Author: Lawrence Schimel & Mike Resnick
In: The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic (Mike Ashley)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Magic
Dates read: 5th March 2020
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: Vivian sighed, wishing she were elsewhere, but she displayed no outward sign of her boredom, laughing along with the other assembled members of the Thirteen Families.
The world is run by those with powerful magic. Members of the Thirteen Families. But, when do the illusions end and reality begin? When does it become something much, much more?
This is a great story that reminds us – even when we get everything that we want, it might not be what we actually need. Vivian manages to rise to the top of her society, she uses all of her cunning and intelligence. Yet, once she’s there… there is nothing. No feeling of excitement no feeling of accomplishment. Just. Total. Disillusionment.
I found this short story quite a poignant reminder – sometimes the thing that you are working towards (power, prestige) isn’t necessarily what you need to be happy. Sometimes it is just empty and meaningless. Especially if you have a split moment in which you realise that it is all just an illusion. A figment of reality that is constructed by others.
This story is a little bit funny, a little bit dark and definitely one that will draw you in from the very beginning. It is intriguing and engaging. And not one that I am likely to forget anytime soon.