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Not Buying It

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

Apr 28, 2013: While reading The Unbroken Chaos, I could see that this author has a good imagination and probably watches a lot of anime, two things I can most definitely connect with. There are a number of interesting ideas in the story, and the plot has a lot of action to it. However, I couldn’t really get into the story myself, due to the fact that I found it unbelievable enough that I just couldn’t relate to it.

In general, I find I’m a credible reader who wants to follow where an author goes, but I couldn’t stretch far enough to meet up with this story. As it opens, we seem to be presented with a futuristic version of our current world. Given that, I found myself shaking my head in disbelief as two fourteen year olds (Chaos and Lilith, who are supposed to be assassins) took on and killed another assassin, Louise, who was probably more than twice their age, and who’d killed Chaos’ parents, who were also supposed to have been assassins.

Given my knowledge of the world in general, I had many mental objections with that early scene and the logical problems stemming from it. Although I’m not an assassin myself, I do know that killing people is not as easy a prospect as the author seems to imagine and that most people will fight tooth and nail to prevent their own death. It’s also not an easy crime to cover up even in today’s society, and the way things are going, it is likely to become even more difficult in the future, given the prevalence of cameras in public places, the ubiquity of surveillance in general (think snooping on implanted chips in the future), and the improvement of investigative techniques and technology.

That aside, the idea that two fourteen year olds could kill an assassin with more than twice the amount of training and experience that they could possibly have had in their lifetimes, is laughable. It’s especially ridiculous when you consider that Louise had apparently easily killed Chaos’ parents, who must have taught him everything he knew about the trade. Additionally laughable is the idea that Louise wouldn’t have simply killed Chaos as he slept (as she had an opportunity to), or that she would just stand around and let two kids kill her. If this was a ploy on her part to make them think she was dead so she could have a free hand later on, I’d like to see the author play that up in the story, because it didn’t appear to be the case in the way the story currently reads.

I could go on in this vein for a while longer, but I think you see what I’m getting at. My suggestion to the author to fix this issue is to remind people much earlier on, and regularly, that this is a fantasy – maybe when Chaos is going to kill someone, all the things in the room assist him, or something like that. Because by the time, late in the story, that the supernatural explanations began to turn up, my eyes had nearly rolled out of their sockets and I think I was muttering something about unicorns showing up next. As your readers, people want to be taken along with your story, but you have to leave them hints as to where you’re going so that they can follow along with you. I could mentally chalk up much of the storyline’s less believable elements (from a real-world perspective) to magical explanations if you introduced and reinforced the idea early.

The other thing that gave me problems in connecting with this story was the characters. Aside from their physical descriptions, each of them seems to act more or less the same way and none seem to have a distinctive dialog voice, either. To me, characters are much more than pieces to move around the chessboard of the plot – these are the doors of entry through which readers will be able to get into your story, or not. Please flesh these people out so that readers can see themselves in them; show their faults as well as their talents off, let us see them striving and failing sometimes, and get them to introduce themselves through the way they speak and the things they find important.

Per my own taste, I probably would have given this story fewer stars since I had such difficulty connecting with it, but I think it might have more appeal for some younger readers or someone who is even better at suspending their disbelief than me (such as Fiona, who is obviously my superior in this regard). The author has an admirable imagination that I’d love to see him continue to develop through his writing. I look forward to seeing the final version of this story, as well as work of his in the future.

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