Reviewed by Fehu
Heart of Water and Stone by E.E Ottoman
Less Than Three Press
Short Story: 52pgs
3.75 Pants Off (Almost 4's)
Girin is a troll,
content with his simple, quiet life in the forest—a life thrown into
chaos when he stumbles across an unconscious human on one of the
mountain paths. The human is not an ordinary one either, but a
witch—tortured, branded, and mere steps from death when Girin finds him.
Unable to leave him there to die alone, Girin takes the human home to
nurse him back to health. But he quickly learns that keeping one
stubborn human alive is a far more difficult task than he first surmised
I liked this one! It’s rather sweet and reminded me a bit of some earlier stories published by LT3 Press, especially in their fairytales anthologies; if you liked those then you will probably enjoy this story.
A troll and a mage do make an interesting couple. Girin is very caring and the reader is only shown the events from his POV, but I still could see how Ronan could fall for him. While Girin might not be beautiful, he is probably the only one besides Ronan's family, who was good to him, without expecting something in return. While Ronan was prickly in the beginning, he warms up to his caretaker.
It’s a story about two lonely souls finding to each other. Ronan is a witch, he is feared by the humans and would have been killed by them if Girin hadn't come along and helped. Girin is a troll but of mixed blood and so doesn’t truly belong anywhere and lives quietly in his hut, until he finds Ronan and starts to develop feelings for him, which he assumes are one-sided.
Ronan’s trouble does catch up to them, they face it together and this is the part I found a bit dissatisfying. They were held captive, escaped with Ronan’s sister and then it was over and good for them. What of the villagers, the soldiers and the lord Ronan had belonged to. They knew where Girin lived, so the happily ever after could be disturbed at any minute.
Here it felt like they just left and the trouble is over, which from the context it shouldn’t be; there was no compromise with the villagers. That is why I cannot give it full 4 stars and of course because it’ a bit rushed to the happy end and I was not satisfied.