Title: Once Upon Now
Genre(s): fiction, romance, fantasy, fairy
Part of a Series: No
Why I read it: I saw it at Comic Con and thought it
Summary: A collection of stories written by Wattpad
authors, all with modern twists on classic fairy tales. Sleeping Beauty has a
rare medical condition, Cupid goes to Hawaii to do Hades a favor, Robin Hood is
a high school senior trying to protect the freshmen from hazing, and
Review: I’m not sure how best to review this for I can’t
review it as a whole. Nor do I think I could review each one individually or
we’ll be here forever. How about I hit my top 3 favorites and my least favorite?
That sounds like a plan. Here we go:
First, Home School Hair. This is a take on
Rapunzel, though instead of a tower, she lives in an apartment building with an
agoraphobic mother. Zoe has long hair because her father was supposed to cut it
when he got back from his deployment but he never did. It also made her mother’s
issues worse and she never let Zoe leave their apartment building, choosing to
home school her. At the start of the story, Zoe has just started her first job
in the coffee shop located in her apartment building. There she meets her
manager Frank and Tyler, who lives in the penthouse. Tyler invites her to a
party one night that ends in literal flames and changes her life forever.
This was a creative and entertaining take on Rapunzel.
The author delved into the psyche of a sheltered young woman thrown into the
real world for the first time. She also described the fire very well as well as
the chaos of the night. It was just a delight to read.
Next: The Friend-Zone Promposal. It’s a take on
Sleeping Beauty. I think. At least from Maleficent’s perspective, with her named
Mallory. She’s a shy teen with an embarrassing birthmark she keeps hidden and
she feels she’s just invisible. Mallory feels more comfortable with the boys,
especially with her best friend Tyler. He is a popular student athlete who plans
an elaborate promposal to the new girl in school, asking Mallory for her help.
As it grows closer, she starts to realize that she has feelings for him and even
if she doesn’t want to go to prom, she wants to be with him. Will the promposal
work? Or will Mallory get her wish?
On second thought, maybe it’s a retelling of the Ugly
Duckling. I may have focused too much on Mallory=Maleficent rather than
Mallory=Mallard or a type of duck.
It’s a cute little fairy tale told from Mallory’s
perspective. The reader picks up on her feelings before she acknowledges them
and it’s fun to see her get there. And you can’t help but root for her to find
Third: Sleeping Beauty Syndrome. This one is
definitely a modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I mean, it’s right there in
the title. Main character Rory suffers from Kleine-Levin Syndrome AKA the Sleepy
Beauty Syndrome. It’s a real world neurological condition that affects a small
part of the population. Someone afflicted with it can fall asleep and sleep for
days, even weeks. They may also have difficulty discerning reality from a dream
during an episode and usually see terrifying things. Rory experiences both of
these—and she often dreams the story of Sleeping Beauty. Rory’s mother is often
away from work, often leaving Rory’s sister in charge. When her sister goes
abroad to study, their mother hires a nursing student named Philip to take care
of Rory. While she’s upset about it at first (since it happened while she was
asleep), she soon becomes close with Philip.
I commend the author for using the real life condition as
the basis for her take on Sleeping Beauty. It was also a smart choice to use a
first person narrator rather than a third person. The reader can be immersed in
how the condition affects her life and relationships, some for the worst and
some for the best.
And now for my least favorite: My Love God Went to
Hawaii and All I Got Was This Lousy Papaya. Cupid is summoned by Hades, who
asks a favor of him. It seems that Hades cheated on Persephone and has a
daughter who is about to come into her powers as a demigod…unless she gets
married before her birthday. So he asks Cupid to help her fall in love and
blackmails him into doing it. Cupid goes to Hawaii and helps Phoebe compete for
a major job that she’s qualified for that would also require her to marry the
owners’ playboy son. However, things get complicated when Cupid starts to
develop feelings for Phoebe. Will Phoebe succeed? Will Cupid?
There are a few reasons why I dislike this one. The main
one is the idea that Hades would cheat on Persephone. For those unfamiliar with
Greek mythology, their marriage was the most normal and Hades never cheated on
her…unlike his brother, who would have sex with anything. So the premise was
already on shaky ground, just to have the ridiculous job tests and caveat of
marriage thrown on top of it and pushing it beyond believable. The other stories
in this anthology did either a good or great job adjusting fairy tale premises
to the real world.
Bottom line: A good anthology with a few issues.
What’s your favorite fairy tale?