Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Bone Flute Quartet, by K.J. Kabza

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Fantasy Adventure) Bretchen wants to be a witch, but she doesn’t know how to go about it. Her grandmother has some ideas, but her mom sends her to learn knitting instead. (4,577 words; Time: 15m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 277, published on .

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

Review: 2019.308 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: This is essentially the tale of Bretchen’s adventures as each flute leads her on to the next one up to the climax where she shows us she’s actually worthy. It was fun all the way to the end.

My favorite bit was when Bretchen opens her “letter of introduction” and it starts with “You tore open your letter of introduction, didn’t you?”

Con: This was a pretty awful test: Expecting an untrained 11-year-old to confront the shade of the most evil witch ever. On the other hand, how much of a test is it if all she has to do to kill it is hit it with a rock?

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5 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I don't think Ommama was aware of the powers the flutes will get when hold together, particularly that they will give you the desire (and knowledge) to reunite all four. She states she only expected Bretchen to convince Jack to let her play with his flute so Bretchen could get a taste of flying, so while she's clearly proud of the outcome I don't think she had planned for this.

    1. That makes sense. That still leaves us with a too-easy victory, though.

      This really was a fun little story; I just didn't feel that it stuck the landing.

    2. I agree with Diego on the expected test vs. what actually happened because of Bretchen's overflowing initiative. Also, I don't think the ending is so much about hitting Myrra with a rock (which is easy, I agree) but about Bretchen overcoming her own desire for what the witch is promising and seeing through the illusion of hero-worship or however you'd put it. That she does that is *still* too easy, really (as is the whole plot), but its her clever mind more than her rock that's the means of victory.

      I just loved the narrative voice with stuff like, "I knew that the great Myrra Ferrinn, Empress of Vipers, would not run from the oncoming nightfall by begging succor from a cozy farmhouse. Myrra Ferrinn would boldly stride into that weedy ruin instead, and she would find a man there, or maybe his ghost, and bed him in the nearest graveyard besides," and realizing the problem with Myrra's likely plans: "I needed my blood. You can't become a witch without blood." :)

    3. Yeah, the sardonic narrator is unquestionably the best feature of the piece.