Mangoverse cuties Aviva and Rivka get a chance to shine in their own short stories, now available as as $2.99 eBook download. (If you’re buying the A Harvest of Ripe Figs paperback, they’re included free.)
Rivka in Port Saltspray: The warrior Rivka, during her nomadic mercenary days, gambles on a risky job from a stranger to earn money to free her dragon from a corrupt innkeeper. (Features a major aromantic-asexual character.)
Aviva and the Aliens: Aviva, bisexual chef turned royal mistress, must outwit a couple of aliens who abduct her just before Passover in hopes she’ll be a better cook than their spaceship’s food replicator.
The two stories in this collection differ wildly–one gritty, intense, and violent, the other farcical and probably not even canon. However, they both focus on female characters exhibiting great strength of character. It is not merely Rivka’s muscles but also her persistence and her unswerving need to protect other women that are on display in “Saltspray”, and Aviva’s creativity and refusal to be intimidated by unwanted male attention are showcased in “Aliens” alongside her culinary talents.
In both stories, as well, elements of Jewish culture help them thwart their opponents. Aviva’s story in particular is a “Passover special”, with the aliens resembling the locusts from one of the plagues and a human being’s right to not be enslaved at the story’s core.
Rivka’s story would make a fine introduction to the entire series if you haven’t started them yet. But if you’re a fan already, you’ll be reading it with an extra layer of meaning, with the stakes infinitely higher.
But enough of that — just look at Becca Schauer’s awesome art. Doesn’t that make you want to find out what’s behind those pages?