This was a fast-paced novella with clever magic and some extremely dark imagery. We begin with an artificer and his apprentice, who must enter the legendary Sangrook Manor on orders from the Duke, who requires magical artifacts that can only be crafted from the resources contained within. The Sangrooks were a family who ruled with an iron fist and dark magics a century ago, and were wiped out in an apparent uprising.
It’s an inventive story with some seriously horrifying imagery, definitely not for readers with weak constitutions. Within the first few pages there are scenes of animal abuse so if that’s a deal breaker for you as a reader, consider this your heads-up. The magic system is well thought out, interesting and pretty original. Animal essences are used to power magical items, and can imbue them with the aspects of the animal. Of course, human essences are also a possibility but it’s strictly forbidden and abhorrent to society.
It’s very much plot driven and character light, as one would expect from a short story, but it packs a lot in! I particularly enjoyed the introduction of a character later on (I say character… monster is probably a better word) and their attachment to the MC, which forces him to drastically alter his behavior. I’m trying to keep it vague to avoid spoilers, but it was fun. In some places it’s a little rushed (one reveal in particular was only foreshadowed 2 pages ahead of time) but overall a very good fast horror read.
r/Fantasy 2017 Bingo Squares
- Writer of the Day
- Five Fantasy Short Stories