Relit: 16 Latinx Remixes of Classic Stories / Sandra Proudman, Editor / Book Review

RELIT: 16 LATINX REMIXES OF CLASSIC STORIES

Lizzie and Darcy launched into space. Hamlet and Ophelia on Mars. Frankenstein and his monster in the depths of the sea. Gatsby's blinking green siren call off the shore of Costa Rica.

In an anthology of epic proportions, sixteen classic tales are spun anew, with Latinx characters at the heart and a particularly speculative edge. Falling in love, battling mythical monsters, and speaking up against the powers that be: these classic stories feel brand new again!


RELIT: 16 LATINX REMIXES OF CLASSIC STORIES


THOUGHTS

The high points of this anthology are really high. Excellent characters, familiar and startingly new in presentation, stand on backdrops that are strangely speculative and utterly familiar at the same time. These stories stay as true to their originals as speculative counterparts can, and I adore that! At the same time, as is usually the case with anthologies, not all of these stories are winners. Overall, an anthology that is kind of so-so.


PROS

True to Form I am always quick to pick up anything that claims to be a "remix" of a classic tale, but recent publications have made me a bit wary. I like a remixed classic because it's just that--a remix of, well, a classic. If I'm a fan of the original, I like to see how authors play with that concept. A lot of recent books have let me down, because the "classic" elements are really missing. Not so here! While each and every one of these stories is wildly out-of-left-field, they still hold onto the key elements of the classic they're retelling. That's real skill on the part of all of these authors, because Pride & Prejudice in space shouldn't feel like an Austen classic. But here, it really and truly does. Here, all of these stories pay incredible homage to their roots while spinning something entirely new.

Mixed Linguistics I love a book that lets bilingual characters speak how they naturally would--in a mixture of their familiar languages. This book isn't afraid to mix Spanish into the generally English narratives in a way that fits these characters, their backstories, and their cultures. It's natural, and it's excellent. We need more of this, because there are kids all over who will feel themselves reflected in these pages!

Space! A lot of speculative anthologies might have a story or two that's sci-fi and the rest are fantasy. At least, that's the way it is in the YA publishing sphere. Publishers seem to be afraid of science fiction (though they shouldn't be, I would argue). This book, however, isn't afraid to dive into the great unknown of outer space! Deep space colonies, space travel, and more: science fiction is well represented in this very balanced collection of tales.


CONS

As much as I loved some of these stories, I hated others. They all represented their classics well, but that doesn't mean I liked them! Some of these stories fell pretty flat for me, which is unfortunate. I wanted to love, love, love all of these tales, and I just didn't. Not All Winners

Some of these stories felt cut short by the nature of their format. They felt like they could have been longer, and being confined to short story format made the characters seem underdeveloped and the plot arcs just beginning instead of well-concluded. It's a good thing that I wanted more, I think, out of these characters and ideas, but when all I got was the short story, I was left a little bit disappointed! Truncated Ideas

Pride & Prejudice, Hamlet, and more: this book really spins some well-worn ground anew. But not all of these stories are so well-worn. Retelling Herman Melville's Bartleby, the Scrivener, for instance, is an interesting choice when a lot of readers (especially at this level) won't have read it before! I have no real problem with the choice to retell lesser classics, of course, but readers who are in it for the Easter eggs might be disappointed that they don't know all of the tales being retold--might, in fact, not even be aware of their existence and the general scope of the classic tale. Odd Ducks


Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/10

Fans of A Phoenix First Must Burn, edited by Patricia Caldwell, will appreciate this empowering speculative mix. Fans of All These Sunken Souls, edited by Circe Moskowitz, will adore the dark twists and turns of this anthology.

A PHOENIX FIRST MUST BURN ALL THESE SUNKEN SOULS

Details
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Date: February 6, 2024
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.

Comments

  1. I feel the same about short stories, due to the formatting, it just makes you wish it was a full one. I'm glad you enjoyed some of these. Great review!

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  2. Lizzie and Darcy in space. I love a good anthology. And the space focus. When 's the last time I read an anthology in space? Interesting too the variety. I wonder if this will turn some readers on to stuff they otherwise would never read.

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  3. Anthologies are always a mixed bag for me. I do tend to enjoy the ones with connections between the stories. Feral Youth is one I remember liking more because of the writing in between the stories. It made it more cohesive.

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  4. I find these anthologies usually yield mixed results for me too. Some stories just aren't as good as the others.

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  5. I’m sorry this one was somewhat disappointing ER. Thanks for the honest review.

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  6. I confess that I don't usually like anthologies to be honest!

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  7. Sorry to hear it was disappointing. Important is that more Latinx authors are getting their voices out there. Not really big on anthologies myself.

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  8. I have not read the Scrivener. So no idea what happens there

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  9. This sounds like an interesting anthology that takes classic stories and puts their own spin on them (especially with the space elements) and includes Latinx characters. However, with anthologies, you are bound to have stories that fall flat.

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