Review #25: Perhaps this is Kushi’s Story by Swapna Kishore

Posted by Nicky Drayden on Aug 1, 2010 in Reviews

Author website:
Published by: Fantasy Magazine, July 26th, 2010

Photo by Rosa y Dani Creative Commons

The Story:

Twin sisters, the eldest destined to marry the Headman’s son and lead their tribe and the younger resentful of that fact, listen to a story as told by their wise, old Tribemother. In the story, Kushi, a young healer apprentice finds herself caught between the will of her gods, the safety of her tribe, and her own morality.

The Craft: 20 Master Plots – Temptation


So of course my first 20 Master Plots story would have a frame narrative, but both stories are tales of temptation. I loved Younger Sister’s voice, how she kicked over her Elder Sister’s sandcastle without remorse, and then wanders off for awhile since it would take time for her sister to rebuild anything worth kicking again. Younger Sister gladly would have given into her temptation of crippling her sister if it hadn’t been for Tribemother stepping in and telling Kushi’s story.  But since the bulk of the story is about Kushi, I’ll analyze her temptation.

Kushi’s temptation comes in the form of gods whispering for her to kill her tribemate Bataar in order to protect her village. This is a tough decision for Kushi to make. People are dying because of Bataar’s ill-will, though Kushi is hard pressed to prove it. Kushi decides that she cannot kill because it would be immoral, even if it will protect Bataar from killing again. Her inaction results in the death of their Headman. Kushi directly accuses Bataar in front of her tribe and puts herself at risk. Her temptation had blinded her to better options for dealing with the situation, and as a result, she becomes exiled from her people.

Both tales are interesting with high stakes and good tension. I found myself wishing there was more to Younger Sister’s story though. Her character was so deliciously wicked that I wanted to experience her temptations directly. I was less engaged with Kushi, though I did like how each sister was given the opportunity to end the story. So who’s story is this? Perhaps this is Kushi’s story, but then again, perhaps not.

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