ONCE UPON A RAINBOW, VOL. 2
SERIES: Standalone Anthology
REPRESENTATION: Various Queer Characters (more discussion in review)
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Fairy Tale Retellings
Your favorite stories from childhood have a new twist. Eight fairy tales of old with characters across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.
Coming Home by Jennifer Cosgrove – No one ever expects to be Prince Charming.
Snow Fox by Sara Codair – Jealous Queen E’s attempts on Snow Fox’s life are trending.
Deathless by Emmalynn Spark – Love means finding new ways.
At Her Service by K.S. Trenten – Dancing to her true desire.
Shattered Glass by Lina Langley – The resistance was never ready for this.
Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham – Setting out to save the sleeping princess does not go as planned.
Master Thief by Sita Bethel – He became the greatest thief in the world so he could steal his squire’s heart.
The True Love Curse by Tray Ellis – True Love would be wonderful, but the curse keeps getting in the way.
The Stories Overall
None of the stories blew me away, but a couple stood out as more enjoyable and more memorable than others — Deathless, Coming Home and Finding Aurora were my top three. I didn’t hate the any of the other five stories but they were on the lower end of the rating scale.
[Note: The numbers below are according to my own notes, these may not be as accurate as they could be, and I’ll happily take correction.]
The blurb says “across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum” but Once Upon a Rainbow largely focuses on the L and the G. There were only two aro and/or ace characters (in Finding Aurora and The True Love Curse) and the sexuality of both were given only a minor mention. There was only one character who was either bi or pan (also in Finding Aurora) and only one trans character (in Snow Fox). There were no non-binary characters or any use of gender-neutral pronouns.
Again, I felt Once Upon a Rainbow fell down here. As well as feeling very cis, it also felt very white, able-bodied and neurotypical. (By my count) there was one PoC whose race was explicitly mentioned — the Snow White in Snow Fox is Black. (I think) the protagonists in Finding Aurora were Middle Eastern but it wasn’t explicitly stated. There were no characters with mental illness and the only one (at a push) disabled/ chronically ill character (in The True Love Curse), but the illness is cured when the curse is lifted.
Coming Home by Jennifer Cosgrove
Modern-day Cinderella and Prince Charming
Snow Fox by Sara Codair
Modern-day, social media heavy Snow White
Deathless by Emmalynn Spark
Koschei the Deathless
At Her Service by K.S. Trenten
Cinderella with Dom/ sub undertones
Shattered Glass by Lina Langley
Dystopian Snow Queen
Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham
A quest to wake Sleeping Beauty
f/f (one is bi) and an ace character
Master Thief by Sita Bethel
Not sure which fairy tale this is…
The True Love Curse by Tray Ellis
Vaguely 12 Dancing Princesses?
m/m, f/f and an aro/ace character