Reviewed by Michelle Ristuccia
In “Primaflora’s Journey” by Cat Rambo, the violent removal of Primaflora from the forest transforms her from a self-aware creature of simple desires and simple thoughts, to a complicated soul forged through trauma. Throughout the story, Cat Rambo describes the humans’ systematic depersonalization of the dryads and other creatures, who are made to feel like things rather than cognizant persons. Primaflora must fight her natural inclinations in order to resist the humans’ manipulation, but in doing so, risks destroying her self. “Primaflora’s Journey” is a thoughtful piece that may interest fantasy fans in the rest of Cat Rambo’s Tabat stories, which currently include several flash pieces and her recently released novel, Beasts of Tabat.
“Wild Things Got to Go Free” by Heather Clitheroe is told from the perspective of nine-year-old Leah, whose mother suddenly must leave in order to ‘turn,’ but promises to come back for Leah, a promise that Leah’s father warns she may not be able to keep. Leah’s father and older sister Aisha help keep Leah from the occupying soldiers, but also withhold information from her and stunt her ability to make her own decisions. Leah’s character and her relationship with her mother develop nicely through the life-and-death conflict and Clitheroe keeps the reader’s interest with a well-written unreliable narrator, providing a solid base for the story. However, the big mystery of the townsfolk’s turning dips into cliché with an oft-used fantasy creature.
Michelle Ristuccia enjoys slowing down time in the middle of the night to read and review speculative fiction, because sleeping offspring are the best inspiration and motivation. You can find out more about her other writing projects and geeky obsessions by visiting her blog.