I’m usually pretty biased when I write these peer reviews, but this one I’m really biased on. Rose has been my friend for close to seven years, and I’ve seen this particular project of hers evolve over that time. I not only got a copy to review, but I also saw several early drafts. Plus, I really like the same kinds of pulp fantasy that she does.
But all that aside, The Sugar House: The Adventures of Sasha Witchblood is a wonderful collection. All four stories feature the titular Sasha Witchblood, a “wild woman” adventuring across the lands of a pulp fantasy world that is as much inspired by Grimm’s fairy tales and Russian myth as Robert E. Howard’s Conan. Sasha is a gruff, no-nonsense woman that likes the comforts and riches of civilization, but can’t actually stand the people within it. This tension constantly pulls her into strange and dangerous situations. These four stories reference and connect to each other, but they don’t necessarily comprise a complete story — rather, they read like a travelogue, a collection of tales about Sasha’s life that eludes and mentioned previous stories. It also contains a number of very inclusive characters, which is always a refreshing change in fantasy.
The book is very short (just over 71 pages), but it’s a great read. I hope that this book does well, because I would love to encourage Rose to write more Sasha stories. If you like your fantasy with a high dose of strangeness, I think you’ll really like The Sugar House