Review: “Solace of Memory” and “The Greatest Adventure” by Allegra Pescatore

After my reviews of her longer work, the author generously reached out to me with review copies of some of her other books. In this post, I’ll be looking at two shorter works: “Solace of Memory” and “The Greatest Adventure,” both set in the same “Last Gift” series as the full-length novels I enjoyed so much.

These shorter works, especially “Solace of Memory,” are, if anything, still better than the novels. They don’t fall into the troubles with pacing that are almost universal in epic fantasy, and their short length allows Pescatore to play to her greatest strengths as a writer: emotion, character development, and style.

“The Greatest Adventure” is a pleasant novelette, a glimpse into the life of some of the main characters in the Last Gift series. One thing I especially appreciated about it was the ability it provided to understand the doenna’s role a little more. I had a little trouble with this when reading the series (it’s my own fault, I just kept reading it as duenna, an old Spanish term for a nanny, which made me stumble over understanding the real role of these figures in Pescatore’s world). This expansion on the concept was very helpful and much appreciated. It was also fun to see some beloved characters as little ones.

The standout, though, was “Solace of Memory.” This novelette, which is really more of a long short story (in my opinion, given its tight, self-contained structure) is a beautiful meditation on caretaking and loss. As someone who works in a helping profession, it really captured those feelings of attachment and sorrow, and the grieving process we go through when we just can’t do enough to help. It was a gorgeous response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which can be hard to do within the world of fantasy.

I rarely make time for theese kinds of extended=universe works, but these are both phenomenal.


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