Friday, February 23, 2018

Short Fiction Friday: The Armored Saint by Myke Cole

Heloise knows the laws. She knows the rumors about demons. But it's been so long since anyone has seen one she's no longer sure if the laws or even the demons are real. What she does know is that seemingly innocent people are being butchered in the name of an antiquated law. Friends, family, anyone can be their next target. All it takes is a whisper of magic, or the crossing of the wrong person. 

I had the chance to snag an early copy of Myke Cole's latest at our regional trade show last fall and started reading it immediately. Before I knew it, I'd zipped through the whole thing! And of course now I'm waiting for more :)

Heloise follows the rules. Everyone does in her world because to toe the line even the tiniest bit can mean bringing down the wrath of the Order. They say they're hunting demons and they say that the use of magic brings the demons. But in reality, some of them revel in their power just a bit too much. And witnessing this one too many times pushes Heloise over the edge, making her question everything she's been taught to believe. But even questioning is enough to get a person condemned.

In truth, Heloise and those around her have never actually seen evidence of demons. Just gossip and rumors - and of course the devastating consequences of the Order's hunts.

Cole's latest may be short, but it packs a serious punch. The world is so finely detailed that you can feel the underlying unease that Heloise and those around her live with constantly. Of course, the book kicks off with an incident that makes that more than abundantly clear.

Heloise, like any teen, is coming into her own. She's learning to listen and observe and make her own decisions about things. She's also coming to realize that she herself may not be exactly what the Order believes she should be. These things combine to put her in a very uncomfortable position - can she, a person who for all intents and purposes has never done anything bad and wishes no harm to anyone be inherently bad as per the laws of her world?

Though the story is couched as fantasy, Heloise's struggle is one many can identify with. Especially in this day and age. And I loved her oh so completely!

The Armored Saint is wonderful and magical and dark and gritty. It's also incredibly thought provoking. Everyone should read it!!!

1 comment:

Dianna said...

Initially, I wasn't drawn to this book, but after reading your review I might give it a try!