Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Shadowdrop, by Chris Willrich

★★★★★ Action, Adventure, Tragedy, Victory—with Lots of Cats.

(Fantasy Adventure; Eldshore) Action, Adventure, Tragedy, Victory—with Lots of Cats. (23,550 words; Time: 1h:18m)

Although the author has set a lot of stories in this same universe, there’s no need to read any of them before enjoying this story. It stands alone beautifully

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 261, published on .

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

Review: 2018.534 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The real charm of this story is Shadowdrop herself, who combines the aloof nature of a cat with a keen ethical sensibility. She carries the guilt of causing (as she believes) two people's deaths, and she tries to atone every day.

Postgrad is another delightful character, and we don’t realize how much we loved him until he’s gone. His situation is awful, but he’s consistently cheerful, no matter what happens. His sacrifice at the end fits perfectly, particularly since we already knew his stories were likely to put people to sleep.

Ruingift and Wurm have understandable motivations. We may not like them, but they’re not cardboard villains.

The story has plenty of action and excitement. Almost as important, it has plenty of humor. Postgrad really is a post. A cat says “But I was curious. So kill me.” And Postgrad’s sad but funny thought that he might find a job as part of a magic sword whose maker needed “an animating spirit with experience.”

The climax where the cats confront the dragon is suitably exciting, and the resolution is satisfying, if bittersweet.

And it has cats. Lots of cats. And they're magnificent.

Con: Occasionally the cats (like real cats) are annoying, not cute.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 261)
Chris Willrich Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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