“The Rusalka Ritual and Other Stories” by Freya Pickard

The Rusalka Ritual and Other Stories

Rusalka Ritual

Freya Pickard

“The Rusalka Ritual and Other Stories” is a selection of 5 short fantasy stories, all featuring the formidable Dracomagan, in some places a warrior woman in a fantasy world, in others an apparently normal(ish) woman in this world, but always an important and powerful figure.

The stories range from atmospheric and tantalizingly fragmented (“Echo Peak”), to creepily fey (“The Rusalka Ritual”), to zanily off-the-wall (“A Picnic at Knole”). It’s never made clear if Dracomagan is the same person, or who exactly she is or how she inhabits different worlds; all the stories are open-ended and leave much up to the reader to decide. If you (like me) enjoy that kind of thing, you will probably enjoy the way the stories work together to create a picture of a world (or worlds) and character (or characters), but if you require your stories to be neatly wrapped up with a bow at the end, this is probably not the collection for you.

Along with Dracomagan, several of the stories feature other interesting female characters, making this a worthwhile read for people looking for some female-focused fantasy. The stories are quite short, meaning that you do no more than dip your toes and whet your appetite for the intriguing world the author has created, but it’s a fun introduction and could be good reading for fantasy fans looking to catch a quick fantasy fix on the bus or over lunch, without worrying about getting lost in the kind of complex epic narratives the genre favors. A charming quick read of slightly off-beat fantasy.

Buy link on Amazon here.

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