‘The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock.’
In a seemingly normal town, ever‘The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock.’
In a seemingly normal town, everyone gathers together to conduct the annual traditional lottery. What is the lottery exactly? Well, you don’t truly discover the magnitude of its horror until the final passage. A lottery is typically a good thing but in this small town its anything but. Certain things throughout this short story hint at what’s to come: the nervous energy of the people, the implication that the lottery serves a purpose regarding the future of the crops, and the piles of stones that the kids begin to gather.
What made this story the most eerie is the whole mystery behind the lottery. No one truly knows when it actually started, why it ever started, only that it is and must keep going for traditions sake. It’s mentioned that other towns have done away with the practice and the idea is immediately dismissed as folly. Just the concept of not doing the lottery, of doing away with tradition, is enough to frighten everyone not knowing the possible implications not doing it would cause.
This patriarchal society in the unnamed village have the men draw the slip of paper that ultimately decides whether their family is the selected recipient of the lottery. The only instance where this differs is when the man is unable to attend the lottery (such as the man named Dunbar that was home with a broken leg) or if an elder son is able to draw for his mother if she doesn’t have a husband. Once selected, each individual (even women) are then given their opportunity to select their own piece of paper. Published in 1948, Shirley Jackson’s short story is a telling criticism of the powerlessness that women faced, and unfortunately still face to this day. While the idea of the lottery is clearly exaggerated, the idea of the strength and fierceness of traditions and patriarchy is extremely realistic.
‘Before I found Miss Leander, I had been the most powerful medician in Caskentia. My aptitude at a young age even enabled mMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
‘Before I found Miss Leander, I had been the most powerful medician in Caskentia. My aptitude at a young age even enabled me to have an audience before the late King Kethan. Now it was as though I wore the customary headmistress title of Miss Percival simply because I had borne the name for so long, the way one wears shabby clothes because of sentimentality and good fit.’
The Deepest Poison is a short prequel story that introduces Octavia Leander, a young, powerful healer. Told from the point of view of her teacher, Miss Percival, it’s clear from the start that there is severe animosity between the two due to Miss Leander’s abundant powers. This story takes place at the front line of battle between Caskentia and the Wasters, the two healers must work together to uncover why soldiers are coming down with a deadly sickness.
To me, a good prequel story is a brief snippet that encourages your interest in a new series. While I’m sure that this prequel will reveal some future plotlines, it can be read before or after the full-length novels. I haven’t yet read The Clockwork Dagger so I went into this new world blind, however, my interest is definitely piqued. I loved the introduction to both main characters albeit short and sweet and the magical aspects of the story were most interesting and I look forward to them being delved into further.
‘The world of The Clockwork Dagger isn’t Earth, but it’s based on World War I and its aftermath. I made an effort to ground non-magical details in medical and military reality.’
What I loved most was discovering that this world and the ongoing war is built around the model of World War I. It’s always so fascinating to be in the know of what influenced an author to write such a story. The brief glimpse of this world is certainly intriguing and while your answers aren’t all answered, this was still a most satisfying prequel.
I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more