Day 10: Bloodlines by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Bloodlines is one of those stories that feels not so much like a self contained short story, but the start to a YA novel and I think if it were the beginning to a novel, I’d find it more successful.
I think what it does well – developing the setting and the worldbuilding is what makes it not quite work for me as a short story – I feel like there’s too much puttering around and not enough story momentum. For a story that’s a mere 4,000 words long, my initial impression was that it could have lost 1,000 words. (Ok, probably really only 500.)
At the start of the story the narrator is the typical ugly duckling who hasn’t yet blossomed into her witchy powers (And she doesn’t believe that it will ever happen.) She is friends with her cousin (who does not share the witch bloodline) and much of the story involves the two of them observing their cousin Elena who has just been dumped and wants revenge. And because she’s a witch, she can get it. The narrator intervenes and scares the ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend out of town. When Elena finds out, her wrath is focused on the narrator. But when Jacinta defends the narrator, Elena’s attention turns to revenging herself on Jacinta. That’s when the narrator turns into a witchy swan and kicks Elena’s ass. The coda to the story is the narrator assuring Jacinta that they will always be close despite the fact that she’s a powerful witch now.
I think that’s the story I wanted to read – the one that focused on their relationship and how it changed over time as inevitably the narrator (and Jacinta) became new people as they grew up.