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Burn

Last Free Dates: 27th Aug 21 to 31st Aug 21
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...An enjoyable read, especially for fans of the genre...

Unrequited love is a strange thing. Penny first saw Matthew across a football field before tripping over a bench because she was looking at him. Over the next few years, she spends her time dreaming after him, never being able to say anything to the point of stalking him. To her, he is the only one who matters, but Matthew only has eyes for Hannah. But after a while she grows up and moves on with her life. She next sees him at her graduation and by this point he doesn’t mean anything to her. But she now means something to him, more than something. It seems that the feelings have been reversed, as Matthew starts to stalk her, call her, get a job in the same office as her. As she despairs of what to do, she meets with her best friend Karen, who has a secret to tell about what has happened to Matthew. Karen is a witch and she cast a spell on him to make Matthew love Penny in the same way she used to love him. She knows she has done the wrong thing, but assures Penny that in time the spell will wear away. Struggling to make sense of all of it, Penny tries to escape for a night, but encounters someone familiar from days past. It seems Hannah is also a witch and that she desires Matthew and will not let anyway, least of all Penny, stand in her way.

This is an interesting short story mixing romance and horror in ways I wasn’t expecting, but taking through the repercussions of what happens to their logical, and quite nasty, conclusions. What struck me at first was the layout of the story, written in short, sharp sentences from Penny’s point of view. It’s jarring to begin with, no great details or prose to set the scene, but it fits Penny’s narrative and the story as a whole. It also gives an interesting perspective to the characters seen wholly through Penny’s eyes through the story. As for Penny herself, she is a good, relatable, protagonist as you see her grow up and then have to deal with the actions of others which are trying to ruin her life. I do like the way that the story is very much about what she sees and hears herself doing, and how she perceives those around her. This writing style also lends itself well to how and when things are described or mentioned, as it depends on the importance of it to Penny herself. In some ways, a second read can help to fill in several blanks that Penny doesn’t notice, but the reader can understand with the benefit of hindsight, giving a little bit of re-read value to the story.

There are a couple of formatting issues within the book, and as mentioned earlier, the staccato sentences do give the text a strange layout to get used to, which may not work on older machines. The only issue I have with the story is that it is short and a large section of the next story is also included afterwards. However, this is one of the few occasions where it helped to continue the story and I will admit to being curious as to what the outcome of the tale is going to be.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read, and could easily fill a couple of coffee breaks as a good method to while some time away. If you enjoy this kind of story, then I would happily recommend it.

Rating: 4
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Discussion

sliara (30 August 2021)
I read the plot already and it seems decent. At least it seems worthwhile to read.

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