Enchanted Kingdoms Review: Part 2

This is the second review in a four-part series. If you missed the first part, you can find it here. I completed the next five books in the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology and was pretty disappointed. Every single adaptation in this section went for the dark gritty reboot version of the fairy tale ala Fate: The Winx Saga instead of a creative contemporary retelling. They include vampires, ghosts, or werewolves, making these five fairy tales feel like Halloween horror on steroids instead of an enchanted world, as the title of the anthology would suggest. These stories encompass the rest of the ebook that is provided when you order this set on Amazon. The other ten books in the series are included in a download link that is provided at the end. Hopefully, those books will be more optimistic because dang, I thought I had turned cynical toward fairy tales, but I had nothing on these writers.

Enchanted Kingdoms Fairy Tale Anthology Box Set

Rumple's Revenge by Craig Halloran

This retelling of "Rumpelstiltskin" starts out pretty interesting by turning the focus of the story toward the king's lover, Luna, who is jealous of Felicia for taking her love away due to her alleged ability to spin straw into gold. The book soon spirals into a confusing mess involving vampires, failed murder attempts, and corruption. Felicia stops being a relatable character by the end of the story after she becomes selfish and greedy as a result of being forced to spin gold and marry the king. One thing I do like is that it gives a larger role to her father, who had gotten her into this situation in the first place by boasting about her nonexistent magical ability. The love triangle she has with Rumpelstiltskin reminds me of Stalks of Gold by Celeste Baxendell, but I thought that was a better adaptation overall because it didn't try to bite off more than it could chew.

Cursed Beauty by Stacey O'Neale

This "Sleeping Beauty" adaptation reminds me of Dagger's Sleep by Tricia Mingerink. Both stories feature a female protagonist who is chosen by birthright to awaken a sleeping prince who she harbored no romantic feelings toward in order to restore her kingdom. The biggest difference is that the main character in this book, Aurora, is a blood witch, who falls in love with a werewolf and must wake a sleeping vampire to save her coven. The sheer amount of horror archetypes in the book feels like the author was trying to complete a checklist of every stereotypical paranormal romance character out there, which takes some enjoyment out of the story. It is certainly a unique take on the fairy tale, but not one of my favorites.

City of Gold and Glass by Amanda Marin

This is my favorite book among the five I am reviewing today. It is a completely original take on L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz that is full of heart and creativity. The opening chapter threw me off because I didn't understand how a grim reaper named Imogen could possibly be related to Dorothy. Then I realized that Dorothy is actually represented by a young man on the cusp of death named Evander. Imogen serves as his guide through the world of the afterlife, Aeturnum, and does her best to help him return to his sick mother and little sister on Earth. For a story about death, it is filled with a surprising amount of hope. Evander teaches Imogen what it means to be human, while she helps him navigate the trials and tribulations of the afterlife. They share a beautiful relationship that I thoroughly enjoyed watching unfold.

The Ruin of Snow by Lacy Sheridan

This is by far the worst retelling of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" I have ever read. If anything, it has more in common with "Marigo of the Forty Dragons" than Snow White thanks to its murderous protagonist who is supposed to be sympathetic. Neyva Morningspell is a witch who was born into a family of heartless killers. She has killed many times for her mother and does so again for selfish reasons at the beginning of the book. When she is unable to complete the ritual every which must perform to surrender their spirits to the witch goddess, she is forsaken by her witching family, similar to Sabrina in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. She finds a group of seven friends who are cursed to turn into different animals at night and agrees to help them lift the curse in exchange for shelter from her vengeful family. What follows is a series of murders, morally questionable decisions, and LGBT romance. I had to force myself to get to the end of this book because it was quite long, and I didn't care about Neyva at all even though I knew she was trying to become a better person.

Scarlet and Shadow by May Dawson

At least this one was short. This retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" feels like a G-rated porno between a female hunter and a werewolf. It has vibes of Mr. and Mrs. Smith with the hunter and the hunted playing off each other's violent urges toward each other as sexual tension. Soon, they are forced to work together when Scarlet's friends betray her, and she and Shadow are placed a situation where they have to pretend to be lovers for their own survival. Are they just really pretending, though?
Click here for the next set of reviews!

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