Set 14 years before Legend Unleashed, this short story tells of a formative moment in the life of Temperance Levinthal. With her father just committed to an asylum and her brother refusing to sacrifice his dream of university and a life, eight-year-old Temperance must handle alone both the mental collapse of her mother and the negative reactions of her schoolmates.
Although it is very short, the main characters are all developed enough to have distinct personalities and to evoke sympathy. Temperance’s struggle to deal with the gossip and stigma around her father’s mental state seemed particularly realistic. The background description is similarly well expanded.
The revelation to Temperance of a world of magic beyond this one was an excellent piece of understated and plausible storytelling. However this element was not followed up in any way, leaving me unsatisfied. I have not read Legend Unleashed but suspect it is resolved there.
My copy also included a preview of Legend Unleashed of generous length; I did not read this as I dislike intensely being unable to finish a book.
Overall I enjoyed this work on a technical level but was left unsatisfied by the plot. It reads more like a prequel than a stand-alone work so I would recommend reading it after Legend Unleashed.
I received a free copy of this story.