The Alpha Reads: A Short Story by Eva Fairwald

Please keep in mind, that all of the comments made in this review are directed at the story, and should not be taken as a direct insult to the author. My intent is to fairly review the story I have read, but unfortunately, to review a story fairly is not synonymous with flattery. If Eva Fairwald – the author of Immortals: A Trusting Darkness Story sees this review, I hope she will take the comments on board in the spirit that they are intended: As a constructive critique to improve the quality of her work in the future.

The offered short piece begins with a brief summary. Immortality can be granted with the consumption of apples, raised by an Elvish caretaker named Iðunn in a place called the Sacred Garden. The story takes place in a time when the sanctity of this apple orchard is threatened by an army of brutal human soldiers, intent on waging an eternal campaign of conquest.

The story begins with beautiful descriptions that really draw me into the world, so that I feel like I am standing in the center of this garden with Iðunn. Unfortunately, that’s where the description ends, because what follows is the introduction of characters that have not been given much development.

For example, there’s Harold, who is a prince, and is apparently a bit of a downer. I find myself strangely identifying with this character, as he appears to be a half-empty kind of guy, whose portents turn out to be not so far off the mark. But just as quickly as he is introduced, the wife that he appears to be pining for appears seemingly out of nowhere to rescue her prince in the nick of time.

A lot of this information is conveyed in the form of blocks of dialogue, where it is easy to forget who is speaking. I know that in the beginning of a conversation between two people, you don’t have to remind us specifically who is speaking at each turn, but it helps to use action and descriptive text to remind the reader that these aren’t just talking heads.

The writing also suffers from a number of run-on sentences. My overall impression is that the author is either not that experienced with writing short stories, or that stories with multiple characters are her weakness. Either of these things can be improved upon, of course.

Whenever any artist offers free work – be it writing, music, or painting – you should definitely be grateful for the gesture. Unfortunately, this short story is intended as a sampler for the author’s full novels and the quality of the piece does not make me eager to open my wallet.

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