Thursday, 26 January 2012

Career Day

Career Day by Margaret Ball
Reviewed by Jenny Barber

Found in Chicks in Chainmail (ed. Esther Friesner), Margaret Ball's Career Day serves up that perfect combo of kick-ass warrior woman meets portal-fantasy done with a nifty comic twist. Though I'd expect nothing less from a Chicks story.

The story stars Riva Konneva - a sword-for-hire who raises her daughter on Earth while commuting to Dazau for merc-work. While distracted on a job she accidentally gets talked into taking her daughter's class on an off-world field trip (as you do). Naturally, hijinx ensue.

Above all else, this is an extremely fun story that blends consideration of real world concerns with a wry look at fantasy tropes. The commute to Dazau is expensive and Riva is just as busy juggling the finances to try and give her child a leg up in life, as she is hacking and slashing her assigned targets.

Ball does some fun things with her magic system, giving the story some interesting and unexpected resolutions while showing Riva as both canny and adaptable, and a generally appealing heroine.

This is one of those stories that it's always a pleasure to re-read as there's cleverness to be found beneath the humour and it's little wonder that Riva gets another outing in a later Chicks book (Fun with Hieroglyphics - The Chick is in the Mail.).

More about Margaret Ball can be found on her website here.
Chicks in Chainmail can be found in any decent bookselling venues, or for a funky e-book bundle of the first three Chicks books, mosey on over to Baen Webscriptions.

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