The Alchemist and The Executioness by Paolo Bacigalupi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While I don't find anything objectionable about either of these novellas, the parallels between these and most of the Epic Fantasies out there at the moment are pretty plain to see. The fairly three-dimensional characters must work within and/or against a world where magical brambles slowly kill empires, but are caused by magic use.
The solution is often rougher than the original problem: kill all magic users.
Both are absolutely allegory, set in the same world, and both take on very familiar tropes. What happens when problems and solutions aren't easily fixed -- mixed with a bit of environmentalism, cultural blindness, and the rage of the righteous.
In that respect, it's very familiar.
I won't say that these are groundbreaking, but they are decent.
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