Title: Holly and Iron
Author: Garth Nix
In: To Hold the Bridge (Garth Nix)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Easy reading, Medieval fantasy
Format: Short story
Publisher: Hot Key Books
5th sentence, 74th page: The cavemouth was hidden from them, but they could see at least forty Norman men-at-arms standing ready on the path below it, including half a dozen archers who stood in a semicircle, laughing and joking.
Who is the rightful heir to the throne? Can one of these girls rule with both holly and iron? Only time and a final battle of wills can tell.
A very unique, and thoroughly enjoyable spin on The Sword in the Stone. With a little bit of a hint of Robin Hood thrown in. Or at least, that’s the flavour that I got from Holly and Iron. And it’s one that I thoroughly enjoyed. After all, they are two classic tales, and they blend seamlessly together in this fantastic short story.
The idea of holly magic and iron, natural and man-made is a beautiful comparison of the binary way in which we view the world. It shows the way in which so many people think that we are separate from nature, but, as Robin’s plight and eventual success show, it’s not necessarily the truth. Or at least, I have never thought it was.
There’s a time to pick your battles, and sometimes we have to change our path. Find something new to focus on and move on from the old. It may take Robin a long time to learn this, but when she does, there is a moment of unadulterated triumph, and a beautiful sense of walking into a brand new world.
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