I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Fisher of Bones by Sarah Gailey
Published by Fireside Fiction Company, Serial Box on November 1 2017
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
The nitty-gritty: A short but thought-provoking and dark retelling of the story of Moses.
Many of you are familiar with Serial Box, the company that has put serial storytelling back on the map, with recent stories like Bookburners, Tremontaine and The Witch Who Came in from the Cold. They offer short weekly “episodes” written by groups of writers, which are akin to episodic television. One of their latest launches is a collaboration with Fireside Fiction Company, a tale by Sarah Gailey called The Fisher of Bones, and unlike Serial Box’s other series, this one appears to be completely free. I was offered a PDF of the entire season to try, and I’m happy to report that it’s not only cemented my appreciation of Sarah Gailey’s talents as a writer, but it’s made me eager to learn more about Fisher the Prophetess and her journey to the Land of Plenty.
The first season is very short, in fact the entire thing can be read in less than two hours (and that’s if you’re a slow reader like me!). Ducky is the daughter of the Prophet, but he’s dying, and just before his life winks out forever, he passes his gift to his daughter. Thus, Ducky is now named Fisher, and she is the Prophetess. She hears the whispers of the Gods in her head and she can read the mysterious words on the tablet. For many years, her people have heeded the instructions that the Gods have written and they’ve been journeying to the place where the Gods have promised them fertile land and food aplenty. Now Fisher takes up the last leg of the journey, for the Land of Plenty is very near. But that journey is fraught with danger, and food and water are scarce.
This is a hard review to write, simply because the story is so short. I’ve struggled with serialized stories in the past, but even the ones I’ve read have been long enough to get a sense of the characters and where the story is going. The Fisher of Bones feels more like the opening chapter in a much longer tale, but it’s one that I’m very interested in continuing.
The publisher describes this as a “revisionist take on the Moses quest,” and as you might imagine, there are lots of religious overtones to the story. (Although I’m quite sure I missed a lot of them, not being religious myself.) This is a very dark story. Fisher and her people are near starving, their animals are dying, and they have only their faith driving them toward the Promised Land. Gailey asks the question, what if, at the end of your journey, you found something completely different from what you were expecting?
The best part of this story, for me, was the ending. Gailey throws a curve ball with her very last sentence, which made me gasp, but it was the very last sentence, and so I feel a bit cheated in a way. I suppose this accomplishes what serials are supposed to accomplish, which is to leave the reader wanting more. I can only hope that there will be a Season 2, because that ending opens the door to so many possibilities.
You can read Season 1 for free on the Serial Box website here (there are currently three episodes available, and the fourth comes out this Wednesday), or you can purchase the entire season on Amazon or iBooks. The Fisher of Bones is short but powerful, and completely different from Gailey’s River of Teeth series. My only complaint is that it’s just too short, and the idea of waiting for a resolution to that ending just doesn’t appeal to me. This is one serial that I’d love to read after the story is complete.
Big thanks to Serial Box for supplying a review copy.