2 of 5 stars.
This original folk tale contains not only fantastical elements, as one would expect, but also a darkness reminiscent of non-Disney-fied Grimm’s tales. The narrator [the only developed character] is a young adult that must decide whether to do something brutal to an innocent and rare creature in order to save a human life. The weight of the equation is skewed by the sick adult being the mother of the narrator. The assumption that any human life ranks above non-human lives is implied, but taken to an elevated if not horrific level.
The creature in question is a rare and magical hawk with crystal feathers and a glowing heart. No parts of the bird will directly save a life. But the sale of its parts on the market, or possibly black market, will provide far more than enough money to pay for the mother’s needed medicine. The creature might be the last of its kind in the area, even. This moral argument is akin [if not exactly equal] to saying that it’s okay to slaughter an elephant for its tusks or a rare rhino for its horn knowing that one could sell its parts on the black market and thereby pay one’s medical bills.
While it’s clear the narrator wrestles with the idea, the subject could be explored to a much deeper level. It’s not the creature that’s saving the life, it’s the money. And yet the true economics aren’t contemplated.
This tale was a quarterly contest winner appearing in Writers of the Future: Volume 33 edited by David Farland.
[Check out my other reviews here.]