Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Loft the Sorcerer, by Eleanor Arnason

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Icelandic Folktale Horror) A poor young student at the bishop’s school decides to learn black magic to improve his fortunes. (10,487 words; Time: 34m)

Recommended By: πŸ‘RHorton.r+1 (Q&A)

"Loft the Sorcerer," by (edited by Gardner Dozois), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

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

Review: 2018.643 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: There’s a very nice arc of Loft doing steadily more reprehensible things up to the final confrontation.

It’s nice that his magic has serious limits to it. He can make a girl think she’s a horse, but he can’t do much of anything to Icelandic rocks—including trolls, who’re much like rocks. It’s also nice that the author lets him avoid his appointment with damnation, even though the original folktale isn't so gentle with him.

Con: Loft doesn’t have much to recommend him as a person; it’s hard to feel happy that he pays little price for his misdeeds.

The scene where he treats the girl as a horse bothered me a lot. I was pretty much rooting for him to get eaten by a grue after that.

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