Julie's Reviews > Storm Front

Storm Front by Lissa Bilyk
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Feb 11, 12

bookshelves: read-2012, urban-fantasy, young-adult, self-published
Read from February 10 to 11, 2012

This review is based on the five short stories that involve the character of Tina Storm, which are available for free on Smashwords. I did not read the additional short stories contained in the second part of the book, the "novella"--technically, an anthology, not a novella--called "An Archive of Lost Dreams" (nor would I have).

I thought that the plot of some of the stories had potential, as did the character of Tina Storm. However, the writing was pretty weak, and I thought it was marked by some amateur mistakes:

1. Lack of world-building: Some information is contained in an info-dump at the beginning of the second story, but it is a bit unbelievable. For example, everyone with the surname Storm is either a demon-hunter or serves to help the demon-hunters. And yet, we never get the bigger picture about what demons are, where they come from, do normal people know about them, etc. The Storms are just "demon-hunters", and they go after the demon of the week in each story. The conceptualization of this world feels incomplete.

2. Lack of setting description: There's very little description of the places--the city, Tina's school, Tina's house, a Chinese supermarket, etc. I didn't get any kind of picture of the world that Tina lived in. People are described briefly, but not much beyond that.

3. Finally--and this is one of my pet peeves, so I'm more likely that not to notice it--is that dialogue tags other than "said" are used quite a bit.

I was also confused about Tina's age/school. The second story supposedly takes place during her first year in college, yet there are references to a car "speeding in a school zone", the school auditorium, the school's yearly musical, "art class" (just that generic), etc. which all seem more like references to high school than college. Tina also notices when a new boy enrolls in school. Again, this sounds more like high school than a college of any size. Later, Tina's age is mentioned as 17. So is she in college or high school?

Again, I think that these stories have potential, but they need to be developed more into a complete depiction of the world and characters. Verdict: 1.5 stars.
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message 1: by Lissa (new) - added it

Lissa Hey Julie. In the Australian state where these stories are set, college is the final two years of mandatory education. Students go to high school for four years from grades 7-10, and are generally sixteen years of age when they enter college (grades 11 and 12). They are eighteen when they get their certificate of education that then allows them to enter university. I hope that clears up your confusion :)


Julie Hi, Lissa. Yes, thanks, that helps. Here in the U.S., high school encompasses what we call grades 9 through 12, with students being 13 to 17 (at the beginning of the school year). Colleges and universities are almost synonymous terms for higher education institutions--those that offer bachelor's degree, masters degree, etc.


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