Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Love Rampage by Alex Powell

Wow, OMG, and Squee! Love Rampage was such a fun, delightful tale, I never wanted it to end. It's an absolutely perfect 21st century fairy tale of true love, gender identity, and (yes) unicorns. Alex Powell has really crafted something special here, the kind of story that wraps you in a warm hug and carries you away to a world where love is true, and where dreams do come true.

As the story opens, Maíra has long since outgrown wanting a unicorn, but then, wouldn't you know it, one shows up in her room, claiming she needs it because she's fallen in love. Powell really has fun with the encounter, indulging in some friendly banter while she allows Maíra to explore whether her unicorn is real, or whether it's all a dream. The unicorn's sarcastic sort innocence is what really brings the tale alive, with an absolute refusal to accept that love cannot (and should not) be so simple and pure.

The term 'transgender' is never used within the tale, but it's hinted at, danced around, and strongly suggested as the basis for Maíra's reluctance to follow through in declaring her love. The unicorn's response to that is fantastic:

"You're human. She is also human. I do not see the problem," the unicorn said. "I know a dragon that fell in love with a mermaid. Why should shape have any bearing on the matter?"

With that settled, they're off to shop for a wedding dress (a comic adventure all on its own), before heading to fairy tale lands to have the elves craft one of their own. Where the story gets dark (and smart) is when Maíra finally arrives to declare her love, only to find the object of her affections at the mercy of a magical serpent. As we discover, the unicorn is an embodiment of love, while serpent is an embodiment of hate, and the two lovers-to-be must battle against the fears, the self-hatred, and the prejudices instilled in them by society.

It all adds up to a dreamy, surreal, comic, fairy tale story that's full of magic and true love. This is a fairy tale, so expect a happily-ever-after, but be prepared for some difficult, anxious moments in that final magical confrontation. Love Rampage is such a lovely tale, so well-written, that I've been recommending it to anybody who's willing to let me gush. :)

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