Dangerous Voices by Rae Carson
Welcome to Saturday Shorts where we feature short stories and novellas. I’m a big fan of Rae Carson’s A Girl of Fire & Thorns trilogy, so I just knew I had to get this stand-alone short. The author brings to life a beautifully weaved story of magic, imprisonment, and breathtaking need.
Publisher’s Description: Errik has been a prisoner–and alone–for a long, long time. He lives for the moment each day when the window of his dungeon cell shines a bit of light onto his bearded face.
But everything changes when he gets a new neighbor–a young girl with a voice as beautiful as the springrise.
They both know the rules: No singing. No speaking. Voices are dangerous. But they can’t help themselves. And soon enough, Errik begins to remember himself, why he’s here in this dark place, and why his captors will stop at nothing to ensure his silence.
Errik has been in prison for longer than he remembers, watching and listening as the captives in the cells around him die slowly. Though it’s never said who imprisons them, it gives you the impression that they’re all jailed for being musical mages. They all have muses inside them, ones that fill them with a nearly unstoppable desire to sing. But Errik knows not to sing and although his magic hasn’t died, his spirit is weakened when we first meet him.
Then he meets another girl, another prisoner, who’s a music mage like him with a spirit inside her that can’t hold her voice back. Every night he listens to her and begs her not to sing. But she can’t help herself and the day she sings, magic comes to life. Errik, who’s been denying his ability, joins in – and though the story ends sadly, it begins a new world.
The only thing I didn’t like about this story is that it wasn’t long enough! I wanted to know more about this world, more about why Errik was there and how long he’d been there, about their captors. Rae Carson really pulls you in and leaves you wanting more, more, more.
A big five for lyrical (pun intended) writing and beloved characters you yearn to have free themselves.