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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/profile/reviews/beholden
Review Requests: ON
607 Public Reviews Given
Review Style
I have a review template that is only used for in depth reviews, usually those that are specifically requested. These will be as comprehensive as I can manage, including everything I have noticed in reading the piece. Most of my reviews, however, are more in the nature of reactions to the piece with brief notes on things I find particularly good and suggestions on dealing with any obvious flaws in the writing.
I'm good at...
Reviews of stuff I particularly like. If I think the writing is good and the ideas original and inventive, I will say so and become enthusiastic about it. I will point out flaws, particularly where I feel that they interfere with a positive reaction to the piece, but I will also offer suggestions for fixing such problems.
Favorite Genres
I have a broad spectrum of genres I'll review. It's easier for me to list the genres I won't touch.
Least Favorite Genres
Romance, erotica, overly dark subjects without a good reasomn for existence.
Favorite Item Types
I'm unsure what is meant by this - I would have thought the genres sections covered this.
Least Favorite Item Types
See previous section.
I will not review...
Again, see the genres section that lists the genres I won't review.
Public Reviews
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1
1
Review of Doorstop  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)


Doorstop
A short story by Serena Blade.

Initial Impression:

The basic idea of the story is sound, a solid foundation for a classic horror tale. The problem comes from too much detail being included. Much of what you tell the reader is irrelevant to the story and is better left out. Remember that a short story is meant to be just that - short. The reader expects that it will hold his attention for a brief while, provide a surprise at the end and be done with. It's our job to keep the interest up, make them care about the protagonist and then scare them or at least amuse them with an unexpected ending. It's a tall order and one we need to remember as we write.

Title:

The title is a little uninteresting. Doorstops are fairly mundane, after all. It's worth taking a bit of time to come up with a more intriguing name for the story. This particular one could be A Fishy Tale, for instance, or Cursed Dreams. Both make a reader ask questions they want answered. We are, in effect, giving them a brief glimpse of one aspect of the story, without giving anything away. To find out more, they have to start reading.

Content:

The basic story is simple enough but obscured somewhat by the wealth of detail included. For example, the cell phone doesn't work (which explains why they can't contact help) but it really doesn't matter why it doesn't work. Let the reader imagine a reason.

Don't feel that you have to explain everything that happens. This passage is an example of too much information: "To keep her mind from running wild she decided to walk around and explore the house. As she entered an office she found something that had caught her attention. Behind the door was an old Victorian antique doorstop. It was a brass mythical large fish."

We don't need to know why she explored the house. The important fact is that she did. Then we have three sentences that describe her discovery of the doorstop. Most of this can be deleted to give only the important information - In an office, she found a brass doorstop in the shape of a fish. The fact that it caught her attention is unnecessary as it wouldn't be mentioned if it hadn't caught her attention.

At the same time, you have to be careful to preserve the reader's belief in the story you're telling. You have said that they found a fully-furnished, open but deserted Victorian house in which to shelter. That requires at least a short explanation to explain why such a house should be abandoned and available to them. I know that was the question that arose immediately in my mind. Not many people leave a perfectly habitable house unlocked and open to squatters overnight.

Style:

Dialogue is our best chance to communicate character to the reader. Don't use it to get to the next action but as a way of revealing what your characters are like. My way of doing this is to put myself in their position and allow the character to speak through me. In my entry for today's contest, I imagined the proprietor as a typical old man surrounded by the ancient clocks of his shop. He is fussy, respectful of his customers and goes to some lengths to prevent the purchase of something that he feels can only lead to a bad outcome. This is all communicated through his conversation with Bernard. It doesn't need to be described - the reader will do it for me.

So put that dialogue to work!

Flow/Pace:

Flow and pace is fine except for the previously mentioned detail scattered throughout the text. This is so much true that, when you start describing the history of Sita and Dimitro, it becomes confusing and I must admit that I began to skim. Essentially, it's an info dump and should be kept as short as possible so that the reader does not become distracted from the main story.

Suggestions:

Consider rewriting the story in a rigidly chronological timeline (we really don't need to start with Jessie in a strange bed) but with an introductory piece recounting the tale of Sita and Dimitro, This would prevent the disruption of the tale being inserted in the middle of Jessie's story. It would also allow you to move straight to the transformation of Josh and Jessie into fishes, without bothering to free Dimitro and Sita from their curse.

Overall Impression:

I have written quite a lot about your story but do not become discouraged. Most if not all of my points are related to each other and, if you fix one, you will go at least some way to fixing others. Above all else, remember to keep the action moving - don't allow yourself to wander into descriptions that may matter to you but really don't help the story to progress. Keep it simple!



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Beholden


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2
2
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (5.0)


Through the Cracks
by W.D.Wilcox

Initial Impression:

The illustration of the crack was the first thing that struck me. It is very similar to one I used for a recent story of my own, so I was curious as to where you'd take the crack idea. And I was not disappointed. This is a fine tale of a terrible affliction that takes the subject character through a developing series of horror scenarios.

Title:

Excellent. The title contains enough suggestion to catch the attention without giving anything away. If the reader wants to know more, the only answer is to read the story!

Content:

We are told quite early in the story that the effects experienced by Rachel are caused by a brain tumour. I think this is done at the right moment. To keep the reader in the dark would soon become contrived and dissipate some of the horror already established. The word cancer is enough these days to scare anyone and some imagined supernatural terror holds nothing scarier than the big C.

The progression of the disease and the dark worlds it introduces are revealed and described vividly, so that the reader is drawn into them with Rachel. I found myself wondering if this is indeed the kind of thing that might be felt as a tumour works its way into the brain. Which is to say that you have created a very believable series of worlds to compete with reality.

Altogether, the story is told with sensitivity and has just the right amount of uncertainty in the ending. Such a typically horror writer's technique, to lull us into a suggestion of relief at the end with the vision of the cabin, the dog and the husband, only to pull the rug from under our feet with the final word of the tale. Masterfully done!

Style:

This is probably the most difficult aspect to comment upon in any review. It is so subject to personal taste (I won't review anything in which the style puts me off but it's very hard to say just what annoys me so much). In the end, we tend to pick at bits here and there, as though they were the cause of bad style - but they're not. Suffice to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece. And that means that I like the style so much that I cannot fault it.

If you want me to carp a bit, it's all in the word "jitter." It jarred with me, probably because it's not a word we use much in England. Which is fine; I suppress my own feelings on the matter and keep reading. And then you repeat it! That gives me something to be picky about - I try not to repeat words closely enough that the reader remembers the previous use of it. There's always an alternative that can avoid such repetition.

Flow/Pace:

Flows like a mighty river to the sea - can't fault it. And the pace is perfect, neither halting nor hurrying on as though late. Gives the reader just enough time to enjoy the read.

Suggestions:

Apart from the jitter niggle, nothing occurs. If it ain't broke, don't mend it.

Favourite line or part:

"Her face was lunar in its paleness, except for the hollows of her eyes, which were bruised-colored." Excellent description, very real. Consider dropping the D from the end of "bruised."

Overall Impression:

This is a fascinating story told with sure ability and after a lot of thought. You have considered deeply how the progression from one stage of the illness to the next would go. The intitial idea and its development are considerably different from the usual horror fare and you have not wasted such an original insight. Only in the final sentence is the horror genre given the nod and that, after all, is the point, isn't it?



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Beholden


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3
3
Review of I Catch Myself  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)

I Catch Myself
by omtmy

Initial Impression:

Interesting thought process, increasingly theological as it progresses. A bared soul poem, stark and arresting in its anguish.

Title:

I've done it myself, abandoning the notion of encapsulating a poem in a few words, retreating to a mere statement of the first line. Heck, if e.e. cummings can do it, we all can.

Content:

This is one of those that speaks urgently from apparent incomprehensibility, so powerful are the short, sharp, halting words. The reader may not understand fully but is carried along by the passion and directness of the words so that meaning comes, not from each individual phrase but more from an accumulated sense of the whole. It's a tour de force of a soul that needs to speak.

The poem also draws responses from the reader. At moments, I felt that I wanted to attempt an answer to some of the points raised but that's not really my job - I'm supposed to be a dispassionate reviewer. But that does, at least, show how effective the poem is.

Style:

I cheated and read the other poems in your portfolio. This one fits in neatly with the others; you have a certain syle that dispenses with decoration and displays with utter honesty. As such, you can be quite painful to read but you are always impossible to put down. You speak in short bursts of breath through the pain.

Flow/Pace:

Flow tends to be halting, thanks to the brevity of each line but I think this actually adds to the impact af the words. What you are saying is a matter of emotion, not the product of some logical dissertation.

Pace varies, as one would expect with such staccato delivery. Again, this is an asset.

Suggestions:

Your poems circle around a particular theme. I would like to see what you do with something rather different from your main preoccupation. But that's just me.

Favourite line or part:

"I catch myself
in the corner
bleeding myself" states your view of yourself perfectly.

Overall Impression:

A powerful work that succeeds in describing something almost incommunicable.



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Beholden


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4
4
Review of THE SQUIRREL HUNT  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 18+ | (4.5)


The Squirrel Hunt
by R. Alan Wilson


This review is given as part of the Super Power Reviewer March Mayhem Raid.

Initial Impression:

A fascinating account of coming of age for a young boy in rural America, this is an important contribution to the preservation of folk history and customs. As our society becomes more urbanised and regulated through modern media, age old traditions are in danger of being lost forever. Articles like this are a bulwark against such loss.

Title:

As a commercial in my native Britain has it, this title "does exactly what it says on the tin." It certainly is about a squirrel hunt!

Content:

A very full account of a boy's coming of age through his first squirrel hunt, including the reasons for its importance. The hunt itself is narrated in detail from the boy's point of view and the reader is drawn into the excitement and hope for success. The extent to which the family will go (cutting down the tree) to ensure that the boy has his trophy is evidence of the importance of the event to them.

Style:

The writing is an interesting mix of well-educated and high level language and local vernacular. This achieves two main objects, to establish some authority and to demonstrate how apt are the local expressions when speaking of such customs. There is no better source for an account of an event than one who has experienced it.

Flow/Pace:

The piece flows easily through the stages of the preparation and hunt itself. Pace is even throughout and this may be a mistake (although a minor one). The steady onward push of the explanatory paragraphs is appropriate but it may have been an idea to quicken the pace (perhaps even introducing some excited conversation between the members of the hunting party) when the hunt is in progress.

Suggestions:

There are a couple of mechanical errors I noticed on the read through:

"could siton the floor but NOT join the conversations" - should be "sit on"
In the same paragraph, a hard break has been omitted so that two paragraphs are not fully separated.

Favourite line or part:

I particularly liked the occasions when only use of the local expressions could give a feel for the proceedings.

Overall Impression:

I'm a sucker for blue grass music and the culture of the South, so I may be a slightly biased observer but I loved this piece. It's a clear and well-written account of an important moment in the life a boy growing up in that environment.



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5
5
Review of Hair  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Found in a run through Read & Review.

The very essence of brevity, this is a clever little poem. It contains one metaphor, the idea that the wind is like real life, and all else proceeds from that. The first product, that real life holds the writer back, is most effective as it creates the image of hair being tangled in the wind. This is the lifeblood of poetry, this bringing an abstract notion to life by the use of something solid and well known. In this we can touch and feel the experience, allowing us to join with the writer's experience.

Then comes the contrast, the unidentified "you" being untouched by such things as you ride on the wings of the drug. Life slides off you as you create your own haven from care. These lines also contain a delightful double take in the words "always has a buzz Cut..." The line break after "buzz" makes the reader see it as the high manufactured by the dope. But then a second take reveals the words "buzz cut," harking back to the hair so important to the first half of the poem. Clever, yes, but also tremendously satisfying and effective in preserving the initial image, thereby keeping the reader's attention.

We are left wondering which is better - to be aware of life and share in its difficulties, or to be involved with a fantasy world and so escape all care. The answer is left up to us, not even a hint of preference being evident in the poem. Applause for such self restraint.

In six lines you have written a powerful and effective poem. It deserves more than the 4.5 stars awarded so far. Perhaps the five I intend to give it will set that to rights.

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6
6
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
I read this story as part of my last-minute quest to find some things to put forward for Quill awards. If I may put it this way, it's a very sobering story.

We often do call the perpetrators of terrible deeds "monsters" but I wonder whether we consider the truth of this description. Too often, I think, we are merely following others in the use of the term and never do we consider how it may be applied to ourselves. This is the power of your story; it forces us to look in the mirror and know that we all have the capacity to become monsters.

Your use of yourself as the protagonist in the story drives home the point. It is in the nature of a confession of your own weakness and, as such, it gains more power to strike the reader and make them think about things. The same goes for the simplicity and straightforward style with which you tell the tale. It is clear that you are being honest and have no hidden agenda in appealing to the reader.

This is an uncomplicated but affecting tale that will stay with the reader for a long time. Well done.

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7
7
Review of Limbo.....six  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Interesting contrasts in this one. From the sympathetic feelings expressed in the beginning to the violence erupting at the end, we run the gamut of emotion and feel the warring forces within the protagonist. It's very well done and quite believable, as though there are two personalities trapped in one body.

You have labelled the story Dark and Supernatural and I think both are more accurate than a straight Horror classification. The struggle within Simon is quite unnerving for the reader but does not descend to the sometimes ludicrous depths of horror. I like the way you do not get bogged down in explanations of what is happening, but rather stand aside and give a commentary of what is happening. Always good to give the reader a little work to do, involving them and keeping them active.

Altogether, it's a well-crafted piece which achieves its aim accurately and effectively. Well done.

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8
8
Review of Mirror, Mirror  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Well, well, a clever poem in Read & Review. The old random picker must be getting some taste after all. It's not every day it gives me something I can get my teeth into but here it is!

And I love this poem. It needs a lot of refreshing of the mind as one reads (remember, this is the mirror speaking) but it pays back handsomely. I especially like the idea of lipstick kisses just kissing other lips that have done the same. Never thought of it that way. But that's what poetry is supposed to do, to give us new insight into things, fresh views, particularly of things we would otherwise dismiss as mundane.

Nice reference to things seen in a car's rear view mirror and love the classical references. Altogether it's a refreshing read.

But is it poetry? I hear the words issuing from the peanut gallery. Oh yes, it is, I respond, defender and champion of free verse that I am. To make this rhyme would turn it into a ditty. As long as it flows well enough (and it does), it's much more powerful than something constrained in a straitjacket.

So you can see that I really do appreciate this poem. Now your only problem is that you mustn't disappoint me with your next one!

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9
9
Review of Raindrops  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
A poem from a single, simple thought. Probably how the best poems come to light.

It's a pretty thought and a vivid picture of the raindrops coursing down the window pane, a metaphor of our own lives running together and growing as we go. You communicate the thought so well.

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10
10
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
A powerful piece. And educational - now I know that it was Tom Wolfe who wrote that you can't go home again. That is interesting to me since he was a writer whose style I enjoyed, although I can't say the same for all the subjects he tackled.

Your thoughts on memory and going home are mirrored in me, apart from being able to go home in the sense that I think Wolfe meant. Yes, it is always possible to go to the physical site of one's childhood. But the intervening years and places will have wrought changes in us that prevent us being the child who knew the meaning of "home." We might experience flashes of memory that bring the experience very close but our increased sophistication will bar us from much of the innocence of those days.

If I have a place I could call home, it would be Cape Town at the southern tip of Africa. Yet I know that my memory has retained only chosen moments from that time. For instance, I know now that the Cape experiences a season when a cold wind known as "The Cape Doctor" sweeps the streets clean and enforces the wearing of warm clothing. Yet my memory insists that the sun shone forever in a perfectly blue sky and that we could go swimming in the sea at any time of the year. Where, I wonder, did those southern African winters disappear to?

It's true that the memory chooses the moments it will record and then does that with amazing clarity and feeling. Without it I would be deprived of much of the fodder for my writing. But I think there is truth in Tom Wolfe's saying.

There is so much in this piece that it brilliantly written and produces a response in me, that I feel a little guilty in not agreeing entirely with your final conclusion. But maybe it is just a difference in perspective. I had so many homes in those days.

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11
11
Review of Mistaken Identity  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
A clever little story with a satifying twist in the tail. I must admit that I began to suspect that the woman's gushing over the "movie star" was a trick to get rid of the salesman, but I don't think everyone will.

It remains a believable piece with effective dialogue. Obviously, that's a plus when ehtering this particular contest!

I found no flaws in grammar or construction and must give it five stars therefore.

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12
12
Review of Icarus  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: ASR | (4.0)
Nice build up. The story becomes more intriguing as it progresses and, by the time we have enough information to make guesses at Icarus' profession, the end of the tale looms and, with it, complete reveal.

If there is a problem with the story, it is that we learn a lot more about Icarus than we do about the man who finds the letter, Milo. It is hard to feel sorry for the guy when caught in the act of reading the letter, therefore. This could be fixed by a fairly ruthless editing of the central part of the story when Milo's relationship to Icarus is being discussed. We need to know a little less of how wonderful Icarus is and study more of Milo's reactions to him, perhaps.

In spite of this, it remains an enjoyable story and needs editing only if you decide to do more with it. All in all, it's a good bit of writing.

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13
13
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (3.5)
This is a strange little tale, well told but rather hunting for a reason to be. The list of weird behaviour indulged in by the inhabitants of #19 gets longer and it's not until near the end that we find out the reason for this.

To be honest, I doubt that the reasons are sufficient to convince the reader, especially as the leader of the group loses interest and lets the activity return to normal. So I'm unsure that the story has enough to justify itself to the reader.

I do, however, like the style and idea behind the tale. Written in an eyewitness fashion, as though by a reporter, for instance, it has considerable power in catching the reader's interest and in being believable. It is a pity that the ending is not a bit stronger and more compelling.

With some thought, it should be possible to strengthen and re-write the ending with a more plausible explanation. As we say in WdC, keep writing!

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14
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Review of It's All I Wanted  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
I have a similar relationship to the ocean. My first ten years were spent in Cape Town, at the foot of the African continent and with access to both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Then my father was promoted to a job a thousand miles from the sea and I saw the ocean rarely in the next twenty years.

When I returned to the land of my birth, England, fate settled me in the very centre of the country where it was several hours drive to the coast in any direction. We went often, even so, sometimes even taking a day to just see the ocean and returning late at night.

And my first months in the States were spent in Oklahoma, still a long way from the nearest ocean. That was when my one venture to the shore took me to Galveston, the place you mention in your piece. But now I live in Massachusetts, only a few miles from the coast and so, once again, as when I set out on this journey, I am but an hour's drive at most from the sea.

So I know of the feelings of which you speak. We do not die if kept from the ocean but, nevetheless, it is like an old friend that is a joy to return to whenever we can. I understand completely your need to see it again, even if only for a few hours.

And I know, too, of the departed world of which you speak. Yes, times have changed and people have closed up and become isolated as a response to the pressures put on them by the modern world. And that we cannot help. As the saying goes, you can't go home again.

A lovely piece that brought back many memories to me. You should keep writing and put down your memories so that they might be preserved for others to see how life once was.

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15
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Review of Star of the Night  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
Interesting parallel between the moths attracted to and dying in the light of the street lamp and the family's worship of a god that seems to devour them. The story is a perfect vehicle for your thoughts on these things.

It's well written too, with vivid descriptions and moments of great emotion. I can find no fault in the grammar or technicalities. Everything flows smoothly to the quiet and peaceful ending. All things considered, the story is an effective way of thinking about one of the great mysteries of life. A sound addition to your portfolio!

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16
16
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Here now I am immediately called upon to respond to this. It speaks to me of the most amazing conversion I have ever witnessed (apart from my own - that was the most unlikely thing of all).

I knew the man quite well, he being the fiancé of my best friend's sister. He was an engineer, eminently practical, quiet and unassuming but with not a single thought on spiritual matters in his head. Of all people to experience a spectacular awakening and respond with such fervour and faith, he was surely the least likely.

The day after his conversion, I met him and he told me of his experience. Apparently, he had been driving along a well known road when he felt an urge to stop and enter a particular church that he was passing. He followed this urging and, before the altar in that little church, he was transformed and saved in a powerful moment.

It was the change in him that was so amazing to me. He had been good and well behaved before and he remained so. But in all the time I had known him, I had never been able to have a conversation about God and Jesus with him. He was just empty of thought on such matters.

But now it was as if he had read the bible overnight and attended a host of eloquent sermons in the hours left over. He knew what he believed and could speak up for it in confidence and faith, backing up what he said with references to the bible. I was astounded at the knowledge God had placed in his head so instantly. It was the man I had known for some time but inwardly transformed utterly by his conversion.

He married my friend's sister and they left for New Zealand a while later. I have lost contact with them as a result, but he remains in my memory as the most certain and convincing conversion I have ever witnessed. It is true, as your essay maintains, that every conversion to Christianity is a an unfathomable miracle. It has been pure pleasure to read your clear reflections on the matter and to be reminded of Barry (for that was his name) after all this time.

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17
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Review by Beholden
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
An interesting modern fable bearing some likeness to the Ancient Greek legends. It's well written and refuses to take the line of least resistance, the plot frequently departing from the expected line. The surprises engendered by this keep the reader interested right to the end, where the biggest surprise awaits!

Fantasy in short story form departs from the normal rules of the form and of its own genre. In so few words, it is impossible to build depth into a fantasy world and so the writer must rely on certain aspects that are known from traditional flights of fantasy, in this case, the minotaur. I think this is the first minotaur story in which the monster is given a voice but it makes sense to me that he should have one, considering his human origin.

The story is a succession of attempts to take the upper hand by clever twists and it really does appear that Oreh has succeeded with his final gambit, only to be defeated at the last. It's a very modern sting in the tail!

I can find no fault in the writing and technique, the story is most entertaining, so I must award five stars. Good stuff!

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18
18
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
This is an amusing tale of two dragons saving their marriage with the help of two captured humans. Or is it a vehicle to discuss marital problems and suggest answers? No matter - it succeeds on both levels.

The piece is well written without obvious flaws and diversions. The writing is, in fact, quite tight with very little description of the surroundings and most of the background left to the reader to discern from the conversation between the two dragons. This is an effective technique that avoids the dreaded info dump and gets straight down to business. It is the very essence of good short story writing.

Which leads me on to the other requirement of short stories - the snappy ending. This tale has that in abundance, the single word "dinner" making it quite clear that those who love happy endings (or are biased in favour of humans) are going to be disappointed in this case. I love it!

Altogether, this was a most enjoyable and I have no hesitation in awarding it five stars.

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19
19
Review of A Bright Idea  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
An amusing little tale in which all problems are solved and everyone gets their just deserts. The writing is suitably brief and accurately targeted - this is, after all, flash fiction. And the final punch line is delivered on time and with humour.

I found no errors in grammar or technique in what amounts to a tightly-written, effective tale that does exactly what it was designed to do. Well done, indeed.

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Review of Angelique  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
I came across this story in a trawl through Read & Review.

It's a gripping tale of dwindling hope and a sudden reversal to thwart the desires of the antagonist. Well written, it builds in tension as it progresses and becomes almost nail-biting as the end nears and the heroine walks towards the cliff, her intention unknown but feared. There is an impressive quantity of detail along the way, all of it adding colour and interest, particularly in the character of MacGwire.

I found no faults of language or grammar and the whole piece is a fine example of the story teller's art. Well done!

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Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
If I were fifty years younger, I'd probably be a storm chaser. There is so much drama and excitement in a storm that it's easy to forget how destructive they can be.

This is a well written consideration of your relationship to storms and the One who stands with us through the worst of them. Your calm and carefully measured assessment of your own response to adversity is most impressive. You communicate well your faith in the Lord and how He assists us in our daily lives.

This is no small achievement. It is very difficult to get across one's spirituality in writing and you have managed this with apparent ease in this piece. Well done!

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Review of The Hunt  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: 13+ | (5.0)
I usually shy away from stories about fairies. This little piece caught me, however. It was a good idea to use the word "fae" rather than fairy - gives it a rather more grown up feel. And it wasn't long before I was caught by the story itself with all prejudices against fairies dispersed.

Thinking of the content, I realise that this could be a clever description of paranoia, the point being that not all hunts concern ourselves. Be that as it may, this is a well written piece of flash fiction with an excellent twist in the ending and plenty to think about afterwards.

I can find nothing to fault in it and must congratulate you on such a gem of brevity and precision.

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Review of The Missing Arm  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
At which point, the mind boggles. There's a lot of uses an invisible arm can be put to.

This is wonderful work of the imagination and invention. So much so that I wish I'd thought of it first. And your chosen vehicle is delightfully straightforward and simple, getting the point across quickly and without fuss. Leaving it up to the reader to take the idea from there to a myriad of possibilities is true genius.

I can discern no weakness in the writing, just a sure and easy confidence in the handling of words and grammar. The piece is a gem.

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Review of Freeze Frame  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (4.5)
I've heard before that the warmer the liquid, the faster it freezes. Although I can imagine reasons for this, I still find it difficult to believe!

This story is, at least, another argument for the truth of the saying. And, if it isn't true, it ought to be! A pleasant, tight little story that keeps its twist for the last few lines, ably written and without fault, as far as I can see.

My one doubt is T's name. Does he not deserve a full name? I can't help but feel that you used the initial letter as a place holder until you could think of the perfect name and then forgot to fill it in when the story was complete. But, whatever the reason, I was distracted by the single letter. It may be an idea to give the poor feller a real name.

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Review of J. P. Lead Script  
Review by Beholden
In affiliation with WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group  
Rated: E | (5.0)
Interesting style. You feed us scraps, just enough to keep us going and gradually the picture is drawn. But you have us anyway with the feeling of your writing - the nostalgia and bright memory can't quite hide the regret peeking through at times.

I wasn't going to review this piece, it being an intro to your book, but it has given me a bit more to get my teeth into than the others I've read so far. Here we have the light-filled memory of a good time and the joy of family. Yet still that regret pokes its head up every now and then. "Everything that mattered to me would be lost. Including myself" and "...until I waved good-bye to Richie from the back of a U-Haul trailer – two years later and forever" are examples of how we are not allowed to get lost in the golden memories.

A minor quibble in the repetition of "the huge Tonka." Too close for comfort - perhaps change the second description slightly to avoid a point that's been made already.

Altogether it's a competent piece of writing and certainly makes me interested in the further writing in your book.

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