Review:Of Death and Desire by Jude Mason

October 15, 1898

Dear diary, that’s how you’re supposed to begin these things, or so I assume. I never in a million years thought I’d write in one, let alone under these circumstances. This was Jonathan’s doing. When he asked me to make this entry, it was something I had to do, for him. He’s given up so much.

The beginning. Yes, that’s where I should begin and then let his accounting tell the tale.

Review by Erastes

This is a short story, about 10,000 words, and is probably worth getting to fill twenty minutes or so. It’s a ghost story, which allows it to slide in here—paranormals not being the norm—and for most of the story, the ghost element works well, but I have to say I rather lost the plot towards the end.

The beginning is rather baffling. There’s a prologue, which is written in Jonathan’s first person POV (from his diary, which plays a part later on) but at the end of the prologue, it says END EXCERPT so I assumed that this was indeed, not a prologue at all, but an excerpt of the prologue.  But then we go into Chapter One straight away, so I assume that’s a typographical error and a most off-putting one.

The period placing is done quite well, the entire book takes place in one house, so it was easy to stay placed in the time and location. Having a claustrophobic feel to it added a touch of the gothic too which works well, as it is really a gothic short story. Note the title, please and be prepared for both aspects of it.

Some words jarred here and there, and there were a couple of typos but not too many—and I felt the BDSM element was somewhat pasted on, because when Jonathan started talking about his master, I was rather surprised as there’d been no mention of that for the first section.

It wasn’t clear what Jonathan’s sacrifice was—and I didn’t think it was much of a one—and it was never explained how anyone dealt with what happened to Philip at the end, how it was explained to the public at large.

It was a good concept, but perhaps the length of the piece prevented it from being all it could be. As I said at the top, fine to fill in a lunchbreak, but probably not a keeper.

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