Allison Tebo is a Christian writer committed to creating magical stories full of larger-than-life characters, a dash of grit, and plenty of laughs. She is the author of the Tales of Ambia, a series of romantic comedy retellings of popular fairy tales and her flash fiction and short stories have been published in Splickety, Spark, Inklings Press, Rogue Blades Entertainment, and Pole to Pole Publishing.
Allison graduated with merit from London Art College after studying cartooning and children’s illustration and, when not creating new worlds with words or paint, she enjoys reading, baking, and defending her championship title of Gif Master.
This was amazing! I am not a huge sci-fi person, but when my dear friend asked me to beta read for her, I jumped at the chance!
The characters are amazing; Slade, the rough and tumble criminal, who thinks God doesn't care. And West, a passionate follower of Jesus, with a deep compassion for others. I loved both of the characters' story arcs, especially Slade's. The gospel message was woven effortlessly throughout the story, and was actually a main part, which I liked, as opposed to just being a background, afterthought. The ending was both surprising and heartwarming, and I had tears trickling down my face as I read it!
This is a must read! It is not only a great read, but is very inspiring as well! Definitely check it out!
This was a really heart-wrenching little short story. Very different from this author's other works, and I very much enjoyed it. Because sci-fi and Christian messages. Definitely recommend this powerful little book. :)
This story was so good! The writing was fantastic and the moral so artfully woven throughout! It had me laughing and crying and I loved that the author was able to achieve that in only nine pages! AMAZING! Even if you aren't a fan of Sci-fi, you will probably enjoy this book!
One of the best short stories I've ever read. Fast paced, immediately intriguing, and the Biblical message... was so cool. And it dealt with a subject some Christians may cower and run from- but we forget God knows what He's doing. No sin, no darkness, nothing- can take Him off guard. So why should we let ourselves make the darkness impregnable- when GOD has already saved us.... all we must do is ask Him... An amazing short story by Ms. Tebo, gave me something to think about.
A very powerful read! The message was great, and although it isn't my favorie type of genre, I found it intriguing and full of hope to the unbeliever. Sci-fi is totally not my thing, and I'm still not won over to it :P But I was still surprised that this was a little more realistic than others I've heard of.
Just a note: there is some violence and detail of blood.
Thanks for giving me a chance to read this, Allison!! :D
"The Key to the Chains" is a phenomenal story that blew me away completely and most definitely remains quality upon re-reading. It's a brilliant showcase of the author's masterful skill in plot, theme, character, and so much more.
There are so many wonderful things packed into this story despite its relatively short length.
-The characterization is extraordinary, riveting, and intriguing. Slade and West are both incredibly vivid, complex, and real. They feel and seem like actual living people, and I can see them clearly and expect them to walk off the page at any moment - and they did walk off the page straight into my mind and heart. Both characters are driven by realistic motivation, and their mannerisms, emotions, and actions are vivid and believable. Also, Slade's character arc and development were sensational. -Despite the short length, there's plenty of explosive action and riveting excitement, complete with laser guns. My teenaged younger brother was engaged the whole time and said he loved the fight scenes, and the same was true for me. The plot and pacing are both fabulous, and there's suspense from the first page as the reader is drawn in by the intriguing characters, backstory, and setting. -The story has such depth and power of theme and emotion in addition to its deep characters. It made me think and feel deeply, to the point of sobbing and tears. The themes of grace and redemption are incredibly vivid, poignant, beautiful, and profound, and they subtle recur and are interwoven throughout the story. There is such deep and essential truth subtly, clearly, and accessibly portrayed within this story - the truth of all truths, the gospel. Yet it's never blatant, invasive, or preachy and always feels natural and gentle. The gorgeous and understated symbolism and imagery representing this truth absolutely blew my mind. And I was amazed the way a certain meaningful verse was woven into the story - it brought me to tears. -There's humor included as well, and I laughed often in addition to my tears - even both at once at one point. Slade's bitterly biting, witty, and often sarcastic dialogue and narration is entertaining to read. -I love the subtle worldbuilding and interesting setting of the story. The reader is given the opportunity to figure out the details of the world as they're described while always feeling grounded in and sure of the realistic setting. Mildly futuristic details are worked in naturally, and the author's vivid imagination shines - and invites the reader along on a journey through outer space. It made me feel as if I was present with the characters and amid the action. -The author has such a powerful and lovely writing style. Her descriptions, metaphors, and general wordcraft and skill are wonderful.
"The Key to the Chains" is a fantastic story for all teens and adults, whether or not they love science fiction or futuristic tales. I hardly ever read or enjoy sci-fi, but I adore this story, and it's exactly the sort of futuristic story I do love. There's some non-gratuitous violence, so young teens who are more sensitive should wait till they're slightly older. However, it didn't bother me in the least, and I recommend it highly to teens and up. I've enjoyed sharing this book with my siblings, and I enjoy recommending it to many others.
I look forward to reading more from this author as she writes other amazing stories such as this one in the wide range of genres she's skilled in.
(I was privileged to beta-read this story, but it did not affect my honest review.)
This short packs a lot in. Only at the beginning did the spiritual conversation feel a little on the nose. BUT I totally get that it had to be pretty to-the-point because the overall length of the story doesn’t leave a lot of time for a slow build up. The best part is when the officer gets to exemplify what she’s been telling Jenna about. Very poignant, and it realistically gets Jenna’s attention.
Between this and the Reluctant Godfather, I think I rather like this author. :) This was action-packed and fun... I liked the two characters a lot and the world building is impressive for a short story. The only thing I'd be wary of is the gore and blood... it was a bit much even for me, and that's saying something. Well, I'm off to read The Royal Masquerade!
I really enjoyed this story! The characters were believable, the message was great, and the sci-fi setting added another whole layer of interest!
The almost exclusive use of last names through most of the story gave it an almost detatched, clinical feel--sort of like a police drama (at least in my mind). I feel like a lot of stories wouldn't work with this style, but this one really did. Once the action started, I was definitely hooked and very curious how everything was going to turn out. And I was not disappointed in the ending!
Content--mentions of cursing (no words); fights with various weapons, including deaths; some descriptions of injuries and blood
Well coming into this, I really had no idea what to expect, and I ended up loving what I found. It’s a short, powerful story about God’s amazing grace in any situation, under any circumstances, and though I thought it might come across a little heavy-handed for a non-believer, it was truly inspired and I enjoyed it. There was quite a bit of blood mentioned, but I thought it added to the overall gravity and power of this story. Thank you, Tebo, for writing this little gem!
4.5 Stars! If only it was longer, because I loved it! =D
First of all, can I just say how beautiful the cover is? IT IS SO PRETTY!!!
This is a very precious sci-fi story. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. In a short amount of time we are given very in-depth characters. Jenna is incriminated for manslaughter, and West, an officer, is bringing Jenna to prison.
West is so caring (but not in the way you might think) and wonderful and I love how Jenna mistakes her to be reading love letters (because in a sense that is what the Bible is =). West is so precious with her faith.
Jenna. Jenna. You suffered so. I'm so glad you had West in your life. I love how Jenna's arc came out in the end.
The message is great, the story is great, and I mean, sci-fi! You can't go wrong with that. =D
The main thing that I didn't like with this book is how short it is. I really think this would have made a great start for a whole novel or even a series. I really enjoyed it! =D
Content in Book:
1. A mention of manslaughter (the person was going to prison because of it).
2. Jenna making comments of wanting to kill West.
3. Violence. ()
Who I Would Recommend This Book Too:
Those who want a short sci-fi story with a great Christian message in it.
This was really good! I would have connected more emotionally if I hadn't been in the car with peppy Christmas music playing (ahem), but I still enjoyed it. The characters were nicely developed for such a short story, the message was VERY WELL-DONE, and the setting was interesting enough to make me want to know more.
A hard-hitting short story, this has an entirely different flavor than Allison Tebo's other books. Apparently she is not bound to one genre or writing style. I read this six days before Christmas, and while this isn't a Christmas tale, it captures the essence of Christ's sacrificial love. It did more to put me in the "Christmas spirit" than listening to countless carols (maybe because I was doing algebra while listening to said carols?)
I’m atheist. I don’t believe in a god. And nothing can change that, not even good books.
Nonetheless, this was a beautifully crafted story with excellent writing and great characters. Slade reminded me of myself in ways, and the sci-fi setting was a nice touch I personally found appealing. My only complaint is that I wish the world had been explored more in depth, since it seemed to have a lot of potential when combined with religious subject matter.
The story was well-written and had a good message. One thing readers should know is that the entire story is a message. There's not much outside the message to enjoy. As a message story, it works really well, but I would have preferred it to have a bit more story that wasn't just a message.
Everything about this short book is vivid: the settings, the intense stakes, even the sound effects of sci-fi blasters and explosions. I’ve never read something that’s been able to convey such complete scenes in so few words. The writing is truly masterful (though I can’t say I’m surprised; I’ve come to expect as much from this author.)
Beyond that, the Biblical message is clear and powerful, heart-wrenching and sharp. I kept thinking of Romans 5:8 - “But God demonstrates his own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
I loved this short story. The pages are few, but the impact is massive.
To only be 28 pages, this book is impactful and sticks with the reader long after the story is done.
I liked how clear and precise the Biblical Message it contained was presented.
The storyline, mental imagery, and world-building is excellent: the fact that you can be fully immersed in such a short story really speaks to the wonderful writing of Author Allison Tebo. As a bonus, the Sci-Fi elements were believable.
I appreciated the author's presentation of the Gospel message in this. That being said, some of the techincal execution was lacking. For a good portion of the middle of the story, it was difficult to tell what was going on, and the characters came across as flat (at least, they did for me). With this being an earlier work from this author, I don't believe it should be used as a litmus test to evaluate their writing, and I'm interested to see other stories from them.