Monday, July 29, 2019

The Border Keeper, by Kerstin Hall

★★★★☆ Rich Characters, Plenty of Intrigue

(Portal Fantasy) Vansethe comes to the Border Keeper needing her help on a quest to the other world, but she’s a hard one to convince, and even with her help, he’s likely to get killed in the process. (40,120 words; Time: 2h:13m)

"The Border Keeper," by (edited by Ruoxi Chen), published on by .

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

Review: 2019.412 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The sheer richness of the multiple interconnected worlds never really gets old. I never felt overwhelmed by the information; the rules about each new world seemed to come at just about the right pace.

Unusually, in this story we don’t really know what Vansethe’s objective is because he keeps it a secret. The story slowly drops hints that there may be more to him than meets the eye, but only very subtly. Most significant is the way he consistently charms Eris and wins her support.

Eris has her own objective, although that’s not obvious at first either: she’s been mourning her lost love for centuries, and from her post on the border, she isn’t doing much besides going through the motions. For her, this is a journey back to life.

Con: The story seemed to wrap up just a bit too quickly. The fight with Fanieq was over almost as soon at it began, and it’s not clear how Eris survived it. Likewise, Eris’s realization that Vansethe was really Yett seemed to come out of thin air.

A small thing, but a few times, I thought the story let Vansethe say things that weren’t true but with zero consequence.

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Kerstin Hall Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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