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Lullaby for a Lost World

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  496 ratings  ·  110 reviews
Charlotte died to shore up her master's house. Her bones grew into the foundation and pushed up through the walls, feeding his power and continuing the cycle. As time passes and the ones she loved fade away, the house and the master remain, and she yearns ever more deeply for vengeance.

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ebook, 14 pages
Published June 8th 2016 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Jul 22, 2016 rated it liked it
They bury you at the bottom of the gardens—what’s left of you, pathetic and small and twisted so out of shape it hardly seems human anymore. The river, dark and oily, licks at the ruin of your flesh—at your broken bones—and sings you to sleep in a soft, gentle language like a mother’s lullabies, whispering of rest and forgiveness, of a place where it is forever light, forever safe.

this is another one of those tor shorts that offers up some interesting imagery and the shape of a situation without
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The world is a dark place full of war and a dying environment. But there is one place that is different. Where people don't have to starve. How that is possible, you ask? Well, the House (imagine a castle) protects its inhabitants via magic. But magic always comes at a price. The really powerful magic only can be paid for in blood. Charlotte learns this at one point but doesn't fade away after her death. Instead, she festers and seethes underneath the earth. When is a price too high to be paid?
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This is a very quick, horror-esque read.

It details the story of a young woman dying, and her thoughts from the afterlife.

I don't want to give any other details as it may spoil the entire story.

The storytelling was magnificent, i loved the author's writing style.
Althea Ann
Jan 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Aliette de Bodard's website describes this story as "A dark and creepy answer to 'The Ones who Walk Away from Omelas.'" Since I re-read LeGuin's story ( earlier today, as well as another story by de Bodard ( (which I loved), it seemed like an auspicious time to go ahead and read this one.

Unfortunately, 'Lullaby...' did not fare well by comparison. I think I would've liked it better without any mention of the LeGui
— Massiel
Lullaby for a Lost Word was such a dull short story.

There were a lot of unexplained things and I couldn't been less invested in what was going on. The whole plot was so absurd and the characters boring, the paragraphs were entangled between the MC's past and present but there's no middle point when one begins and the other end.

The ending was the worst part of the whole book, it didn't make sense at all. The writing was unique and captivating but it just wasn't enough for me to like this nove
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, read-2016
4 Stars

Lullaby for a Lost World is a unique, interesting, and we'll written piece of short fiction by Aliette de Bodard. I am a huge fan of Aliette de Bodard and jump at opportunities to get her stuff, especially when you can read it for free on Lullaby for a Lost World is a short story about a draft girl.

The imagery is cool and the story fast. The writing is amazing...

"It doesn’t. It never will. Beneath the earth, you struggle to push at what holds you down—to gather shattered flesh a
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Charlotte died to shore up her master’s house. Her bones grew into the foundation and pushed up through the walls, feeding his power and continuing the cycle. As time passes and the ones she loved fade away, the house and the master remain, and she yearns ever more deeply for vengeance.“

Grim! Beautifully written and unexpected. I liked it a lot.

Can be read for free here:

Further reading, interview with the author about this and that:
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

Gloomy, but beautifully written.
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: short reads
Shelves: fantasy, short-reads
My main problem with Lullaby for a lost world is that it was too short to be comprehensible. We don't know about the 'House', the 'Master' and the reason why they feed them with the blood of young girls. So, it was not easy to understand Charlotte's anger, only her pain and what had happened to her through her memories. But it was creepy. ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
read a book with a house on the cover

and this is a beautiful cover.

i fancied a quick read, and even though this was quick it had gorgeous writing. that was definitely my favourite part. as was the unique second person narrative. that was a beautiful choice that took the story to another level. the atmosphere was well-formed, but i didn’t feel myself completely connected by the story, i feel like it was a scene taken from a wider novel. a wider novel that i could see myself reading. the overall
The short stories always act as a treat for me. If I can complete reading a pre-designated number of pages in my printed books for the week, then I get a treat. A Tor treat. Always at night, so that any sound anywhere causes me to hold my breath. Tor was made for Winter.

This is one of the creepier Tor e-reads, and also one of the most puzzling. It grabbed me from the get-go, because the author does not give much away immediately. The reader learns, slowly, about the outside world which i
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"You could tell her, if you still had a voice—of the day they will come for her, two footmen and a butler and the master behind them."

Delightfully chilling and grotesque, the tale of a young girl who must pay the price for her master's life. I've never read anything by Bodard before but this was such an excellent introduction to her work. Every sentence was constructed to perfection. I loved it.
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it

The dead don’t always rest in peace.

Lyrical, brutal, sweet and, an intriguing idea, well-drawn and engagingly explored. The twist at the end comes a bit too suddenly, though it resolves the tale satisfyingly.

Lullaby for a Lost World was deliciously scary. Anyone who loves their horror grim and ghastly should check it out.

Reminiscent of the world of the Dominion of the Fallen, set on the grounds of some grand house with beautiful, green gardens and numerous residents. The house and its enclosed grounds seem to be surrounded by a city/region at war, with fires and fighting happening, and a polluted river flowing nearby.
Charlotte, who was ill, was sacrificed brutally, in order for her death to fuel the protections on the house. Except, Charlotte’s angry. And furious watching a new girl be groomed for the same “hono
Jennifer (bunnyreads)
Dark, creepy and sad.

Quick read that feels like you stepped into a dark fairy-tale. I admit I expected there to be some revelation twist-end where we find out Charlotte is going through some sort of metamorphosis and turns out to be a butterfly or something equally tame but I was wrong (and this is why I don’t write or plot anything).

So, I like the writing, like the tone of the story, and I do like these ‘window stories’…you know, not a lot of information but everything we need to know is there
Rebecca Crunden
You do not rest. You cannot forgive. You are not safe—you never were.

This really reminded me of The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. The overall tone is quite depressing, though the writing was good. It's really, really bleak though. :(
Aug 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
seemed like an interesting enough short story. girl dies and in some strange and mysterious way becomes part of her master's house, her bones becoming part of the foundation and what not.

but my qualm is...absolutely NOTHING was explained. who was Charlotte? who was her master and why was he her master? who were the girls who came before her? who besides the master was involved in their deaths? (the story mentions the "dozens, hundreds of people who sent girls to die in agony for the good of the
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This is a really good story. It's more than a little creepy, but it's a powerful story even so. It's so short, that I'm not sure what I can say that won't be a spoiler. But at the end, I was not at all sure who was the monster. ...more
Bobbi Jo
This is basically a rewrite of The Lottery or The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas but with a stronger response from the sacrifice. Is it ever right to survive off of the suffering of others? Charlotte doesn't think so. ...more
lobelyys (tired af)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shorts
This wasn't bad at all, it was just kind of weird. The writing itself was beautiful and each sentence read like a dark poem. It had promise and I was intrigued by the premise, but at only 9 pages long it just had no time to fully develop.

Charlotte died to shore up her master's house. Her bones grew into the foundation and pushed up through the walls, feeding his power and continuing the cycle. As time passes and the ones she loved fade away, the house and the master remain, and she yearns ever m
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, but rounded up because I enjoyed reading it and it's short.

I could see this creepy tale growing out of the origins of one of the Parisian Houses in The House of Shattered Wings, also by Aliette de Bodard. In fact, I'm internally speculating (hoping?) this might end up being referenced in The House of Binding Thorns, which I still need to wait nearly a year to read.

You can read it here.
Miriam Cihodariu
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: france
This was an interesting experimental piece of very short fiction, and it ended up being surprisingly good. It's true that you can't really develop a lot from the story in only a few pages, but that's exactly part of the charm. It gets you so curious about everything mentioned and not explained at large that you really wish it was longer so some of the mystery can be solved :).

I would love it if the author would make this part of a more detailed universe in a series of hers, but of course, it's
Maggie Gordon
Lullaby for a Lost World is an eerie and lyrical tale about a horrifying ritual and the child it abuses that has so much potential that just isn't met in such a short work. The piece relies on emotions built up over time, but given that this slow simmer was not something readers got to experience, the power of the climax is dulled. However, it's still chilling piece with beautiful visuals. ...more
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
" “Better the weak and the sick than all of us. I know it doesn’t excuse anything.”

It doesn’t. It never will. "

Great story, I read The House of Shattered by De Bodard earlier this year and I didn't like it at all however, this short story was everything I expected from her debut and more, great writing, creepy and beautifully sad.
Rachel Marks
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This story is stunning and eerie in its beauty. Highly recommend. I read it in a single sitting and wanted to go back and read it again. Aliette is a stand-out talent.
Tokio Myers
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very creepy and wonderfully written story.
Erin (PT)
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This short would always be relevant, but amidst all the women rising up and speaking against their harassers and rapists, it feels especially sharp, particularly satisfying.

Men have always built their houses on the foundation of women’s bones and the price is often too high. This is merely a more literal iteration of that vampiric predation.
Lady Amanda
I am not safe -- I never was.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nice small read.
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Aliette de Bodard lives and works in Paris. She has won three Nebula Awards, a Locus Award, a British Fantasy Award and four British Science Fiction Association Awards. She was a double Hugo finalist for 2019 (Best Series and Best Novella). Most recently she published The House of Sundering Flames (Gollancz/JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc.), the conclusion to her Dominion of the Fallen trilogy, s ...more

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