Note: I received this book free of charge through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My brief personal summary: This book is a collection of short fairy tales featuring trans and nonbinary characters.
The book as a whole. 4/5
I really enjoyed it. The author’s note was so touching and I think the hopes for this book were realized. Diversity in all types of fiction is really necessary so that we might all find ourselves and our potential in the stories we enjoy. The one thing at the beginning that threw me off was that these really are short stories/fairy tales. These are not long novels with in-depth stories and though that is made very obvious in the description this sometimes made me feel left hanging. Now, to the stories themselves
Story One: Tangled Nets 3/5
Wren was an interesting character. Xhie had obviously been through a lot with xer sister and there was a lot going on, but I just didn’t feel attached to xer. There was some cool world exploration, but right as I wanted to know more about xer the story was over. I think my biggest thing was there was some information about the other dragons and what happened to the white dragon that while interesting would have been better used as time to explore Wren more.
Story Two: King’s Favor 3/5
I liked this one better than Tangled Nets. There’s world building, but there’s also some exploration of Caran that I enjoyed about why nee was doing what nee was doing and why nee was specifically chosen. While I felt a bit of attachment to nee I wanted more. Caran got this amazing opportunity at the end and then it was over.
Story Three: His Father’s Son 5/5
This story was all I wanted! Nocien was the first character I really felt attached to in the book and he was glorious. We got his backstory through him remembering everything in a lot more detail than I feel like the previous short stories and I was hooked. Then, there was action, a great amount of it that really hit you and then the ending! I felt like I got the complete story.
Story Four: Daughter of Kings 4/5
This one got me right in the feels. Finndis is lovely, but there’s a past that is a bit painful. We get just enough of her history to really enjoy her victory. What a great story.
Story Five: Early to Rise 3/5
The most obvious retelling of a fairy tale in the book. An interesting retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It was short, but I enjoyed it well enough
Story Six: No man of Woman Born 4/5
Innes asks some great questions about prophesies that I admit I never thought about. I love that all the details don’t seem to slow any of these characters down. I think it really speaks to most of us who have dreamed of being heroes during at least one point in our lives. What a great story to give people faith in themselves.
Story Seven: The Wish-Giver 4/5
Short, but so heartwarming.
You can purchase No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll here.