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Good Stuff

By pidgey, member

May 15, 2014: Pact is a compelling story in a lot of ways. The good guys have actual personalities and the bad guys are legitimately scary. There’s kind of a role-playing game sense to the story, where Blake, the main character, comes out of every conflict with a little something extra – a new way to break the rules – and it really feels like meaningful progress. Probably the most fun part of reading the story is learning about all of the tools and resources and allies that Blake has gathered and trying to figure out what he can do with them.

Pact is also an incredibly tense story. Every victory is pyrrhic, and Blake dances on the edge of catastrophic failure in a way that really makes you wonder if the author is actively just trying to put enough constraints on the terms of victory to force even the most creative writer to throw in the towel and let him die, and move the focus of the story on to a different character.

There are occasional moments where I have felt like the rules of this universe are a little too well-suited to the main character – things generally work like he intuits them to work – but that’s a common flaw of urban fantasy in general, and easy to forgive, in my opinion. The occasional disregard for physics or causality is also no worse than what you find in any big budget movie, and shouldn’t detract from the enjoyment of anyone but the biggest sticklers for that kind of thing.

Another thing which could be improved is that most of the characters have the same voice. They have different personalities, for sure, but they all speak in this same clipped manner of speech with the subjects of sentences removed, and very short sentences. Not a big problem, but it helps with immersion when characters’ identity is more obvious by the way they speak.

The only other complaint I have is that the prose of the story lacks polish. I get the sense that the author spends all of his time figuring out what needs to happen and how the characters need to react (and he does a great job of that!), but doesn’t really think much at all about phrasing or poetry or prose. The story lacks all but the most basic descriptions of settings. Whenever some part of the environment becomes an important plot point, it sticks out strongly because it’s the only thing that gets described with any detail; that has the unfortunate consequence of making certain strategies either much too obvious or else impossible to visualize at all.

Pact is a great story, though, and I highly encourage people to read it. The best thing you can say about any story is that you care to read what happens next, and Pact will get you to care, I guarantee.

5 of 6 members found this review helpful.
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