The old adage goes that “you should not judge a book by its cover” and though it is a virtuous sentiment it is not one that is typically followed. Welcome to day one of my 31 Days of First Impressions Challenge! In this challenge I will be reading the first entry or chapter of a different serial (or web fiction) and then give my first impressions on them be they good or bad. In short: I will be judging a book by its cover.
Today’s serial is Blue Steel, which was written by TanaNari.
The first thing I noticed was the banner. The banner for the site is very colorful and well done! I found that it added a touch of wonder to what I was about to read, as well as brighten up the otherwise colorless layout of his site. TanaNari’s site is very clean and professional looking. It’s simplistic layout and white on grey theme contrast easily but they do not compete. I did not find my eyes wandering too much which I felt helped me get into his story faster. With nothing too distracting going on the site it was easy finding myself submerged in his writing. I am impressed with how well these elements work well together and how powerful they are on a fairly minimalist site. I also found that his site was easy and intuitive to navigate.
“I forced myself to take a deep breath. You have been shot before, Warren. This is nothing compared to that. Only your dream since you were eight years old, no big deal. Dammit.” –Blue Steel, Chapter One.
This is a good hook. This is a damn good hook. There is history in it, urgency, and the fact that this character has to be shot to accomplish his dream makes it very compelling. Honestly I immediately wanted to know its context and find out more about it. This hook worked, and it worked very well.
Most of what we learn about the main character is done through exposition. It is carried along by two military personnel going over the main character’s medical history. The exposition is done well here as it actually makes sense in context, we get to learn about the main character’s motivations, his history, and even a bit of what drives him without it feeling lengthy or forced. The first chapter overall was intriguing and entertaining and I did not find myself wanting to leave the site as it ended in a cliff hanger that left me wanting to pursue the story more.
Would I stay on the site and read more of the story? Absolutely. Blue Steel left a very good impression in my mind and I honestly have no notes on how it could be improved.
Join me tomorrow for my impressions on unice5656’s Fantasia, or check out my own serial: