Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: The Cobbler’s Soleless Son
AUTHOR: Meredith Katz
PUBLISHER: Less Than Three Press
LENGTH: 46 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 24, 2016
Everyone expects Renart Walker to follow in his mother’s footsteps and become the cobbler for their little demon-ruled town. That’d be the proper thing to do: keep his head down, live his quiet human life, and try not to get too involved with demons. But Renart has never been terribly concerned with proper, and he isn’t interested in a quiet life. His interests are a little more ambitious: he’s aiming to catch himself a demon prince.
As a human, he’d never be allowed to even get close to Prince Hrahez. The only solution is to make a bargain with a demon, and everyone knows what they want. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, and he’s got a plan—but it involves tricking a demon. If it doesn’t work, nobody in town would want to be in his shoes.
Renart Walker, reluctant cobbler’s apprentice by trade, is a tad bit obsessed with demons. Which anyone will tell you–demons included–is a very bad idea. But he can’t deny that there is something about the beings that rule humanity that draws him in like none other. When he catches the eye of Prince Hrahez, the demon ruling his city, Renart is totally smitten. Lustfully. Lustfully smitten. The demon doesn’t socialize with humans so Renart is gonna have to get crafty if he wants an invitation to the Prince’s next ball. He will go, though, no matter how many soles he has to sell to get there.
I found this to be a rather interesting fairy-tale story. I liked the plot twists, and Renart was certainly interesting enough. But this story wasn’t very long, and as a consequence we never really get a chance to know Hrahez. I think that makes it a bit harder to understand the attraction the demon might have for Renart. Renart’s attraction to demons of all kinds is pretty obvious from the beginning, but we don’t ever really get to know what Hrahez thinks about all this.
I do really liked the demon aspect of this book, though. They have a really nice edge to them and that is something I can appreciate. I also liked the fairy-tale feel to this story. I’m not exactly sure if it was based on any one fairy-tale, but it certainly has all the classic elements.
I am just a bit uneasy about some of the things Renart went thru at the end of the story. On one had, hell-ya, these ain’t no fluffy demons and if you want them you better be prepared to pay up. It also ties in nicely with the fairy-tale requirement of tests and earning HEAs. On the other hand…not exactly sure I’m all that comfortable with the whole “you must grievously injure yourself in order to be worthy of my love” idea. I get that fairy-tales and such rarely are as fluffy as we want children to believe…but it still make me a bit uncomfortable.