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on Dec. 25, 2011 :
SUMMARY: In this 7k-word short story, orphan Amyke lives in the ancient city of Alalakh and is forced to slave away in a beer-shop owned by the wicked Beltu and her spoiled, self-centered daughter Sabitu. The story follows her coming-of-age ordeal when she offers herself up in the temple of Mylitta, hoping for handsome woodcutter Muru while trying to avoid the attentions of a foul and beastly shapeshifter. Can her dashing woodcutter save her from the monster? Or will this fusion of Cinderella/Red Riding Hood/ancient Near East mythology produce a different conclusion?
Sylvia Volk's prose is as lush, sensual, and visceral as ever. The descriptions engage all five senses and are punctuated with some truly startling images. (I've never seen a werewolf's voice described in such detail before, and definitely not with those details in particular.) The story also flows well, in a way that could be described as cinematic. Each scene is strong, and leads naturally into the next.
I'm dropping one star because I never really had enough time with Amyke or Muru to really appreciate their characters, but all in all, it's a tight little story, filled with suspense and exotic detail.
Note: Received the story for free via author's LJ.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)