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

Black Gate Online, November 11, 2012

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Black Gate Online, November 11, 2012

“Godmother Lizard” by C.S.E. Cooney

Reviewed by Louis West

C.S.E. Cooney’s “Godmother Lizard” is a delightful fantasy tale about an orphan girl, Ro, and how she becomes a hero by saving her friends from their human-looking mother who was slowly eating them. It takes her two decades to accomplish this, but that’s part of the charm of this story. Cooney deftly uses that time to grow Ro and her friends into adults which changes them from victims to empowered.

I enjoyed the fantastical elements in Ro’s world. The essence of its magic is poignantly captured when Wyll, Jaks' younger brother, gives Ro his living silver lizard bracelet for protection: “It wound in frantic circles around his finger, mewling all the time, until it had spiraled to rest a blunt triangular head upon his fingernail.”

The story language is rich and colorful, the growing relationship between Ro and Jaks reminiscent of chivalrous lords and ladies. The dialog has a pleasantly oblique edge to it which entranced me from the beginning. I highly recommend it.