Monday, March 16, 2020

A Feast of Butterflies, by Amanda Hollander

★★★☆☆ Honorable Mention

(Dark Modern Fantasy) In a small town where justice is a sham, a young constable looks into the disappearance of five privileged youths somehow connected to a strange girl who eats butterflies. (6,046 words; Time: 20m)

Recommended By: 👍RHorton.r+1 👍STomaino+1 (Q&A)

"A Feast of Butterflies," by (edited by C.C. Finlay), appeared in issue 03-04|20, published on by .

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

Review: 2020.150 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: The more the young constable learns, the clearer it is that even if he can’t do justice for the butterfly girl’s murdered brother, at least he needs to find a way not to commit more injustice himself.

When he sees the girl transform into a spider, we learn that the dark magic others had worried about isn’t merely a superstition. More important, the fact that this doesn’t surprise the constable should tell us something. And a careful reread of that passage makes it clear that the constable didn’t make that nighttime visit in his human form.

The final resolution is both horrifying and satisfying. And we know exactly what viper killed the “Judge.”

Con: The Judge is a cardboard villain. It’s a little unsatisfying that we have no idea what the five boys were up to nor how the girl got the drop on them. And just wrapping them in cloth until they suffocated seems a little pedestrian.

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Amanda Hollander Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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