Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Do Not Count the Withered Ones

I'm a fan of Caroline M. Yoachim.  I've read about seven of her stories, and this is one of the better ones.  "Do Not Count the Withered Ones" will only disappoint you if you go into it wanting an action story.  This story is not an action story in the least, but its pensive tone and subtle voice make it a strong example of the more elegant, passive fantasy that has been surfacing more and more lately.

Callie works very well as a 3rd-limited narrator.  Ms. Yoachim managed to give her some of the voice apparent in 1st-person prose, while forcing some distance between the protagonist and the reader, which needed to be done in order to make this story's intended tone work.  I liked how the character relationships were presented in this story, especially how they were tied into the setting.  The characters were a bit dry, but such an attribute suited this story.

I've read some stories with similar fantasy elements, yet this story manages to be more unique than most.  I think the concept of heartplants is well-done and well-developed for such a short story.

The plot of this story manages to wrap character and setting in expertly, a story trait I really enjoy.  I think this story would have done better as a short story than as a flash fic, but it certainly isn't plotted poorly.  Character and how it relates to plot is the only part that could have had more depth in my book.

"Do Not Count the Withered Ones" is not the best story I've ever read; it's probably not even in the top ten.  However, has a grace to it that I think a lot of modern fantasy readers enjoy, and it's definitely a worthy read.  It'll only take a handful of minutes to read, at a maximum.

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