In this dark high fantasy adventure, a grumpy middle-aged mage is asked by an old friend to take on an Impossible Task for her: finding a cure for her son's curse when all else have given up. Aiding Devyn on zir quest to cure Lio of his horrifying curse that he acquired by stealing a lindworm's treasure, is the teenager himself, a family of werewolves, and a mysterious demonic lantern forever bound to zir soul. But as the clock waxes and wanes and Lio's curse worsens, so do the dangers lurking in the shadows for them. And all of them human.
Lantern is a high fantasy novelette, the debut book of Burgundy Athena Pendragon, which features several fresh ideas (like a non-binary character using neo-pronouns, the consequence of curses), in a classical fantasy story style. I think there's potential in this book, but it could have benefited from having more pages.
Devyn (zie/zir) is an exorcist who travels with a lantern that contains a powerful spirit (quite quirky to be fair); a friend from zir past life comes asking for zir help to stop a curse that has taken over her son. Reluntantly, Devyn accepts to take the young as zir company and help him undo the curse.
With this simple premise, a fast story is woven; and while I think there's potential, I feel the characters could have been more explored, especially zir past in the world that Pendragon has created.
As said, there are elements that are quite well blent, especially that exploration made between the Lantern and Devyn, and how it is a different way to write about non-binarism. However, especially in the second half, the encounter with the dragon and the curse felt rushed, it could have been better developed.
If you want to have a quick read with classic vibes but which at the same time has some new ideas, Lantern can be a good read for you.
Burgundy Athena Pendragon
Neurodivergent and non-binary author, Lantern is zir debut novelette.