May 22: Harvest Moon, three separate fantasy novellas all having to do with the (full) moon. The first is by Mercedes Lackey, a story about (among others) Leopold and his bride from The Sleeping Beauty having a run-in with the Greek Olympic gods. Second, by Michelle Sagara, in a world I didn’t know yet. Hard to get into but once I’d got all the different species of people straight it was exciting and I’ve found out it’s the prequel to an ongoing series of (now) 15 books, hard-boiled police procedural with magic. The third, by Cameron Haley, is even weirder: it took me until 21% in to realise that the beginning was a flashback and this magic-using gangster who drives an old Lincoln and smokes Camels and has a fridge full of beer in their apartment isn’t 12 years old any more.
May 21: Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey. Peeked at the ending to see if it’s enemies-to-lovers, in which case I’d have virtually thrown it against the wall (spoiler: it isn’t). Very good Beauty and the Beast adaptation, as good as The Fire Rose (very different, a lot less brutal for one). This is the last Five Hundred Kingdoms book, worse luck.
May 19: The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey. Also full of nice subversions. Perhaps it’s a little bit thickly laid on who will eventually turn out to be the villain but he was portrayed so deftly that I immediately saw Douglas Fairbanks playing him. (Has Douglas Fairbanks ever played any villains? I can only remember good guys, like Zorro.)
May 18: The Snow Queen by Mercedes Lackey. The original isn’t my favourite fairy tale by far, but it was delightfully subverted. Reminds a lot of The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher (which is of course another Snow Queen adaptation). Middle-aged women! Girls with agency! Wonderful bears! Villains redeemed!
May 17: Fortune’s Fool by Mercedes Lackey. The next Five Hundred Kingdoms book. The Little Mermaid crossed with Russian folk tales and Arabian Nights. Wholesome, teary-emotional at the end. HEA for all (possibly even for the villain, in another few thousand years). Nice that the dragon champions are the dragon and the former knight-now-dragon from One Good Knight.