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This (Magical) Thing of Ours

By Psycho Gecko, author of World Domination in Retrospect

Sep 22, 2014: Prohibition. Vampires. The Mafia. Demigods.

These and more collide in Goodfae: an alternate history full of every sort of fantasy creature in Prohibition-era America. The story follows Alfonso, the newest soldato of one of the Five Families, as he takes up new duties that drag him even further into the bloody world of a mafia that integrates everything from magical drugs to vampires.

It’s an informal first-person narrative from Alfonso’s perspective, with occasional interludes from the point of view of other major players in the story. It moves along well, never leading to a slog. Exposition is integrated into the narrative for the most part, with the author doing a good job of avoiding blocks of info that would disrupt the flow of the story. The author makes good use of the first-person narrative, a style which can make exposition more palatable so long as the character has the information.

If anything, I wish I had even more information about the setting, especially in light of anachronistic terms and technology that come up. According to author’s commentary, some things are more advanced in the world of Goodfae. Some in-story revelations so far show that the author plans to fill the world out more as the story moves along. Until then, though, the anachronisms stand out and can detract from the story, especially to fans of mobster stories.

While you can definitely feel that one of the characters is telling you the story, you have a little bit of a problem discerning the character’s character, at least as far as Alfonso. He’s an experienced criminal, with a cynical enough attitude to know ahead of time that some problems might be solved by arson and insurance fraud, but then he turns into some naive-seeming idealist holding onto thoughts of family with a woman he’s never even met.

Just like with further world of the alternate world readers glimpse, it appears that the story just hasn’t gotten far enough along to fully nail down Alfonso. The story is still in its opening stages, after all. From what there is so far, the author shows that he can finish showing us.

The story’s reading is light, at times even comical, while some of the themes are dark, with a mystery involving a "chosen one" on the horizon.

I see potential, but I have to star it according to where I think it is currently. I give it a 3.5 stars with the note that I do so with high expectations and would be happy to revisit this rating when there’s more story to see.

If you’re willing to stick it out, kid, you might go far in this world. Now if anyone asks, this review fell off the back of a truck, capisce?

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