FOUR STARS IN TOTAL ****
Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.
In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.
I love a good villain. I really do. Which was why I was thrilled when my dear friend Kiah got me this book for Christmas!
Most prompts were cool, some had potential which wasn’t fulfilled, and others were just… what did you expect the author to do?
And so, I’m not going to really review the actual YouTubers contribution essays, because after I’d read the first few I tended to skip them.
RENEÉ AHDIEH – The Blood of Imuriv
This was a REALLY SPECIFIC prompt – grandson of an evil dictator kills his sibling in a chess match – but honestly nothing much happened in it and I didn’t get the full whammy of evil from it. The end was all quite sudden.
AMERIIE – Jack
I’ve never read anything from Ameriie before, but damn she can write. I was so conflicted by the end of the story as to who to root for, and I did like the dynamic between the Giant Princess and Jack, so the ending had me worried. Really good villain.
SOMAN CHAINANI – Gwen and Art and Lance
This was my least favourite of them all. I didn’t get it, and it didn’t really seem to go through Samantha’s prompt of “King Arthur meets Persephone and Hades” in depth. It was a missed opportunity IMO, especially since it was all in fragmented text messages.
SUSAN DENNARD – Shirley & Jim
Moriarty as a young boy. Of course Sherlock has to be Shirley, and it’s in an email form to Watson, and… yeah another one which seemed a bit wasted opportunity, even though it was beautifully written.
SARAH ENNI – The Blessing of Little Want
This is where a magic user goes to claim her destiny, but I got very confused by this because it was so ambiguous throughout. I really enjoyed the tone and atmosphere of it, though.
MARISSA MEYER – The Sea Witch
I liked this, but I recently read Leigh Bardugo’s Ursula retelling in Language of Thorns and that… that was so much better, so I’m sorry :S this was good but didn’t get that badass bitch vibe.
CINDY PON – Beautiful Venom
Medusa retelling which was… devastating. I loved it. A commentary on rape culture, victim blaming, set amongst beautiful visual storytelling. Cindy Pon is really a master at writing.
VICTORIA SCHWAB – Death Knell
Of course I was gonna give this 5* I mean… it was twisty, and heartbreaking, and surprising, and I felt uncomfortable in all the right ways, and it left a lasting impression. “Death wakes up in a Well in Ireland” never had a better story.
SAMANTHA SHANNON- Marigold
This was set in Victorian England and from the POV of a dickhead Victorian dude who wanted to lay claim to Marigold, who had been taken by a supposedly evil Fae queen. Impossibly frustrating, and amazing.
ADAM SILVERA – You, You, It’s all About You
Second person is always weird for me, but this was easy to settle into and the first time I’ve ever read anything from Adam. I was impressed, and it was hilarious (sometimes!) but also creepy as fuck. Kudos.
ANDREW SMITH – Julian Breaks Every Rule
From the POV of a psychopath who seems to think everyone dead. As in, he wants them to die and they do. Basically there’s an undertone of Dexter here but if Dexter had no morals. And I think it’s transpiring into something like doing it for himself, so taking matters into his own hands. I enjoyed the voice in this one even though it felt really incomplete.
APRIL GENEVIEVE TUCHOLKE – Indigo and Shade
Gaston is the hero in Beauty and the Beast retelling, as far as I could tell! It was a nice build up but the ending let it down for me.
NICOLA YOON – Sera
A female take on War where a woman’s second daughter is known to be bad, this was really cool to read. I wasn’t 100% sure about it but nevertheless ended the book really well, I think it would have done well as a novella personally. Make it happen!