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 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 I read Time & Tied by Mathtans!
Author’s note: I may have a bias as I wrote for this author’s serial for an April Fool’s Day swap and wrote a post on his other serial, Taylor’s Polynomials. As such I was already familiar with the author’s style of writing.
Mathtans’ site this time around was very sleek and intuitive. I had no problems navigating to where I needed to be and had no issues with it that were not cosmetic. The site this time around is also responsive (its layout adapts to resolution change) and looked great on my phone. Actually, it looked better on my phone.
I am not a fan of Mathtans’ art. I do not think they go well with his prose, and they look a bit amateurish. Yes, in saying this I am aware that my own art is terrible and I have no ground to stand on. But I think the art is hurting more than helping here. I got a strong “Hardy Boys” vibe from his art. The mobile version does not have these issues, the art is done away with, and the simple white text on black header gave me a much more serious and professional tone.
“It was the night before Carrie Waterson’s first argument with a future incarnation of herself. Rather ironically, she was thinking that a time machine would solve all of her problems.” –Time & Tied, Chapter 1.01 Timely Discovery.
This hook is simple in writing but complex in concept. It is also short and does its job efficiently. I know I have been ranting on about how I like my hooks urgent in just about every post in this challenge, but I have no problem with this one here. It grabbed my attention.
Time & Tied’s chapter was a fun read. Mathtans’ prose is not flowery or especially poetic, but it is strong and well written. I only had a couple concerns with what I read: there is a butler named Jeeves and he was not presented as being tongue in check, so a little cliché. That aside, my only other concern is that there was a link that led to another chapter before its end, however it was related to the story and had a clear explanation to navigate back. It seems that because this story is about time travel it gives the reader the option to bounce around to get a full glance on the complex timeline. This is a very cool idea, and I am curious as to how well it works, but it might be distracting.
I love stories about time travel. As I write this I have a Lego Back to the Future DeLorean on my desk next to a TARDIS. I had fun reading this.
Despite the flaws and the concerns I had, I am willing to overlook them and read on. Mathtans is a competent writer, and the strongest aspect on his site is his writing. As it should be.
Join me tomorrow for my impressions on bluepencil’s serial Noli Mi, or check out my own serial: