- Author: Celine Jeanjean
- Published: September 2016 by Enoki Press
- Category: Urban Fantasy, Steampunk
Rory is a seven-year-old starveling, carving out a survival for herself down on the docks of Damsport. When Daria, an older girl and talented pickpocket, suggests they team up to con Damsians out of their purses, Rory accepts at once.
Rory just about survives on Tinsbury Dock by scavenging whatever scraps she can find. It’s a constant struggle to ease the hunger pangs, and being so tiny left Rory last in line when there was a fight for whatever bits of food were available. Rory knows when not to get involved and accepts the way things are. She sleeps in a dilapidated house peopled by beggars and drunks, but still manages to find beauty in the sky at sunset and enjoys sitting on the roof.
She could watch the city at her feet and pretend she was a great woman, not a street starveling. And of course, being here meant she’d survived another day, and that was always something to celebrate.
Life would probably have gone on much the same for Rory had she not met Daria. Daria, confident and fascinating, took Rory from a street urchin to a competent pick pocket, becoming Rory’s idol, and friend, in the process. For the first time in her life Rory had money which meant she could eat a proper meal. Equally important, she had someone she cared about in her life. She wasn’t alone any more. But Daria was not all she seemed as Rory found out, much to her dismay and increasing fear for her friend.
Rory frowned as she watched Daria walking towards the group. She seemed to be shrinking the nearer she got, her shoulders hunching, all trace of her swagger gone.
For such a short story there’s a good variety of individual characters and the development is excellent. Although in the beginning Rory kept out of the way and tried to stay in the background as much as possible, meeting Daria and learning about her life marked a change in her, Rory’s, outlook. Rory deals with emotions which didn’t trouble her previously and when tragedy strikes it sets her on the path to her future.
I enjoyed the writing style very much, the characters stand out and are totally believable. The Bloodless Assassin and The Black Orchid are already in my waiting to be read pile but I couldn’t resist reading this first.
About Celine Jeanjean
Celine Jeanjean is French, grew up in the UK and now lives in Hong Kong. That makes her a tad confused about where she is from. During her time in Asia she’s watched the sun rise over Angkor Wat, lost her shoes in Vietnam, and fallen off a bamboo raft in China.
Celine writes stories that feature quirky characters and misfits, and her books are a mixture of steampunk, fantasy and humour.