I LOVED what Radiya Hafiza created here, Rumaysa is a Rapunzel retelling set in a fictional version of South Asia and it is EVERYthing.
Rumaysa was stolen from her parents as a child. She was imprisoned in a tower, her only friends being books (lots of books!) and Zabina, a talking owl who flies by and pops in. Imprisoned by a witch who makes her spin gold, Rumaysa starts to find her own kind of magic and… escapes!
Along the way she meets Suleiman, a young boy who is also searching for something including how to dodge the expectations placed upon, simply due to his gender. Both characters are the thread that links each of the three stories in this collection. Each of them is on a personal journey.
Hafiza expertly whisks us through Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella with hints of Aladdin and Rapunzel weaved in. The fairy-tale tropes and gender expectations are expertly nudged to the side, replaced with refreshing and energising characters and plot twists. The result is three interconnected stories full of humour, hope and warmth. I’ve got my fingers firmly crossed for a book two…