Review of Matt Dovey, “The Bone Poet and God”, in Aidan Doyle, Rachael K. Jones, and E. Catherine Tobler, Sword and Sonnet (Ate Bit Bear, 2018) — 175-186. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)
I’m not sure I’ve ever read a fantasy story aimed towards adults (in the sense of “not a children’s book, rather than “containing ‘adult’ content”) where the main cast of characters were anthropomorphised animals. I found it an interesting narrative choice, for other than the ways in which the characters interact with each other as a result of disparities in, eg., size and strength, none of them seemed particularly animal. If anything, Ursula the bear felt more human than many of the other magical poets featured in this anthology. Ursula’s story is one of figuring out how one is supposed to be themself. Ursula climbs the mountain to find God thinking that only God can help her choose who she wants to be. In the end she finds God, but what else she finds is not what she expects.
This story comes with a somewhat heavy handed moral; but I don’t mean this as a criticism. The story is a vehicle for teaching a lesson; the lesson is overt; and the lesson is a good one.