Lydia Gittins and Titan Books for sending me a review copy. All opinions are my own.

RELEASE DATE: 06/07/2021

STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶

SUMMARY: Anything is possible.

From We Need Diverse Books fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice.

Alucard and Prince Rhy’s relationship in V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series is finally revealed, Anna-Marie McLemore gives “Cinderella” a trans retelling, while letters supernaturally cross borders between Gaza and California
in Tochi Onyebuchi’s “Habibi”.

Close your eyes. Make a wish. The universe is yours for the taking. (from Titan)

OPINIONS: A Universe of Wishes includes fifteen wonderful stories based on fairy tales. As a whole, I really enjoyed the collection and would love to read more stories in this vein – I am a huge fan of YA anthologies so this is exactly my thing. There are a couple of stories that are set within the author’s existing universes – “The Scarlet Woman” by Libba Bray, “A Royal Affair” by V.E. Schwab and “Longer Than the Threads of Time” by Zoraida Córdova. But while they are in a familiar world, they are entirely new stories, and some of my favourites in the collection. I loved reading about Rhy and Alucard’s back story in “A Royal Affair” (hi, yes, I’m a Schwab superfan) and “Longer Than the Threads of Time” with its dark twist on Rapunzel set in Central Park’s Belvedere Castle was brilliant.

Other favourites include “Cristal y Ceniza” by Anna-Marie McLemore, predictably. This is a trans take on Cinderella, where the prince is non-passing and the narrator falls in love with him and his confidence. As always with their writing, this is beautiful and haunting and DAMN I WANT A WHOLE BOOK. I also really liked Tara Sim’s titular “A Universe of Wishes”, in which a boy commits grave robbery for the bodies innate magic. It is a stunning story of grief and falling in love featuring two soft boys. In “Dream and Dare”, Nic Stone sets up a wonderful world in which Princess Dare has gone missing. Dream, a femme-presenting tomboy (I identified with her fancy dresses while running through the forest so much) is the only one who can track down the missing princess… A beginning to a wonderful romance.

I can’t write about all the individual stories here, but every single one is unique and compelling, a collection full of hits. I definitely recommend! Get sucked into the magical world of stories by adding A Universe of Wishes to your Goodreads here, or ordering a copy from Bookshop here (affiliate link).

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