Fiction - Short Story/Novela
58 Pages
Reviewed on 10/25/2023
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Author Biography

Matt Luedke lives in Oakland, California. He has a Creative Writing Certificate from the City College of San Francisco, and his stories have been featured in Forum Magazine and UW-Milwaukee's Furrow Magazine. A full list of his publications is available at mattluedke.com.

Dagny’s journey began as a backstory for a D&D character, and the first draft of the opening scene was an assignment for a Fiction class at the City College of San Francisco. Later drafts came as a group of classmates continued meeting after the semester was over. Every friend who has joined me in the creative space of a storytelling game has helped reintroduce me to my imagination. And every writing teacher and classmate has helped me figure out how to better communicate and how to dig deeper for what a story is really about.

And thank you to the Northern Lights, the wild reindeer who crossed our path while hiking in Lapland, and any “hidden folk” I unknowingly encountered there for forever convincing me that magic is real.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

There is evil adrift in the Scandinavian forest known as Mystwood. Dagny, left alone to tend the family’s herd of reindeer, is confronted by a dangerous troll who threatens not only her but also her reindeer. Mesmerized by the evil troll’s glaring eye, she struggles to regain her sight and her ability to defend herself and what’s hers. In Matt Luedke’s Dagny, a legend unfolds, complete with an elven prodigy who must learn her powers and how to control them to find and retrieve what is rightfully hers, before all is lost and destroyed when the shadow creature interferes. Her name means new day, something more powerful than the past or the present as all that is new redefines and ensures the future. But Dagny is strong, a wild force to be reckoned with.

Matt Luedke’s novella, Dagny, reads like a treasured Scandinavian legend. The plot follows Dagny’s quest into the magical forest to save her reindeer. It’s a journey of self-discovery as Dagny learns more about her powers, her wild spirit, and who she really is. It’s a coming-of-age story, as the main character must grow with her powers as each encountered obstacle presents new challenges. The author is a master storyteller and has readers enthralled from the very beginning. The narrative is captivating and dialogue is used effectively to move the story along. Although I found the use of swear words a little distracting, taking away from the legendary appeal of the story, overall, this was an enjoyable read.