The actual total amount of stars is 3.69. I added all the stars that could be obtained and divided it by 13 to get an average.
I will be the first to admit: I don’t like villains/anti heros. I can’t understand the obsession with the Darkling (he’s a creepy dude with manipulative tendencies), I’m iffy on my feelings on Lada (her violence was slightly off putting but I understand it) and Kaz was okay in small doses (Honestly, I got nothing). Basically, villains and anti heroes aren’t for me. But I want to try and change that because there are so many stories with anti heroes out there and I want to be able to enjoy them. Hence why I picked up this book at my library. For the record, each short story will be given a brief review on my feelings and a star rating out of 5 (five) stars. I will also put in a little comment about the YouTuber commentary at the end.
The Blood of Imuriv by Renee Ahdieh-3.5 stars
Not the strongest start. This was about a boy, Rhone, who feels he has no place in his home. His kingdom is run by women and he feels unloved and unwanted because he is male. And he is also so very angry because he is feels all those emotions. I enjoyed this but felt overwhelmed with the amount to info crammed into this thing. It was just kind of meh for me. While I understand Rhone’s anger, the way he treated his sister was uncalled for. It was not her fault she was born a girl. Regardless of my feelings towards this story I still want to pick up more of Renee Ahdieh
Jack by Ameriie-4.5 stars
This was interesting retelling of Jack and the Giant Beanstalk and I enjoyed it immensely. I haven’t read the original but in this one we are in the mind of the Princess Giant. I related to the Princess and liked her POV. I was totally rooting for everyone in this story. It had a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. Overall, this was very good.
Gwen and Art and Lance by Soman Chainani-4.5 stars
This story was told entirely through email and text messages. It was a modern mashup of King Arthur and Hades and Persephone. You all know I am here for Hades and Persephone so I really enjoyed that aspect. However, I just felt it wasn’t villany enough. Gwen was just a teenage girl who did teenage things. Nothing villainous about that. But I suppose it could be, depending on how much you like teenagers.
Shirley and Jim by Susan Dennard-4.5 stars
A genderbent Sherlock Holmes? Sign me the heck up! I was so engrossed with this story that I was quite surprised when it ended. I wanted more. My only complaint is my own fault. I didn’t know who Moriarty was (in the original) or why he was so important to the Sherlock world. Guess that means I need to read the original. Good thing I have a collection!
The Blessing of Little Wants by Sarah Enni-3.5 stars
I’m usually a huge fan of witches and the magical stuff but I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. There was a lot I felt didn’t get answers. Like why do they have limited magic? How do people gain their powers? Things like that. Plus, I just couldn’t get behind Sigrid. Her reasoning for turning villainous wasn’t too my liking.
The Sea Witch by Marissa Meyer-4 stars
I am slowly becoming obsessed with mermaids and I have no problem with this. This was an interesting take on the The Little Mermaid. There were parts that were from the original and I appreciated that. Nerit was a villain I could get behind. Because at the end of the day, she just wanted to be loved and accepted. And who doesn’t want that?
Beautiful Venom by Cindy Pon-4.5 stars
Where has Cindy Pon been all my life? This was a fantastic story of Medusa. The added elements of Chinese lore and the discussion of rape culture was so great. It really gave a modern twist to the story. This easily could have been a full length novel and I would buy it in a heartbeat.
Death Knell by Victoria Schwab-3 stars
I so badly wanted to love this one because I haven’t read Victoria Schwab yet and people sing her praises constantly. So I was confident this would be a 5 (five) star read for me. But I just couldn’t get into this one. It was written beautifully but other than that, I don’t know. I can’t really place why I didn’t love this one because it was about Hades. Maybe it was because I thought it was about the Grim Reaper before I read the prompt, which totally skewed my thinking. Oh well.
Marigold by Samantha Shannon-2 stars
Oh man, I did not like this one at all. For one, I know nothing about Erl Folk and it was written like I should have. The Erl Fold were written as villains but there was no redemption story to make me question if they were truly villains. I also really didn’t like the main character. Bit of a hero complex.
You, You, It’s All About You by Adam Silvera-5 stars
Despite the weird title, I totally dug this one. Slate was cutthroat and ruthless. She was also a teenage crime lord that sold memory drugs. Who would have thought I would like something like that? Slate was a badass, don’t get me wrong, but I thinks he still had a lot of empathy left in her, despite the horrible things she did and had people do. This is the definition of an antihero and I am sold!
Julian Breaks Every Rule by Andrew Smith-2 stars
Okay, this wasn’t a good story. Julian was incredibly annoying. I didn’t feel bad for him or anything and his villainy tendencies was just him thinking bad thoughts about someone and then they died. How is that even remotely interesting? The only thing I liked about this story was the Iowa rep. The author captured what it’s like to live in small town Iowa perfectly.
Indigo and Shade by April Genevieve-2 stars
Another story I didn’t like. Brahm was this god awful annoying ass character. At the end, I found out the prompt was a Beauty and the Beast retelling with Gaston but it still didn’t change my opinion. Honestly, I would have rather had the whole story from Indigo because she was perfect. Brahm didn’t deserve to know someone as perfect as her.
Sera by Nicola Yoon-5 stars and my most favorite one!
What an absolutely perfect story. A gender flipped God of War? Hell yes! Fun fact: When I was really into myths (in high school), my favorite god was the God of War because my favorite planet was and still is Mars. I have no idea why but it was. Maybe it was because of the video game, God of War. Kratos is badass. Anyway, reading this story brought back a lot of good memories learning about the different gods. Its something I need to go and do again. I am seriously going to be needing a full length novel based on Sera please and thank you.
So I did like that all these different YouTubers picked the prompts. Some of them were extremely creative. It’s a fun and unique way to get the bookish community involved. That being said, some of the commentary was just…weird, for lack of better words. I would have much rather read why they chose the prompt they did. Which some of them did do but others did not. But overall, it was a nice addition to the book. I think next time something gets published like this, the prompts should be in front of the story. It would really help to know just what I am reading so I can think about it differently. Just my opinion though.