I know, I know! Look, I am working on my TBR pile. The fact is that I am also writing my own stories, keeping a wary eye on the world, and generally dealing with Life. So reading and writing kind of get juggled and swapped, meaning there are stories I just do not have the energy to read that are still on my “to be read” list.
Hopefully I can read a few more novels and get them under my belt. For now, though, we will all have to deal with the fact that I am doing the best I can with what I have at present. That means reading and writing when and where I can as best I can.
With that in mind, here is my review of Mary Catelli’s short story, Fever and Snow*:
A short story of a curse, a king, and a child.
A warlord of fire can lay curses of fever. A woman of snow can freeze a man to death.
Pierre, knight of the king, is burning with fever from the curse of the warlord when he learns a possibility that might save him — and the kingdom. It turns on a child.
Having had the opportunity to talk to Ms. Catelli about fairy tales and folklore, I found this short story of hers to be more than satisfying on those fronts. It may be somewhat difficult to review due to its length, but let me assure you first and foremost that this short story feels like a tale told in the Middle Ages. This is especially true with regard to the Fae creature and the warlord who can set a man afire with fever.
Fever and Snow starts with Pierre, the only knight to survive a battle with the warlord, who has been encroaching on the king’s territory for some time. All the other chevaliers in his company have been slain, and the village they were fighting near has been burnt to ash. The survivors among the peasants who called it home are those who fled faster and further than the rest.
With a touch, the warlord gives the already wounded Pierre a magic fever no medicine nor cold can quench. The knight is sent running (yes, even with a fever – the warlord is that scary) to the king to tell him that “only a child of snow” can defeat the warlord. Considering the man’s beard is made of flame, as is his hair, this is no idle claim.
The king is not impressed with this bit of news, nor with Pierre. He curtly dismisses the ill knight and sends him home. Once there, whilst the fever rages, Pierre is reminded of the snow woman as his sister tends him. The snow woman appears near his family’s village every winter with her baby, asking whoever she meets to hold the child. Whoever holds the babe, however, freezes to death instantaneously.
Pierre has a fever caused by magic, one which no remedy can cure. The snow woman brings death with her ice magic. What happens if you put the two together?
It might just kill him faster. But at this point, dying of a magic fever, what has Pierre really got to lose?
The story of Fever and Snow is quick, sharp, and highly insightful. While Pierre is a bit of a jerk, his heart is squarely in the right place – even when he would prefer it was elsewhere. The “child of snow” is endearing in her childishness, which is less preternatural than one might think, while still allowing her to be a child.
As for the snow woman – holy COW. I would not want to run into such a diabolical spirit at all. Ms. Catelli does not undersell the danger of the snow woman or make her seem human. She succeeds in making her utterly alien and capricious; a deadly manifestation of the cold, one which no sane man ought to consider meeting.
That rather sums up just how desperate Pierre was to seek her out in the first place, honestly. One would have to be dying already to think going to see such a terrifying creature was a decent idea rather than utter suicide. Brr!
Fever and Snow is available only in on Kindle for $0.99. You can read it in five minutes or less, and feel better for doing so. It is well worth the purchase price and will satisfy the desires of any fairy tale or folklore fan.
*These are Amazon affiliate links. When you purchase something through them, this author receives a commission from Amazon at no extra charge to you, the buyer.
If you liked this article, friend Caroline Furlong on Facebook or follow her here at www.carolinefurlong.wordpress.com. Her stories have been published in Cirsova’s Summer Special and Unbound III: Goodbye, Earth. She has also had stories published in the Planetary Anthology Series. Another story was released in Cirsova Magazine’s Summer Issue in 2020, and she had a story published in Storyhack Magazine’s 7th Issue, Cirsova Magazine’s 2021 Summer Issue, and another may be read over at Ember Journal. Her first anthology – The Guardian Cycle – is available in paperback and ebook as well. Order them today!
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3 thoughts on “Review: Fever and Snow by Mary Catelli”
New fairy tales are something I go on and off of; it is an intermittent reading taste.
I highly recommend having a batch if Mary Catellu’s stories on hand when the impulse hits. (Two other good authors are Nicholas Stuart Gray and Barbara Leonie Picard)
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