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 Twenty Eight 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 I read Mystic Nan, by Maromar.
A purple background with nice and whimsical letters are the very first thing that greets you upon visiting the site. I really liked the simplicity of the header image, but it appears that my high-resolution had the effect of stretching the image and making it look a little blurry. After checking how responsive the site is (how well it adapts to lower resolutions) I found that it did look better on smaller monitors and looks great on a mobile device. The title in the header image was perfectly legible at my resolution, but it doesn’t look great.
I found that the rest of the site was easy to navigate, and I had no problem finding where I needed to be.
“’I know you’re awake, you stopped snoring a few minutes ago.’ The gig was up. Nan was on her way to see the Grim Reaper. Or Saint Luke. Saint Luke was the one that acted as border security for Pearly Gates, right?” –Mystic Nan, Spark I.
Nothing carries weight and urgency quite like death, so we are off to a good start! I love the casual tone here, it adds a lot of character to a very grim situation. I really like this hook.
Maromar’s writing style is a very charming one. There is some clever use of descriptors, as well as some great metaphors sprinkled throughout.
What impressed me the most about what I read was the author’s ability to leave the reader just enough in the dark about the main character’s situation that it forces one to read onward. This had the effect of keeping a nice momentum and I never found myself wandering or disinterested. This bit of teasing and carrot-and-stick work borderlines on being too much in a couple of spots, but as the chapter is short it does not become annoying. The author is crafty in giving the reader information, and drops the biggest revelation at the very end, which I feel does a very good job of pushing the reader to the next chapter.
I would have no trouble reading on to the next chapter. If you are looking for a serial with fantasy elements that is a little more on the lighthearted side, definitely give this one a read. the only constructive criticism I could give is asking for a header image with a higher resolution. The one up now does have an amateurish feel, but this did not affect my positive experience.
Join me tomorrow for my impressions on Billy Higgins Peery’s serial Godpunk, or check out my own serial: