Thursday, February 7, 2019

Adrianna in Pomegranate, by Samantha Mills

[BCS]
★★★☆☆ Mixed

(High Fantasy) Benedetto makes his living running a calligramancy shop, where he makes magic via writing. Today, he snapped, closed the shop, and started an elaborate spell of unknown purpose. (4,328 words; Time: 14m)


"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 271, published on .

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

Review: 2019.100 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: On the surface, the story is about Benedetto trying to get the right materials to cast this spell and about his ex-wife trying to stop him. The story is very focused on the two of them; it hardly describes the rest of the setting at all except for the methods and materials of calligraphy, which it describes in lavish detail.

When we learn Benedetto wants to try to bring his daughter back from the dead and that he blames himself for her death, all the pieces click together. This is why he “snapped,” and this is why the couple divorced. At a deeper level, the plot is about the two of them finding peace.

At the end, when he’s burned the parchment and he and Sidony are weeping in each other’s arms, it seems that although they can’t get their daughter back, perhaps at least they’ll get each other back, and maybe that’s enough.

Con: The story puts its worst foot first, opening with a lengthy infodump about how writing and magic interact with each other. Then it takes way too long describing how Benedetto got set up to start writing. A few details about the writing process go a long way, but here they go on and on and on.

Us not knowing what Benedetto’s up to doesn’t really add tension until we see how Sidony freaks out when she realizes what he’s up to. The last part of the story is great, but the first 1/3 is quite a slog.

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