Reviews

Review: The Princess Who Didn’t Eat Cake

Review on Goodreads

When the kingdom discovers that their crown princess doesn’t like cake, chaos ensues. How will the royal line ever continue? Cake is essential to a good marriage! (Not to mention, the rejection of his cake was deeply insulting to the baker-prince who proposed with it.)

Why I picked it up: I was expecting a cute fairy tale, but mostly I was really excited for a book about demisexuality. Asexuality (as in the umbrella term) in general is very rare in fiction, and demisexuality is even rarer.

The Princess Who Didn’t Eat Cake is a fairytale written to explain demisexuality, and using cake as a metaphor for sex. The fairytale, however, is only about 40% of the ebook itself. Other contents include an essay by the author that explicitly explains demisexuality, with many popular culture examples – and there is also a series of recommendations with demisexual characters towards the end.

Overall, I am conflicted about The Princess Who Didn’t Eat Cake, and by that I mean both the fairytale, and the entire book itself. As a fairytale, I did not find it very enjoyable – the cake metaphor was just painfully obvious, and in some places, downright uncomfortable when you replaced cake with sex (that is, the parts the princess is continuously pressured or even forced to try cake by various friends and family members). The essay about demisexuality also seemed unnecessarily lengthy to me at places, though that might be because I am already familiar with demisexuality – I am not sure what it would have been like to read that explanation if I’ve never heard of demisexuality before.

That being said, I still believe that this is an incredibly important book, and a recommended read for everyone who wants to understand demisexuality. Some parts of the metaphor/book also work for explaining asexuality, but the book makes it clear that the two are not exactly the same – I especially appreciated the part the princess felt like she had trouble explaining her feelings both to her cake-loving parents and her cake-rejecting friends.

I am sorry to say that The Princess Who Didn’t Eat Cake is not a particulary great fairy tale – but that wasn’t really the point anyway. The book (the tale, the essay and the recommendations together) do a great job of explaining demisexuality, and the recommendations on the end are especially appreciated.

Recommend: Yes. To everyone, basically. Despite my problems with it, I strongly believe this book is worth reading and an important take on demisexuality.

My rating: ★★★★☆

~ Alexa 🐾

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Reviews

Review: Chameleon Moon

The city of Parole is burning. Like Venice slips into the sea, Parole crumbles into fire.

The entire population inside has been quarantined, cut off from the rest of the world, and left to die – directly over the open flame. Eye in the Sky, a deadly and merciless police force ensures no one escapes. Ever. All that’s keeping Parole alive is faith in the midst of horrors and death, trust in the face of desperation… and their fantastic, terrifying, and beautiful superhuman abilities.

“Words are important. They let you know it’s real, you’re fine, more people like you exist. They let you know you’re not alone.”

“Holy crap…” Regan whispered, awed and sick and proud at the same time. “She punched it in the face.”

Why I picked it up: I was told there was a f/f/f polyrelationship and also ace character(s)?

Let me tell you how absolutely wonderful this book is.

The Cast

Chameleon Moon’s strongest aspect is its characters. Wonderful, colourful, diverse cast of characters. There is indeed a polyamorous marriage between three women, a main character who is a trans woman, a character who uses ‘they’ pronouns through the entire novel, disabled characters, representation of anxiety, and lots and lots of validation for mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. And many more, that my tags on this book can’t even cover.

I am so incredibly excited about a certain relationship other than the polymarriage, but I feel like that would be a huge spoiler, so I’m just going to put this here for anyone who’s already read it: I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.

The Plot

I have to admit, it took me a while to get into this book. The prologue pulled me in, but then the first half of the book felt… slow. It was mostly about getting to know the characters for me, and hinting at the big mystery without any real answers. Not that getting to know the characters is bad – as I said, they are the greatest thing about this book -, but the first half often felt a little boring to me, and there were a lot of conversations that went on too long, or infodumps that were a little too much at once.

The second half, though? I read pretty much the entire second half in one sitting. The twists just kept coming and the secrets kept pouring out. And plenty of questions remaining for the sequel.

There are some things I don’t like about the ending that would be spoilery, but I understand how they are necessary. I was originally going to give this 4.5 stars, but as I typed this review out, I realised that it fully deserves all five.

Trigger warnings

I would like to put a warning for suicide (mention) here, and also, the descriptions of anxiety can be triggering to anyone who also experiences it.

My rating: ★★★★★

~ Alexa 🦔