Review of Hayley Stone, “A Subtle Fire Beneath the Skin”, in Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler, Sword and Sonnet (Ate Bit Bear, 2018) — 23-35. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
Stone’s protagonist (I hesitate to call her the heroine), like Wise’s in the previous story, uses words as blunt instruments, instruments of death. One of the feared Bespoken, Gennesee has been chained inside the library without any visitor other than the archivist for years. Then the archivist dies and his daughter takes his place, and she offers Gennesee her freedom — freedom not only to leave the walls of her prison but to find and kill the ones that put her there in the first place.
A generous-sounding offer? Of course. The archivist’s daughter has her own agenda, and Gennesee, too long seeking revenge, falls easily into the trap. Not so easy is how she discovers her true freedom, even as she is returned to the library prison.