Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Ormeshadow, by Priya Sharma

Second paragraph of third chapter:
Gideon stood beside his father. The sun made a fuss of setting, bleeding red and orange into the sea. Gideon could smell salt. The vastness of the ocean was still new to him.
Towards the end of the year I'd been working through some of the short fiction submitted as part of the editors' section of the 2020 Hugo voter packet, but this is the first one that left enough of an impression to write up. It's a novella edited by Ellen Datlow (who was last to qualify for the final ballot for Hugo for Best Editor, Short Form, but went on to win the award by a pretty convincing margin). The author is a doctor from Cheshire, who doesn't seem to have written any novels as yet, but is getting well known in the horror community. Ormeshadow won Best Novella in the 2019 Shirley Jackson Awards (not a list I have been following, but maybe I should start paying more attention).

I thought it was really good. It's set at some point in the past (people travel by coach). The author says that "Despite the fantasy elements it’s about rural poverty, sibling rivalry, thwarted ambition, and abuse." The viewpoint character is a teenage boy whose family is forced to move back to his father's ancestral farm in Cheshire; there are murky local legends about the legacy of the Orme (dragon), but vicious present-day family dynamics as well. Intensely and convincingly done, and recommended. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book by a non-white author. Next is Into The Ashes, by Lee Murray.
Tags: bookblog 2020, poc

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