I’m a huge fan of the author, having given five stars to both ‘Thorn’ and ‘Sunbolt’, so this was a must-have for me. It’s a charming little short story, a prequel to a future novel, with all the author’s trademarks: great characters, a well-defined setting and an intriguing plot, beautifully written, creating an altogether beguiling experience.
is the eldest of three sisters, who live with their parents. No, the
main character isn’t an orphan, isn’t mistreated and actually has a
great relationship with her siblings and parents, a refreshing change
from so much fantasy. But Niya, the middle sister, has a secret: a
talent for magic, which she uses in delightfully domestic ways,
enhancing the bread or the stitches in the curtains. But in this world,
magic-users are obliged to be trained as mages and serve the king, so
Niya has to keep her ability hidden. Into this placid setting comes
potential trouble, a man wanting to buy horses. He just happens to be a
It’s difficult in a short story to create characters
who have any real depth, but the author carries this off with aplomb.
Rae, the girl with a clubfoot, sneered at and ignored by the villagers,
is also intelligent and resourceful. The rest of the family have their
own distinctive personalities. But the star of the show is the faerie, a
creature both frightening and eerily compelling at the same time, and
very much ‘other’, something not human. He steals every scene he’s in,
frankly, and I hope we see more of him in the full-length novel.
only quibble with the story is that the villagers seem to be rather
different from Rae and her family. In short, they are somewhat lacking
in common sense, and I’m not sure why they are so overtly hostile
towards the faerie, when Rae’s father is quite happy to do business with
him. It may be that there’s some reason behind that, which isn’t being
made clear, but it struck me as odd. It’s a very small point, however.
really enjoyed this, but be warned: it is very short, and stopped at
47% on my Kindle, the rest being taken up with samples of the author’s
other works. A good four stars.