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Raw and Gritty Poetry at its Best.

By revfitz, author of Existential Terror and Breakfast

May 15, 2018: Full disclosure: this review is part of a review swap with the author. There may be some pre-existing bias.

 . . . and with that out of the way: This is seriously my favorite thing to read right now.

A year ago I did a mini-review on my first impressions of this serial. There was only a single chapter then but of the 31 serials I reviewed that month this one had one of the biggest impressions in my mind. The website was clean and INCREDIBLY genre savvy and I immediately fell in love with the disjointed and raw style of storytelling. Cyber Punk is a personal favorite of mine and this serial was hitting all of the right marks. I immediately signed up for updates and waited patiently . . . It would be half a year before I got a new chapter, but it was worth the wait.

Chosen Shackles is the only serial I have read that has an essay on the counter culture and genre it is based in. The author has a real passion for Cyber Punk and it shows in every corner of the website. The immersion here is complete. The amount of love and detail that has gone into this platform is a beautiful sight. It won my heart over before I began reading. I cannot say that of many stories.

The prose itself is disjointed, raw, gonzo and gritty. It is more art than story at times and the author has a knack for turning grime into poetry. You feel the protagonist’s sleep deprivation and anxiety in every "page". This is by far my favorite thing about Chosen Shackles. Honestly, I LIVE for this kind of gonzo insanity, and Chosen Shackles delivers that with abandon.

It is not all perfect, however. Chosen Shackles spends too much time in the first act, which might be intentional to give the reader a sense of alienation in the world that the author has crafted, but this was delivered plenty in the first and second chapters. If I am honest, I really did not know what the plot of the story was until I was WELL into it. If the lyrical and highly experimental prose had not won me over I likely would have abandoned this serial. Beyond that, the author can fall into present tense a lot which was confusing and broke my reader flow. If it were not for these things, I would have rated Chosen Shackles a full five-star rating. These complaints on any other serial would be near death knells for me, but the prose and the passion were strong enough to leave a highly positive impression on me overall.

If you are looking for something straightforward and light to read, turn away. If you do not get why spicy noodles are as important to Cyber Punk as murderous androids, Chosen Shackles may not be for you. If, however, you crave madness in your stories and love a gritty sci-fi, Chosen Shackles IS A MUST.

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