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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Beneath Ceaseless Skies #66, April 7, 2011

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Beneath Ceaseless Skies #66, April 7, 2011

“Dancing the Warrior, Pt. I” by Marie Brennan
“The Fairy Gaol” by Heather Fawcett

Reviewed by Jo-Anne Odell

In “Dancing the Warrior, Pt. I” by Marie Brennan, Seniade lives to dance the Warrior. But it’s all she can do with conviction, the only thing she wants to dance. When she’s offered a chance to leave the Dancers and join the Hunters, it seems a better fit. There’s no guarantee she’ll be accepted; she must fight to gain her place. Only when she succeeds does she learn that the test was only her first. Learning to be a hunter is a challenge like no other.

I was impressed by the quality of this piece. It’s beautifully crafted, and felt like what it is, a small part of a much longer journey. The story is a prequel, an introduction to a series of novels.

“The Fairy Gaol” by Heather Fawcett tells of the imprisonment of one of the Fay, held in a fairy gaol, awaiting execution. She passes the time by speaking to her nemesis, one of the shadowfay, while she fashions a dagger from dried blood. His treachery is what caused her imprisonment. Though her attempt at revenge fails, an unexpected opportunity presents itself.

The clinical voice of this piece seemed in keeping with the dispassionate characters, but did little to draw me in. Lack of clarity and a slow start compounded the issue.