This story shifted back and forth between 1st person and 3rd person narrative in an extremely distracting and disconcerting way; I spent far more time trying to figure out who was who than I spent enjoying (or understanding) the story. Not for me.
I dove into this story with a good deal of trepidation, because second-person, present-tense narration without any purpose always puts me off. So I was greatly, greatly relieved to find out it wasn’t purposeless, and in fact Hoskins uses the different voices to great effect.
A good story for anyone who loves books!
Content note: Death by gunshot.
Gry is a healer and a descendent of healers, trained in performing the Operation that makes her patients become “Protected”, safe from the unstable emotions that are caused by the weakness and fragility of their bodies. She has never doubted the benefit or efficacy of her training, or the Protection, until she receives a call to Steinknausen, an isolated town in the north. There, she makes a terrible discovery, which threatens to destroy her entire understanding of who she is and what she does.
There is a lot of woo and homeopathy (and a lot of Capital Letters) in this story, and I wasn’t quite sure whether the author was taking these things seriously or trying to poke fun at them. It bothered me at first, but eventually I got swept up by the story.
If you, like me, read the title and thought “horror story”, you would not be wrong. What you might not have counted on (as I did not) was that this story would be straight of genie-in-the-bottle fairy tale, except set in space. A fun clash of genres and tropes!
Content note: Sexual assault.
What happened at the pond has happened more than once. This is the tale of two different happenings, two women who disappeared leaving nothing behind but their clothing and silver sparks in the depths of the pond. Part fairy tale, part murder mystery, I enjoyed this powerful story a heck of a lot.
Half-fairy tale, half-sci fi, this story played with genres in a way I found really effective, especially given how compelling the vision of the future that McDaniel presented was. A satisfying read.
When someone says their story is a fairy tale, that sets up certain expectations — about the type of character you’ll encounter, the style of writing, the general trend of the plot. If those expectations are not met, it had better be for good reason. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that that was always the case here. Probably I could have enjoyed this story more if I hadn’t been told that it was supposed to be a fairy tale.
Fasel Inohiye lives on the tourist planet of Cornucopia and provides “personal services” to those who visit. It’s a pretty good job, bringing in decent money — and when he’s accosted in an alley after a well-paying night, his first thought is that he’s going to be mugged for his money. Instead, it was his face that the thief was seeking.
The rest of the story was about Fasel’s attempt to find someone to help him get his face back, and with good economy of words Cottrill managed to draw a couple of really sympathetic and engaging characters. A well put together story, that I enjoyed a lot.