Friday, February 3, 2017

Men of the Ashen Morrow, by Margaret Killjoy

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(High Fantasy) In Laria, summer doesn’t end unless someone summons the god Hulokk, and he usually takes a human sacrifice. Sal is one of the best summoners, but she’s tired of losing friends. (3,835 words; Time: 12m)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 218, published on .

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

Pro: Sal is ready to make an end of things, but she learns that Hulokk doesn’t want her. This means she can lead this for the rest of her life at no risk to herself--other than grieving for the dead. She realizes that refusing to do the summoning purely selfish, given that she faces no personal risk. Seeing that, she accepts the burden of survival; she will lead the summoning for the rest of her life.

There’s some great tension in the final encounter with Hulokk.

Con: The magic system seems overly complex, and the author introduces new bits of it late enough in the story to break disbelief. For example, we find that Sal needs the other five to have enough strength to speak. You’d think she’d have known that, but, as a backup, she tries to draw strength from the Earth—which we’d never seen her do before.

The story descends into preaching a message once or twice.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 218)
Margaret Killjoy Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB

1 comment (may contain spoilers):

  1. Fascinating world-building and magic system. A couple things bugged me though: She's an old woman dragging a buck making a bunch of noise. How is it possible for the hunters to take so long to catch up with her? Also, I thought she had a good point about noone else learning to summon any better if they keep relying on her to do it.