Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Castle That Jack Built, by Emily Gilman

Continuing my review of the World Fantasy Award nominees, I just finished The Castle That Jack Built.  This is my first review of one of Emily Gilman's stories.  I was favorably impressed and well entertained by the story, she is a fine writer and one worth reading.

All this is sounding like damning with faint praise.  And I guess it is.  It's good solid writing, I can't find any fault with it, and yet I didn't come away with anything really new or interesting to think about.  I feel simultaneously pleased, and jaded.  After several thousand stories read, that's very likely a normal condition.  And yet, I still set expectations high.

Want a plot summary?  OK, here ya go, I will try not to spoil it.  Jack is at this point free of all desire, a scarecrow standing on his pole in a field.  He remembers how he got there, and is at peace with it.  But the spell that holds him in the scarecrow can't hold up to a high (possibly magical) wind, and he is blown out of it.  Thus begins his journey to recover himself.  It's a nice story, and you should go ahead and read it as it is well above the average writing quality you will find.  Be content to be comfortable, perhaps more than I am.  Three stars for competency in all respects.

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