Friday, October 5, 2018

The Tragedy of Zayred the Splendid, by Grace Seybold

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Epic Fantasy) Zayred and Meiri used to be close friends and powerful magicians who could win battles through singing, but now they’re devoted to destroying each other’s reputation. (8,877 words; Time: 29m)

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

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

Review: 2018.555 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: There are lots of great twists and surprises in this story. Both women are doing what they think is right, so we’ve got excellent conflict between two characters who both earn our sympathy.

A reputation-based curse is a pretty neat idea.

At the end, even though Zayred’s sacrifice and Meiri’s death were both for nothing, at least the two of them are reconciled, and that’s something. And the conclusion is a sober one: that you can’t expect to end war with magic. You have to change people’s minds.

Con: What stops me from recommending this one is that it’s the story of a failure that’s neither noble nor tragic. Zayred’s noble effort to end war ends in an ignoble attempt at vengeance. Meiri’s noble appeal to the council turns out to just be her looking out for herself. Zayred laments that they could have been heroes, and Meiri wonders how they’ll be remembered, but the truth is that they’re not heroes, they didn’t accomplish anything, and no one will remember them.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 262)
Grace Seybold Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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