Book Review: A Universe of Wishes, Edited by Dhonielle Clayton

Publisher: Titan Books
Format: ebook
Release Date: July 6th, 2021
Genre: Anthology – SFF

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Anthologies are always going to be hit and miss. Sometimes you get one where every story makes you feel giddy. More often, however, there’s a mixture of stuff you love, maybe some stuff you dislike. There’s more hits than misses in A Universe of Wishes, though it’s such a variety of stories, the misses are going to be down to personal taste and maybe previous knowledge of some of the authors. The anthology covers a wide range of experiences in a SFF context, and shows a huge amount of talent in the genre.

I won’t go through them all, but I’ll touch on some of my personal highlights.

Tara Sim kicks off the anthology with “A Universe of Wishes”, and I was completely hooked. Thorn gathers wishes from the dead, and befriends the boy from the morgue. The way magic is written here and the developing relationship between the two is beautiful. The second story “The Silk Blade” features a bisexual warrior competing for the heart of the Bloom prince. I loved this world, and found myself really wishing I could spend more time here. “Cristal y Cerisa” is an imaginative take on Cinderella, with a trans prince and a girl looking for help. The fairy tale aspect was weaved in so well.

Being a fan of the Shades of Magic series, it was fun revisiting Red London in “A Royal Affair”; this shows Alucard’s and Rhy’s romance before the series, though we do get to see Lila here, too. “The Weight” was an intriguing story, very “where is this going”? A young couple get their hearts weighed to prove they love each other – great sci-fi setting with an undercurrent of horror behind the procedure.

“Longer Than the Threads of Time” is another fairy tale inspired story, a retelling of Rapunzel, with the tower in Central Park. A young brujo is drawn to the tower, in a world where New York is full of fantasy creatures.

Okay, so considering I just mentioned six of the fifteen, it’s maybe not narrowed down that much. But the thing about this anthology is it has fifteen really good stories, and the difference in favourites and not-favourites (it’s a narrow gap!) is going to be impacted more by personal preference than skill. I hadn’t come across many of these authors, and I look forward to diving into more of their works.

I definitely think if you like Young Adult SFF, this is an excellent addition to your bookshelves. It’s a collection of really strong, imaginative voices who have put together a solid anthology with stories that will whisk you away to new worlds. What more could you ask for?

Thank you to Titan Books for providing me a copy of this book via NetGalley.


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