Book Review: Three Sides of a Heart – Edited by Natalie C. Parker

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There are a lot of readers who hate the love triangle trope and I can understand how totally frustrating it can be when it is used to create unnecessary angst in the story. But when done right, I really love reading about three characters in love and their ever changing dynamics. So, though this anthology has quite a low rating on GR, I decided to give it a try.

There are a few stories here which are brilliant and I was very impressed, but most of them can’t even be considered as love triangles and I was quite bored in the middle. But one thing most of these stories got right was some great racial and sexual diversity. I’m going to try to review each of the stories individually but I’m not sure if I can do it right.

— Riddles in Mathematics by Katie Cotugno

This was a sweet start to the book. Rowena is trying to juggle a lot of things – dealing with her mom’s (assumed) disappointment over her sexuality, hiding her longtime crush on her brother’s best friend and just proving to everyone that she is still the same person despite coming out – all this was well depicted in so few pages. It also ends on a very hopeful note.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

— Dread South by Justina Ireland

This story is told through the POV of a racist southern white woman in the 1800s who is suddenly confronted by situations that make her question her prejudices and see her black Attendant Juliet in a new light. I loved that Juliet was super confident in her ability to kill the undead, very cool and wise in difficult circumstances but also showed a quiet indifference towards the racist attitudes flung at her. The ending is very optimistic and I kinda wanted to know what happens next.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

— Omega Ship by Rae Carson

A spaceship containing the last surviving humans goes crashing and the three people alive land on a new planet. Eva is the only girl and is aware of the massive implications of it. The way the two guys immediately started to make decisions affecting her without even letting her speak just hit too close to the real world for me, where men are often quick to decide things on behalf of women in the name of “duty”. I really don’t begrudge Eva the choice that she makes. But the story didn’t really work for me because I didn’t like any of the characters.

Rating: ⭐⭐

— La Revancha del Tango by Renee Ahdieh

Maya is on a trip to Argentina after finishing high school where she meets a young British guy and they go salsa dancing. There is also the guy who she sees dancing a mesmerizing tango in the club. Frankly, I didn’t understand the point of the story and it’s so overdone with bookish references that I cringed a lot. I might be a total bookworm but I wouldn’t compare every bearded guy with Gandalf or a creepy hallway to Grimmauld Place.

Rating: ⭐⭐

— Cass, An and Dra by Natalie C. Parker

Cass is descended from a family where they can see the possible futures. An is the future she has chosen for herself but she is startled when she is presented a future without her but with a new mysterious person Dra. I didn’t really understand Cass’s fascination with Dra because they are not someone she has met but just a possibility and it kind of made me question her feelings for An. But, the writing was very interesting and I think the genderfluid rep of Dra was done well. I especially loved that their names together form “Cassandra”.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

— Lessons for Beginners by Julie Murphy

Ruby is a fat high school girl who is invisible at school but is secretly giving kissing lessons to anyone who wants to improve. So, she is shocked when one of her clients turn out to be a couple, one of whom is her once close childhood friend. She is in for more surprise when she finds herself attracted to Annie. I loved that Ruby is so comfortable with her body and doesn’t really bother with labels for her sexuality. The writing is also very easy to read and the story was quite sweet until the end, where it took an unexpected turn.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

— Triangle Solo by Garth Nix

Connor and Anwar are chilhood friends who go to school together, are percussionists and love competing with each other. When their once best friend Kallie returns from Earth, they both want to ask her out. There was nothing remarkable about this one.

Rating: ⭐

— Vim and Vigor by Veronica Roth

Edie is still feeling lost years after Amy’s death. She has also lost touch with her friend Kate since then and has been in therapy. And currently very panicked about choosing between the two guys who asked her out for prom. When she asks Kate to give her access to Kate’s dad’s very important piece of scientific equipment to make her prom choice, without telling Kate the reason, knowing full well that Kate might be punished for it, I kinda lost it.

Rating: ⭐

— Work in Progress by E. K. Johnston

This story had nothing working for me. The writing style was unique but hard to get into because it had multiple sections – each one being a story of it’s own. And each section had three POVs – all narrated in second person – so I had to figure out on my own whose POV I was reading. It just got too difficult for me to comprehend the actual story.

Rating: ⭐

— Hurdles by Brandy Colbert

This was probably the most conventional love triangle of the lot. Mavis is a high school track player on the path for her Olympics trials. She has a boyfriend who is a good, dependable guy but she is also in love with Bobby, her best friend’s brother, who is just out of rehab. Who should she choose? I wasn’t even convinced about Bobby’s feelings and I wasn’t happy that she wasn’t even considering her supportive parents while making her choice. Not the story for me.

Rating: ⭐⭐

— The Historian, the Garrison, and the Cantankerous Cat Woman by Lamar Giles

This story was very fascinating. It’s like if Alfred was younger and in love with Batman who was in turn in love with Catwoman. Tatiana has always thought that she would be the one for Jermaine until Niya came into their lives. And she will do anything to get him back. I did not see the end coming.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

— Waiting by Sabaa Tahir

Ani is hopelessly in love with her best friend Sam – who is currently in prison – but also has to deal with some growing feelings for Felix, the sweet basketball player who will be with her at college. Though I understood Ani’s feelings and conflict, I coouldn’t get over how indifferent Sam seemed. But the ending did give a hopeful feeling.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

— Vega by Brenna Yovanoff

This story is about Elle, who has to choose between her childhood best friend and the city she loves. Both the characters had this rage that manifested out of their loneliness which they expressed through partying, booze and drugs. But when Alex has had enough, Elle has to decide if she wants to chase the light with him or drown herself in darkness. I liked the writing style but have mixed feelings about the story itself.

Rating: ⭐⭐

— A Hundred Thousand Threads by Alaya Dawn Johnson

This story had a unique writing style, told in the form of letters, poems, interviews – most of them in second person. I saw the “twist” quite early in the story, which is quite rare for me and the plot went predictably from there. It was still an enjoyable read though and dealt with some moral dilemmas, which was interesting.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

— Before She Was Bloody by Tessa Gratton

I absolutely fell in love with the setting and the characters here. The princess has to dedicate herself to a god – preventing her from being with the woman she loves – but then they fall in love with a guy. When tragedy forces her to become the brutal, strong willed and determined leader that she was never meant to be, she finds strength in their beautiful polyamorous relationship. This was a delight to read and I would love to see this story expanded into a full length novel.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

— Unus, Duo, Tres by Bethany Hagen

Two vampires deeply in love with each other start falling for a new girl at school, who is struggling with a secret of her own. OMGGGG!!!! This was beautiful and heartbreaking and I was sobbing uncontrollably by the end of it. What a perfect finale to this anthology.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Though this book wasn’t perfect by any means, the last two stories made the whole reading experience worthwhile.

 

13 thoughts on “Book Review: Three Sides of a Heart – Edited by Natalie C. Parker

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  1. This sounds like a pretty awesome collection, minus a few of the stories. They can’t all be perfect though. So glad to hear you still enjoyed it! A lot of these stories sound really good. Great reviews! Thanks for reviewing each individual story! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like such an interesting book! I’m quite intrigued to pick it up now, given some of the authors who are in it, and I think I could sit through (or skip!) the ones I didn’t like in order to read those ones. Thank you for such such a thorough and detailed review!

    Like

  3. I came across this book quite a lot of times but was sceptical of giving it a try for the low ratings. It would’ve been a hit and miss for me too. I’m not a huge fan of love triangles so I’m pretty sure I would’ve liked only a few of the stories. And reading this review, I think I’m gonna stall buying this since the majority stories aren’t that impressive. Great review, though!

    Liked by 1 person

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