Sunday, January 21, 2018

Three Sides of a Heart by Natalie C. Parker Review

Title: Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles
Editor: Natalie C. Parker
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Anthology
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

Ah, love triangles: One of the most polarizing tropes in all of young adult literature. I myself haven’t been shy in saying that I pretty much hate it. But when one of my favorite authors, Sabaa Tahir, announced its release date on her Facebook page, my curiosity was piqued, and I reserved it at my local library. When it finally came, I had to admit that I was excited as well as curious, eager to see different spins on an all-too familiar trope. Sixteen young adult authors offer their take on the love triangle. Some are traditional and contemporary, others take a fantasy route, and still others take it in even more exciting directions. For time’s sake, I won’t review every single story, but give an overall rating for the book and select a few standouts to tell you about. I can’t wait to dive into more work of these promising, talented authors! Okay, without further ado, here we go.

Dread South by Justina Ireland: 5 out of 5 Stars. Zombies in the Civil War South with two young women at the center! Sold and sold! I loved this story. The writing was gorgeous, I loved the premise (There’s going to be a full book in April, yay!), and I adored the way the two girls, one a fierce and vicious zombie slayer, or Attendant, and the other a sheltered rich girl, fell in love in the midst of a zombie horde taking over the town they both live in. Justina Ireland has become one of my new favorite authors, and I cannot wait for the full book!

La Revancha del Tango by Renee Ahdieh: 5 out of 5 Stars. Lush, gorgeous, and sexy, Ahdieh pens a heart-pounding tale of a young woman dancing the tango in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I loved every minute of it; the wry narration, the aching sexual tension, and the surprising, exciting ending; I was on the edge of my seat and ready to pull my hair out the entire time. It didn’t go the way that I expected it would, and I was so surprised; my jaw was on the floor. It makes me happy and excited that The Wrath and the Dawn is sitting on my bookshelf currently.

Cas, An, and Dra by Natalie C. Parker: 5 out of 5 Stars. I really, really enjoyed this one! It was lovely and weird and surprising. Cas and An have always been together, and Cas doesn’t know what her life would be like without An, her lover and her best friend. She is haunted by the choices that her great aunt made, and so she dreads having to make a choice. Things are complicated even further by the appearance of Dra, a mysterious person whom Cas is irresistibly drawn to, even knowing that the only way they’ve met is through a choice she’s never made. I loved the way that every choice was explored, and the way that the ending wasn’t concrete and was really open-ended.

The Historian, The Garrison, and The Cantankerous Catwoman by Lamar Giles: 5 out of 5 Stars. Okay, first of all, superheroes. One of my favorite things ever! The writing was wonderful, and I loved the way that the book went back and forth from the past and present, providing context. The love triangle in this was so painful. I loved the way that Niya and Cat’s personalities clashed, all the way up to the ending. This story was like an electric combination of Supernatural and Justice League, and the ending was so shocking; I did not see it coming, and I loved it! It went into the completely opposite direction of what I was expecting. One of my favorite stories in the whole book!
A Hundred Thousand Threads by Alaya Dawn Johnson: 5 out of 5 Stars. Oh, my goodness, I love, love, love this one! First of all, it was set in a mysterious, futuristic version of Mexico, and second of all, the twist! The twist! Aurora and the Colibri are two totally different women. One has ascended, rather roughly, into high society, and the other is a vicious, murderous vigilante outlaw who takes justice as she sees sit on the corrupt government. In the middle of these two women is Jaime, the son of one of the government officials that the Colibri is fighting against. I loved the way that the story was told in letters, and in first person between Jaime and Aurora. And the ending! My jaw was on the floor, and I loved it so much!

Before She Was Bloody by Tessa Gratton: 4 out of 5 Stars. I liked this story, but it was kind of hard to understand. The main character, Safiya the Bloody, is the Moon Eater’s Mistress. As such, she cannot be with anyone else, regardless of how she feels. She belongs to the ruler and him alone. Never mind that she has burning feelings for her heart and soul twin, or the new visiting soldier come to call at the palace. When a foul plot is discovered to try and poison her, she becomes vicious and bloodthirsty, going so far as to kill the man’s family to make a point. It was kind of confusing, and I wish that there was a whole book to explain the politics and social standing of all the characters in the book, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Unus, Duo, Tres by Bethany Hagen: 5 out of 5 Stars. My heart! Oh, my heart! And what’s a book about love triangles without one of the ultimate in the trope: Vampires! I really adored this story. Enoch and Casimir are vampires; Enoch bit Cas one night after realizing he didn’t want to return to his family. Immortal and desperately in love and lust with each other, they need no one else. But their dynamic changes drastically when they are caught biting each other in the school’s library by a young woman, a new student, named Esther. Both boys are irresistibly drawn to her, and when Enoch realizes that Esther is ill and on death’s door, he does the unthinkable for the two people he loves most and makes the irreversible sacrifice. I loved this story, it was so painful and beautiful and the ending made me cry!


This book was lovely, a fun, sexy grab bag of stories about love triangles, and I have to say, after this, that I have to admit that I don’t really hate the trope anymore; it’s just something that is, especially in the young adult genre. But what a collection that I’ll never forget! The bottom line: A gorgeous collection of stories about the dreaded love triangle, I loved Three Sides of a Heart! Next on deck: A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge!

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