Unveiling the Sorceress has a pretty simple plot with an uncommon setting in regards to fantasy. The plot: among the gods, one has decided to directly influence the course of human events by creating unrest in the exotic lands. This leads to the possibility of war, and the peaceful and wealthy Aleem, a city coveted due to its riches and location in the trading routes, must find a way to make peace with its enemy, Karseedia. To do so, the young Empress Elishiba, decides to offer herself to Karseedia’s Emperor in marriage. While she doesn’t want to do this, she’ll do whatever it takes to defend and protect her people, and she hopes that by agreeing to such a marriage (which was her idea), she can negotiate with the Emperor and find another way to create peace between the two countries. The conflict comes in the form of the Emperor’s mother, who wants power for herself and wants Aleem squashed, and the fact that Elishiba finds herself dangerously attracted to one of Hanrah’s (the Emperor’s) advisors, Amshazar, who clearly has an agenda of his own.
The book is just a very enjoyable read. I loved the emotional depth to the characters, particularly Elishiba, who is a very solid heroine. The is pretty tight and rolls right along, and despite the book’s short length, there’s no shortage on the romance, sex, and personal sacrifice the characters have to make. There’s tragedy in this book, and that’s an impressive punch for 219 pages. The story wraps up well, though I couldn’t help but wonder if Walker might write a sequel, because the epilogue implies possible future adventures, and I’d enjoy seeing these characters again.
The full review, which does include spoilers, is at my journal, if anyone’s interested. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.
We’re doing something a bit new with the online fiction roundup, as you can see. After each site name, there is a stat letting you know how many of the authors in that issue were female out of a total. For example, 2 for 3 means that out of 3 stories publishes in that issue, 2 were by women. This is there not only to show you which magazines have what look like a somewhat fair ratio, but to make our readers aware of how many other stories are out there as well. Just because we don’t list those other stories on our site, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go read those as well. Enjoy!
ETA: I have added a few stories that were missed when I first posted the roundup…
Coyote Wild (4 of 10)
A Feast of Leftovers by Patricia Russo
City of Angels by Rosamund Hodge
The Devil You Know by Mary Misenor
The River-Hag by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Fantasy Magazine (4 for 9)
When We Were Stardust by Rebecca Epstein
Alphabet by Becca de la Rosa
Glass by Nikki Alfar
Petrella by Charlene Brusso
Seraphim by Maya Bohnhoff
Salvager’s Gold by Selina Rosen
Drooling Wizards by Laura J. Underwood
Suicide Drive by Charlie Anders
Ideomancer (2 for 3)
Jim Baen’s Universe (3 for 12)
- Hourglass by Alma Alexander
- Waking Ophelia by E. Catherine Tobler
- End of the Line by Holly Messinger
Lone Star (2 for 3)
Serendipidy (5 for 5)
- Where the Stream comes from by Joanna Gardner
- Geoffrey Says by Aliya Whiteley
- Stepping Stones by Waiata Dawn Davies
- The Fiery Dragon by Edith Nesbit
- Ticket to Nowhere by Katy Wimhurst
Strange Horizons (5 of 8 )
Writer: Jennifer Pelland
Genre: Short Stories/Science Fiction/Horror
When I heard Pelland was releasing a short story collection, I was very excited. Granted, I’ve only read two of her short stories, but the one really stuck with me. Pelland has a smooth, clean writing style and her story ideas can really knock a person on their ass.
Unwelcome Bodies is a collection that focuses on a variety of issues: the environment, religion, and terrorism, and the one thing that unites these stories is the character’s body image and how they fit into the world/society around them. Each of the stories are different and unique, and most all of the stories balance a wonderful blend of science fiction and horror. This collection is an easy one to recommend.
The full story-by-story review, which does include spoilers in some cases, is in my journal. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.
I was really looking forward to this book. Intriguing title, beautiful cover, and a lesbian protagonist, the latter of which is super-cool, since JUNO has so far published romantic fantasy, so if the protag was a lesbian, I was guaranteed something different. And speaking of different, this modern fantasy takes place in a small town somewhere in the west, using Mayan mythology to boot.
It should’ve been awesome. It wasn’t. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.
The full review where I rant and rave and spoil the heck out of the book is in my journal. As always, comments and discussion are most appreciated.