REVIEW: “Lost and Found; Retreat and Return” by Emma Schmid

Review of Emma Schmid, “Lost and Found; Retreat and Return,” Luna Station Quarterly 52 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

This story made me explicitly realise something I’d noticed implicitly over the last year or two: There seems to be an increasing number of fantasy stories which revolve around a single character, alone, and reflective of her (almost always her!) circumstances. I wonder whether the isolation of the pandemic has contributed to the rise in both the writing and the publishing of this sort story, if we’ve sort of collectively forgotten what it is like to live in a bustling world with many people overlapping.

Told well, these stories can be incredibly enjoyable and rewarding — but they do tend to blur together, and feel all of a same piece. The beginning of Schmid’s story was just that: Well crafted, but very similar to some of the others in this same issue of LSQ. However, when the second character finally showed up, then things started getting interesting and by the end I was well sucked in.

REVIEW: “The Nix Trial” by Emma Schmid

Review of Emma Schmid, “The Nix Trial,” Luna Station Quarterly 48 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

As a member of the Oreada clan, Ida participates in the Nix Trial, a series of gruelling climbs in search of Lady Helike’s blessing. When she succeeds in scaling to the very top of Mount Hellene, numb from the cold and nursing an old injury, she can only hope to be found worthy, that she will be reborn underneath the new risen sun.

Overall this was a strong story, only slightly marred at times by a bit too much info-dumped back-story.

REVIEW: “Paths of Life and Death” by Emma Schmid

Review of Emma Schmid, “Paths of Life and Death”, Luna Station Quarterly 44 (2020): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Content note: Physical abuse.

This story took awhile to get going — a lot of imagery and description before anything actually happened — and there was a lot about the story that felt very stereotypical: the young, beautiful, cursed heroine, who is all alone in the world; the circus; the evil circus ring-leader. In the end, it was a bit too ponderous for me.