Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and love is in the air. A time for candy hearts, flowers – and exhausting romance clichés. But not all romance is created equal. “Serendipity: Ten Romantic Tropes, Transformed” takes basic stories and turns them on their heads. Whether it’s a unique spin on a classic cliché or a new, more diverse approach, these short stories are just as simple and cute as you’d expect – but at times just didn’t really cut it.
Each story is written by a different author in their own unique style, and it shows. While some were adorable and pleasant – enough that I would read a full-length book about it – others were less enjoyable. Cringe-worthy excessive use of out-of-date teen slang, hard-to-follow dialogue or plot, or a trope that just isn’t “transformed” very much (for some, the only change was that it was a queer romance instead of male-female), make it difficult to appreciate the entire book. But the stories that are well done might make up for where the others fall behind.
It was also difficult in all of the stories to get to know the characters, because they were so short. They felt more plot-forward than character-forward, and while this was somewhat offset by some having generally more interesting characters, it would have been nice to have had deeper backgrounds even if it means the book would be longer.
While this collection of stories was a bit hit-and-miss, overall they were enjoyable and did what they came to do: recreate, to some degree or another, classic tales in modern and different ways. Judging the book as a whole is difficult because of the range of quality throughout, but all in all it’s a nice collection for anyone looking for some sweet stories.
I don’t quite recommend this book to everyone. Unless you’re a romance fan who wants a quick read that explores the fun of multiple tropes in one book, you may not enjoy it. It’s not necessarily a bad collection, it’s just that the not-as-good stories take away from the better ones.