Title: Fairytales Slashed Volume 8
Author: Samantha M. Derr (Editor), Althea Clare Duffy (Writer), Charles Payseur (Writer), Kathleen Danielson (Writer), Kodi Marshall(Writer), Lotus Oakes (Writer), TS Porter (Writer), Mercedes Vox (Writer), Stephanie Rabig (Writer)
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Lenght: 412 pages
Genre: Romance, Fairy Tale
As a big fan of the first two volumes of Fairytales Slashed, I was delighted to jump on the opportunity to read more. The stories were wonderful and diverse and the quality never dipped too low for my liking, which makes this the most consistent anthology I’ve read in a long time. In fact, the stories got progressively better and better, with the last story being an absolute masterpiece. I will definitely be checking out some of these writers.
Tam Lin by Kathleen Danielson– 3 stars
Somewhat weaker than the rest of the anthology, but a nice start. Anabiel was a determined and strong character, and her romance with Tamlin was very sweet. The pacing was nice, but I could really do without the repeated threats of incestual corrective rape. I don’t mind being tense when reading, but not this kind of tense.
Honor in Mercy by Mercedes Vox– 3.5 stars
I was quite surprised at a story about roman gladiators being included in a fairy tale anthology, and while I still think it doesn’t thematically fit, the story itself was very interesting. Noctua as the protector of the innocent, using his kindness to help others was wonderful to see and while his romance with Atlas the lion was only sketched out, I can imagine their life together must’ve been wonderful. The ending to the story was very satisfying too.
The Fox-Bride by Lotus Oakes– 4 stars
This was where the anthology truly picked up for me. I loved Qiu Yue as a protagonist, she was kind but sensible and was aware of story tropes. The fox was charming and delightful and their slow growth from friendship to love was well done. By the end of their trials, I was cheering for them. Unfortunately, the ending was quite rushed and completely ruined the pacing of the story.
Riding Red by Charles Payseur– 4.5 stars
This story was so funny it made me laugh aloud in a doctor’s waiting room. As a big fan of the Fables series, the almost juvenile style of humor was definitely my cup of tea. The modern pop culture interpretation of the fairy tale Jack persona always charmed me, so it was a wonderful surprise to have him included. And while the sex scene was humorous and well written, it felt somewhat out of place with its very explicit nature in a book like this.
The Nixie in the Well by TS Porter– 4.5 stars
The style of this one reminded me of the old Scandinavian fairy tales I used to read as a child. It was quiet and soothing and flowed well. I liked the kind and responsible Ida and Elfreda and her kingdom fascinated me. This story gave me such a quiet joy and I loved it.
The Sky Hunter and the Princess by Althea Claire Duffy– 4 stars
A wonderful story with a very intriguing concept and setting- a flying kingdom in the sky. At points, it felt like it wasn’t streamlined enough, and the addition of a third pov character for only one scene felt redundant. The main characters were brave and kind though, and their attraction was charming. With a bit more editing, this story had the potential to be great.
The Last Petal on the Rose by Stephanie Rabig- 5 stars
This story absolutely charmed me. I loved the characters, especially Janos and his kindness and bravery to stand up to those more powerful than him just to protect others. I loved the the slow reveal of what the war between the kingdoms really is about, and all the past secrets. And I liked that Janos was a disabled character and Roland didn’t treat him with respect, without erasing his disability. I’d love to read an entire full-length novel just about these two.
Sleeping Betty by Kodi Marshal– 5 stars, but honestly more like infinite stars
Sleeping Betty was amazing. The perfect ending to a wonderful anthology, I couldn’t stop reading. I have never liked the original fairy tale and haven’t read a good adaptation yet, but my god, this one was glorious. It made me cry repeatedly and I didn’t want it to ever end. Meg as the prince charming was a perfect combination of funny, combative, and caring. The way she learned more and more about the sleeping princess, Elisabeth, was touching, and the way she got angry at Betty’s fate was beautiful. So many lines in this story made me think about the nature of love and what we really want in life. The pacing was perfect, the ending absolutely stuck the landing and I finished the story grinning from ear to ear, joyful tears in my eyes. I definitely want to check out more of the author’s writing.