In a realm ruled by a God-Queen that has outlawed the study of The Few, a lost civilization that nearly decimated humanity, many are still searching for answers and paying heavy prices for them.
After accidentally massacring four students by using the forbidden and misunderstood Fewry, instantly labeling him a heretic, Hagador must travel to The Void, the only safe haven left for those who have committed crimes against The Gods. Already an outcast for being an Ovis, a horned and ancient race excluded from the God-Queen’s empire, his journey will not be easy.
Ahead of him lays uncertainty. Behind him lays only death.
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Would you be willing to pay the price for forbidden knowledge? The Price is author Lily Hammer’s riveting Dark Fantasy short set in her The One-Horned Heretic universe, and one that had me hooked from the first page. A concise, self-contained tale of the dangers of unearthing what’s meant to remain hidden, this story packs a surprisingly strong punch. Readers are dropped into a world in motion, but there’s plenty of time to get your feet firmly planted on the ground before the race for answers truly begins. Since this book clocks in at 27 pages, I’ll keep my review short and sweet, because this is one that’s better experienced than analyzed. I urge you to give it the attention it deserves.
Where this story truly shines is in its worldbuilding. Tiny insights pepper the pages to give readers just a taste of a richly developed world where strange magics of the past leach into the present. The entirety of the narrative takes place in Golgaterrath, city and citadel that houses one of the most prolific academic institutions in the world. Chiseled into a cliff face by ancient technologies lost to time, its dark, winding tunnels keep all sorts of secrets waiting to be discovered under lock and key. The Few, those that came before, were advanced beyond present reach, remaining both infamous and enigmatic. Hammer introduces all these concepts and more organically without information overload, making for smooth immersion into a world dripping with mystery and uncertainty.
While this tale introduces us to a small cast, the author is able to beautifully portray the dread and uneasiness that sets the tone for the story at hand. I always appreciate books that allow non-human characters to take center stage, so I really enjoyed Hagador, the first Ovis to gain admission into Golgaterrath for quite some time. After a ritual gone horribly wrong, he finds himself tossing his hopes to the wayside as he flees the opportunity of a lifetime, paying a grisly price. For such a short story, I found myself fully invested in Hagador’s escape, regardless of the horrid crimes he may have committed, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where his journey takes him next.
The Price is a brisk and altogether engrossing read that ends too soon. Well written, wonderfully realized, and easily accessible, it’s a story that grips you from the very beginning, refusing to let go even after you’ve turned the final page. It ties up nicely, one chapter closed making way for a new beginning, and I’m excited to see what Hammer has in store for us. If you’re a fan of Dark Fantasy and looking for a quick fix, then I highly suggest you give this a read – I guarantee you’ll be left with a need for more.
Note: A huge thank you to the author via BookSirens for a complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
All my life I have been in love with sci-fi and fantasy. I have wanted to write books and create worlds of my own ever since I was a kid, and it took almost dying to make me start.
Even though I have been working on a trilogy for ages, I have only just published my first short story that takes place in this fantasy world I have been building for over ten years. In addition to “The Price”, I also plan on publishing two other parts to that short story series as well as at least three novels, all taking place in my world, Darkwerks.
Besides being a writer, I work in digital media and radio, practice Krav Maga, I read constantly, play even more video games, and I love to learn about time and space. I have two cats, I play the drums, and my toxic trait is that every year I rewatch all of Grey’s Anatomy from the start to finish, cry at all the sad and happy parts, and still refuse to trash talk how outlandish and absurd it is.
If you want to stay in touch and get to know me, find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @lilyhammer0709.
You can also visit my website and blog at https://lilyhammerwriting.com.