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LISTENING TO THE OTHER SIDE

Excellent story, does everything right

By TanaNari, author of Price

Oct 21, 2015: Note that "right" doesn’t mean "perfect", but there are no glaring flaws for me to tear into like the cruel loveless bastard I suspect people think I am from my other reviews.

I was hooked from the first chapter. I devoured it, then remembered I was supposed to be doing a review and went back to read it again critically.

It was just as pleasurable to read the second time as the first.

The tone of this story is pretty bleak and cynical, more than a bit moody. Very Noir in its nature. Probably not a read for someone who wants an upbeat or energetic story. Personally, I love almost all story tones as long as the story itself is good.

Writing: 4 out of 5

There’s the occasional typo, but I rarely find myself bothered by them.

Writer has a habit of starting dialogue with "speaking," he said, "speaking". Instead of "speaking," he said. "Speaking." It’s a minor quibble, but still makes the writing too sloppy to give higher marks than a 4.

Pacing: 4.5/5

It’s solid. 1.5-2.5k chapters, most of whom introduce a character whose name I actually remember. There aren’t any forced cliffhangers (worst part of Web Serials, all the damn cliffhangers).

Each chapter begins and ends naturally, I jump to the next chapter, not because I need to know how the character gets out of some danger, but because I want to know what’s next in the story. I want to learn more about the characters and their world. See Worldbuilding.

The loss of the .5 is for the occasional overload of internal dialogue exposition. It’s a staple of noir-esque storytelling, and I almost want to break out some jazz to play while reading it, but it’s overkill at times and makes the story flow stutter.

Characters: 5/5

As I said above. Chapters introduce new characters that are interesting enough that I remember their names. You believe these people are people, and it’s great.

The main "protagonist" is a fake psychic exploiting cold reading and other dirty tricks. But doesn’t fall into the same annoying trap seen in "The Mentalist" by making him some uber-genius. He’s not stupid. He’s intelligent and charismatic and clever, but still believable. It’s a delicate balance and it’s done perfectly.

Of course, he’s also a jackass . . . so if you’re hoping for a huggable protag, it won’t be this one.

Worldbuilding: 5/5

Love it. It puts so much effort into the "feel" of the world. The fake psychic, grieving families, the cynical editor who helps him sell his bag of lies . . . yeah, I’m so very hooked just on the "mundane" side of things that I don’t care if a single supernatural event ever happens in the story.

Final Conclusion: 4.25/5 (rounding to 4.5 for vote purposes)

Like I said, it does everything right. Not necessarily perfectly, but right. The tone is consistent, the writing is quality, the characters are natural, it’s a delightful blend of inspired storytelling and technical skill.

When this thing’s finished, I hope the writer takes it to traditional publishers. It’s Best Seller material just as soon as an editor polishes the rough edges.

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