A Universe of Wishes edited by Dhonielle Clayton
In the fourth collaboration with We Need Diverse Books, fifteen award-winning and celebrated diverse authors deliver stories about a princess without need of a prince, a monster long misunderstood, memories that vanish with a spell, and voices that refuse to stay silent in the face of injustice. This powerful and inclusive collection contains a universe of wishes for a braver and more beautiful world.
DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
EXPECTED DECEMBER 8TH, 2020
In these new universes, anything can happen.
We Need Diverse Books is behind A Universe of Wishes, and at its heart, this anthology is specifically meant to center marginalized voices doing marvelous things, outlandish things, world-altering things. Whether it’s traveling to new planets or old ones, or making impossible wishes, every story centers a voice that publishing typically underrepresents. Queer characters, disabled characters, and characters of color take the stage, each for no more than a brief moment at a time, but each of them makes an impact.
In this anthology, in some 400 pages, there are entire universes to get lost in. I can’t think of a better way to spend my time.
“Close your eyes. Make a wish. The universe is yours for the taking.”
I absolutely cannot get enough of these new worlds. I tried to take it slow, one story at a time, but ending up devouring the anthology because of all these bright new spins on familiar stories and genres. My personal favorites far and away were Natalie C. Parker and Rebecca Roanhorse’s contributions.
Parker crafted a story with a courtship tournament, pitting three warriors against one another to win the hand of royalty, but she infused with with rich floral imagery and a budding sapphic romance I would pay to read more of. Willador Mayhew owns my heart now, and I want to see the aftermath of her decisions.
Meanwhile, Roanhorse smashed together sci-fi and thieves while critiquing the museum practices that steal from other cultures and put their heritage on display like quirky little oddities rather than important cultural artifacts. I can never get enough of thieves, and if someone is going to write a story that’s effectively a reverse Indiana Jones, without a doubt, I’m in! Plus, I loved the easy relationship between Vi and Evie, thief and AI. More benevolent AI, please, since malevolent AI feels so…tired by now.
Whatever you’re dreaming of, this anthology has it.
That’s the true joy of A Universe of Wishes: with so many voices and so many stories, there’s something for everyone. More than that, it’s wonderful to see these underrepresented voices put at the forefront, made the heroes of the story. The anthology truly lives up to the We Need Diverse Books mission, and I’m going to have to check out the three anthologies that came before this at this rate!
Really, my only disappointment is the way some of these stories require background knowledge. I got through V.E. Schwab’s story just fine since I know the Shades of Magic series, but I floundered through Libba Bray’s, which centers on Gemma Doyle. It’s convinced me to look into her Gemma Doyle series, sure, but the lack of background knowledge makes it hard to really sink into the story. I got too distracted by questions and felt unable to connect fully to the characters. Really, stories like these feel better for bonus material pertaining to the series in question, like in the back of softcover editions. Putting them in an anthology leaves some readers without a starting point to really get the most out of it.
A Universe of Wishes is headed to our universe soon!
Hitting shelves on December 8th, A Universe of Wishes is nearly here. If you haven’t already pre-ordered a copy or placed a request at your library (or put it on a holiday wishlist!), now is definitely the time. These are brilliant stories ready to make a home in your heart, and they deserve a home on your shelf.
Plus, that cover is outrageously gorgeous, and if nothing else, it’s going to look really, really good as the crown jewel of your TBR pile. Trust me on this.
CW: loss of a loved one, gore, body horror, homophobia, racism, slavery, genocide, sexual harassment, smoking, child death, animal death mention, violence (including gun violence), suicide, police brutality