Title: Gilt and Glamour: A Gatekeeper Short Story
Author/Publisher: Layla Lawlor
Bill is a free-lance monster hunter. Armed with a magic sword, he and his fae partner Muirin (don’t ask her why she was exiled to the mortal realm, really, just don’t) are in pursuit of a puca who has been dragging people into the rivers around New York City. They followed the puck’s trail into Shadow New York, a ghostly echoing Other Realm that is a twisty, paradoxical reflection of the real city. Unfortunately, the puca is on to them — and she has plans of her own ….
When I came across an promotion for Lawlor’s urban fantasy Her Majesty’s Unicorn, I didn’t realize that the book came with a free copy of the short story, Gilt and Glamour. I wanted something fast and entertaining to read on my lunch break, so I decided to start with Gilt and Glamour.
Wow, this story was fun.
I like Bill and I like Muirin. They work well together, even though they are nothing alike. With the exception of his magic sword, Bill is completely human. That makes him powerless before most Otherworldly entities, and, therefore, food; or at least a plaything. But he’s smart. He knows the rules of engagement, and he listens when Muirin orders him to do this or not do that. Muirin, as a fae of uncertain age and origin, has no human compassion or empathy, and gets seriously annoyed at times with just how fragile and limited humans really are.
I also really like the world that Lawlor has built. Shadow New York is an interesting idea. Big events and strong emotions will leave a mark on the “substrate” of reality, reshaping the Shadow. It is a labyrinth of connected Doors, each leading to a different ghostly remnant of a real event; but these are often mixed and mashed together, such as the different New Year’s Eves in Times Square all layered on top of one another, with people from different eras all celebrating together. Even more curiously, some of the things that live in Shadow New York are solid and real while others are just reflections, flickering in and out.
I thoroughly enjoyed Gilt and Glamour, and how Bill cleverly dealt with the puca. I will definitely be picking up the rest of the Gatekeeper series.
Highly recommended to fans of Helen Harper’s The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic, Agent of Enchantment by CN Crawford and Alex Rivers, Dwarves and Daisies by Scott Walker, the Regency Mage series by Joyce Harmon, and Spells, Salt, and Steel by Gail Z. Martin.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]