Shaala and the Tiger’s Daughter by Marsheila Rockwell

TIGER
Shaala and the Tiger’s Daughter by Marsheila Rockwell
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (26 pages)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

In a cold land of snow and strange magick, Shaala’s long quest to be rid of her curse leads her to an old friend and a powerful new enemy.

Having left the desert behind her, Shaala hears rumors of a tribe of northerners who hunt and steal magick from its users. Hoping their power might be enough to finally free her from her curse, Shaala seeks them out, but a favor that great requires a favor in return – one that might well cost the life of an old, dear friend.

This story draws the reader in immediately with its opening sentence, “The sound of screams drew her forward.” No way was I stopping after that. Shaala wonders if it is the “wind, howling across the frozen waste,” but she soon decides that “no frigid gale could carry the depth of pain coursing through those guttural screams.” In the opening few lines of this tale, Marsheila Rockwell has insured that the reader is hooked. Her use of vivid imagery and well-described details puts her readers right in that frozen waste with Shaala.

Rockwell has written a wonderful story. It is the sixth in a new Arabian-flavored series, Tales of Sand and Sorcery, which features strong women wielding swords and sorcery. I have not read any of the other tales, but I had no trouble getting right into this one. It is a fast-moving, action-packed story with well-rounded characters. Shaala makes a decision for another, and she doesn’t even give it a moment’s thought at the time. It seems like the right thing to do. But when she is forced to look at it from another perspective, she realizes that things aren’t as simple as she thought. I liked the way Shaala was willing to listen and learn about how her actions affected others.

Rockwell’s tale is engaging and exciting. I am definitely planning to seek out the rest in this series, and I can recommend that other lovers of fantasy, especially fantasy with a strong female perspective, check out this story.

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