Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Red Honey Witch, by Jessica Paddock

★★★★☆ A coming-of-age story.

(Alternate-Reality Fantasy) Arati’s bond with the bees makes her a danger to those around her, so her village sends her to a witch to be trained. (2,664 words; Time: 08m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 275, published on .

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

Review: 2019.209 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is a coming-of-age story. Arati can’t stay in the village after she accidentally kills her mother with the bees; her place is going to be at the cliffs, but it takes her a while to accept this.

The climax is exciting, and it’s very moving when Arati rises to the occasion and does what only she can: uniting the swarms against the bad guys trying to burn the hives.

The red-honey bees of Tibet are a real thing. Although the honey probably doesn’t have the magical properties described in the story, some people claim it can make you high. (I suspect it only gives you a buzz.)

Con: Somehow I never warmed to Arati. Awful things happened to her (the story refers to her as “broken”), and she ought to be a hugely sympathetic character, but for some reason it never clicked with me. It didn’t help that she never seemed to show any remorse for her own bad actions.

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