Sunday, October 30, 2011

REVIEW: Snow Comes to Hawk's Folly

Title: Snow Comes to Hawk’s Folly
Author: J. Kathleen Cheney
Genre: Fantasy novella
Price: FREE at Smashwords
Publisher: Smashwords
Point of Sale: Smashwords
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

I’m very fond of the works of J. Kathleen Cheney. She’s a newer writer, working in fantasy, and at the moment she’s writing that hardest of works to sell, novellas. She wrote two novellas set among the horseracing set of Saratoga Springs, NY around the turn of the last century. One of them was published in Alembical 2, reviewed on this site. The other novella, Snow Comes to Hawk’s Folly, came out in Panverse Two. Well, in an effort to get more readership, Cheney released both novellas in ebook form. Since I hadn’t read Snow, I decided to download and read it. It was a very pleasant experience.

Imogen Hawkes inherited a horse farm when her first husband, Henry died. During the events of Iron Shoes, she met and married a puca, one of Ireland’s Lesser Folk, a man who could take and hold the form of a horse. This union resulted in a child, Patrick, who has more than a little puca blood and abilities in him, alas somewhat problematic in a two-year-old child.

Snow Comes to Hawk’s Folly starts with the arrival of mysterious visitor from Ireland, a man named Finnegan. Imogen can tell that he’s got magical powers of his own, and is concerned to learn that he’s bought the house next door. Very quickly thereafter, a freak September snowstorm blows in, and little Patrick goes missing. This sets up the events of the rest of the story, in which a number of people aren’t who they seem to be.

Ms. Cheney has a gift of writing magical systems that are believable, as well as a gift for characterization. Both those gifts are on full display in this short work. Imogen’s concern for her son, and even the motivations of his kidnapper are logical and well-thought out. The story has just the right pacing, not feeling rushed or cramped in any way. In short, Snow Comes to Hawk’s Folly is a wonderful read.

Rating: 9/10

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