Thursday, June 1, 2017

After Burning, by Wren Wallis

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(High Fantasy) Almas fears that the new commander will try to dispose of the wounded enemy children she cares for in her clinic—particularly since he’s the one who destroyed their town. (6,495 words; Time: 21m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 227, published on .

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

Pro: In this story, Almas learns to respect commanders like the Wolf, even if she disapproves of the death they cause. When she tells Olek “God chooses His instruments well,” she’s repeating the Wolf’s words, but it’s clear she believes them.

Words like "oblast" and some of the word endings clue us in that this is set in a fictional Russia.

Con: Until the end, Almas is a very passive protagonist; she just watches things happen.

We don’t know enough to know which side to root for (if either).

Wolf seems very foolish to meet with Tsomo, given the latter’s reputation for laying traps. That and the fact that he didn’t have authority to make terms make it hard to believe he agreed to the meeting.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 227)
Wren Wallis Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. The author's website says she's working on a novel in this setting. And that a previous story at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, "The Red Cord," is also set here.

    1. Thanks! That helps. I generally feel that a story in a series ought to be able to stand alone, though. What we really need is a way for RSR readers to check a box saying "I follow series X" and then show them a completely different review score, based on the idea that they're already familiar with the background. That might require a bit of work, though. :-)

      Elements of a serialized story are different; no one can mistake the installments for independent stories, and we always wait until the last one before reviewing the work as a single story.