Overall This short story is a charming look at Edith, a sexually repressed woman, and Clark, a transman, and Edith's eyes being opened not just to herOverall This short story is a charming look at Edith, a sexually repressed woman, and Clark, a transman, and Edith's eyes being opened not just to her own sexuality but to the world at large. Everything was tastefully handled and the language is reminiscent of a much older time period (as if it were written in that time, not just taking place then).
It is an almost simple story dealing with complex issues, and while some may challenge the somewhat insta-love qualities, I felt it was fitting for the characters. Considering Edith's limited emotional engagement and her sudden awakening, plus Clark's state, finding one another would lead them to do considerably rash things, and I felt it was appropriate for the characters.
The writing, the style, the feel of the story, and the characters all fell into place to form a superb short story. While there is a lot we are never told due to its length, we are not left wanting either.
A sweet, thoughtful story that lets the reader finish the story.
Received this book for review. Be sure to check out my other reviews on my blog....more
Overall A touching story of high school romance that involves character growth, thoughts on sexuality and gender, and bullying. Aside from an overall eOverall A touching story of high school romance that involves character growth, thoughts on sexuality and gender, and bullying. Aside from an overall enjoyment, the story had some gaping holes that left me blinking in surprise, wondering where the rest was.
Strengths The art style won't be to everyone's liking, but the rawness felt appropriate for the characters who are edgy and fringe. The construction of the pages was sometimes hard to follow, but never confusing enough to disrupt the story or confuse the reader about what was happening. The writing and dialogue both fit well with the artistic style, unifying the elements of the book.
Some thing about the stye reminded me of Jhonen Vasquez, despite the very different topic matter.
There are strengths and weaknesses of the content of this story. Looking at it from Eu's perspective, the story feels pretty self contained and satisfying and, although I didn't really want their relationship to happen, the story and its ending pleased me. Ash's growth from the boy who won't talk into Eu's equal is interesting and dynamic. The story as a whole touches upon issues of sexuality and gender without dragging it into the main focus.
Weaknesses Ash, who is my favorite character in the book, is too much of an enigma. The narration is mainly from Eu's perspective, but not solely, which created a sense that too much information about Ash was brought up and pushed aside. Very important information is mentioned (repeatedly) but never resolved, including potential incest, potential eating disorders, and the almost blasé way rape/pseudo-rape is handled. Ash has huge issues with being touched but after one encounter it seems to fade to the point where he can get a girlfriend.
I think my biggest issue with these gaping holes is that those elements are what made Ash so interesting and I wanted to know more about them, how they came about, and how they get resolved. Instead the story focuses more on Eu, who is okay, but not nearly as interesting. Some readers may not have a problem with the focus being on her, but most readers will probably be confused--and feel a bit cheated--by the shocking content that is brought up and never really dealt with.
Overall An incredible journey that takes the reader from the rough streets to shadowy, backstabbing high-class mansions. It's a winding talStars: 4.5/5
Overall An incredible journey that takes the reader from the rough streets to shadowy, backstabbing high-class mansions. It's a winding tale that plays at a murder mystery, delves into social issues, paints a glorious urban fantasy world, and rounds it out with a tense bit of romance. This is not a typical read, and it's hard to shove it under any one genre heading, but it's definitely something to pick up (especially if you want something new).
Strengths It's difficult for me to pinpoint all the strengths of this novel. The pieces weave together so tightly, it's hard to pick just one or two threads. However, that being said, I can mention the elements that caught my eye as important parts for the enjoyment of this novel.
One is the evolution of events, story, and romance. The story starts off almost exceptionally simple with a 'whore' picking up the wrong 'john.' But as the characters interact, the story unfolds, expands, and almost explodes off the page. While the events, story, and romance are fine, it is experiencing the development of everything that makes the novel impressive. It's a feat to keep the readers attention for so long in first person while developing multiple tendrils of story, but Blacker Than Black does it. As I muddle through trying to explain, all I can really say is it's something that is best experienced first hand.
Two, this book has a cast of colorful characters. They aren't all good, in fact, most have some sort of underhanded moment, even if it is against the "bad guy." Honesty would have gone a long way to avoiding many of the circumstances, but then we wouldn't have had much of a book! I loved Garthelle, the shady bastard, and Black, possibly the least trusting individual in the book (with good cause, sometimes). There were various side characters who added layers of entertainment, one of my favorite being the butler, who is a loyal, sometimes snarky, worker willing to think for himself. What I really enjoyed (even when it made me want to rip out my hair) is that while I thought I knew where things were going and who to trust, I never did. Much like the main characters, I was constantly on uneven footing.
While this world is similar to ours, the flourishes that Etzweiler added, from the social mores and the creation of chi prostitutes to the hierarchal social structure of the vampires--I mean lyche. Everything may take place in a future of our world, but in reality it takes place in the lyche society and follows a different set of rules. Everything was well handled--and if you're confused it's probably because you're meant to be.
Weaknesses Some readers may find some of the language choices to be distracting, but they were consistently used, so I chalked it up to narrator's voice, although it did chafe me a little. Though the fact that this is my biggest issue with the story, says something about it's quality.
The author raises some questions in the second half of the book that don't get answered, but honestly they didn't need to be answered for the conclusion, nor could an answer easily be achieved. Some may find the hanging questions to be frustrating, but I found them interesting, as the reader and the narrator must look at "Why does it matter?"--a question that can be applied to several elements of the story.
While this is a longer story, it has a good pace and brings information in from all angles, so it never came across as boring, although some parts are slower.
I am affiliated with Riptide Publishing. Read as a proof. Be sure to check out my other reviews on my blog....more
While I did enjoy this novel, I think I either had my expectations set too high or something, because it kind of let me down. The main character didn'While I did enjoy this novel, I think I either had my expectations set too high or something, because it kind of let me down. The main character didn't particularly pull me or make me feel incredibly involved in the story--but the side characters did. It's interesting that the main character chooses the name Grady ("Because it has 'gray' in it") because he is just that, gray, especially when compared to colorful characters like Sebastian.
I suppose the dullness of the character works to make him realistic and "nothing special" so that a transgendered person reading it may feel "Hey, if he can do it, so can I!" I suppose in that way it has its merits.
The plot worked for me, it felt realistic (he comes out, everyone flips, time passes and things settle down) except for the last two chapters, which felt a bit forced and theatrical. It also didn't feel like something Grady would do. But the end wasn't enough to turn me off of the book, I'd still recommend it because it was overall strong in plot and characters. ...more