The first book I wrote cover to cover, which is sadly still awaiting my return for editing, was a novella. Since writing it I’ve been to site after site, board after board reading the debate whether or not novellas were a good avenue to pursue for a writer. There seem to be as many arguments for them as against them, some being the per page cost wasn’t comparable to a novel, others stating that we pay multiple times that for movies that give us even less hours of entertainment. I have been on the fence on this issue and it is regrettably one of the reasons I am yet to return to that manuscript I mentioned.
I received a proverbial push recently after reading Shadowcursed by Gelo R Fleisher. Shadowcursed is a story that follows and aging thief and his last mission in a fantastic medieval setting. The thief, Bolen, is ready to hang up his cloak and lock picks, at least after he completes his final job. Upon successfully undertaking the mission Bolen soon finds the item he procured means more to its true owner than Bolen’s life.
Thrown in between an immortal monster and a city official with a history of executing people for lesser offenses than stealing from him, it begins to seem as though Bolen has run out of options. Bolen is backed into a corner with only an enlightened monk, and an enemy turned ally to aid him as he fights for his life.
I mentioned above about the debate and inner turmoil related to publishing novellas. Fleisher's novella really pushed me in favor of them for a few reasons. Obviously with a shorter story you have to find new, and unique, ways to couple details and back story with a strong ending and not just a blanket statement of closure. Fleisher accomplishes this and more with his master story telling, and ability to make you feel as though you've been on countless missions with Bolen while only every speaking of this one mission.
What I liked
- Shadowcursed is what many short story and novella authors fail, a full story. Fleisher fills the shorter manuscript with a full-length novel's worth of characters and actions, all while keeping it from feeling rushed or cramped.
- The characters have a stark contrast that make them work together. You get an evil, devilish feel from the antagonists, a sense of peace from the good character, and in the middle is Bolen whom transitions on more than one occasion.
- There is a near poetic way that Fleisher describes his world. It wasn't hard to picture the dirty slums of this decrepit, poverty stricken town.
What could have been improved
- This is going to come across counter-intuitive to my overall point above, but the one thing that I wish I could have had more of was the story. This is not to say the novella is not worth its price tag at all, I just found my self so enthralled by Fleisher's characters and story that I wanted more.
In the end what you get with Shadowcursed is a whole lot of story is a slightly smaller wrapper. It may not be a 400-word epic novel that spans centuries, but with a 2.99 amazon price tag you cannot ask for anymore than the wonderful story Fleisher has written. I highly recommend this to anyone, particularly to any of you that worry about the cost per word in an indie author, I think this is definitely a story that will help open your eyes.
Overall I'm going to give Shadowcursed by Gelo R. Fleisher a 8/10 based on:
8/10 for readability - Shadowcursed is one of those few stories you get that continuously move forward. When you write a novel you can get away with parts that lag a bit, but in a novella you must keep it moving at all times and this story has a wonderful flow to it.
8/10 for story - The stories inspiration is apparent early on, for any fan of the video game series Thief. I say inspiration and not based on because while the title characters have similar professions, that is where the similarities end. While the video game does a good job making the run down city a character in itself, Shadowcursed makes the city a very vivid background to a very creative story.
7/10 for characters - Each character in Fleisher's story has his or her own unique voice. There is almost a perfect contrast in each character that covers the entire gambit of basic human emotions. There is one character I would like to have seen more of, though she was as sinister as she could be, and that is the main antagonist's "minion".
X-Factor - What I think sets this story apart from others is something I've already mentioned. Its the flow of this story that makes it worth its weight. There is never a moment in which you're confused or bored because story is constantly being thrown at you. That's not to say that Fleisher doesn't slow it down at times, its just the times the story slows fits perfect with the times when you can't imagine the roller coaster possibly moving any faster.
Thank you to Gelo Fleisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful manuscript. It really set me back on my original path of publishing, and I look forward to reading more from Fleisher in the future.
If you would like to pick up a copy of Shadowcursed click on this link to go to the Amazon Store.
Or you can click on this link to be taken to Barnes and Nobel.