Saturday, December 31, 2016

Penny For a Match, Mister?, by Garth Nix

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(Historical Fantasy) In the Old West, a murder under a full moon brings a thing across “The Line.” A thing seeking vengeance, and with a broad idea of responsibility. (5,662 words; Time: 18m)

Rating: ★★★★☆ Fascinating, Mysterious, and Uplifting

"Penny For a Match, Mister?," by (edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: Inspired by The Little Match Girl , by Hans Christian Andersen, the central plot is how the Marshal-Warden captures the thing. A side plot is the sheriff’s efforts to avoid being held responsible for having turned a blind eye to the Osgoods. Justice is done when he joins them in a fiery death.

As in the original, a kindly woman takes the little match girl to a better world. This time she doesn’t have to die to get there.

The idea of a “Warden-Marshal” with jurisdiction on both sides of The Line was pretty cool. We learn almost nothing about the other side of The Line, and that just makes Rose seem all the more powerful.

Con: Rose is so powerful that there’s never any real tension in the story.

It’s quite a coincidence that the little match girl has enough magic for Rose to take an interest in her.

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