Fabulous BeastsFabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma
My rating: 5/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Snakes are easy. It’s people that I don’t know how to charm.

this tor short is equal parts beautiful and disturbing.

it also comes with a warning: Please be warned that this story deals with difficult content and themes, including child abuse, incest, and rape.

and also snakes. up close and personal and slithering, so if you’ve got phobias, or any triggers around the themes mentioned above, there are many other free tor shorts for you to read.

me, i have no triggers and no phobias (not any real ones anyway, although i quite sensibly mistrust twins and birds and dolphins), so this story was nothing but smooth dark chocolate for my heart. it’s a very…unexpected tale, and as the story made its sinuous sexxy turns into its reveals – some predicted, some complete surprises – i was completely entranced by her writing, her characters, and her perfect blending of gritty realism and fantasy elements. because “fabulous” here is not used in its camp mode, but in its literary sense, as it relates to ‘fabulism.’ and this is some pitch-perfect fabulism here.

and i kind of don’t want to say too much about this one, which might seem like someone who’s just trying to get out of writing a long-overdue review for a short story they read months and months ago, but i assure you – this is done more out of respect for you, potential reader, than out of laziness of me, procrastinating reviewer.

it’s that i just reread the story now to properly review it, and if anything, i liked it more the second time around. it even got an extra star cat and now i can’t stop thinking about it.

it’s just so achingly beautiful:

“Tallulah, what am I? Am I a monster?”

She sat up and leant against me, her chin on my shoulder.

“Yes, you’re my monster.”

it’s family and love and strength and sacrifice and helplessness and revenge and snakes and power and suffering and coming through all sorts of pain with a sense of humor

These people with their interminable words. I came from a place where a slap sufficed.

again – it goes to dark and triggery places, but i don’t think it’s gratuitous at all. sometimes you need to be made to feel uncomfortable, and an author who manages access into a reader’s emotional space – it’s something to celebrate, not shy away from. which is maybe me speaking too much as a reader who rarely experiences strong emotions from reading, and regular non-robot people do not enjoy this discomfort which they probably feel more acutely than i do, but all i know is that after reading this a second time through, i think it’s a perfect short story.

and i have just discovered she has another free tor short: rag and bone which i will read tomorrow. which is really going to mess you up since i won’t be posting this review until way in the future, a future in which i will have already read (but likely not reviewed) that story and you will think you are magical time travelers but you are not.

anyway, read this story. i thought it was phenomenal.

read it for yourself here:…

read my reviews on goodreads

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