Short Take: “Chupacabra’s Song,” Jim C. Hines

Pros: Brought me to tears
Rating: 5 out of 5

Chupacabra’s Song is a short story set in the backstory of Jim Hines’s wonderful “Magic Ex Libris” world (roughly 20 years earlier). It details the introduction of Nicola Pallas to her magic when she was young.

Nicola is autistic and has a special relationship with both music and animals. In this story she helps her father, who’s a capable veterinarian, with his work. Then one day a woman brings in an injured animal that looks sort of like a dog, only not. When someone comes to fetch the animal and uses magic to do it, Nicola finds out that the animal is a chupacabra, something believed to be a myth. She’ll have to figure out how to use the talent for magic that she harbors in order to save the animal.

I’ve always enjoyed Nicola as a character, and it’s wonderful to get to see where she came from and how she found the world of magic (not to mention how she first encountered her beloved chupacabras). I can’t say more about the plot without spoiling too much of the story, but I will say that it’s very well-written. The characters are interesting, the story is engrossing, and I shed tears twice while reading it! If you’ve read any of the Magic Ex Libris books then I think you’ll enjoy this!

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