REVIEW: “The Beginning” by Katrina Carruth

Review of Katrina Carruth, “The Beginning,” Luna Station Quarterly 52 (2022): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

There’s a nice mythological feel to this story, which is set “before the earth was your Earth and the heavens were your heavens,” and tells of a tree, born from a seed that fell from the stars and grew to be the mother of all life. It had the potential to be a neat story, but it was told in a rather heavy-handed and didactic way, which wasn’t entirely to my taste, and ended rather abruptly. It felt like a strong first draft, not quite honed to its best form.

REVIEW: “Omen” by Katrina Carruth

Review of Katrina Carruth, “Omen,” Luna Station Quarterly 48 (2021): Read online. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman.

Cissa is the daughter of an Augur, forced into hiding when the evil king came to power, enslaving all the Augurs to his purposes or driving them away. Cissa herself isn’t an Augur because only men can be Augurs, but she’s still guilty by association. There is no hope of escape, no hope of any future for Cissa, only endless hiding, so one day she decides to take matters into her own hands, go to the river and collect the moss beans whose noxious gasses can incapacitate or kill. But before she can safeguard the beans, she is captured, and brought before the king.

Of course, we know — the narrative demands it — that the evil king will not triumph, and that Cissa will find the power she needs to defeat him. What wasn’t obvious until it happened was how she would do it, and that resolution, when it came, was appropriate and satisfying. A solid story.