by Aaron Corwin
Publisher: Tor Books
Reading level: MG
Book type: short story
Just in time for Halloween, we have a funny, sweet, and slightly skewed short story by Aaron Corwin, an up-and-coming writer from Seattle.
All Mathilde wanted for her birthday was a pony. Instead, she got a demon. Sometimes growing up means learning that what you think you want is not always what you need.
(synopsis from Goodreads)
I'm really not sure whether to laugh or cry.
I've had this short story on my want-to-read list for a while. Who could say no to that synopsis? The story is actually far funnier than I thought it would be. Mathilde's demon is pretty much a hamster on paranormal steroids. He lives in a cage, eats soul pellets, and even has his own exercise ball.
It's actually a little bit of a deeper story than it seems, with Mathilde grudgingly accepting the gift of a demon because she wants to prove to her parents that she can take care of a pet. (Her ultimate goal is to get a pony.) Ix'thor was pretty cute for a demon, and I found myself kind of wanting one of my own. Of course Mathilde finds herself warming up to her "starter pet"... leading to a conclusion that's both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
Aside from some clunky transitions (I'm not sure if there are just some missing paragraph breaks or what), the writing wasn't too bad. Brimstone and Marmalade is a cute, quick read... and definitely worth taking a few minutes to explore.
Mathilde peered through the glass cage. She looked at the Dark Lord's tiny clawed fingers, at his dark billowing cloud.
Mathilde thought about her pony. "Hello," she said. "What's your name?"
I AM IX'THOR, MASTER OF THE VENOMOUS PITS OF KARTHOOM! The creature raised his arms over his head. He had a voice like the truck that picked up their garbage in the morning, only smaller. BOW BEFORE YOUR MASTER, SMALL ONE!
"How about that!" The old man raised his fuzzy white eyebrows. "He told you his name first thing! He must really like you."
"Well, I don’t like him..." Mathilde crossed her arms. Ix'thor lowered his arms and hung his head a little. "... But I guess he’ll do."
Recommended to: this story would probably be enjoyed by middle grade readers and up
Writing & Editing: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4.2 out of 5 ladybugs