Author: G. Arden O’feden
Length: 3,500 words
Publisher: Prizm Books
Genre: m/m science fiction paranormal
Thousands of people go missing each year, and Everett Lacrowe discovers where they go when he falls into a world where the only purpose seems to be collecting others like himself. While most people in Dromos accept their surroundings and use a pointless routine to distract themselves, Everett will attempt to find out a way out.
This very short story from TQ’s YA press Prizm, sounded very interesting from the blurb. It’s not a romance, but I was in the mood for an interesting science fiction story so I thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately, it failed to deliver an even coherent story.
Everett trips up on the way out the dumpster and falls through a puddle into a weird alternative world, guarded by creatures able to inflict a horrific fate. Everett is determined to find the way out.
The story begins well with a surprising amount of background on Everett, given the length of the story. However, once he falls into the alternative world, everything went downhill for me. The story has the potential to be a really creepy and frightening tale, full of emotion, but nothing is described properly and all the emotion is sucked out by a flat, dull narrative which relies too much on telling and not enough showing. Huge amounts of time are described in a sentence, major characters are given a brief nod and then dismissed and the whole story left me firstly bewildered as to what was happening and then cheated out of what could have been a very inventive story because too much is attempted within too short a word count.
The end was deeply cruel and rather horrific. I found it rather shocking in a way, but because there hadn’t been enough of a lead up, and also because I felt that I barely knew Everett, it didn’t affect me as much as it could. In fact, the whole story would have been better if the section in the alternative world had been given the space and word count to soar – another 50,000 words would have done it. As it is, the story had a whole novel’s worth of material condensed into 11 pages and therefore failed to work for me. I usually like YA stories, but this one left me cold and I can’t recommend it.