When Annae moves to England to complete her PhD, she meets Dr Górski, both of them. Having experienced academic abuse by her former supervisor, Annae is wary, using her ability to read people to feel safe.
Annae was the subject of fascination when she was an undergraduate, using magic to remove fear in rats.
“But with magic like this, it would theoretically be possible to edit our response to trauma, to cure mental illness of all kinds – just a little change in the way we feel and that makes all the difference.”
While the premise fascinated me, the intersection of magic with mental illness and trauma, and the exploration of consent didn’t captivate me like I’d hoped. I somehow managed to hover on the surface of the story, feeling disconnected from the characters.
I wanted Annae’s science themed knitting patterns to endear her to me. I wanted to know more about the two Górski’s and the process of making a homunculus. I’m still not entirely sure why I couldn’t connect with any of them.
It’s become a habit for me to send test emails to any email addresses mentioned in fiction I read. There were two in this story; neither currently exist.
Content warnings include academic abuse, mental health, self harm and suicidal ideation.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor for the opportunity to read this novella.
Once Upon a Blurb
Annae, a brilliant graduate student in psychiatric magic and survivor of academic abuse, can’t stop reading people’s minds. This is how she protects herself, by using her abilities to give her colleagues what they each want out of their relationship with her.
When Annae moves to the UK to rebuild her life and finds herself studying under the infamous, misanthropic magician Marec Górski, she sees inside his head a dangerous path to her redemption. Annae now faces two choices – follow in Dr. Górski’s lead, or break free of a lifetime of conditioning to follow her own path.