(yeah, that's the title of the "novelette" i just read)
by jason steele
in a world of AI generated text and images, and Amazon genres full of cryptid romance novels, i am sure this fills a niche i'd never considered before; basically, absurdist fantasy. not entirely true, i'm sure its crossed my mind, but this was just... it's out there in a way that makes me wonder if i was just punk'd by a bored high school student. which, oddly, i think makes it perfect for YA readers.
Jessica the wizard arrives to her first day of work at Magical Investments to do a job she seems hardly qualified for, but she's also logy and a glorified mess from having just swallowed a horse whole, her second horse to date. its a strange compulsion, and one she struggles with in terms of being afraid she might do it again. she doesn't want to, and yet... there's that title taunting you.
turns out she wasn't hired for her non-existent (and ultimately inconsequnetial) financial auditing skills but to find out, covertly, who has just stolen half of all the wizard gold in their vaults. her boss, Dr Clash, is convinced its an inside job and believes Jessica can help her solve the mystery. so now it's an absurdist fantasy mystery in a land of wizards.
oh, but wait! there's more!
the primary suspect is Sacrifice, a dark wizard who also fronts a rock band. one look at their gig poster and Jessica is crushing on Sacrifice big time, but Sacrifice is also a bit of a McMuffin to drive Jessica through the noir underbelly of Bloodfist City where she encounters a shadow world and enchanters and, you know, fantasy things. most of what happens is tangential-to-unnecessary at best, there only for the fun of playing with the tropes and cliches of all the genres mixed up in the jumble-tumble. Sacrifice may actually be guilty, but there is a larger, more dangerous energy in Magical Investments that Jessica must dispatch and... where is that third horse, anyway?
all over Amazon there are a bajillion self-published books under 75-90 pages (66 pages for this one), many in the romance genre -- and there is a little romance in here that might make some adults squirm at the thought, but trust me, there is much worse out there that kids are watching on their cell phones every day. so the "novelette" aspect of jessica the wizard eats a third horse is probably filling the gap old pulp sci-fi/fantasy magazines might have once filled. maybe. the writing, it isn't great, and the story operates within the safety of not having to fully explain the physics and logic behind what is going on, but i feel fairly confident that some teen out there is enjoying the heck out of this single-sitting read.
or they're off writing one just like it for a few extra bucks. hey, i've seen Tarantino movies with less substance, and wasted more of my time, so there's that.