REVIEW: “The Call of the Orbsong” by A. M. Matte

Review of A. M. Matte, “The Call of the Orbsong”, Luna Station Quarterly 30: Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Dafenid is an Amphibian who steals orbs from the Pavlina, a Biped who either creates or collects them (it is not clear which in the story). Though Dafenid is not able to make the orbs sing, she still delights in them, for she sees having them as an act of defiance on behalf of the Amphibians against the Bipeds.

This we learn at the beginning, but much of what transpires after the initial opening scene is the filling in of back story, which suffers a bit from more telling than showing and a couple of awkward info dumps. We learn quite a bit about the relative power differentials between the Amphibians and the Bipeds, and of illicit attraction, but through the middle part of the story I kept find myself wishing for less history and more of the present.

There is, however, a fun twist at the end, which is no less enjoyable for the fact that about 1/3 of the way through, I suddenly had an intuition that that was where the story would go: It was gratifying to read the rest of the story and be proven right. (Half-way through, however, I did get a bit of a shock, when the object of Dafenid’s love was revealed, since earlier in the story (I had to go back and double check, but the implication was definitely there) I had gotten the impression that he was her brother!) All in all: A fun little fairy-tale interpretation, slightly hampered by presentation.