The Blade to Your Hand

Rated 3.60/5 based on 5 reviews
The pirate lioness Mazalaen has survived by pretending to be a man, a murderer and a thief... and fears she has become those things in truth. Until she meets a fearless princess in battle. Could this woman be her salvation? Originally published in Anthrolations.

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Words: 5,220
Language: English
ISBN: 9781458135940
About M.C.A. Hogarth

Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human and otherwise.

Her fiction has variously been recommended for a Nebula, a finalist for the Spectrum, placed on the secondary Tiptree reading list and chosen for two best-of anthologies; her art has appeared in RPGs, magazines and on book covers.

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Review by: Chaos B. on June 04, 2013 :
A nice short story about one who fears that she's become the monster she portrays herself as, and her attempt at redemption through saving, and serving, another.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Voice Spider on May 18, 2012 :
This story starts you off in the middle of action that leaves you feeling like you missed out on the first half of the story. But as the story progresses it becomes a wonderful piece of work that leaves you wishing there was more at the end.

The writing is solid with little to no complaints other than the choppy opening to the story and what I like to call the 'furry factor'.

Though this is a piece of furry fiction, the 'furry factor' is decidingly lacking in the piece. You could take that fact out of this story and nothing at all would change. Species are mentioned only in passing and any and all traits associated with anthropormorphic physiology is missing almost completely. I found that to be disapointing as the 'furry factor' becomes simple window dressing and nothing more.

But that aside, a short and wonderful read.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Elizabeth McCoy on May 30, 2011 :
Mazalaen is a woman (and a lioness) who has sacrificed nearly all her self-worth to survive, hiding what few scraps of ethics she has beneath the exterior of a vicious pirate. When she sees salvation in the form of the Princess Qethryn, she leaps for it -- seeing a person greater than she has become, reaching for something bright that she can no longer dream of being without help. Saving the princess' life (twice!), Maz sacrifices her past to seal her fealty, seeking only to be a weapon to serve her new mistress.

It's heady stuff -- redemption, fealty, submission (in the platonic sense, but not shallow) -- but the English major in me cries out: "But but but Maz has only saved Qethryn's _life_! How can the wheel come 'round, the story come full-circle, if she cannot also save Qethryn's _soul_?"

It is, however, possible that this is just me and my BA in English. If that's the case, add another star, for the only other (albeit related!) flaw is that I wanted to spend a novella's length or longer with the princess and the pirate, and not leave them behind after a mere short story.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Sean Silva on Dec. 23, 2010 :
A tale of blades, blood, and a budding romance that pulls you in and does want to let go. Set in a world of anthropomorphic animals, it's a beautifully written short story that captivates you with its poetic narrative and wonderful dialogue. This tale of love between a strong-minded princess and a hardened female pirate longing for a better life begs to be expanded on.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Eric Hinkle on Dec. 22, 2010 :
This is a short but very fun story set in a fantasy world with openly "furry" characters. It describes how the lionness piratess Mazalaen meets, joins, and (maybe) falls in love with a brave cheetah princess. It's very sweet and quite over the top with the action scenes; great for fans of swordswinging action.

My sole complaint is that this feels like the first chapter of a longer story and leaves you wanting so much more!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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