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THE EXPERIMENT

If it’s not your genre, you may want to experiment with this one anyway.

By Eren Reverie, author of Et Alia

Feb 12, 2016: Full disclosure: Just a couple of days after I read this, the author posted on the forums looking for Reviewers. That did prompt me to actually write my review (I’ve been awfully negligent in doing those lately) but the possibility of a review swap did not. I’d already finished the first novella, thought I should write a review, and allowed myself to be distracted into not doing so.

With that said, I enjoyed The Experiment. It was a pretty fun pseudo-superhero read. Although it is billed as noir, it was for the most part more light hearted than current trends in dark and despairing superhero worlds go. Aside from how he relates to the experiment itself, the main character didn’t strike me as quite as cynical as I would normally associate with a noir protagonist. The rest of the cast for the first novella was pretty small, but that allowed the author to make those people we did get to know feel more real without having to spend tons of time on side characters.

Because of that, the action in the book was pretty regular and the pace was fairly fast (without hitting that ‘omg everything is constantly ramping up in direness oh no oh no oh no’ level that can be exhausting to read too much of at once.) The powers that came into play varied, and the need to keep those powers secret was reasonable. The side characters were interesting and the sub plot between the main character and his boss was particularly fun. The main character’s development—and his awareness of it as he recounts his story as its narrator—was well measured and felt real.

I read the first novella in a single day, which means it kept me up far later than it should have (and that’s always a good sign.)

It’s written in the present tense, which I usually find to be a bit jarring. In this case, I didn’t even notice until I skimmed the most recent couple chapters (the start of the next novella) before writing this review. The writting has a good flow to it, and I don’t recall any typos that were jarring enough to pull me out of the story when I read it.

I think it’s biggest weakness currently is how many questions arose in the first novella that have been left for future chapters to answer. But despite that, the resolution of the subplots and the snappy flow of the action—plus the promise of those future chapters and the answers they might bring—prevent that from being a flaw. It’s more like the first novella served to grow the small cast of characters and establish the basic premise and greater mysteries, which I hope the series as a whole will address.

I can’t comment on the update schedule much, because I read the whole first novella in one day and that was all that was up when I did it. However, the fact that ‘book 1’ is completely available online and The Experiment is still in the ‘recent works’ sidebar list on The Webfiction Guide as I write this indicates that it has a pretty healthy update rate—or, at the very least, that there’s enough out there for readers to get a solid story out of the archives.

Bottom line? If you like mysteries that arch over multiple books, enjoy fast action, super powers, and a relatively light atmosphere (compared to, say, Price or Worm) then add a star to this review. Reading The Experiment would be a great way to spend some idle relaxation time.

If, on the other hand, you prefer to see all the major questions brought up by a book resolved in that book, you prefer dark and gritty super hero fiction, or you want to read something with a cast of, er, dozens-or-more, then this might not be the best option for you out there. In that case, knock a star off this review and decide if that’s still rated high enough for you to peruse while you’re waiting for something more tailored to your tastes to show up.

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