Friday, October 5, 2018

The Crow Knight, by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

★★★★☆ Thought-Provoking.

(Epic Fantasy) When an unkillable black crow haunts the princess, Wynn goes beyond the kingdom to find the only weapon that can destroy it. (11,440 words; Time: 38m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 262, published on .

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

Review: 2018.000 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Wynn eventually learns the truth: The crow is hers, not the princess’s, and although one cannot kill it, one can learn to live with it. Loreen was never really her friend; she just wanted to use her to gain the kingdom. The bird-woman didn’t kill her father, and she’s a much better choice of lover than Loreen ever was.

The crow almost certainly represents clinical depression; Wynn always shows depression symptoms when the crow is bothering her. In light of that, the story seems to carry the message that depression doesn’t have to be the end of the world, even though you can’t be fully cured of it.

That aside, the story does a nice job of giving plausible motivations to Wynn, William, Loreen, and the bird-woman. Wynn’s original misunderstandings are understandable, we share her frustration at realizing she was lied to, and at the end, we’re confident she’s found the truth and earned her right to it.

Con: Once the crow left with Wynn, I'm surprised the king cared about it anymore. That clearly showed the crow was Wynn's problem, not Loreen's.

It's hard to believe that Wynn would trust William so easily after he tried to deceive her and kill her.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 262)
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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