REVIEW: “A Jangle of Bells and Voices” by Chia Lynn Evers

Review of Chia Lynn Evers, “A Jangle of Bells and Voices”, in Abandoned Places, edited by George R. Galuschak and Chris Cornell (Shohola Press, 2018): 213-228 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

The opening scenes are of a sprawling battle field full of armies and weapons and activities all unfamiliar and fell. While the point of view soon zeroes in from generalities to specifics, namely the specific of Remsa Brand of the nation of Lys, I’m still left with a bewildering amount of people and places and nations and rulers. Three pages in and I feel like I’m floundering in over my head; I struggle enough with actual history, and I’ve had three and a half decades of exposure to it! I’m not sure three pages is enough for me to grasp all the necessary nuances of this very elaborately-built world. (The fact that Remsa’s empress is named Mathilde doesn’t help matters, as I keep thinking of the English empress!)

In the end, I had to stop reading this story, and then pick it back up again a few days later. I wasn’t much more enlightened by the end of that, and I’m not sure that a third read would help me much. I suspect other people who can hold details of battles and tactics and politics in their head better than I can will appreciate the story more than I did.