The Hundredth House Had No Walls: A Tor.com Original by Laurie Penny
My rating: 3/5 cats
WELCOME TO DECEMBER PROJECT!
this explanation/intro will be posted before each day’s short story. scroll down to get to the story-review.
this is the FOURTH year of me doing a short story advent calendar as my december project. for those of you new to me or this endeavor, here’s the skinny: every day in december, i will be reading a short story that is 1) available free somewhere on internet, and 2) listed on goodreads as its own discrete entity. there will be links provided for those of you who like to read (or listen to) short stories for free, and also for those of you who have wildly overestimated how many books you can read in a year and are freaking out about not meeting your 2019 reading-challenge goals. i have been gathering links all year when tasty little tales have popped into my feed, but i will also accept additional suggestions, as long as they meet my aforementioned 1), 2) standards.
if you scroll to the end of the reviews linked here, you will find links to all the previous years’ stories, which means NINETY-THREE FREEBIES FOR YOU!
reviews of these will vary in length/quality depending on my available time/brain power.
so, let’s begin
The King of Myth and Shadow was no different from the rest of us in that he preferred stories to real life, which was messy and full of plot holes and disappointing protagonists. You couldn’t count on real life to deliver a satisfying twist, just more complications and the random violence of everyday heartbreak
i liked more of this story than i didn’t, so it gets hoisted up to a four. it’s an all-over-the-place kind of ride; switching gears, tones, genres, in agreeably unexpected ways—it’s fantasy, it’s romance, it’s a fairytale, but then there are parts when it just looks you in the eye and goes “ahem,” that were, to me, rankling. this is NOT directed at the character of the innkeeper’s wife, who is perfect, but those other unsubtle gender/relationship/sexual politics parts that read like “lessons for boys!” without being well-integrated within the narrative flow. i liked much of it, thought other parts too twee or cliched, so it’s a slightly scuffed jewel of a story that’ll look better on people who aren’t me.
read it for yourself here: