Welcome to Wildberry

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Welcome to Wildberry: Freshman Orientation

Last Free Dates: 6th Nov 18 to 10th Nov 18
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...Midway between fantasy and satire, it is the weaker part of either....

I picked this up initially wondering why a student union would put their intro on Bookangel. That impression was settled by a close look at the cover, and a prologue that promises either modern-day satire on a level with Animal Farm, or another Wild Animal Society. I decided to risk the one, for the possible joy of the other.

High school for anthropomorphic animals is not a new idea, and this one starts slowly enough with a listing of his family and friends, digression into childhood events that aren’t really relevant or unique, and then it gets into the fate of Taylor’s parents and a police coverup and that hook kept me reading. Buttons knows he should be a good sheep, but he’s black-haired unlike his rich family, and he’s seen a little too much of the lies underpinning his society. The early stages seem to be building towards an interesting take on American society through the eyes of a young anthropomorphic animal, but in the second half it drops back into standard fantasy.

I kept reading because I wanted to see where he was going with this, but I got to half way through and was still rather waiting for the plot to start. There’s a lot of emo stuff and the story does get repetition with certain background details. My problem with this story is more that things just happen, rather than building or progressing. There is a lot of set up, no resolution and no real feeling of events progressing until well over halfway through the book.

Then I got to the end, or lack thereof. This is not a novella. It is the first part of a series, and as such has no real conclusion, it just ends with everything hanging. The main character is a bystander for all of it. The pedant in me wants to point out that the author should really check dietary requirements before stating that an animal is a carnivore. Also, how anthropomorphic the animals are varies from scene to scene.

The formatting is fine, although I was surprised that a diagram was embedded describing the society’s leaders instead of using text. It is blurry and slightly hard to read, so I skipped it. The text fills in the gaps anyway, so the diagram is just a nice addition. The novella is long enough to be divided into chapters.

It’s not bad, but it is definitely not good. Midway between fantasy and satire, it is the weaker part of either, and I’m not sure who the target audience would be. Nothing raises this above average, or makes me want to buy the next part.

Rating: 2
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