My short fiction Monday post is a little different this week. Annorlunda Books has a new novella coming out on Wednesday. I got an Advanced Reader Copy of the book, and I’m going to review it here.
Length: 43 pages
Setting: the Dawn Mother’s shrine, with medieval technology
Interest: I was provided an ARC of the novella by Annorlunda Books (but my opinion is my own). The publisher emphasizes “books to inform, entertain, and make you think.” I’ve enjoyed the other offerings from the publisher (like Unspotted, and Okay, So Look), so I thought I could get the word out about this story as well.
Summary: Kai is the Lady of the Dawn Mother’s shrine, ever since her mother fell ill to prickle-fever and there wasn’t enough lily-wine to heal her. It’s nearly time for the dawn lilies to bloom again. If they can just harvest enough nectar, she could be healed. Unfortunately, the cranes will likely come as well, as they have for the past few years, killing ever more of the lilies. One day Kevak, a handsome young doctor, shows up and wants to learn more about the lilies. Turns out, he’s the Crane King and he and his followers were banished from the Courts of the Sun. This is a special year, though, the Year of Fire and the Year of the Crane. With Kai’s help, there is a chance that he can create a potion that will permanently change him back into human form so he no longer needs to drink the lily nectar.
Final thoughts: This story feels like a fantastical fairy tale with Oriental undertones. I’m not sure it is part of any extant mythology, but I could totally see it fitting into a traditional book of fairy tales. It has all the required elements: a village touched by the Goddess, but currently visited by a curse, a young girl trying to find the cure, a handsome young stranger, and a bittersweet ending. Fogg is able to fill her world with gorgeous details without any boring infodumps. You have to pay attention, though, because she packs quite a few details into a few pages. Overall, a delightful story.
Title comes from: The Dawn Mother touched the Earth at this location and her lilies bloomed in the lake that resulted. They bloom at dawn for a short time each year.