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Rocky first draft with potential

By Shutsumon, author of Tales of the First

Sep 26, 2012: Short Version: The table of contents states this a first draft and I’d agree with that. A first draft with potential. Worth a look if you find the premise interesting (as I do) and have a high tolerance for stories that tell rather than show.

Setup: Amaya Alastor is a Japanese American teen who’s lived her entire life in the US until circumstances force her to move to live with her father in Japan. Adapting to life in another country is hard enough but then she discovers she’s a natural gateway for spirits and things go downhill from there.

The Good: This story has a lot of potential. The premise is interesting and the author has clearly thought her mythology through. The main character is interesting. In your average paranormal you get a bratty main character who has very few real problems but thinks the world is out to get them. Amaya has genuine problems – she’s epileptic and a victim of sexual abuse. What’s more her supernatural problem is more personal and not world ending. Her soul and her friends’ lives may be on the line but so far that’s all. (Of course this is a work in progress so I guess that might change).

The Bad: In the Table of Contents all chapters so far are listed as first draft. In and of itself this isn’t a problem I mention only because I imagine the problems will improve significantly in subsequent rewrites. What problems?

Telling – there’s way too much. The author seems to fear that her audience will know nothing of Japan and thus the narrator takes long digressions to explain things. At another point there’s a long winded explanation about the characters epilepsy which is not needed. These infodumps are boring, unnecessary and break the narrative. This is fiction, not a travelog. Show me what I need to know and leave the rest out. I think it was a direct result of this that I sometimes got confused by the narrative. I glazed over during the infodumps and missed something important.

The author also drops a lot of Japanese words in the story which is quite (British quite) annoying. I know Amaya is thinking in English but she’s mostly speaking in Japanese – there’s no need for it. Several of the characters fall a bit flat as well and I hope they will be given greater depth in the rewrite.

Other: The blurb notes that the story is inspired by Anime and extreme Japanese cinema. Please take that and the content warning seriously.

Will I be reading more? Yes. For all its flaws this story has caught my interest and I want to know what happens next.

7 of 7 members found this review helpful.
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Strange Light In Today’s Night

By SamNye, author of Small Town Ravaging

Sep 5, 2011: The protagonist in this story, Ajax, is a little bit on the overly snappy side, having said almost nothing nice to anyone in the story up to the point that I read, but it fits his state of mind quite well. His father and partner are losers who depend on him to feed THEM, instead of the other way around, and he is struggling with a plethora of problems that make his bitter mindset all the more justified. The story moves along fairly quickly, and the writer seems to have pretty good grasp on how to end each "Illumination" (the chosen word for chapters on the site) with a bit of suspense that makes you want to read the next one. Today I only meant to read the first, but just HAD to read the second, then the third, etc. The prose is witty and you almost get the feeling that the writer is in the same mindset as Ajax, which suits the story extremely well. The only downfall in the story that I see so far is that it’s kind of hard to relate to the character, with one bit of bad news after another and his rejection of helping hands with such a casual air, but overall this is worth reading and anyone who likes a witty, fantastical story should definitely give this a look. Chances are, the first section will make you want to read the second, and so on until you have to force yourself to walk away. Good job. Definitely deserving of at least four stars.

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Editor’s First Impression

By Chris Poirier, editor

Sep 4, 2011: Easy, flowing prose and good characterization. I’ve read three chapters so far and have taken the RSS feed—it’s an enjoyable read. Definitely check it out if you like urban fantasy.

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