Title: Careful Magic
Author: Karen Healey
Genre: urban fantasy, magic
This was definitely one of my favourite stories of the anthology. Helen is such a wonderful protagonist and I was sad when the story ended. Not because it was a sad ending, but because it ended. That’s what you want from a short story isn’t it?
Helen has some sort of OCD, she is also a mage and a really good one at that. It is not her disorder who makes her good at that – it is her talent and her eye for detail. To me it is such a copout to say that someone has special powers because of their disability. You don’t get any smarter or dumber by being in wheelchair or having non-neurotypical brain chemistry. You might use your talent different, you might develop different sides of your self. But it doesn’t make your more talented or a better person for that matter. Of course it can affect your personality – but everything we experience does that to us. I love that all of the stories in Kaleidoscope treat mental health so respectfully.
Throughout the story I got strong sense of Helen as a person. I loved how aware she was of her quirks and how she tried to manage those quirks. I loved that she was reflected about her being a order mage affected others willingness to put them self in the same category as her.
I really liked the plot of the story as well as the more meta levels of my reading. I was drawn in and the story pulled me forward. I really enjoyed the budding friendships Helen formed throughout the story. As it is so often the case the real drama of the story is really in how Helen chooses to deal with the situation that she is put in. I love that she choses to negotiate, rather than being a pushover. I kind of like that her tactics isn’t the perfect solution to the problem. Tv-series some of you could learn something – the protagonist is not always right – that makes it more interesting!
Oh and how rare it is to see a story about a non-neurotypical protagonist in love. So awesome.
All around a great story that I truly enjoyed.
Published: August 2014 by Twelfth Planet Press
Anthology: Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories
Read: 6. August, 2014
Length: Short story
The author: female, white, New Zealand
The protagonist: Helen, female, teenager, strait, poc, mage.