I spent most of an afternoon drawn into JM Guillen’s free short fiction over at Irrational Worlds, and was quickly hooked by the rich and evocative worlds conveyed in just a few paragraphs. Needing even more, I decided to try the novella Handmaiden’s Fury.
Handmaiden’s Fury is the story of a young priestess named Keiri. She is a devotee of the goddess Rydia, whose grants power through sexuality. Keiri’s power allows her to bond with people, control them, and even destroy. Of course, it is not without personal cost, as the rituals to channel Rydia’s power involve a fair share of pain and submission.
When Keiri’s master discovers an evil sorcerer who smuggles slaves and ritually tortures innocent victims, he decides to use Keiri to put a stop the vile magic. As he and Keiri work together to defeat their foe, Keiri realizes the depth of love and passion that she and her master share.
As with the short fiction at Irrational Worlds, I was immediately drawn into the story, which combines elements of horror, dark fantasy, and erotica. Sexuality is an important part of the story, but is handled tastefully. The bond between Keiri and her master is something to be treasured, and it keeps Keiri’s power from consuming anything in its path. The magic system is unusual and well-developed, and the city in which the story is set seems like an organic part of a much larger world. My only real complaint about Handmaiden’s Fury is that it didn’t come to a complete resolution, leaving me wanting more. I hope that Guillen returns to Keiri’s story one day.