Friday, January 18, 2019

La Orpheline, by Jordan Taylor


(Historical Fantasy) In nineteenth-Century Paris, a mute girl works for the opera, adopted by the company since they found her. Then she finds an unlikely ally to help her fight the magician who cursed her. (6,320 words; Time: 21m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 269, published on .

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

Review: 2019.073 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: It’s an interesting reversal of the sort of curse we’d expect: instead of a girl turned into a cat we have a cat turned into a girl. The story, then, consists of her effort to get her skin back.

La Reine des FΓ©es doesn’t just want to capture the magician’s heart; she wants to free herself from him, for she’s as much his prisoner as la Orpheline is.

At the conclusion, we’re confident that la Orpheline will get her original form back and that the magician’s caged and bottled servants will take their revenge on him.

Con: There are a lot of elements to the story that don’t seem to come to anything. For example, la Orpheline puts her own blood into the Queen of Night costume, but we don’t know what the purpose was. And weak as la Orpheline is, why does La Reine even think she can help her? Also, the Soprano really is a cardboard villain whose whole purpose in life seems to be to torment la Orpheline out of pure meanness.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. My impression was that the girl was like a selkie but with a cat form -- even before she was caught. The magician just forced her out of her cat form and stole her skin, then wore it himself. Literally becoming a cat burglar or something like that.

    Presumably la Orpheline is still a magical creature even without her skin. The blood seemed to allow the costume to completely hide that la Reine des FΓ©es wasn't the Soprano. But I don't really understand what the whole point of that was.

    There is a glimpse into the Soprano's background which makes her a little more understandable. She escaped her own cage by learning to sing. But now she's afraid of what will happen as she gets older if she can't secure a patron.

  2. Correction for the author's website: