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When I was in my early teens I read a good deal of YA fiction that was concerned with death. I'm not thinking about the adventures that involved escaping death - there were plenty of those. I'm thinking of the ones that worried about how people die, about good deaths, and how people could have one. Perhaps the arch-practitioner of this is Rosemary Sutcliff, testing her characters and asking them to make choices, for themselves and for their loved ones, of how to risk death, and how to actually die, but there were and are very many of them. There are also subsets of this literature that worry about whether it is better to die horribly or badly in a good cause, or nobly or well in a dubious cause, and whether you should kill your enemies or let them live to suffer. There are certainly many stories, and many possible opinions on the subject, but in the end the question is unanswerable until and unless you have a choice. Very few people ever do, and most of those are too busy getting on with it to offer their thoughts on the matter.

I'm not in my early teens any more, but clearly people are still telling these stories. Neil Gaiman is a notable practitioner, and here is one.

On the whole, I approve the story. The artwork by P. Craig Russell is rather beautiful too.

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Caroline M

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