Random House LLC
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Before She Wakes: Forbidden Fairy Tales Kindle Edition
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Rather than tell you about all six stories, I thought I’d zero in on one. It was hard to pick a favorite in this book, but Raven Takes a Pearl, with it’s steampunk setting, is the one that was most vivid to me. The heroine, Pearl, is on a quest to recover a piece of rose quartz that belonged to her mother. So she sets out for the Raven’s keep, expecting to confront a monster. As mythical ravens are wont to do, he has collected bits and pieces of shiny things and filled the moat surrounding his keep with those glittering objects. Pearl plans to find her mother’s quartz in that moat.
When Pearl travels to the keep to face Raven, both will learn that the other is – quite unexpected! Raven is a hero that is naïve and yet not naïve. He has unexpected wisdom, yet his knowledge of people seems to be filled with gaps and Pearl presents an opportunity to learn more about how things work. Pearl is also curious about man with wings. I will leave you to imagine how Raven and Pearl go about gaining knowledge, but I think you will appreciate their methodology.
When I was reading Raven Takes a Pearl, I thought about the early scenes of the 1990 movie Edward Scissorhands. The atmosphere of the keep’s laboratory is reminiscent of Edward’s creator’s castle. Raven’s naïvete, also reminded me of Edward’s child-like interest in the world. But wings and the ability to fly are so much more exciting than the ability to give a fancy haircut! A Danny Elfman score would nicely set off Raven and Pearl’s story.
All six stories in this collection have the same vivid imagery that I found in Raven Takes a Pearl. Each tale also has its own cast of fascinating characters taking part in a compelling fantasy. Sensual, creative, rich and captivating, Before She Wakes is an eloquent collection of erotic tales of fantasy. Highly recommended!
All the stories get five stars, but my favorites were The Kelpie's Prize (lusty steampunk + Legend of King Arthur mashup) and The Dragonfly Prince--a welcome return to the mysterious and sensual biopunk world of The Ophelia Prophecy novel.
For fans of the genre this collection falls into the "Must Read-Don't Miss It" category. Highly recommended!
I did find a few typos, which is why I subtracted a star, but otherwise the stories are pretty solid and darkly fascinating. I certainly recommend this collection if you're looking to try on something new.
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