Monday, July 25, 2011

Gods of Justice Review: The Daughter of Nyx

I won Gods of Justice from Lisa Gail Green. It's an anthology of superhero short stories. Lisa asked if I would write a review of the anthology, but since I like to give more than asked, I decided to do a review of each story, one at a time. In case you didn't know, I really like superheroes, so this was a great prize for me. I'll be reviewing them one story at a time in this "Gods of Justice Review series."

The next story in the anthology is The Daughter of Nyx by Kelly Wisdom. First, let me say what a wonderful world Kelly Wisdom has created here. Packed full of conflict and angst, with a 1984 dystopian feel to it. We follow the main character, "Vee" (short for Veronica which you don't find out until late in the story) as she deals with a combination of relationship issues and governmental oppression issues, which resonate closely with some self-worth questions. The story builds to a wonderful series of events of self-discovery, along with a not-so-gentle tug on your heart strings.

I have little to say about the plot this time, mostly because it is quite well done and I don't want to ruin it. Suffice to say that Vee is hiding a secret that the government would kill her over, and this keeps her from getting close to anyone. (Does it have your attention yet? I thought so.)

Let's look at this world, which Wisdom reveals slowly, mysteriously. We begin in what feels like a church, during a sermon, but something feels slightly wrong. Soon we realize that it is a church of the government, the Bureau, which advocates following the very strict laws of this society (curfews, missing the Bureau's services, sedition, etc) and pay the "atonement" of any minor infractions. The oppression and control do not stop at the walls of the chapel. THe lower class, which appears to be most of society, are kept poor, and under control, scrapping not only for food, but even for chunks of coal for heat. Much of this world and society is not blatantly painted, but hinted at, as shadows of a story seen through the eyes of our POV characters. This is how a master painter creates a landscape: one horizon at a time, and letting your mind fill in the brushstrokes that aren't really there.

Characterization is actually the one stumbling block that got me as I read this story. It wasn't until page 13 (out of 21) that I finally was certain of the gender of the protagonist. Identified as Vee until then, I had the suspicion of femininity, but not the confirmation. The first person narration, coupled With the roughness of the society, Vee's job as a 'lowly dishwasher,' and the romantic interest between her and Mia, kept me from being certain of her gender. Does it matter? Not too much, the characterization was strong regardless, and Vee's conflicts, both interior and exterior, were well established. However, that question nagged me for those first 13 pages, preventing me from being able to completely immerse myself in the story. It's tough to focus on what is happening when you don't know who you are.

All together, this was a wonderful story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I suspected the plot almost from the beginning, but certain twists caught me by complete surprise. Well done, Kelly Wisdom. Thank you for the pleasure of sharing your world. Read more about and from Kelly Wisdom at www.kelly-wisdom.com

The Rest of the Series:
The Mass Grave of John Johnsons by Micah Urban

8 comments:

  1. The gender question would nag me too, and keep me from immersing fully into the story.

    Sounds fantastic otherwise.

    Hey, how'd your contest turn out? Get very many entries?

    ......dhole

    ReplyDelete
  2. I certainly enjoyed it, other than the gender thing.

    Not as many as I'd have liked, but I'm trying to choose a winner and will post the results eminently.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It takes a while to build a following Jace. You just keep at it. Your stories are awesome.

    .......dhole

    ReplyDelete
  4. Don't blame the author, blame me. Somewhere during the editing process the main character's name was shortened from Veronica to Vee and it slipped past me. I apparently didn't notice because, in my mind, I knew she was female. I usually catch that sort of thing, but I must of had a brain burp.

    Thanks for the terrific review, David.

    Kevin Hosey
    Senior Project Editor
    Cliffhanger Books

    ReplyDelete
  5. As you wish. Kevin Hosey, consider yourself officially Blamed. The universe has been notified, and your Fate has been appropriately adjusted to reflect your guilt.

    (If you would like to make retributions to avoid the universe's punitive assessments, feel free to consider publishing a book by yours truly. ;) )

    ReplyDelete
  6. LOL. Luckily I have wide shoulders. We're only publishing anthologies at the moment, so we will be more than happy to consider your submission for any of our upcoming books. Our next one is the second volume of our "Paramourtal" series. Do you ever write paranormal romances?

    After that we are considering doing a collection of pulp fiction stories with original characters similar to Doc Savage and The Shadow.

    If you -- or anyone else -- is interested in submitting, keep checking our site (cliffhangerbooks.com) for details or put your name on our Potential Writer List by sending an email to cliffwriter@cliffhangerbooks.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well, I'll certainly be checking out cliffhanger books :)

    ......dhole

    ReplyDelete
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