Oh my goodness, 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 sweet and pure, and where dreams really 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 bedroom, 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.
While the term ‘transgender’ is never actually used within the tale, it’s hinted at, danced around, and strongly suggested. It doesn’t take long for readers to understand that gender is, indeed, the basis for Maíra’s reluctance to follow through in declaring her love. The unicorn’s response to that is fantastic, and part of the story’s magic:
“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 suitable for Maíra’s unique needs. 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.
This is a fairy tale, so expect a happily-ever-after, but be prepared for some difficult, anxious moments in that final magical confrontation. Fortunately, it’s not at all heavy-handed, with much of the meaning buried in symbolism and imagery, but it all adds up to a dreamy, surreal, comic, tale of true magic . . . and truer love.
Alex Powell. Less Than Three Press, LLC, (41p) ASIN B00RJLZJKY