Sunday, August 4, 2019

A Leash of Foxes, Their Stories Like Barter, by Cassandra Khaw

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Fantasy Horror) When Lady Mary marries the mysterious Mr. Fox, a jealous suitor follows them to their castle. (3,469 words; Time: 11m)

"A Leash of Foxes, Their Stories Like Barter," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 111, published on .

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

Review: 2019.443 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The story is just as bloodthirsty as any fairy tale, but not quite in the way we might expect.

Strangely enough, Lord Petty is actually the protagonist of this story. His goal at first seems to be to somehow get Lady Mary for himself, and then, afterwards, perhaps to destroy her and Mr. Fox alike. Their readiness to come visit the town offers every clue that they don’t expect things will go that way.

The ending takes a little thought to untangle. The fact that the framing story is Mr. Fox telling the tale, tells us that whatever thing Lady Mary really was, the townspeople and the lords couldn’t stand against it. And the “hunt” that he’s taking his daughter on in the morning is likely going to be something terrible.

Con: The story left me with no one to root for. Lord Petty was a jerk, so I could hardly root for his success, but Mr. and Mrs. Fox were monsters.

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