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

Black Gate Online, March 31, 2013

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Black Gate Online, March 31, 2013

“Disciple” by Emily Mah

Reviewed by Louis West

Emily Mah’s “Disciple” is a wonderfully complicated tale about a mage hunter who is herself a mage. The world hates mages, but only the Disciples who had ruled for centuries before being overthrown. Now the king and the people hunt them, executing all they find. Yet free mages, although ignored by the authorities, are uncontrolled and potentially destructive. Disciples hunt and destroy free mages to protect the world and to protect their own craft for “It’s their magic or no magic…”

Dina runs the tavern for a small fisherman’s town, and she’s a Disciple. But she’s tortured by her lack of conscience, unable to feel remorse for the thousands of free mages she’s destroyed over the decades. She’s tasked with killing, or converting, Lana, a local young woman who has begun to show a strong aptitude for magic, a woman she’s watched over but doesn’t really like.  In the end, Dina hesitates, and her choices are taken from her. But they lead in an oddly contorted manner to her finding a kind of peace, an emptiness that gives her surcease.

A pleasure to read. Strongly recommended.