Review of Victoria Sandbrook, “El Cantar de la Reina Bruja”, in Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler, Sword and Sonnet (Ate Bit Bear, 2018) — 79-92. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
Reina Alejandra chained her goddess soul in order to seduce a king. Now she is his captive, and the king is on crusade to woo a new queen, using Alejandra’s magic as his weapon. Submitting to his will is the only hope she has of one day freeing herself.
I found this story perplexing. It was beautifully written but it felt like certain pieces to the puzzle were missing. Alejandra clearly loved her king — or at least did once — not just lusted after him. But never are we shown why; there seemed nothing loveable in him. As a result, Alejandra seemed more to be pitied than to be sad for. I also missed a piece in the way in which she won her freedom; when Alejandra and her rival queen finally meet, it seems as if they must have met already, but we are not told how. Or perhaps it just is that Alejandra loves widely, and without reason.