Cover Image: A Universe of Wishes

A Universe of Wishes

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Member Reviews

Fun and fast read, that really felt cozy, a good book to curl up in the fall season with your tarot deck, a fresh cup of tea and just an open mind.. I'm not normally a short story person but I definitely devoured this book

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Almost every one of these stories, if they're ever turned into full length novels or series, will get pounced on by yours truly. Beautifully written, vividly diverse stories seems to be the theme of this anthology. I am going to buy the hardcopy of the book simply so I can reread multiple times and annotate to my heart's content.

If I had to (had to) pick a top 5 of the 15 stories, they would, in no particular order, be ~

1. The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed - This story switches between two different time periods, each narrated by girls who share the same name. It had me crying throughout and I would 100% read it again and cry because it's just so beautiful.

2. The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roanhorse - It really feels like a strong setup for a fantastic adventure series following Vi, Evie and Val. Stealing back artifacts stolen from her people, Vi is just the best kinda protagonist, one who you really want to root for.

3. A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim - The first story of the anthology, this one sets the precedent for the rest of the book with its beautiful writing, magical descriptions and a soft romance.

4. The Scarlet Woman by Libba Bray - I am so intrigued and on my way to pick up all the Gemma Doyle books now.

5. Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi - The last story of the book and I am still reeling from the impact of it. Two young men; one from Long beach, California and the other from the Gaza strip in Palestine find a way to communicate with each other. This story is so powerful, relevant and heartwrenchingly (i don't know if this is a word?) beautiful, it took me more than a few minutes to stop crying.

I would 100% recommend this book to everyone. Every story has something to say and they're all absolutely worth it.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for this DRC.
Wonderful collection with stories by some of my favorite authors.

#AUniverseofWishes #NetGalley

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Average rating: 3.13
Favorite story: The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed
Least favorite story: The Scarlet Woman by Libba Bray

A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4)

This was really impactful for how short it is. I instantly felt so connected to the characters and their stories. A beautiful and intoxicating way to kick off this anthology.

The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3)

This one has a really good concept, but it wasn't executed the way I wished it had been. I wanted to see more. It has a kind of cliffhanger-esque ending and I don't understand that in a short story.

The Scarlet Woman by Libba Bray ⭐️ (1)

If you haven't read The Diviners series then you're not going to understand or like this one. Kinda presumptuous to include something like this in a short story collection if you ask meeeeee.

Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie Mclemore ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

I don't know why, but Anna-Marie Mclemore's writing and I are like oil and water. We do nottttt get along despite how hard I try!!!!! This was definitely the best thing I've read from her. It was a beautiful Cinderella retelling with fantastic representation.

Liberia by Kwame Mbalia ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

If there's one thing I love, it's SPACE stories!!!!! I really enjoyed this in the beginning, but all the plant talk got sooo confusing for me??? Like.... what???? Idk. Maybe I don't have enough brain cells for this. Truly.

A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5)

Hello?!?? This is a prequel to the Shades of Magic series??? I would have never known! Take notes, Libba Bray. This is how you include a series into an anthology. A prequel makes so much sense because it's fun for people who have read the series, but it's also a great way to pull people in who haven't because they aren't missing anything. I didn't even know this was a prequel until after I read it and now I am determined to read the Shades of Magic series because this was EVERYTHING!!! Wow.

The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roadhouse ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3)

This was sooooo interesting! Such a unique and important concept. It felt a little too short for all it entailed, but I'd read a full-length novel about this any day!

Dream and Dare by Nic Stone ⭐️⭐️ (1.5)

I couldn't connect to this one really at all. Not much else to say about it.

Wish by Jenni Balch ⭐️⭐️ (2)

This was cute, but it didn't necessarily stand out to me like others have in the collection so far.

The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

So interesting! I think this was a really unique premise, but I needed more from this short. It ended really abruptly and kind of on a cliffhanger which don't understand doing unless you're preparing to release a novel of the same story. I felt like I needed some sort of conclusion to wrap everything together.

Unmoor by Mark Oshiro ⭐️⭐️ (2)

It's giving Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I felt like this was really short, even for a short story. It wasn't long enough to allow me to connect with the characters which I really need to be able to do based on this premise. The ending was heartwrenching, but because I didn't feel that tug toward the characters, it just didn't impact me the way I think it was intended to.

The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5)

This was everything!!! It's space and dystopian and anthropology!!! My favorite things!! All in one beautiful story! This was so beautifully written and I swear more than half of it was quotable. It was just amazing. Feels so good to have a winner in here!

The Beginning of Monsters by Tessa Gratton ⭐️ (1)

I did not compute this. What was happening?? I needed more explanations or world-building or background to really be able to understand everything here.

Longer Than the Threads of Time by Zoraida Cordova ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4)

This was so MAD! Rapunzel is my favorite Disney princess so I was instantly really intrigued by this one. Such a beautiful and interesting retelling. The way to do it, for sure! And the ending GOT me, y'all!!!! I was shook.

Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5)

Nooooooo this was absolutely BREATHTAKING. They ended this on an absolute banger 😭😭😭

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Witches, retellings, space thieves, the weighing of hearts, Schwab returns to the world of A Darker Shade of Magic, and Libba Bray returns to the world of Gemma Doyle... What. A. Showstopper.
Full of amazing stories from the voices we know and love!

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So many of these stories are tied to other works and make no sense in a single story. It's more a propaganda book for other works than a collection of shorts that stand on their own. I did enjoy the few that were outside of these works. My one issue outside of this is that there is a story that is written in Spanish. I'm English speaking and I would assume since the book is printed in English, so would most of the readers picking up this book.

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This really only gets one star because of the Libba Bray story. Fans of Gemma Doyle should just skip over everything else and read that one. The rest are so bad. And there were a few stand out stories that get lost because the last handful are so incredibly bad.

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"A Universe of Wishes" is a collection of short stories with contributions from some of the best YA authors in the genre, each story is unique, captivating, and sure to leave you feeling inspired.
My favorite story from the anthology is "The Sky is Mine" by Zoraida Córdova. This tale is a beautiful blend of science fiction and indigenous mythology. The protagonist is a young girl who possesses the power to control the sky, and the story follows her journey to reclaim her birthright and save her community. The writing is stunning, and the themes of reclaiming power and resistance are woven seamlessly into the narrative.
Overall, "A Universe of Wishes" was an amazing anthology that showcases the talent and diversity of YA science fiction and fantasy. Thank you, Random House Children's, Crown Books for Young Readers and Netgalley for this ARC.

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I have this a three out of five stars. There were a couple I loved but most I just enjoyed. I would like to hear more of the stories that I did love though.

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Not much to say here except that I enjoyed it, but not as much as I wish I had. I thought it was just okay, but this was also a book I normally wouldn't gravitate toward.

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This anthology features 15 own-voices stories from YA authors and there is really something for everyone in this collection. Not only do we get a return to the world of Schwab's Darker Shade of Magic and Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle, we also get some short stories set in fresh new fantasy worlds that are so much fun to explore. Each story is self-contained in the anthology which makes this the perfect book to pick up for a quick bite of fantasy. I really enjoyed it and will be recommending it in the future.

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This was probably the best anthology I've read to-date featuring a handful of memorable stories! The 15 short stories together averaged a perfectly rounded 3 stars. Each story truly embraced diversity and it was a joy to read about characters who identified differently from myself.

My favorites were A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim, Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McLemore, and The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed.

While I had several "least-favorites" the only one I want to discuss is The Scarlet Woman by Libba Bray. Unfortunately this anthology didn't feel like the right place for this story that is based on an existing trilogy BUT takes places after the events of that series. It featured a cast of characters and an entire magical glossary that readers were expected to know while also spoiling the original stories. If the editor wanted to pull fans of this series in while also encouraging new readers to pick up the author's original series, it simply should've been a prequel.

Even though not every short story was a hit for me, I enjoyed taking time every day to immerse myself alongside new characters in a new setting. This anthology made me realize that picking up something like this is a great way to get out of a reading slump and for that I am very grateful!

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I'm getting more into short stories and this collection was fantastic! Not only was it an amazing read, but I loved how diverse it was. Absolutely gave me more authors to add to my favorites list!

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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions contained within are my own.

I always find it difficult to rate and review anthologies. This is because I have such different experiences with all the short stories! Which makes sense as they’re all written by different authors, but it makes it hard to talk about with anything approaching coherence 😂 Still, none of the stories in this wonderfully crafted anthology got less than 3 stars from me, so this is a winner for me.

A Universe of Wishes is an anthology that brings together diverse voices and stories in YA fantasy. I can praise enough how beautifully inclusive this collection is! And every story that was included was absolutely magical. Like I said, I definitely enjoyed some more than others, but I ended up liking all of them. This was such an enjoyable reading experience because of how many different lives we get to witness.

Now, I don’t want to dive into each, individual story too much because A) we’d be here forever and B) I feel like I would spoil these short stories! But I will give a list of all the stories contained within this anthology and my personal star rating. I’ll talk about my two favorites, as well, and try my best not to give everything away!

A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sims: ⭐⭐⭐
The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker: ⭐⭐⭐
The Scarlet Woman by Libba Bray: ⭐⭐⭐ (I admittedly might have enjoyed this one more if I knew anything about the Gemma Doyle series)
Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McLemore: ⭐⭐⭐
Liberia by Kwame Mbalia: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roanhorse: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Dream and Dare by Nic Stone: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wish by Jenni Balch: ⭐⭐⭐
The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton: ⭐⭐⭐
Unmoor by Mark Oshiro: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Beginning of Monsters by Tessa Gratton: ⭐⭐⭐
Longer Than the Threads of Time by Zoraida Córdova: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Now, as I mentioned, all the stories had something going for them, but I found two that rose above the rest for me. First was the story written by Kwame Mbalia, Liberia. This was the only story in the whole anthology that had me tearing up at the end, which is a feat for something so short! The story focuses around a crew of teenagers travelling from a dying Earth to a new colony among the stars. The main character is a botanist who is tasked with preserving crops that can then be planted on their new world. I don’t know why this touched me so deeply, but the passion and heart that the main character displays was beautifully written. It got into my heart and I know I’ll be thinking about that story for awhile.

The other story that’s going to stick with me for awhile is the last one in the anthology, Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi. The set up for this story is that two young men behind bars somehow discover they can magically transport letters to each other… by eating them and pooping them out. It’s a strange premise for what becomes a heart-wrenching tale. One of the young men is in the prison in the United States after getting swept up in the gang life. The other is a Pakistani who was arrested during protests in the Gaza strip. Watching them tell each other about their lives, what led them to their current incarceration, and their dreams really hit me right in the soul. This was a gripping and touching story that is going to stay with me.

Final thoughts: Do you like YA fantasy? Do you like short stories? Then I think you would enjoy this one! It has everything you could want from a fantasy anthology and more. The diversity, the inclusivity, is what makes this collection shine the most for me. Not every story knocked it out of the park like my two favorites, but every story had something to offer that made me enjoy it. It’s such an incredible mixture of authors, of cultures, and of people that I think anyone could find something to love in this wonderful book.

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I wanted this book purely for the Gemma Doyle story. But I got so much more than I bargained for and I cannot wait to check out the other related works!

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I have elected not to read and review this book due to time constraints. Thank you for the opportunity.

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Anthologies like these are slowly but surely worming their way into my heart. And put Dhonielle's name on anything, I will love it.

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Nothing short of wonder and magic can come from a collection like this. These authors each on their own are wonderful at their craft, and brought together for an anthology just makes this book SO special.

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A few of the stories were enjoyable, but on the whole, I wasn't thoroughly impressed by this title. While the concepts were original, the writing varied greatly among the stories, and the collection lacked cohesion. On the whole, I would not recommend, but I didn't regret reading it,

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I love a good anthology and this one is one of the best! This book is packed with amazing authors from start to finish and the stories they write in here show it!

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