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

Strange Horizons -- June 3, 2019

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Strange Horizons, June 3, 2019

"Hunting the Viper King" By Kathryn Harlan

Reviewed by Jody Dorsett

A lonesome kid, a young girl, travels the country with her completely obsessed father. She’s Pedro to her father’s Don Quixote. The grumbles as they seek the giant snake known as the “Viper King” are pithy and fitting.

You see, if you eat the fat of the Viper King you will become omnificent. This is the story of their quest.

If one can get past the awkward sentence structure. I’m not sure if that’s “author’s voice” or “lazy editing.”
This story has great characterizations but the plot and structure could have been better. There’s a middle scene which could have been well expanded, but wasn’t and we don’t know why. Why would you build a great character and simply walk away from her? The ending, well...it’s an ending.
Frankly, the audio podcast is much more worth your time. It is well done.

Here, again, we see a good story that could have been better with a firmer hand from the editor.