Wenlyn (AKA Ratboy) and Canya are precocious children. And this day promises excitement, if only they can sneak away from the scullery for several minutes to witness the Servant and his dragon. The Servants often check in at the estates to see if there are messages or needs or complaints. Today, the Servant has several stops and Elder Nymon’s Estate is only one of them. He can only spare a few minutes on the ground. Of course, that is when Wenlyn accidentally falls out of a tree, startling the dragon, and earning himself several curses and perhaps some kicks. But he wasn’t expecting the Servant’s reaction.
Now this is a short story, so I won’t say anything more about the plot. There’s still plenty for you to discover on your own. So allow my to gush about this story for a few paragraphs. I have read Liesel Hill‘s full-length novel Persistence of Vision, which is time travel, dystopian science fiction. It is very different in length and genre to this book. It was good. This, The Hatching, is great. The pacing was so smooth, I gobbled up this story way too quickly. By turns, it was clever, down to earth, insightful. Basically, I want more.
While I had such a short time with the characters, I connected pretty quickly with Wenlyn, Canya, and eventually the Servant. I think it must be tricky to show character development in such a few short pages, but Hill makes it happen. There’s enough of a setting to give the reader a feel of a time and place where humans were largely scattered pockets on Estates with the Servants and the dragons keeping humanity connected. The ending was cleverly done, being something I did not expect.