4 of 5 stars
A twist in story-telling has a self-professed demon-kin narrating this tale using second-person voice. The you has summoned Sahel, who cruelly responds with truth. The clever and conversational tone of the second-person narration is highly enjoyable. It’s also nice to see the lesser-represented summonee tell the tale, rather than the summoner.
This short tale takes place in three timelines and on two planes of existence. In the present, you have summoned Sahel and are asking questions about Driana. A thousand years ago, Driana lost her parents in a war and with the little witch-knowledge she had picked up from her mother, scrapes together a hard life by stealing magic and dealing cheap amulets until she is captured by a wizard whom she was stealing power from. That wizard is himself siphoning energy, but from a statue that unbeknownst to him contains Sahel.
Driana aims to free herself and Sahel, but must delve into the events of 500 years earlier when Sahel was in a war on the Planes of the Gods and got trapped in the Manor of Lost Time, a dimension that plays out all the endless possibilities that will never happen.
“The Manor of Lost Time” appears in The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy: 2015 edited by Rich Norton and published by Prime Books. It first appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, June 26, 2014.
[Check out my other reviews here.]