The story description grabbed me instantly, so when the author offered me a free copy for an honest review, I jumped at the chance.
I was immediately hooked when the story started with dialogue and threw me into the narrative. I must admit, stories that linger of a description as an opening can sometimes bore me and as this story grabbed my attention from the first line, it was a brilliant start. When Annalise dazzled us with her descriptions, I was sold. Talent to create beautiful descriptions are my weakness and I was even more drawn into the story by the end of the first two paragraphs. The hook of a story is important and for me, Annalise hooked me almost effortlessly.
I must admit, I didn’t see the first twist coming but it was perfectly foreshadowed and the story built naturally without feeling forced, it progressed at a good pace and in a short period time I could connect with Jody as a character. It was well handled and the topic was presented in a good manner. I was hooked until the last word and even after the story ended, I still have the story of Jody and Austin on my mind. I sort of guessed the end twist because my personal education in Film Studies has taught me how to read narratives and pick up subtle hints, and Annalise did an amazing job to keep the story fresh and interesting.
The characters were well built and it’s quite an achievement that in a short story Annalise managed to help me to connect with these characters and feel for their situation. It’s an impressive talent she has; her descriptions are lovely. I am a sucker for a good description and this story had many of them.
Of course the story wasn’t perfect, because what story is? The positives outweighed the negatives, but they’re equally as important. They’re not flaws in terms of storyline and story presentation – but rather personal preference.
As much I enjoyed the explanation for why Jody and Austin were in the situation they are now, the timing perhaps could have been handled better. It seemed disrupt the flow, but I understand it’s essential information for the rest of the story. It’s nothing major, perhaps it personal preference, and it didn’t massively impact the story as I read. It didn’t draw me out, just struck me as an odd placing. After finished the story, I realise there is no other solution for this, besides scattering this information throughout the first section, but then it may be disruptive. Backstory is always difficult to feed through a short story or novelette because there’s only so much time to tell everything – but I am very impressed with the quality of work.
The use of ‘said’ is one of my biggest peeves. As a reader and a writer, I’ve got a strange relationship with ‘said’. It honestly doesn’t impact the story but it’s one of the things that grab my attention and I feel should be used sparingly in the best possible context.
Overall, there wasn’t much technically wrong with the story that I could see. The majority of the story’s weaker points come down from years of writing, and learning the craft and certain aspects that may bug me when reading. It’s not necessarily wrong, and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.
I definitely recommend it to people who enjoy good stories, with twists you won’t expect but ultimately – something that stays on your mind even after you’ve read the final word.