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Boskeopolis: Interesting concept, but unengaging (at least to me)

By Emma, author of Undestined

Dec 19, 2013: Let me start this by saying I am not a reader of Boskeopolis. I just went through the archives to find a story that hadn’t been reviewed yet. My review is based only on the first 3 stories and 4 "bits".

Boskeopolis is a collection of short stories connected by a common location and common characters. There are longer stories posted once a month, and "bits" (super short stories) posted twice a month. Each story has a small illustration accompanying it, which I liked, and intriguing titles.

The stories themselves have no set chronological connection, which is fine, as the author said as much on the About page. They tend to have a video game feel to them, as the characters go on adventures that require (in one story) finding coloured keys that open boxes with corresponding colours. A plot device I liked, which was used several times, was the "scene cut", where the author imagined the story as a movie, cutting over less interesting bits to the next major plot development. I felt this was very in keeping with the surreal nature of the stories the author was trying to achieve.

There were two things that made this story difficult for me to read. The first is that the characters are very one-dimensional, and never seem to develop unique personalities. Since the characters are really the only thing that connects the stories together, and I felt no interest in their fates, I found little reason to keep reading. It is possible, that had I read more, this would have changed, but without strong characters, I had no desire to do so.

The second thing that kept me from wanting to read more was the writing style. I offer this criticism with the caveat that I teach lot of writing requirement classes, and so I’m bothered by things other people might not notice. The writing tended to be over saturated with adjectives and unneeded words, as well as repeated words within the same sentence. There was little "showing" and a lot of "telling". The dialogue was very stilted, which is part of what made it hard to feel any connection to the characters. The author also overused clauses, interrupting sentences with asides. While there weren’t many actual errors, I felt the writing style as a whole kept me from being interested in the story.

In short, these stories might be for someone, but they aren’t for me.

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