Brave New Love: 13 Dystopian Tales of Desire, by Paula Guran

beaniedorman's review against another edition

Go to review page


A lovely collection of dystopian romances. Three stars overall but THE CARRIE RYAN STORY. Blew me away.

fictionaladventures's review against another edition

Go to review page


<b>"Hidden Ribbon" by John Shirley: 2 stars (read Aug 25, 2022)</b>
Even though this takes place in the future, it kinda felt like it was a 90s story?? Idk. There was a lot of telling instead of showing. Wasn’t feeling this one. 

<b>"The Salt Sea and the Sky" by Elizabeth Bear: 3 stars (read Aug 25, 2022)</b>
This was really well written! The dystopian elements were pretty subtle but the idea of rightminding was super interesting to me. 

<b>"In the Clearing" by Kiera Cass: 3 stars (read Sept 8, 2022)</b>
This was about a girl named Mackenzie who is kidnapped by a guy named Dylan. Mackenzie was living in this society that is super drugged and unfeeling and Dylan shows her what life is like when there aren’t a ton of opiates in your food. It was fine but not necessarily special. I didn’t really believe Mackenzie’s lack of disdain for her kidnappers lol. The story was touching at times though. 

<b>"Otherwise" by Nisi Shawl: DNF (read Sept 8, 2022)</b>
Couldn’t get into the writing style of this one. 

<b>"Now Purple with Love's Wound" by Carrie Vaughn: 3.5 stars (read Sept 9, 2022)</b>
The idea of a dystopian world where wives are given potion to make them love their husbands was great because I can imagine our messed up world doing something like that. Overall the story was enjoyable, though I would have liked more resolution. 

<b>"Berserker Eyes" by Maria V. Snyder: 3.5 stars (read Sept 9, 2022)</b>
A world where people who might have a recessive gene to make them “serk” (basically get super angry and violent) are feared and controlled and used. This was pretty good and I was into it!

<b>"Arose from Poetry" by Steve Berman: 1 star (read Sept 9, 2022)</b>
Very political. I wasn’t a fan. Too short for any kind of investment. 

<b>"Red" by Amanda Downum: 4 stars (read Sept 10, 2022)</b>
This one had zombies! The world building was super good for a short story. I was invested. 

<b>"Foundlings" by Diana Peterfreund: DNF (read Sept 10, 2022)</b>
This was soooooo weird and I DNF’d pretty quickly. 

<b>"Seekers in the City" by Jeanne DuPrau: 4 stars (read Sept 21, 2022)</b>
This was really cute and wholesome! The dystopian element was definitely more subtle in this story. It was about two teenagers who feel a connection when they see each other once and spend the rest of the story trying to find their way back to each other!

<b>"The Up" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: 1 star (read Oct 6, 2022)</b>
That was weird… And not my kind of weird. I pretty much DNF’d it, just skimming the last part. 

<b>"The Dream Eater" by Carrie Ryan: 3 stars (read Oct 13, 2022)</b>
This was good, but the repetition got a little boring. I liked the idea though, about a society where one girl takes everyone’s bad memories so they’re only left with good ones. 

<b>"357" by Jesse Karp: 2 stars (read Oct 18, 2022)</b>
A little confusing? I sorta liked what I could follow though. 

<b>"Eric and Pan" by William Sleator: 2 stars (read Oct 21, 2022)</b>
I don’t really know what to say about this? The world was very homophobic and racist but I can’t tell whether it was written well or not. 

<b>"The Empty Pocket" by Seth Cadin: 1 star (read Oct 21, 2022)</b>
I honestly have no idea what I just read.

micgmore's review against another edition

Go to review page


I read 4 stories, and that was enough to make it clear that this anthology focuses on the romance, and not the dystopia. I read the stories by the 3 authors who have written novels I've read (and liked). The other story I read for no other reason than just to read it. None of the other stories attracted me enough to actually read them.

In the Clearing/Kiera Cass: 3 stars- Predictable, vaguely dystopian, and hard to distinguish between the 2 points of view in some parts.

Now Purple with Love's Wounds/Carrie Vaughn: 2 stars- Dull, but the cliffhanger ending was delightfully shocking. It is so shocking and wonderful, in fact, that I gave this story another star to its 1 star ranking.

Berserker Eyes/Maria V. Snyder: 5 stars- I want a full length novel continuing this story, pronto. This little story had excellent characterization and plot, as well as a true dystopian nature.

Seekers in the City/Jeanne DuPrau: 3 stars- Whoever thought this was dystopian was on crack. The romance was totes adorb, though:)

2 stars for this anthology. Only 4 of the 15 stories interested me, and the reason behind reading 3 of those was the author behind it, and not the story itself. I would give it a 1 star ranking, but a star has to be added for the presence of Berserker Eyes.

raix's review against another edition

Go to review page


I'm gonna give the book overall a rating but I'll mention each story on its own. This book actually surprised me and was a lot better than I expected.

Hidden Ribbon by John Shirley
I didn't really like this one at all. I found the writing to be kind of immature and the characters seemed to fall flat. Things happened without much building up to them. The romance wasn't didn't feel real - the author made sure to mention that the two main characters "talked all night", but nothing was shown of any conversation that might make their relationship deeper. The reader is expected to assume.

The Salt Sea and The Sky by Elizabeth Bear
I really liked the atmosphere of this one. I think it seemed to capture the setting very nicely. Bear took "dystopian" in a new direction - instead of living in poverty and hardship, the dystopia comes in having to live a life of uneventful comfort without being able to follow one's passion. I liked that it was based on an established relationship, and not new love. It was also nice to see gay couples treated as a normal thing.

In The Clearing by Kiera Kass
The beginning of this story was a bit troublesome because the male lead kidnaps the female lead, referring to it as "taking something for himself". Not cool. World building is sort of interesting but lacks a big-picture kind of view. It seems to be kept to one little town only. The romance is decidedly teen, with the two falling in "forever love" after what seems like only one night. The captor/captive romance - although that dynamic doesn't last the whole story - is a little off-putting, but I did enjoy the story.

Otherwise by Nisi Shawl
Excellent voice. A very nice view of a dystopian world, and what kind of people emerge from such a world. Certain things were left unexplained, but I find that the allusion to them works well enough to carry on the story. A nice diversity in characters, and it involves a polyamorous relationship, which I have not seen written about in a positive way before. Very good story, one of my favourites.

Now Purple With Love's Wound by Carrie Vaughn
I really liked what this one explored. It used a dystopian society to explore feelings, and how we know what is real. It had a very tense ending, though I liked that it ended where it did.

(adding more later)

taldellorrie's review against another edition

Go to review page


In The Clearing by Kiera Cass
Now Purple With Love's Wound by Carrie Vaughn
Berserker Eyes by Maria V Snyder
Seekers in the City by Jeanne DuPrau (Love this one!)

bookish_bobbin's review against another edition

Go to review page


I was really excited to read this! Some of the stories focused more on the dystopian than the romance which means I couldn't connect with the characters and I feel that some of the stories would have benefited more from being a novel and not squashed into a short story. Never the less I really did enjoy some of the stories.

fangirlsread's review against another edition

Go to review page


I really liked The Clearing, Berserker Eyes and The Foundlings, a lot of the other stories weren't that good, hence the lower rating.

lpcoolgirl's review against another edition

Go to review page


Really enjoyed these short stories, they were interesting, and there was of course love, young love, and yeah, there was a short story by Maria V. Snyder, so loved that one a lot!

pluralise's review against another edition

Go to review page


I took way too long to read this... But that's the great thing about short stories. You can take a break in the middle for as long as you want.

Anyway, like all compilations, there were some that were better than others... But nothing I strongly disliked. (Yes, Becky, I am capable of disliking things.) I appreciated the variety of dystopias represented, as well as variety of relationships.

Favorites: Berserker Eyes (interesting premise - kids with recessive berserker genes are locked away until they either serk or get old enough to be presumed safe), Foundlings (twin stories are all close to my heart except THAT BOOK cough[b:Her Fearful Symmetry|6202342|Her Fearful Symmetry|Audrey Niffenegger||6382826]cough), The Dream Eater (faint resemblance to [b:The Giver|3636|The Giver (The Giver, #1)|Lois Lowry||2543234]? but different.)

I really wanted to like Nina Kiriki Hoffman's story, since I loved everything I read of hers in high school, but it was just so... I don't know, it reminded me of [b:The City of Ember|307791|The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1)|Jeanne DuPrau||2285229]. Which I liked but did not particularly love.

bookiesncookies's review against another edition

Go to review page


YouTube Videos
Video Review |

February 2016 Wrap-Up |

I’d only read Kiera Cass’ and Jeanne DuPrau’s writing before this anthology, so I appreciated getting to sample some other authors. I had heard of Carrie Ryan, though.

Hidden Ribbon-[a:John Shirley|61958|John Shirley|] 3/5
AKA “Dome Life Ain’t So Grand”

Similar to [b:The Supernaturalist|45432|The Supernaturalist|Eoin Colfer||1019140] by Eoin Colfer and the movie Elysium and includes POC characters.

I’d really like for John Shirley to point me in the direction of musicians he’d consider “thug-jugger” today. ALSO, the title is mentioned in the story which is my favorite trope.

“‘I got something else too. A truck full of food. And my gun, in the backpack behind your seat.’ She veered the truck around the corner, and glanced at him. ‘And something else-someone.’
It took him a moment to realize she meant him. And he suspected that… if it wasn’t for him, Felice probably wouldn’t have taken the chance of stealing the truck… Really, it was more than a suspicion. He could feel it, through the hidden ribbon that twined the two of them together.”

The Salt Sea and the Sky-[a:Elizabeth Bear|108173|Elizabeth Bear|] 4/5
AKA “Ireland is beautiful, but I need to leave”

This seemed like a new concept with an age-old element of a desire to journey to new places. Includes an LGBT+ romance and POC characters.

I LOVED the setting (IRELAND, I’m obsessed, in case you didn’t know) and the concept of shared community to make life more sustainable, but that the main character wants freedom outside of ease of life. Rightminding sounds quite a bit like behavioral brainwashing a lá The Giver by Lois Lowry.

Billie, I just, does Shaun matter to you at all? I extremely support the idea of choice and decisions in a relationship, of fully choosing your partner, but also choosing your own path, but this just felt weak and unresolved.

“It was a little after four in the morning, and the sky was already streaked with peach and silver, the stars washed away by light.”

“Out in the Irish Sea, a tall ship cruised under box sails-the ship still in shadow, the sails lit by the sun-and I changed my mind: I could imagine this was the nineteenth century, the age of exploration and ail, and that I was on my way to Dublin to meet the ship that would take me to America, to Asia, the the world.”

In The Clearing-[a:Kiera Cass|2987125|Kiera Cass|] 4.5/5
AKA “Feelings in the Woods”

Reminiscent of [b:Uglies|24770|Uglies (Uglies, #1)|Scott Westerfeld||2895388] by Scott Westerfield and [b:Matched|7735333|Matched (Matched, #1)|Ally Condie||9631645] by Ally Condie.

Did Kiera watch Sonny with a Chance to find the character names? Dylan and Mackenzie, so... Also, obviously a Kiera Cass main character if they love strawberries.

I enjoyed the alternating POVs and overall concept of emotion and feeling manipulation.

“Well, what would happen if you told the person they were wonderful? Anything at all? Or maybe they don’t really want you to think they’re wonderful…”

Otherwise-[a:Nisi Shawl|806782|Nisi Shawl|] 3/5
AKA “My girl is leaving me for a dude”

Reminiscent of [b:The Host|1656001|The Host (The Host, #1)|Stephenie Meyer||3328799] by Stephenie Meyer and [b:Uglies|24770|Uglies (Uglies, #1)|Scott Westerfeld||2895388] by Scott Westerfield and includes LGBT+ and POC characters and romances.

This is a very strange world where adults are absent in their drug-induced fantasies and kids become adults. The action-y scenes were very difficult to follow and poorly written. Oh, Lo, my heart was aching for you. CRAZY, INSANE LOVE TRIANGLE TWIST THAT I SAW COMING, BUT IT WAS STILL A SHOCKER.

“She wanted to be with him. I loved her anyhow. To the edge of the continent. All the way. I would follow her. But tonight I would sleep alone.”

Now Purple With Love’s Wound-[a:Carrie Vaughn|8988|Carrie Vaughn|] 5/5
AKA “[b:Catch-22|168668|Catch-22|Joseph Heller||814330] with Love”

Reminded me of a story which I can’t say because that will ruin too much, but kind of like a Viking/warrior take on the [b:Matched|7735333|Matched (Matched, #1)|Ally Condie||9631645] series. This is the epitome of the perfect short story because it leaves you hanging in a way in which you want more, but don’t know what will happen afterwards.


“How else am I to prove that I love you?”

Berserker Eyes-[a:Maria V. Snyder|445303|Maria V. Snyder|] 4/5
AKA “Bloodlust & Love”

Divergent-y. The narrative was very simple and easy to follow in a new voice I hadn’t heard before. Would definitely read a full novel of this, though I feel like it’s been done.

"Will I be next?"

Arose From Poetry-[a:Steve Berman|224189|Steve Berman|] 2.5/5
AKA “Dude Gets an Erection in YA Fiction”

Reminded me of the Grishaverse, though I’ve only read [b:Six of Crows|23437156|Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)|Leigh Bardugo||42077459], it had that vibe, though the stories are extremely dissimilar.

LGBT+ Romance. Rebellion and a Russian-like government and Poetry. Still vaguely confused about what the whole story was?

“No one will grant us deliverance,
Not god, nor tsar, not hero.
We will win our liberation.
With our very own hands.”

Red-[a:Amanda Downum|2861133|Amanda Downum|] 3.5/5
AKA “Zombie Love”

[b:Warm Bodies|15842439|Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies, #1)|Isaac Marion||10090210] meets LGBT romance.

It took FOREVER to learn the narrator’s name, but she does have one. I could feel the Texas heat while reading this, and stories that fully immerse me in the setting are the best. Kind of gory at parts, just to warn you.

“In the dream I’m in a garden. In the dream I’m not alone. A girl stands beside me, a girl with eyes red as poison apples. She takes my hand, and her skin is cold. ‘We have to go north.’”

Foundlings-[a:Diana Peterfreund|119848|Diana Peterfreund|]3.5/5
AKA “Teen Mom in the Future”

We never learn the narrator’s name? And it’s taunting me? Was this intentional? Was this a mistake? I’m so confused. Interesting take on how pregnancy could be viewed in the future when many women are infertile.

“The secret to accomplishing anything is to break down the process into a series of manageable steps.”

Seekers in the City-[a:Jeanne DuPrau|2347|Jeanne DuPrau|] 4/5
AKA “Cuties on a Train”

Very reminiscent of the short film Paperman and [b:The Gift of the Magi|143534|The Gift of the Magi|O. Henry||171430].

I really appreciated that the only thing dystopian about this was just the intricate government and how crowded the city was. I like how it isn’t explained how the world came to be, it just is, and can even be believable as a vaguely futuristic New York City, London, or even Washington D.C…. with more smog.

Owen and Miranda are percious. I could identify Jeanne DuPrau’s writing style and this was a lovely dystopian rom-com.

“It’s sad that they have to live in a cage. But at least now they’ll have each other.”

“A quest is supposed to be hard.”

The Up-[a:Nina Kiriki Hoffman|12991|Nina Kiriki Hoffman|] 4.5/5
AKA “City of Ember with Legit Diversity”

Very similar to [b:The City of Ember|307791|The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1)|Jeanne DuPrau||2285229] and [b:The Host|1656001|The Host (The Host, #1)|Stephenie Meyer||3328799]. POC Characters.

Amazing setting, even more amazing ending. I liked the concept of retreating to below ground should the world above grow unsustainable for life. It’s a little freaky how the mates are chosen from such a small group of survivors, yuck.

“There was so much open I got dizzy and felt like I would fall.”

The Dream Eater-[a:Carrie Ryan|1443712|Carrie Ryan|] 5/5

Your heart will break with the Doctor Who S9E11 Heaven Sent feelz.

It took FOREVER to learn the narrator’s name, but you do learn it. I can’t get over how much I love this story and these characters and the heartbreak of it all.

I’d read a full novel of this story. Heck, I’d read a full 20 part installment series of this series.

“The Cruce knows everything. Your emotions are not your own. She has taken them from you. You have failed the Cruce.”

“‘Why are you letting me forget?’ ‘Because I love you.’”

357-[a:Jesse Karp|4127083|Jesse Karp|] 4/5
AKA “The Orpheus Retelling”

Doctor Who S3E3 Gridlock feels (I hadn’t realized how dystopian the early seasons of Doctor Who were).

Akil is stuck on the 357th floor, but risks everything for Persephone. Great mythological allusions in a futuristic style. Though the character’s name is Persephone, this is much more like the Orpheus and Eurydice tale. I'd definitely read a full novel of this story.

“Somewhere below, in this world of machines, was Persephone. Her quiet greeting, her welcoming gaze, the relief of her cool hand on his fevered cheek. So Akil chose a direction and ran, looking for his love, in darkness.”

Eric and Pan-[a:William Sleator|14004|William Sleator|] 4/5
AKA “Clyde and Clyde”

LGBT+ and POC romance.

Interesting concept to write in 2012, but with the advances with the U.S. Supreme Court and the legalization of gay marriage, this didn’t resonate with me as deeply since it doesn’t seem as plausible. It was still a story worth writing because not all writing needs to stand the test of time. It’s just as vital for writing to touch on the issues of the time.

The Empty Pocket-[a:Seth Cadin|4723244|Seth Cadin|] 1/5
AKA “What Did I Just Read?”

Most similar to [b:The Supernaturalist|45432|The Supernaturalist|Eoin Colfer||1019140] by Eoin Colfer, if I had to choose.

Whatever story existed was hidden under so much metaphor, I could not follow. I see now why it was the last book in the anthology.