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 Six 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 today’s serial in my challenge I read Chosen Shackles by Shaeor!
Author’s note: I have already done a post on this author’s other serial, Dirge, as such I was already familiar with the author’s writing had a specific expectation going into this.
The aesthetics of Chosen Shackles are incredibly appealing to me. I have no doubt in my mind that I am about to read a Cyber Punk story when I land on the page. The site is graphically heavy, yet simple, and has a lot in common with Shaeor’s other site, Dirge. Once again I am amazed that Shaeor has been able to transpose his writing over a background image (a GIANT faux pas for webdesign) and make it work incredibly well.
Shaeor’s site had the effect of instantly submersing me into the story. Its dark, and technologically unfeeling tone (with a dash of retro-future nostalgia) immediately informed me on what I was about to read and then dissolved into black to allow no distractions to the writing. If I am to be honest, this site is a strong runner for best impression.
“You know what every person needs when they may be dying at four in the am? Spicy noodles.” –Chosen Shackles, >001[spicy_noodles]
This is possibly the most Cyber Punk hook I have read in a long time. This hook is only two sentences and contains eighteen words, and it is one of the most effective yet. There is urgency and character and it wastes no time to move the story forward. I appreciate the immediate momentum that these two sentences carry.
The prose this time around in Shaeor’s writing is curt, to the point, and grim. Shaeor successively picks up the cyber punk trend of using artificial descriptors to paint the terrain and emotions of his scene and makes it his own. The beat in the story is a quick one as the character is never in a single place for more than a couple of paragraphs. I was impressed that the author was able to keep the momentum first established in the hook, even when the main character loiters around a vending machine.
The prose can be disorienting at times, and someone who is not knee-deep in this genre may find it hard to get into. I personally did not have a problem with this, but as I have stated in other posts, science fiction is near and dear to me.
I have said this in a couple of posts, but I was genuinely disappointed to find the chapter’s end (I am going to have a pretty rough time deciding which serial I want to read at the end of this challenge).
I had a blast while reading this serial’s first chapter. I have every intention of reading further. The problem? This serial is in its very early stages, and there is only one chapter as of this writing.
This is where my bias comes into full view: there are other serials that I have read that I do not plan on reading further BECAUSE they were soaked in their genres. As such, I have to mention that Chosen Shackles is super soaked in the tropes of its genre, if Cyber Punk is not your thing, I do not see you enjoying this.
Chosen Shackles can be found at http://chosenshackles.com/
Join me tomorrow for my impressions on rubycona’s serial Sorcery in Boston, or check out my own serial: