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4.27  ·  Rating details ·  26 ratings  ·  8 reviews
The day every child on Earth disappeared, Aveline and her family were thrown into a hellish existence that the world should've seen coming. The adult population was never given a choice: most men were possessed by the demon spirits of Cruels with women becoming their prisoners. Now Aveline's mother is sick with fever, her older sister's gone missing, and she has to sneak i ...more
Published August 17th 2014 by Utopia Publishing (first published August 15th 2014)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  26 ratings  ·  8 reviews

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Liz Meldon
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
All I can say is: MORE, MORE, MORE! I read this book in just under an hour, and I want more of this rich, interesting world. I loved the characters, the background, and the villains. I loved everything about it. The pace moved right along steadily, with the writing not bogged by down unnecessarily long histories and description of this new world. It was so easy to suspend my disbelief and really immerse myself in the world Carlson created, so kudos to the author! The only reason it isn't a full ...more
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carlson knows how to build a gritty, dystopian world and isn't afraid to let bad things happen. CRUEL got right to the point and delivered what could be the climax of a full length movie or novel in the span it took to read this short story. The lore of the world is woven in all the way until the end and I was satisfyingly surprised by several plot points. Some diction felt slightly romanticized, but not enough to prevent a 5-star rating. You won't regret stepping into the CRUEL universe.
Lisa Arrington
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick entertaining read

Cruel drew me in from the start, making me very happy that it is a short story considering I started it after midnight and need to get up early. Although I wish there was more time with the characters, Ashley did a great job giving a full story. Can't wait for her book next month.
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a thrilling and engaging short story! Packed with action, Cruel explores imaginative elements of fantasy fiction that are refreshingly different from today's typical sci-fi stories. A fast-paced and exciting read, I would love to see the story extended into a novel or short series. I highly recommend this story to just about anyone who is looking for a brief escape from reality.

Wow, what a read! CRUEL is fast paced, full of tension and throws you into a world that’ll have you begging for more. Even though it’s only a short story, Carlson has packed it full of imagination, creating a world and characters that grab you from page one. If this is Carlson’s debut, I can’t wait to read more.
Lilly Raines
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This short story had me at hello. I absolutely love the dark and disturbing world Carlson has created. The antagonists are vile, twisted creatures whose bestial ways have you begging for their defeat. High tension propels the story forward and makes CRUEL unputdownable. I highly recommend this story and would love to read more stories set in this world!
Stuart Whitmore
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've been meaning to read the author's novel The Charismatics but my free time for reading is really limited these days, so I decided to give Cruel a try since it is shorter. I'm glad I did, and I look forward to reading The Charismatics! In this story, people are drawn in to follow someone who is not what he claims to be, with awful results. I liked how the characters in the story clearly had their own, unique motivations that didn't always coincide with those they were allied with. Overall an ...more
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be unlike anything I have ever read before. I enjoyed it thoroughly and did not stop reading until I had finished. I really like the mix of fantasy, supernatural and real world elements.
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Ashley Carlson
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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Ashley is an award-winning author, editor and ghostwriter living in Scottsdale, Arizona (or "the bowels of hell," as she affectionately refers to it during the summer months). She dreams of the greenery of the Pacific Northwest and plans to move there someday.
She provides editing, content creation, and ghostwriting through her company, Utopia Editing & Ghostwriting Services, LLC, and has worked wi

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