Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Forgive Me, My Love, for the Ice and the Sea, by C.L. Clark

★★★★☆ Maintains Tension Throughout

(Fantasy Adventure) Laema joins the Pirate Queen’s voyage to the south pole but secretly plots to assassinate her. (5,737 words; Time: 19m)

"," by (edited by Scott H. Andrews), appeared in issue 296, published on .

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

Review: 2020.074 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Coerced by the court and with her wife held hostage, Laema has no choice but to try to assassinate Issheth. Presumably Laema’s credentials as a real pirate made it possible for her to get a job on Issheth’s ship (as opposed to some more regular government assassin).

The biggest strength of the story is the tension. At each step we expect Laema to try to kill Issheth (and possibly fail or get caught), and as the close relationship between the two deepens, the stakes of the story get higher and higher.

It’s also fun to watch how the relationship between the two women develops. Laema keeps making excuses for not making the kill, but it’s clear she’s fallen in love with her target. Only after her underwater meeting with the goddess, after Issheth thinks she risked her own life for hers, does Laema finally tell the captain the truth. And then they make a plan to rescue Laema’s lover after all.

Con: The weakest part is the ending, since it depends on a power Laema got from the goddess that wasn’t obvious until she used it.

It’s also worth noting that the heroes of this story are pirates, who presumably capture ships and kill the passengers and crew, so it’s not clear we’re rooting for the right people here.

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2 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. I didn't really ever think Laema would kill Issheth. And I had a hard time finding a lot of sympathy for her. She felt like she understood Issheth's grief, but Issheth's wife had actually died when Laema's lover was literally rotting in prison for her.

    1. Yeah, a lot of stories lately seem to have unsympathetic characters in them.