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 Thirty 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.
For toady’s post I read Moonfeather‘s serial, Nature’s Kingdom.
An unfocused photo of an urban landscape is the first thing that greets you upon visiting the site. Its soft tones and colors do well to contrast with the title of the serial and the image achieves what the other sites in my challenge have achieved when electing a header image this large: immersion. The image is fixed (it does not move with the page) and gives way to a white layout where the text resides.
The site does have an out-of-the-box feel (likely only if you are familiar with WordPress and its themes) but I commend the easy navigation and the slick layout.
“I laid down on the bed with a thud, my mind in a daze. My head hurt, my brain was fuzzy and I couldn’t really think. Did I throw up?” –Nature’s Kingdom, Awakening 1-01: ~Two Girls, An Angel, and The Fox~
If there was some profanity in there this hook would be very at home in a Bukowski Novel (or an article by Hunter S. Thompson). The inebriated state of the main character begs the reader to ask about what circumstances got them here, and the question at the end shows us just how far gone they are. This hook was a good one.
The overall tone of this chapter is a bit mercurial. The main character is nearly raped by an ex-boyfriend after a dream sequence with heavy fantasy elements. Immediately after the rape is thwarted the main characters meet a “Valterian” (a sort of nine tailed fox-man) who is being pursued by an angle. The heavy subject of rape does not seem to weigh heavy on the main character and the fantasy elements came off as being a little confusing given the serious nature of the crime.
This chapter is preceded by three prologues. I elected to skip them (the author gave me permission to do so), so it is possible that the previous entries do a nice job of introducing us to this world and setting the tone well. This first chapter, however, felt confusing and very anachronistic. The attempted rape seems to be shrugged off by the characters before they are ushered into what seems to be a whimsical adventure. I was very put-off by this.
Subject aside, Moonfeather is a competent, and entertaining writer. Their prose lends well to being told in first person without it seeming like a crutch, and there are some very well written gem sentences throughout. Though I came across some repeated words and a few spelling errors, the majority of the prose is solid.
I was too worried about the main character’s well-being after narrowly escaping a trauma that the other plot points in the chapter became muted. I would not continue reading as of this post.
Join me tomorrow for my last impression (!) on Train Wreck: The Wrath of Mom by jeanne, or check out my own serial: