“The Year of the Crocodile” by Courtney Milan

16 Sep
Cover for "The Year of the Crocodile"; a Chinese young woman stands against a young white man, looking up at him over her shoulder. His arms come around her as he looks into his eyes.

This very short story is part of the Cyclone Saga, set a year after Trade Me, and as the events in Hold Me take place.

Reader, beware: there’s a rather high rate of swearing for the actual word count, and there’s also a sex scene.

Here, have the blurblet from the authors website:

Tina Chen and Blake Reynolds have been together for almost a year. In that time, they’ve grown closer on just about every front. The one exception? Blake’s father has never let anything stop him. Tina’s parents have never let anyone push them around. And they’ve never met.

That’s about to change. But don’t worry—fireworks are traditional at Chinese New Years.

Note: This is a short story (10,000 words) that assumes that you’ve already read Trade Me.

Given that last line, perhaps I shouldn’t even attempt to write a review (or rather, I should not call this a review), but not only is my blog dead these days, but also, I started re-reading this by chance, at which point I started giggling immediately, and so, here we are.

The story is told in first person present tense, from the point of view of three different characters: Tina, Blake…and Adam Reynolds, Blake’s father, and the man everyone fears.

I keep saying “story” but this feels more like…a vignette. A good one, don’t get me wrong, but one that doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you’ve read Trade Me–and if you have, then it’s highly enjoyable (did I mention non-stop giggling?), and just a little bit bittersweet, both because the series is basically halted at the moment, and I want Adam’s story so very much, and because, well. Adam. (This is a case of, “if you know, you know”.)

This is probably the only one of Ms Milan’s short stories/novellas I’ve read which, while we get a good sense of the characters and their relationships, just doesn’t stand alone as its own thing.

Still, I loved falling back into the world of Cyclone and forgetting my own problems for a bit.

“The Year of the Crocodile” gets 8.50 out of 10

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