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The Ice Princess's Fair Illusion

(Fairytale Verses #2)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  26 reviews
All Marian wants is for society to accept that she's just not interested in... whatever society thinks she ought to be interested in. A princess with a reputation for insults and snide remarks, she's afraid to show anyone who she would be if people would let her. In a fit of temper at her refusal to marry, her father creates her worst nightmare: she is to be wed to the fir ...more
ebook, 293 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by The Kraken Collective
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Book Gannet
This is an unusual little tale, retelling one of the less familiar fairy tales – King Thrushbeard – using a queerplatonic, sapphic relationship between a sex-repulsed asexual lesbian princess and an aroace queen. Which is a lot of labels, because this story is as much about labels and getting them out there as it is about the fairy tale. So if you happen to fall into any of those groups and long to see yourself in a story, or you want to know more about them and just how they work with relations ...more
Dannica Zulestin
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quiltbag, viva, retelling
This book has the most interesting format of any book I've read this year. The conceit is that the two MCs--Princess Marian and Queen Edel--are recording themselves telling the story of how they got together, using some unspecified magic device. So it's composed entirely of dialogue, and the dialogue itself is in verse format. It's nifty.

I really liked the idea. Some ways it worked especially well were
-It made it feel appropriate for Marian and Edel to occasionally go off on tangents that would
this didn't work for me personally, i think. it took me until somebody else mentioned it to realise it was indeed a novel in verse and not weird formatting or like this because they were messaging.
the idea that the two main characters were together and occasionally had off-screen interactions but were messaging/ making a chronicle of their adventure so it wouldn't be forgotten... that last part is a cool idea! it just. i don't know.

society is a strong
Entity to fight against

but it might work f
Barry Raifsnider
I did like this though the formatting was a little strange to get used to at the beginning. I was able to get used to it quickly though and I thought it was a very interesting way to tell the story, in verse and with only dialogue between the two main characters talking to each other.

I absolutely loved that the words aromantic and asexual were just used in the book, I'd much rather see that even if it 'doesn't make sense' to use like some people say when something is fantasy or historical, etc.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Content Warnings: acephobia/acemisia, arophobia/aromisia (called out), sexual assault, PTSD, brief allusion to self-harm, unsupportive parents, parent/spouse death, illness

You might have seen my review of Sea Foam and Silence and this is the same phenomenal author with another novella in verse! But this novella was truly lovely. I adored the representation of Marian, a homoromanti
Willow H. Wood
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Very rambling. Not the fairy tale story I was expecting - it is told entirely retrospectively and entirely in dialogue. The dialogue was a fun gimmick at first but grew weary when it was too realistically meandering and repeated sentiments. It was less a story about two aromatic and asexual characters and more about those two characters telling each other their own past in intricate detail and heavy handedly explaining to each other their already established sexuality and some previously unknown ...more
(Based on an Advance Review Copy [ARC] provided by the author)

I haven't given this a star rating because it would feel a little unfair; I didn't get along with the writing style, and probably wouldn't have read it if I had previewed it or noticed it described as being written in "verse". (It's written as a two-way conversation with the two characters' words on opposite sides of the page, with non-standard line breaks, as opposed to rhyming verse or the like.) To an extent, I'm glad I did read it
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this novella so much!

I was a little taken aback by the format. I knew it was in verse, but didn't expect the two main characters to talk to each other, often interrupting each other to complete the story. It took me a little while to get used to it, but once I got comfortable with the format, this became a very good read.

The two protagonist are a homoromantic asexual sex-repulsed princess (Marian) and a panplatonic aromantic asexual queen (Edel). Most of the words are used on-page, and
Kai Raine
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Marian is asexual, and Edel is aromantic. This couple tells each other their stories--their lives before they met, how they came to be married, and everything that happened after.

It seems like this book ought to have been tailor-made for me, what with the fairy tales and the ace/aro representation, yet I like this book in theory more than I actually did in practice.

I think it's a valuable book, and I'm so glad it exists.

Though this is a mesh of fairy tale retellings, with varying flavors of ever
4.5 stars*

Content Warnings pulled from the back of the book:
• acephobia/acemisia
• arophobia/aromisia
• sexual assault
• brief allusion to self-harm
• spousal death
• parental death
• unsupportive parents

Although it took me a while to get into the book because of the way it was written, I really liked this book and the way it was formatted. It was a validating f/f queerplatonic relationship between a character (Snow White’s stepmother) who is aroace and her lesbian sex-repulsed asexual wife.

Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a fairy tale retelling, and a fairly quick read.

The fairy tale being retold is "King Thrushbeard", the story about a princess who refuses to marry and keeps insulting her suitors until her father decides to marry her off to the first beggar who knocks on the palace doors. The princess in this version, Marian, is a sex repulsed lesbian ace, who is so rude because she is trying to protect herself. The beggar is in truth Edel, a single queen very obviously based on Snow White's evil stepmot
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Marian and Edel have such different voices here, and they're both delightful. I appreciated the ways in which they fully understood each other and the ways in which they were still learning to. The QPR between them is strong and still growing, and it's wonderful to read that kind of relationship.

The book doesn't brush over the realities of Marian's behavior. She was spoiled. She was unused to work. She was unkind and often quite cruel. But some of that was real, and some of it was protection. It
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall, I enjoyed The Ice Princess's Fair Illusion. It was written as a dialogue between the two characters, which took a bit of getting used to but worked well. I liked that the relationship between Marian and Edel was queerplatonic instead of romantic, and I liked that the characters were unapologetic in their orientations. However, that being said, there were a few things I wasn't as fond of. First, the book is theoretically a verse novel, but I found that the free verse style was basically ...more
Caroline Duvezin
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I started this book knowing it was a fairytale retelling centered on a QPR between a princess and a queen and...that was about it. I didn't know it was a verse novel, and while this unusual format (especially as a recorded dialogue between the protagonists) may have impacted my immersion, I'm also very intrigued by it. Like in Walking on Water by Matthew Metzger, the fairytale politics were very hazy but in the same way, it wasn't the focus of the book which is firmly on the characters and their ...more
Apr 26, 2020 added it
I so badly wanted to like this book. An aroace queen and an ace princess in a queerplatonic relationship - what could be better? But while the idea of the story is great, and the form makes sense, the execution of both story and form is lacking. The characters get very didactic about aroace terms and concepts way too much - once or twice would have been fine, but it's constant. Good writing would weave that into the story, not make numerous pit stops for encyclopedia-entry-style explanations. (I ...more
Annalisa Ely
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This Ace approves!
While verse isn't my favorite format (the story is as if it is being told to you around a fire, in this case by two people who interrupt each other a lot), I don't think it's fair to complain about that since it says in its own description that it is in verse.
I really enjoyed the multiple different types of asexuality and aromanticism portrayed in this story. It is definitely heavy-handed in places (telling rather than showing in a bad way) but I can easily look past that for
Gwen Tolios
Apr 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: asexual
I had to struggle past the first quarter - it wasn't just the style of a book written in prose but also that I wasn't so interested in the conversation between the two women. I just wanted the story, not discussions on labels and semantics which I felt disrupted my reading the narrative. Especially early on.

I settled into it however, and by the end did enjoy the tale. I hadn't been familar with the story of King Thrushbeard, which is probably for the best as this story doesn't start to bring tho
I received this arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The book is a queerplatonic retelling of the fairytale King Trushbeard told in verse.
It took me a bit to get into the story,because I'm not used to reading verse novels, but once I got used to it, it was a fun ride. A lot of the narration focuses on the labels the characters use for themselves, and how others react to them, and it was really interesting to read, even if a bit repetitive after a while. The twists on the original
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: aspec-characters
It was so powerful to see a story that included so many aspec characters and their differing and similar experiences, especially the way it unapologetically used the actual terms and went in depth on the nuances of the characters experiences and how they related on different topics of their identities.
Charlotte Wrigley

This was so enjoyable for start to end. There was so much easy chemistry between Edel and Marian, and I especially loved their banter! It was also very informative in a seemingly effortless way and such a wonderful read.
*I won this book in a giveaway. This does not affect my view of the book*

Real Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Read my full review here!
i enjoyed the story but the dialogue was a little off and i didn’t really like some of the characters.
Raz Jayden
rated it it was amazing
Apr 17, 2019
rated it really liked it
Dec 29, 2018
rated it liked it
Nov 21, 2018
Roslyn K
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Apr 04, 2019
rated it liked it
Oct 12, 2019
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S.L. Dove Cooper (she/they) is a queer author and editor. She spends much of her time exploring asexuality and aromanticism in literature, finally having found a good use for her MA in English literature and creative writing. She currently resides on the European continent and her idiom and spelling are, despite her best efforts, geographically confused, poor things. She has been chasing stories i ...more

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Fairytale Verses (2 books)
  • Sea Foam and Silence (Fairytale Verses, #1)

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