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I Don’t Really Know What the Word Spoopy Means, But This Serial Feels Spoopy

By Billy Higgins Peery, author of A Bad Idea

Nov 29, 2015: This is a well-written serial. It’s important to say that right out the gate, because some serials, while fun, aren’t necessarily well-written. This isn’t the case here. From the very first post, it’s clear that Marn is a serious author.

Just take the first line, “When Austin Jones leaves his home on the back of a motorcycle at the age of twenty, he barely stops to consider that he has been followed.” There’s a sense of craft there: the proper elements of suspense and introduction.

I didn’t find many typos, either (except for a misused semicolon or two, which is forgivable, because the number of people who misuse semicolons is almost identical to the number of people who use semicolons). That’s impressive.

Now, onto the story itself. There’s a lot to like here. So far Antlers is a semi-traditional supernatural mystery. Austin comes to a new town and helps it deal with supernatural creatures. His ghostly father follows him around, which adds a bit of intrigue to the setup. It’s especially intriguing because the father ran an organization tasked with dealing with these strange creatures—an organization Austin’s brother now runs.

I call it ‘semi-traditional,’ because it has a queer cast. Austin and Otter have a particularly awesome relationship, which I love.

The only thing that makes me take a half-star off is the unclear worldbuilding. This review covers the first chapter (17 posts) of Antlers, so stuff could be revealed later. But as it stands right now, I find it hard to discern just how familiar this world is with the supernatural. Austin acts like it’s all pretty unknown, and everyone’s confusion when he talks to his ghostly father furthers that idea.

But on the other hand, everyone seems to know about the creatures that are coming into town. Austin seems mildly surprised that they all know, but not as surprised as I would be if all these people knew a secret they weren’t supposed to know. I’m further confused by the fact that the police seem to just believe Austin is a medium straight out of the gate.

As well, many of the chapters start a little slow. It’s a jarring pace, given how short many of the chapters are.

That said, despite my minor concerns, Antlers has proved to be a very good read. It gives a Twin Peaks-ish vibe, but with more fun and less terror.

Note: This was written as part of a review swap.

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