Any Other Name

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Pub Date 12 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 31 May 2023


a new genderqueer, sapphic YA doomed fantasy romance loosely inspired by Rumpelstiltskin.

Never trust a human.

It's an easy rule to live by, especially if you know you'll kill most of the ones you meet. They were the product of a deal. Their name traded for their mother’s escape. To gain a faery's name was to own it so since before their conception, their future had belonged to someone else.

They obeyed. They killed. They were merciful and quick, but never, ever, caring enough to linger. They grew up with blood and daggers always within arm’s reach, so they knew better than to be fazed by either. By 16, they're the most feared person on the entire continent.

When Commanded to befriend the enemy kingdom’s princess before leading her to her doom, however, things go wrong in every way imaginable. Iron can make the fae weak but love can make the fae trust and there is nothing more certain to end in disaster than trusting a human.

But you, Chryssa. Nothing had ever prepared me for you.

a new genderqueer, sapphic YA doomed fantasy romance loosely inspired by Rumpelstiltskin.

Never trust a human.

It's an easy rule to live by, especially if you know you'll kill most of the ones you...

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ISBN 9798844497995
PRICE $10.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

This book is a loose Rumplestiltskin retelling and it’s spectacular. We follow our protagonist, a faery whose human father has used their name to control them into being his personal assassin for their entire life. Through this their father has established himself as King, and he’s now sent her to kidnap the princess of their neighbouring country in order to destabilise relations between that neighbouring country and a third. Of course, our protagonist isn’t happy about any of this, and when they find himself falling for the girl she’s supposed to be delivering to his father it becomes a whole lot more urgent that they find a way to break free.

I really loved the protagonist! He’s magically compelled to follow their father’s instructions, no matter how much she might not want to, but throughout the whole book they always exert as much of her own free will as they possibly can by doing Exactly what he’s been told and no more. When Commanded to kill someone, she can’t spare them, but she can make it as quick and painless as possible, and she can pass on their last words, and she can make sure their loved ones are safe. When Commanded to kidnap a princess and bring her home on a journey that should take no more than a month, he can’t let that princess go free, but he can make sure to use every single second of that allowed month to give the princess as much time as possible to figure out a way to escape. The protagonist considers herself to be a monster, and has resigned himself to this, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The kidnapped princess, Chryssa, was also excellent. As the sole child of her country’s monarch, it’s expected that she’ll marry for the sake of a political alliance and that she’ll be Queen one day. She’s not exactly overjoyed about either of these prospects, but she’s determined to make the best of it, and during the first half of the book she shows herself to be a caring and friendly person who I’m not surprised the protagonist fell for. She’s also great during the second half. She isn’t easy to kidnap, she doesn’t go quietly, and she doesn’t simply just take it at face value that the protagonist isn’t doing this of his own free will. The protagonist is just as much a victim in this situation as Chryssa is, but they have to earn back Chryssa’s trust regardless, which just makes things even better once he has earned that trust but there’s still nothing either of them can do about the doom they’re hurtling towards.

The worldbuilding is loose and not very detailed. The main focus of this book is Chryssa, the protagonist, and the relationship between the two of them. We learn a good amount about the history between humans and fae, but ultimately this is a character focused novel and that doesn’t require a huge amount of lore to achieve. This may not be to everyone’s tastes, but I prioritise characters over worldbuilding so it was a non-issue for me. 

The narrative style of the book was unusual! The entire book consists of the protagonist recounting everything that happened, addressing Chryssa the whole time. Due to this he refers to themself as ‘I’ and he refers to Chryssa as ‘you’. I’ve only ever read one other book like this, coincidentally I read it immediately before reading this one, and if these two books are anything to go by then I need more books written like this immediately because I thought it was so cool and it worked so well. And the final line of the book was really strong. I don’t remember the final line of many books, but I’m sure I’m going to remember the final line of this one for a long time.

A huge part of this book is the power that names can have and I’m honestly obsessed. The protagonist’s name is a major plot point, hence why I’m not directly saying it in this review. His father uses the name she was given by their mother when they were born in order to control him, and she’s been forbidden from giving that name to anybody else. In my opinion, it’s not a difficult name for the reader to guess, but that doesn’t matter. Chryssa has less information than the reader has, and she needs to be able to call them something, so she comes up with a new name to address him with.

Here’s the part I’m obsessed with, and this paragraph may be mildly spoilery but this plot point is so important to me that I’d be doing it a disservice if I didn’t talk about it. Plenty of real people, especially trans people, change their name at some point in their lives. Their old names, their ‘deadnames’, aren’t who they are and aren’t reflective of them. In this book the metaphor is made literal. The protagonist’s name is used to control him, and as long as that’s her name they’ll never be free to live his own life as they want to. This follows through to its natural conclusion, and if I could print this book onto my soul, I would. I’m not kidding.

It’s right there in the dedication! The book is dedicated to anyone who’s ever felt trapped by a name. Through this plot element, I’m sure this book will resonate with many.

I would recommend this to people who like fairytale retellings, character driven stories, and those who want to read something that truly encapsulates the importance of our names being our own, rather than simply an indicator or extension of our parents’ control over us.

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Thank you Netgalley and Alex Nonymous for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review.

This book has an agender fae MC and is a Rumplestiltskin retelling. Do you really need to know more?

This book was so achingly beautiful and heartbreaking in equal measure. I got swept up in the prose so easily and I fell more and more in love the more I read.

Chryssa is such a fantastic, badass love interest. I loved how fierce and wild and headstrong she was, and how big her heart was. To truly care for someone in that situation despite everything was just incredibly beautiful.

Emery is just…wow. What a tragic character. I felt so bad for them the entire time, and the more they said they couldn’t feel things, even while feeling them, the more my heart just ached for them.

I love that more than half of this book is JUST Chryssa and Em. It’s just them getting to know each other and falling in love, in this little bubble that’s just theirs.

Also, super weird aside, but I’d JUST said I’d love to read a Rumplestiltskin retelling and then this popped up on Netgalley. It was meant to be!

This is out now!

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