Faraway Collection

Posted 16 August 2021 by Kim in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Faraway CollectionThe Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell
Series: Faraway #1
Published: 15 December 2020
Genres: folklore
Audience: young adult
Pages: 25
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Format: Audio
Buy/Shelve it: Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads
Rating: three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A charming everyman and a mysterious something-under-the-bridge cross paths in a short fairy tale by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and the Simon Snow series.
It’s fate when a man accidentally drops his phone off the bridge. It’s fortune when it’s retrieved by a friendly shape sloshing in the muck underneath. From that day forward, as they share a coffee every morning, an unlikely friendship blooms. Considering the reality for the man above, where life seems perfect, and that of the sharp-witted creature below, how forever after can a happy ending be?

my review

As a lover of fairytale retellings, I wanted to fall in love with this story. There were parts of it I did love, but there were others that just felt… odd.

What I did love…

The story was poignant, beautiful in its own way. The symbolism was meaningful and very much on point for today’s world. There was commentary about overdevelopment in The Road that was beautiful but also less than ideal. There was commentary about climate change, in the usual lack of rain and the oddness of the Troll’s mud. There’s critique on society’s too easy acceptance of the status quo. I love a book that says something, and this did that in an interesting way.

What I didn’t love…

I didn’t love that it felt like an ad for Starbucks. It was more than a little off-putting. And while I love the social commentary aspect, it felt a little underwhelming, a little underdeveloped.


Faraway CollectionHazel and Gray by Nic Stone
Series: Faraway #2
Published: 15 December 2020
Genres: folklore
Audience: young adult
Pages: 30
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Format: Audio
Buy/Shelve it: Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads
Rating: four-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Two anxious young lovers lost in the woods. A beckoning mansion in a dark clearing. A short modern-day retelling of Hansel and Gretel by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin.
It’s bad enough that Hazel and Gray have defied the demands of Hazel’s foul stepfather. The Monster has forbidden their romance. Now they’ve awakened in the forest, phones dead, hours past curfew. But not far away is a grand estate in the middle of nowhere. The door is open. In this short story about choosing your own path, the fury of the Monster that awaits them back home may be nothing compared to what lies ahead.

my review

This, too, was a social commentary packaged into a retelling, one that was very dark. This one spoke on sex-trafficking, pedophilia, drugs, and family dysfunction. The main characters are two teenagers who’ve lived hard lives, and they suddenly find themselves in even more danger. Yes, it was dark, but it is everything I love in a twisted fairytale retelling.


Faraway CollectionThe Princess Game by Soman Chainani
Series: Faraway #3
Published: 15 December 2020
Genres: folklore
Audience: young adult
Pages: 53
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Format: Audio
Buy/Shelve it: Amazon | Goodreads
Rating: four-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

There are no happy endings for the Princesses of Chaminade High in this short, twisty tale of teenage murder games by the New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good and Evil series.
The victims are the most popular girls in school, each murdered and arranged in a grim fairy-tale tableau. To find the killer, rookie detective Callum Pederson has gone undercover where the Princes hold court. He’s found enough secrets among the bros to bring them in for questioning—but he could very well get lost in the games the Princes play.

my review

If you read other reviews of this book, there is a lot of hate. And I understand that. The topics are hard, and on the surface, it could seem gratuitous. I didn’t see it like that at all. Was it easy to read? No, it wasn’t. The Princess Game touched on tough subjects, on toxic masculinity and the rape culture, as well as misogyny and bullying. I enjoyed the way it wove those topics into the tale and twisted them.


Faraway CollectionThe Cleaners by Ken Liu
Series: Faraway #4
Published: 15 December 2020
Genres: folklore
Audience: young adult
Pages: 27
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Format: Audio
Buy/Shelve it: Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads
Rating: three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Touch the past or wash it away? Two sisters have a choice in this unforgettable short story of everyday magic and the power of memory by the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author Ken Liu.
Gui is a professional cleaner at A Fresh Start, scrubbing away the unpleasant layers of memory that build up on the personal objects of his customers. Memory-blind himself, he can’t feel those wounds. Clara can, and she prefers them irretrievable. Until her sister, Beatrice, ultrasensitive to memory, raises one that could change Clara’s mind. For Gui, the past is gone. For Clara and Beatrice, deciding what to remember reaches to the heart of their shared history.

my review

This story explores the ideas of feelings and compassion, about the power of memory. I loved the concept of this story, that memories are a tangible substance that, for a price, could be cleaned… wiped away. But for a story about emotions, this fell pretty flat for me, unfortunately.


Faraway CollectionThe Wickeds by Gayle Forman
Series: Faraway #5
Published: 15 December 2020
Genres: folklore
Audience: young adult
Pages: 33
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Format: Audio
Buy/Shelve it: Amazon | BookBub | Goodreads
Rating: three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The reviled villainesses of Snow White, Cinderella, and Rapunzel team up to set the record straight in a subversively funny short story by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay.
Envious queen? Evil stepmother? Kidnapping hag? Elsinora, Gwendolyn, and Marguerite are through with warts-and-all tabloids, ugly lies, and the three ungrateful brats who pitted them against each other and the world. But maybe there’s more to the stories than even the Wickeds know. Is it time to finally get revenge? After all, they’re due for a happily-enough-ever-after. Even if they have to write it themselves.

my review

This one told the stories of some of the wicked “stepmothers” of fairytales… the stepmothers of Cinderella and Snow White and the witch who kidnapped Rapunzel. Instead of the girls’ perspectives, the story is told from the perspective of the Wickeds. There were some rather witty moments, some funny ones, along with a few more fairytale characters. But the ending felt so rushed that it made the story feel very one-note.


About Gayle Forman

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a journalist who specialized in reporting on young people and social-justice issues. Which is a fancy way of saying I reported on all the ways that young people get treated like crap—and overcome! I started out working for Seventeen magazine, writing the kinds of articles that people (i.e. adults) never believe that Seventeen ran (on everything from child soldiers in Sierra Leone to migrant teen farm workers in the U.S.). Later on, I became a freelance journalist, writing for magazines like Details, Jane, Glamour, The Nation, Elle, Budget Travel, and Cosmopolitan.

In 2002, I went traveling for a year around the world with my husband, Nick. I spent time hanging out with some pretty interesting people, a third sex (we’d probably call them transvestites here) in Tonga, Tolkien-obsessed, role-playing punks in Kazakhstan (bonus points to those of you who can find Kazakhstan on a map), working class hip-hop stars in Tanzania. The result of that year was my first book, a travel memoir called You Can’t Get There From Here: A Year On the Fringes of a Shrinking World. You can read about my trip and see pictures of it here.

What do you do when you get back home after traveling the globe for a whole year? First, you get disproportionately excited by the little comforts in life: Not having to look at a map to get everywhere? Yay! Being able to drink coffee without getting dressed and schlepping to a café first? Bliss! Then, if you’re 32 years old and have been with your husband for evah, you have a kid. Which we did. Presto, Willa!

So, there I was. With a baby. And all of a sudden I couldn’t do the kind of gallivanty reporting I’d done before. Well, you know how they say in life when one door closes another opens? In my case, the door came clear off the frame. Because I discovered that I could take the most amazing journeys of my life without ever having to leave my desk. It was all in my head. In stories I could make up. And the people I wanted to take these fantastical journeys with, they all happened to be between the ages of 12 and 20. I don’t know why. These are just the people who beckon me. And I go where I’m told.

My first young-adult novel, Sisters in Sanity, was based on another one of those social justice articles I wrote when for Seventeen and you can click here to read the article. Sisters was published in 2007. My next book, If I Stay, was published in April of 2009 by Dutton. It is also being published in 30 countries around the world, which is surreal. The sequel/companion book to If I Stay, Where She Went, comes out in April 2011. I am currently working on a new YA novel, that is, when my kids (plural, after Willa we adopted Denbele from Ethiopia) allow me to. And after that book is finished, I’ll write another, and another….

Wow. This is crazy long. I suppose the short version of this bio could simply read: My name is Gayle Forman and I love to write young-adult novels. Because I do. So thank you for reading them. Because without you, it’d just be me. And the voices in my head.

Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Jane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

About Ken Liu

Ken Liu (http://kenliu.name) is an American author of speculative fiction. He has won the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards, as well as top genre honors in Japan, Spain, and France, among other places.

Ken’s debut novel, The Grace of Kings, is the first volume in a silkpunk epic fantasy series, The Dandelion Dynasty, in which engineers play the role of wizards. His debut collection, The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, has been published in more than a dozen languages. He also wrote the Star Wars novel, The Legends of Luke Skywalker.

He has been involved in multiple media adaptations of his work. The most recent projects include “The Message,” under development by 21 Laps and FilmNation Entertainment; “Good Hunting,” adapted as an episode of Netflix’s breakout adult animated series Love, Death + Robots; and AMC’s Pantheon, which Craig Silverstein will executive produce, adapted from an interconnected series of short stories by Ken.

Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Ken worked as a software engineer, corporate lawyer, and litigation consultant. Ken frequently speaks at conferences and universities on a variety of topics, including futurism, cryptocurrency, history of technology, bookmaking, the mathematics of origami, and other subjects of his expertise.

Ken is also the translator for Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem, Hao Jingfang’s Vagabonds, Chen Qiufan’s Waste Tide, as well as the editor of Invisible Planets and Broken Stars, anthologies of contemporary Chinese science fiction.

He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.

About Nic Stone

Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.

Stone lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @getnicced or on her website nicstone.info.

About Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK, FANGIRL and THE SIMON SNOW BOOKS.). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

About Soman Chainani

Soman Chainani’s first novel, THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List, has been translated into 26 languages across six continents, and will soon be a major motion picture from Universal Studios.

The sequels, A WORLD WITHOUT PRINCES and THE LAST EVER AFTER, debuted on the New York Times Bestseller List as well. Together, the books of the series have been on the print and extended NYT lists for a total of 33 weeks.

As a writer and film director, Soman’s films have played at over 150 film festivals around the world, winning more than 30 jury and audience prizes, and his writing awards include honors from Big Bear Lake, New Draft, the CAPE Foundation, the Sun Valley Writer’s Fellowship, and the coveted Shasha Grant, awarded by a jury of international film executives.

When he’s not telling stories or teaching in New York City, Soman is a die-hard tennis player who never lost a first-round match for ten years . . . until he started writing THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL. Now he loses all the time.

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