Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review: A Glimpse of Freedom and You Have Till Dawn

Continuing the short story adventure, today's review will comprise two selected stories from the debut collection by upcoming author Reagan Dyer.

About the Author:

I am a writer who plans to travel the world with a backpack and a journal. I believe that shooting stars are meant to be counted, luck doesn't come easy, and stories are music that comes from pouring your soul onto paper. I wear Converse All-Stars, driving caps, and messenger bags, and am otherwise a dysfunctional human being. I sometimes treat people to various British accents whenever the occasion arises. Whether or not the occasion is appropriate is a completely different matter. My first work entitled "Stars in Your Fingers" is a collection of short stories and musings.

Stars in Your Fingers: A Collection of Fantastical ImaginingsA Glimpse of Freedom and You Have Till Dawn
Stars in Your Fingers: a collection of fantastical imaginings
by Reagan Dyer
Self-published, 2012
47 pages
Buy via Lulu

Okay, so the deal with this is that not all of the stories within this collection properly fits the format of my blog. Therefore I bade Reagan Dyer pick out a few stories she thought would fit in the best. She picked A Glimpse of Freedom and You Have Till Dawn, so those are the ones I will be judging the general character and quality of the collection by.

A Glimpse of Freedom

This first story is a very short one. Nothing much really happens, but it is loaded with sensory impressions in a way that makes the story come alive before your eyes. The atmosphere lies in a thick greasy layer in your head pressing in on you until you feel as if you were there yourself. It is really very beautifully written.

That being said, I think it is a bit too short in places. You do get some sense of the main character and the predicament he is in. But a bit more would have been nice. 

I do, however, greatly admire Dyer's ability make this story work with so little action and so few words. She sure does know how to tackle a short story; making the plot very subtle and yet very powerful.

I thought the ending was a bit too open for my taste. Not that I did not like it exactly, it just did not seem very endingly to me. This would have made for a great prologue for a much longer work. I would have wanted to read that work.

Overall I greatly enjoyed this little story.

You Have Till Dawn

This second story was a bit longer. By all standards it is still a pretty short short story and yet it is more than twice as long as the aforementioned one. If I should compare the two stories I would say that in some ways I like this one better, while in others I prefer the first one.

This story is as simple as the first one, though the plot is not very subtle. This one did not manage to draw me in as much as the first one; the atmosphere is less predominant and the discriptions somewhat less colourful. There is, however, actually a bit of action to be found here and that is by no means a bad thing. The story does seem a bit rushed in places but I think that only suits its nature.

Another thing is that there is a lot more information about the universe and the people that inhabit it. In this way this story seems a bit bigger; or rather, you get the feeling that this is only a little story within a much larger picture. I personally quite like this quality.

My biggest problem with this story is that it did not quite touch me the way it probably should have. There is a lot at stake for the main character, she is in a terrible predicament, she has suffered through a rough period and her outlook does not seem any brighter, then someone makes a huge sacrifice for her. It is all really tragic and touching, truly. And yet it still left me pretty cold.

All in all it was another solid read, even if not quite on top rating level.

Stars in Your Fingers

My overall assessment of the collection by what I have seen from these two stories is that it is very well written and filled with little interesting ideas. With this as her debut release I would say that Reagan Dyer seems very promising. If she would just continue on to write something high fantasy, she would definitely be one for me to keep my eyes on

I think these stories were good, but I also think that she has not quite hit her potential yet. I think she can do even better with the right enthusiasm and encouragement. Therefore I am giving her "only" three stars.

Book blurb for Stars in Your Fingers:
A collection of fantastical stories and descriptions, including notes on lightcatching, prison cells, selfless love, layers of anonymity, a mystical half-reality, starfinders, Parisian caf├ęs, and of course, stars in your fingers...

What happens when a nicklegrinder makes a perchance meeting with a lightcatcher? What would a presumed traitor do for love? What layers of anonymity conceal the strange wanderer as he sits by his fire and breathes words to make the sparks glow hotter? 

Stars...stars in your fingers, only to slip away.

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