me, myself, and i by ilana diallo
Me, Myself, and I by Ilana Diallo is a fantasy story dressed up as a cat and mouse chase between the main character Radiance, a shape shifting lycanthrope, and her father, the alpha of her pack. This short story is led by its complex characters, for their arcs are the main focus of the tale itself.
In the story, Radiance finds solace in a fellow shape shifter by the name of Paul, who also was led astray from his pack. Together, the two outcasts seek out Paul's old community of shape shifters, hoping that they will be welcome there. Along the way they must stay out of the reach of Radiance's overzealous father.
The two lead characters stand out in the story due to their motivations. Radiance, for example, wants to turn away from the traditional customs of her old life and find somewhere where she can craft a life that she wants. Paul, however, wants to return to the life he had before the events of the story take place. This makes the weight behind the journey to Paul's childhood home of shape shifters very different for each character. For Radiance, the destination is a safe haven from the troubles in her life and fresh start for her future, but Paul only sees the possibility of rejection and apathy from the place he once called home.
The author takes their time in exploring what makes the lead two characters who they are, their spines, and is careful to define their relationship with each other before they start their adventure together. Because of this, it seems natural to the reader that these two characters would take off together instead of staying on their own.
Most modern fantasy writers tend to over explain any use of magic or power in their stories to the point of exhaustion for their readers. This, however, is not the case for the fantastical elements in Ilana Diallo's story. Enough is left to the reader's imagination to keep them interested in the story without confusing or boring them.
Ilana Diallo also shows the reader a world that still has one foot in reality, which is also a breath of fresh air in this genre. By taking their time to show that the ordinary world of the reader still exists in the story adds a level of realism that a large amount of fantasy stories do not have. It also compliments the fact that the main characters in this story are outcasts, for if the setting itself was based in magic, the characters would all seem ordinary.
All in all, Radiance is a character driven fantasy story with a foot left in the real world. Because of its unique characters and their relatable motivations, Ilana Diallo's short story is an entertaining read for fans of the fantasy genre.