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Australian fantasy writer who draws inspiration from Japanese culture, music immersion, and warped dreams.
on Nov. 06, 2014 :
Who is Darren, what is his secret, and... can we find God in a karaoke bar? These are some of the mysteries The Chosen Voice (via Christine) attempts to unravel. The description is rich, presenting us with a vividly colourful world with offbeat characters and a helping of gentle humour, which offsets the sharpness of the interviewer getting to the bottom of things on our behalf. There is a marked Japanese flavour evident in the story and characters, and reading this story really did transport me to a trip many years ago to a karaoke bar one night in Kyoto! But the foreignness felt by a Westerner in the East is amplified in a tale set in a world that is clearly more foreign still, with its alien magic and technology - and yet, even this does not explain Darren's unusual talent... which I will let readers discover for themselves. Yet, by the end of the story, we feel not all truths are revealed, and The Chosen Voice manages to ask just a few more questions than it answers. I hope we hear more about Darren and the secrets behind Oshi Daini in future installments in this series!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Jan. 20, 2013 :
“The Chosen Voice” describes sharp and driven student journalist Christine’s attempt to launch her career by interviewing Darren Brown, a young man with a remarkable talent and a mysterious past. It is set against the backdrop of an intricate and well-thought out world that combines a smattering of Western fantasy tropes with distinct Japanese cultural influences, all within a setting that is modern in a way that makes it easily relatable.
The story proves to be highly enjoyable. At the end I was left eager to find out more about the details of the fictional setting and its history. The narration is concise but richly descriptive, and it boasts a good sense of humor. The passage of time felt a little disjointed at certain points in the story, but it flowed smoothly overall. As for the major characters, I did not find Christine particularly likeable, though I felt that this was the author’s intent. It did leave me feeling less than convinced about her journalist skills, as her antagonistic approach to other characters seems like it would be counterproductive in getting people to be open with her. She is well-written, however, and her characterization is consistent over the course of the story. I was also very curious to find out more about her past and about what might have led her to become the type of person that she is. I hope to learn more about her in subsequent appearances. In contrast to Christine, Darren came across as much more likeable and even charming, even as he admits to being a habitual liar, who has chosen to run away from his responsibilities. Though much of the mystery surrounding him is elucidated within the pages of the story, we are left with the tantalizing knowledge that some of his secrets have yet to be revealed. Both characters are depicted as believable and three-dimensional, even though we have the limited space of a short story in which to get to know them.
On the whole, I was impressed with “The Chosen Voice” and I look forward to reading the other stories in the “Treading Twisted Lines” series.
(reviewed long after purchase)