Review of C. S. E. Cooney, “From the Archives of the Museum of Eerie Skins: An Account”, Uncanny Magazine Issue 41 (2021): Read Online. Reviewed by Isabel Hinchliff.
Formatted as an interview transcript, this captivating tale takes place on a university campus populated by people with magical abilities, including witches, wolfcasters, and warlocks. Our narrator, a wolfcaster, is nigh-invulnerable just as long as she keeps her pelt safe, but with a rich warlock targeting her, this doesn’t last long. Her path to revenge is darkly humorous, playing on the failures of our own present-day justice system.
The voice of our narrator, Firi, is so robust that it seems to burst from the page, unloading fiery commentary. I reveled in her energy, her exuberance, and her dauntlessness. There was something profoundly comforting about the way her harrowing tale was told from the perspective of herself in the future, after the conflict had been resolved and she had clearly moved on to accomplish great things with her life. While the interview transcript formatting did seem a little unnecessary at times, it generally added a lot to the worldbuilding, giving me a sense that we were being told about only one small part of an entire world full of cutthroat politics. On the whole, it’s a tight piece with more than enough detail for a second read: plenty of “aha” moments! A deeply satisfying story.