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February 17

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Short Story Review: The Wizards of Perfil by Kelly Link

by Ann-Katrina

Pretty Monsters cover The 30 page short story The Wizards of Perfil is from the anthology Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link.

Short Synopsis

A mad king has declared war on everyone leaving families broken and fear in his wake. An orphan named Onion, in the care of his aunt, is nearly sold into slavery, but at the last moment, the stranger from Perfil decides to take Onion’s ill-tempered cousin Halsa. Onion and Halsa are both special, they share the same gift, so while Halsa rides off to serve the Wizards of Perfil, it’s as though Onion is right there with her. In time, Halsa, after much hard labor, and Onion learn that the Wizards are nothing like they’d expected.

My Thoughts on The Wizards of Perfil

I’m not sure what I feel right now. I’m a bit unsettled.

The prose was smooth and I glided through pages with ease. The story unfolded like a half-remembered-dream where nothing could quite be nailed down (like ages or dates or locations) which worked in its favor and the story was unique and the characters were memorable, but I can’t shake this feeling that this would have been a better story had it been longer or, at least, more fleshed out. And the end, which I sort of saw coming, fizzled when I expected an explosion (or maybe a firecracker).

The reason for my ambivalence, though, is because I enjoyed reading it. Link is certainly a skilled wordsmith and she has a way of crafting genuine characters. (One small quirk was Halsa’s abrupt and quite jarring personality shift and Onion’s willingness to accept it at face value, but that was minor.) Plus, I like the thoughtful elements of the story; it was almost like a parable causing you to question the costs of war and faith.

But, the fact remains that I’m squarely on the fence and in my mind this story fell just short of excellence.

Final rating: C+

Comments on Short Story Review: The Wizards of Perfil by Kelly Link

  1. # Rebecca wrote on February 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm:

    hello! I love your blog(s)! And i’m quite upset that you don’t update the other one anymore.

    Your narrow lined paper pdf was incredibly useful to me, and i’m quite the jetpens addict too. haha

  2. # Ann-Kat wrote on February 22, 2011 at 10:20 am:

    Thanks, Rebecca…for the compliments and for the kick in the pants. You’re absolutely right that I need to update ‘Today, I Wrote…’ a lot more than I do (and I have been writing, just not blogging about it). I’m also glad to hear you found the narrow-lined paper useful. I knew I couldn’t be the only one out there. :D

    And I promise to update that site more.

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