Title: Pixies and Paperwork (Bah Humbug: Advent Calendar 2016)
Author: Cassia Rose
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 49 Pages
Category: Holiday, Fantasy
At a Glance: Overall, Rose did a good job of making Pixies and Paperwork an enjoyable forty-nine pages. This was a fun little Christmas read.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Micheal Donovan’s family has kept the peace between mortal and magical realms for generations, but Micheal skipped out on glory for other plans. He finished school, got a nine-to-five, and tried to fit in. When his cousin meets an unfortunate end on All Hallows’ Eve, Micheal abruptly inherits the position of Riftkeeper, along with all the prestige and responsibility he didn’t want. Estranged from his family, Micheal never learned the details of the job. All the grumpy, ancestral spirit now possessing his goldfish can tell him is that a mistake could be catastrophic. Micheal isn’t feeling the holiday cheer, and coworkers’ attempts to encourage him only add to a headache of magical proportions. To make matters worse, Ryan Nickles, Micheal’s colleague and cubicle neighbor, has assembled enough Christmas decorations to attract more pixies than Micheal can hide.
When Micheal’s attempts to find the Winter Court on the week of the solstice leave him with nothing but a bad cold, he fears he’ll be the first Riftkeeper to break the ancient contracts. He’s too stressed to handle Ryan’s attempts to get him into the holiday spirit, but Ryan might know more about the magic of the season than Micheal realizes.
Review: My immediate impression upon starting Cassia Rose’s Pixies and Paperwork was ‘This is going to be fun.’ Any story that opens with one of the main characters chasing a pixie through his office has to be fun, right? And, it was. Cute, wintery, Christmassy fun. Read ahead to see what happens when you mix a grumpy accountant with fairies, pixies, the winter solstice, and a co-worker with more holiday spirit than maybe the head elf himself could handle.
Micheal—the aforementioned grumpy accountant—comes from a family that knows magic. For generations, the Donovans have been in charge of keeping the peace between the magical and non-magical realms. But, Micheal ran away from that life years ago, and became an accountant. He wanted a simple, no-nonsense, “normal” life. Which he has, until he learns of the death of his cousin, and is unhappily thrust into the role of Riftkeeper, the job previously held by her.
Micheal is extremely driven. A workaholic. He’s more worried about the year-end accounting than he is about the intense pressure of being the Riftkeeper, and all the potential pitfalls of not fulfilling his duties. He is supposed to find out about the Winter Court, and how he can appease the leader, and guarantee peace between the realms for one more year. But, with a talking goldfish as his only helper, the solstice only days away, and his health taking a downturn because he is rejecting his role, things aren’t looking that great. Luckily, he has an overeager co-worker who might just come through in a pinch.
Ryan was adorable. So sweet, funny, and unassuming, he is clearly a bit smitten with Micheal, but Micheal is oblivious. Even though they have worked together for a few years, to Micheal, Ryan is simply his mildly annoying, Christmas loving colleague. Little does he know that Ryan is the key to heading off the imminent solstice disaster at the pass. I really did love Ryan. He was so cheerful and full of Christmas spirit. I could just picture this cute, goofy, cheerful guy in his cubicle, and it made me smile. I loved this:
“Ryan Nickles enjoyed the holiday season. A lot. If the twinkling snowflakes and advent calendar in his cubicle weren’t enough, the man’s tie had reindeer on it, and Micheal would bet half his next paycheck that Ryan’s socks were of a similar theme.”
This story was very imaginative and cute. Short story formats are tough, and I did find it a bit lacking in places; for example, I thought it was unfortunate that no explanation was ever given for Micheal’s family just bailing on him after he became Riftkeeper, but, overall, Rose did a good job of making it an enjoyable forty-nine pages. This was a fun little Christmas read.
You can buy Pixies and Paperwork here: