Short Story Review: “Swords Like Lightning, Hooves Like Thunder” by K. D. Julicher

2 of 5 stars.

Romance with an element of fantasy and Fantasy with an element of romance lie on opposite sides of a fulcrum. Striking the balance and knowing which side one’s on remains the challenge. This tale purports to be mostly about the fantasy as it depicts two tribes clashing culturally and politically–both warrior-tribes, but one more coastal-agrarian and the other more equestrian herders of the plains. Their conflict history is short with misinformation rife.

Romance overwhelms and subverts the climax as Yvina, the kingsdaughter of the coastal Aradori, races inland with Mahkah, of the Methlan, to save her brother from a Khan. The non-climax following the non-mystery of Mahkah’s identity emphasizes the commonplace rival-romance underbelly of the stand-alone tale.

The supernatural use of bear-spirits by Aradori warriors and magical, cosmetic runes by the Methlan add interesting elements that remain unexplored in process or capacity.

This tale appears in Writers of the Future 32 edited by David Farland. It’s illustrated by artist, Eldar Zakirov. I received this new anthology from Netgalley.

[Check out my other reviews here.]


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