By Larry Kindred
This was a really interesting read, especially for how short it was. I’m not one to read fantasy very often and typically stick to general fiction and literary fiction. But there was definitely something about this one that left me wanting to know more about the world.
The first thing I’ll say about this story is it kind of feels like you’re dropped in the middle of a book and you don’t know which way to turn. There’s a lot presented to us, but no backstory. We’re basically dropped right in the middle of the aftermath of a massive battle with an evil entity known as All-Knoweth. We’re also introduced to a glimpse of a magic system, The Union, numerous characters, and not to mention the war that just occurred. This story has a lot of room for growth to expand on the world building, coming in at less than 1,100 words. In my experience with fantasy novels and world building (which, granted, isn’t much) there is a fine line between oversharing and under sharing. I think this story cut itself short by dropping us in the middle of a world with nothing to go off of. Taking that extra 2,000 words could have really expanded the story and given us a better connection to the character.
But that’s not the end of this review! There are some really good aspects to this story. For instance, the line about leaves falling like drops of blood is phenomenal. It really captures the essence of the war that just ensued and left so many dead. The way Kindred captures the emotion of the protagonist, Finn, is also very special. I feel like we can really feel the way blood (literally) boils within him and he starts off on a new journey for himself. While I feel like we don’t connect with Finn very well, we definitely get a feel for his emotions. Which, could potentially be a big weak point for him in future stories. I will say, though, we get a good feeling for Finn’s will to find personal growth, which is a really good theme that I would definitely be interested in seeing.
Which is a perfect intro onto the next part of this review! It opens with “Chapter 1.” Which leads me to believe that Kindred is at least prepping the story around the fact that there is more to come. Which, honestly, I could get into. While we are presented with a LOT of information up front that we know nothing about, that leaves room for a lot of story to be built from. I want to feel bad for Finn for losing his friend Rick, and the scene where he’s recalling his last seconds with him before he’s interrupted is GREAT. The way it ends so suddenly really snaps you from past to present. I want to feel bad for him. But, I just don’t know enough about Finn, or Rick, or their friendship to build that connection, even in the first chapter.
I definitely get how Kindred is trying to build this story. By dropping us in the middle of the action and emotions. Which is a really good way to approach a short story since there isn’t a lot of space to build the world. But I think it could have definitely been done a little better. Overall though, this story really did have some charm. When Kindred asked me to do this review, he mentioned that it was vulgar, which I don’t really see. It has some gore in it, but when you’re describing a war you have to be graphic. It has some good literary moments and I get a sense of poetry in a few parts.
I would give New Beginnings a 2.5/5 stars. That sounds a little low, but let me explain. I feel like I only got PART of the first chapter, not the whole thing. I think the story and plot itself definitely has room to be really good. There’s a lot going on in just this short story alone that sets it up to be something HUGE! I would definitely be interested to read more into this world and the characters.
Thank you for reading! Have you read this story yet? What did you think of it? Join in on this discussion in the comments below!
Interested in reading this story? Or more of Larry Kindred’s work? Read it here.