04 January 2015

Myth and Magic: Queer Fairy Tales Spotlight!

Myth, magic, and monsters—the stuff of childhood dreams (or nightmares) and adult fantasies.

Delve into these classic fairy tales retold with a queer twist and surrender to the world of seductive spells and dark temptations.
The Vain Prince by Andrew J. Peters (based on The Frog Prince) 5 rainbows
Prince Adalbert was born, and spoiled by his parents, mainly his father. Became a self centered child/adult. On his 21st birthday his father, fed up with his son’s behavior decides to hold a competition to see who the Prince will choose. A hideous man comes and gives the Prince a Blue Bonnet flower. Prince is so degusted by the man he has him taken away. A curse falls onto the castle and the Prince is thrown into the dungeon. Where is finds a very sick man, that man tells the Prince and an Imp and a curse.
I really liked this story; I’ve read this fairy tale so not sure how close to the real one it is. But the author did a fabulous job getting the emotions of the troll, and the Prince.
Beanstalk by Clifford Henderson (based of Jack and the Beanstalk) 3 rainbows
Jackie lives in Utonia everyone is happy but herself, very unhappy. One day an elderly lady named Marta gives Jackie a bean for payment for one of Jackie’s paintings. Jackie just throws into the garden. And it grows. She decides to climb and finds a land of giants.  She walks to the giant village and discovers that not everyone is big. She soon finds a girl that is very unhappy as well and is insta-love with her. She then must find a way to rescue the girl.
So I kept picturing the old Muppet cartoon, Fraggle Rock while reading this one. With little people running around and giants scaring the away or eat them. But I enjoyed the author’s style of writing and will probably look up more work.
SWF seeks FGM by Allison Wonderland (based on Cinderella) 2 rainbows.
Lady Ptomaine, is the Step Mother and has placed an ad for a Fairy God Mother. But this is more for an X-rated companion then a night at the ball. This story was written in first person being told by lady P. She gives us a narrative of life after Cinderella leaves and how lonely she is. Until Bea show up, Bea is the FGM. (Yes taken from that show)
This one is full of one liners and TV show references. It was a cute sarcastic story.
A Hero in Hot Pink Boots by J. Leigh Bailey (based on Alice in Wonderland) 4 Rainbows
This is a YA story, starts out that Kevin is going to a rave with two boys but doesn’t have the money to get in. He wonders off to find a phone to call is older brother to come pick him up. Runs into Cedric, dressed in a ridicules outfit including pink boots. On the walk to find a phone, they in counter several people that want to do them harm. But manage to luck themselves out of it. While discovering young love or lust for the first time.
Ok, so I thought this was a cute story and made me smile through most of it, but I didn’t get the Alice in Wonderland correlation? I would however, like to read more about Kevin and Cedric 15 yrs later, out of college years?
Red by Andi Marquette (based on Little Red Riding Hood) 3 rainbows
Rebeca is Red, and for the few months has been helping a sick friend instead of hunting the wolves like the rest of her villagers’. Isadora is Rebeca girlfriend and is currently very sick. They decide it’s too dangerous for Isadora to stay in the village and head to Rebeca’s grandmothers house in the middle of the woods.  They call her a witch, but have left her alone until now.
The author as a great way with words, and I know there is not much you can do with this story, but so far this has been the most predictably.
The Beanstalk Revisited by Rob Rosen (based on Jack and the Beanstalk) 4 rainbows
A modern twist to an old tale, this YA story has Jake buying a present for is Stepmother’s birthday. His dad hands Jake some money and Jake heads to a local pawn shop for rare comic books. Almost as an afterthought, Jake buys her an old harp that the shop keeper tells Jake is magical if you can get it to sing. He gets home polishes it up and gives it to her. That night the harp sings and the next day a stalk appears.
I really enjoyed that this author took this story and gave it a modern, next generation twist to it. Also that it wasn’t all about the bean. Nicely done.
Heartless by Veronica Wilde (based on The Snow Queen) 3/12 rainbows
Wow, talk about a modern twist, this one has our MC set as a dominatrix club owner.  Still supernatural, though trying to pass as a normal woman, but because she is the Snow Queen there are no feelings, no emotions and no heart. Kai and her girlfriend have a fight and Kai is lead into the Snow Queen’s club.  Kai never been into a BDSM club before is uncomfortable and turns running into the Snow Queen. She takes one look at Kai and decides to keep her.
This one is the most sexually graphic of the stories so far. Not having read The Snow Queen, not sure how true it stayed to the story line.

The Ivy and The Rose by Juliann Rich (based on Little Briar Rose) 4 Rainbows
Ivy has been working for Lord Ainsworth for two yrs, one day stranger shows up and tells Ivy she is the key to unlocking Princess Ambrosia sleep. They start on a journey to the castle but once in the castle Ivy soon realizes things are as simple as they first appear.
Nice, sweet story about having to make hard decisions. I liked that the author didn’t have to involve sex or sexual innuendo to get the point across.
Goldie and the Three Bears by Sasha Payne (based on Goldilocks and the Three Bears) 4 rainbows
Goldie is a private dick and walks into a bar hiding from some bad guys. As Goldie walks up to the bar and orders he finds that someone has already paid for his drink. Going over to say Thank you, they decide to get friendly in one of the rooms available for the hour. Mischa, a bear of a man on so many levels doesn’t play around and doesn’t satisfy poor Goldie. As Goldie ducks the goons that come into the bar he jumps in a privacy booth and finds a young thing to play with.  And finally he heads to the basements as the cop’s raids the place and finds Javid, who happens to be just right.
Ok, so pretty predictably, but yet funny and quirky.  The one liner had me picture a Film Noir style MC and setting. Nice.
Final Escape by Stacia Seaman (based on The Little Match Girl) 2 rainbows
Set in modern day a druggy on the street, giving up.
Ok, I have to say I didn’t like this story at all! How can anyone glorify overdosing and dying?  The only reason I gave it a two and not a one because putting my personal predigest aside. The author did a good job painting the scenes in my mind.  Also, I’ve never read the original fairy tale so maybe this is true to it?
Sneewittchen by E.J Gahagan (based on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) 3 rainbows
Upon Snow Whites coming of age, she learns two things, one her father is making her marry a strange man and two her long dead mother was a witch. With the help of a trusted servant Snow White runs away. After four days Snow White is lead to Druantia, once Dru explains that Snow White is a power witch and that she will teach her everything she needs to know. She decides to stay until Prince Charming finds them and tries to take Snow back.
Sweet story although kinds of predictably and boring. I enjoyed once again the author choose not to include sex to make the point.
The Red Shoes by Alex Stitt (based on The Red Shoes) 3/12 rainbows
Set in 1936, James a young man trying to get out of his dead fathers shadow and into a red velvet dress.  James has to buy a new pair of shoes to wear to a cotillion being held by the Mayor for his daughter. Instead he buys a perfect pair of red shoes to match his dress. He’s mother worries about the path James is on and asks a local woman for guidance. Next thing James knows he’s dancing the night away.
So I’ve never read or heard of this story, so no idea how it’s supposed to go. However, as far as a novella, I found it cute if not completely unrealistic. But I got my HEA so that makes it all right.
The Princess and the Frog by Barbara Davies (based on The Princess and the Frog) 3 rainbows
Princess Margery has scared another suitor away. But also seems to have missed placed her girlfriend, Bruna. While looking for her she comes across a most unique frog and decides to keep it. Even though everyone says it’s poisonous.  Several days of having the frog the place staff fined a note confirming that Tokju, has indeed turned Bruna into the frog and a kiss is the only way to turn her back. But who ever does this will die from the poison.  
Sweet story of love conquering over power, position, life and what happens when you want something and enough.
The Snow King by Rhidian Brenig Jones (based on The Snow Queen) 4 rainbows
Dara and Remi grew up together and now at age 20 know they would only love each other. One day as they are off cutting trees down they decide to play with each other. While they are playing Dara feels like they are being watched but counties on. Afterwards Remi gets something in his eye. Over the next several days Remi becomes distant, cold. Then one night Dara follows Remi into the woods where a man is waiting. He tries to stop him but they disappear. As days pass and no Remi, and old wise women ask Dara to sit with him and tell him what happened. Dara than begans to tell her about the eye pain and she tells him the Troll story.
Another love conquers all stories but set in old world fairy tale with Trolls and evil men. Author gave us the right sexual encounters between the characters to keep the story entertaining without using sex as a tool to fill the pages.
Riding Red by Victoria Oldham (based on Little Red Riding Hood) 2 1/2 rainbows
Red works at a BDSM club and has felt like someone has been watching her. Walking home Red is accosted but as the person starts doing things Red enjoys they must leave. A week goes by and Red feels that it was all a dream. Red is once again going home and once again accosted but this time they are not interrupted. 
So this one is about FF sex, not much of a story line, but the author does a way with words.
Bad Girls by Jane Fletcher and Joey Bass (based on Sleeping Beauty and Snow White) 3 rainbows
Malcara and Brangomar, bitter that both Sleeping beauty and Snow White got there HEA. They decide to have a party of their own. 
So even though this one is really short, I loved the sarcastic undertone that was developed to just those few pages.

If I could say one thing about this collection, is read them a couple at a time. Even though it’s only 198 pages total. After reading the first 5-6 stories back to back, I personally started to get jaded and had to stop.  And honestly, if I didn’t have to submit for a review I probably wouldn’t have finished this. Which is a shame because there are some stories that were good, but collectivity 16 stories is too much. 
16 total novella’s overall total 3 ½ rainbows
I was curious about this collection and was glad to see an anthology that didn’t ‘segregate’ gender pairings. There is gay and lesbian content along with some very creative and well-written takes on classic fairy tales. There are quite a few stories, albeit some are only nine or ten pages long, but definitely a lot of story for your dollar. Also, since many of the authors are new to me in this collection, it was a great way for me to be introduced to them.

There are too many stories for me to break down each one, but I’ll give a few examples. There are double takes on a couple of the tales, and two of my favorites were those. The Snow Queen - and alternately the Snow King - were beautifully written retellings of this poignant classic. There was a lot of angst and romance in both versions of these, and definitely two of the strongest offerings in this collection.

I also want to mention that there are some delightful cross –dressing or androgyny stories – fave themes of mine.  The Red Shoes tells the story of a Depression era man who loves to wear dresses. Unfortunately, this story has a not necessarily HFN ending, which just doesn’t do it for me. The stronger and more delightful A Hero in Hot Pink Boots (based on Alice in Wonderland) made up for my disappointment in the other.

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if the Prince ran off with the guy instead of the girl, or the Queen chose one of the ladies of the court instead of the King – then you must read this. Keep in mind that a lot of these stories lean closer to erotica than actual true romance, so if you’re looking for a solid collection of ‘and they lived happily ever after’, this may not be for you. But I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to anyone looking for some fanciful tales to give it a try. I give it 4 lizard claws.


Post a Comment