Tangent Online

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

Black Gate Online, April 7 & 14, 2013

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Black Gate Online, April 7, 2013

“The Sorrowless Thief” by Ryan Harvey


Reviewed by John Sulyok

The narrator, a beggar nearly given up on life, spends what little money he has in dream-smoke-filled drug dens, indulging in the illusions brought on by the smoke of the mokkah flower. What wanders in one night is no illusion, it is the thief Dyzan Ludd. He seems immune from the smoke, and immune from what has brought so many into the den: the Sorrow. These facts stir the narrator. He and Dyzan find themselves in conversation about Dyzan’s upcoming plan to rob a caravan coming from the north. It is a fool’s errand, but Dyzan doesn’t listen to reason. The events of the heist and the fallout thereof will forever change the Sorrowless thief and reveal a larger mystery.

Ryan Harvey’s “The Sorrowless Thief” exists as part of a larger science-fantasy series. The world of Dyzan includes few guns and many (magically) tamed dinosaur beasts situated in the usual tropes of fantasy. These surrounding details thicken the setting and the plot, adding a lot of intrigue to the events herein. It feels like a good entry-point if the series continues.


Black Gate Online, April 14, 2013

"Truck Stop Luck" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Reviewed by John Sulyok

Keith Sharp is a standard supernatural YA-oriented protagonist. He's part of a large family of wizards, and of course he isn't as good as his siblings. Lucky for him, he wasn't home when his family was turned to stone. But he isn't too concerned, he just needs to take them to a more powerful wizard who can disenchant them. Unlucky for him, is a particular encounter at a truck stop that ends up sending him on a high-speed chase with a girl named Tegwyn, who is not only unphased by the situation, but willing to immediately start a relationship with Keith.

"Truck Stop Luck" is marred with problems that sap joy from reading it. Characters speak less like people than exposition machines. The plot is thin and driven by random encounters. There is no sense of danger, only obstacles for the characters to overcome through a display of supernatural abilities, which becomes more uninteresting each time it happens. Overall, there isn't much positive to say here.