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The Butcher of the Forest, by Premee Mohamed

Review copy provided by the publisher. Also the author is an online pal.

Look, even those of us who aren’t Premee’s friends online have learned by now that you do not pick up a Premee Mohamed novella in hopes of the teddy bears having their picnic. There is…outdoor eating? in this one? That’s as close as you’re going to get. Oh: and the children’s nice dog is safely left home, tied up in the kennel. The dog is Sir Not Appearing In This Dark Fantasy, you’re welcome.

Because nobody else is really having a nice day in this book. Nobody else is having the day they hoped for.

Veris Thorne is the only person ever to come out of the North Forest alive, with the child she meant to save from it. Only she has ever braved its magic and won. So when the tyrant’s two children go missing, it’s Veris who’s sent after them–under threat of the destruction of her entire village. It’s Veris who must dodge and feint and bargain with the powers of magic–and get two clueless privileged children to obey her in every particular–or she will lose everything she loves. That is, everything she loves that the tyrant has not taken already.

“Maybe I’ll start this tonight and finish it tomorrow,” I said to myself late last evening. “Maybe I’ll just read a little, and the rest in the morning. It’s been a long week, and I don’t have to read it all now.” Ha. HA. Well, the good news is that it is a novella, so when you make a bad choice like that, it won’t cost you too much sleep. Entirely engrossing.

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