the_author() rating onrating onrating onrating onrating on


Extra Dark Roast

By Shaeor, author of Chosen Shackles

Jun 18, 2018: This review was done as part of a swap.

The first thing I would say is that Existential Terror and Breakfast is a strong departure from the YA tropes that generally pervade web fiction.

Malcolm Steadman is absolutely front and center of a small cast, here. Punctuations are counted down over the course of the story to add ambient pressure and a sense of direction. But this story may lack the urgency of typical heroic plots, you may guess. I think things pick up around chapter nine when Malcolm first tastes false hope and motivation, and they really find their footing in the last sequence. Editing needs are dismissable, I can imagine no better way to structure or pace, and the end is very fitting. If you can get into them, the repeating structure of the chapters can be engrossing.

SPOILER! It’s a tragedy. I almost wish this had been stated outright.

Malcolm Steadman’s tragedy brings good to the world, however. Throughout the story, he is inadvertently benefitting people by his struggle and is perhaps transcended by this. But it’d be easy to say he lacks redemption. I considered whether the catharsis of a proper tragedy is found here, and I believe it is.

The ending follows logically from the main theme of the story, which is a sort of illustration of what philosophy can do to a person. There is sometimes an undercurrent of real contempt in the writing, I think, which is slightly indulgent. With definite themes of capitalism’s oppressive nature, social expectation, and repression, there is a good bit to chew on in Existential Terror and Breakfast.

That will be my last point. This story requires reflection to be truly great, in my opinion. I enjoyed the read, but it was not always easy to. I would not have written this book, personally, and I would disagree with the Author on some of its implications. But it is a genuine and artistically sound work. I give it the Mystical five on that basis alone. Respect.

6 of 7 members found this review helpful.
Help us improve!  Request an invite or log in to rate this review.