Sep 20, 2012: Intense.
I think a one-word review would truly do this story justice, but I suppose it could be more informational.
From the beginning, the writing draws you into the protagonist’s headspace. Before you even realize the backstory, you can feel her emotional reactions to her past. Every word and action flows, feeling like an obvious decision, yet they constantly reveal new depth to the character.
While The Last Skull is technically a story about an angsty teenage girl and the difficulties she faces, it never feels like one. It doesn’t get bogged down in her difficult decisions, search for identity, romantic problems, or any of the other classic hallmarks of that oh-so-popular story archetype.
Instead, it’s a story of a burgeoning badass. In some ways, it’s like Legion of Nothing, but vastly streamlined. In fairly short order, the fast-paced plot drags the reader from "plucky normal teenager gains superpowers" to "new hero on the block shows she has what it takes" to "badass climax and resolution."
The one weak point of the story would have to be the resolution. Judging from the comments on the latter chapters, it seems that real-life issues interfered with the author’s writing toward the end, so there is only a single post of wrap-up after the climax. It ties things up nicely enough, but I wish there had been a better let-down after the hectic pace of the story.
The fact that the story is complete was a big plus for me. It is relatively short (I finished it over the course of three or four nights), but not too short. It has the feel of a long novel or a short novel and sequel, rather than the long, cumbersome stories that are a hallmark of most web fiction.
The Last Skull is one of my favorite serial fictions, and I hope Robert C. Rodgers continues to provide us with more pulse-poundingly intense stories.