Friday, January 4, 2013

Micro-review of the short story Darkness Taken by J.A. Campbell

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Darkness Taken
J.A. Campbell
Untold Press
available now

cover - I just love this cover.  It's subtle and with those claw marks, just gets the point across, doesn't it?  Under those 'rips' in the cover are glimpses of it.

Being a shameless fan of J.A. Campbell, the first story I read in the Dragonthology anthology was Darkness Taken by - you guessed it - J.A. Campbell.  I really have a hard time reviewing short stories, because I am always afraid of simply summarizing the story.  When I read a review, I don't always want a rundown on the story - I want to know if the dialogue fits, if the characters sound like real people (depending on the situation or setting, of course), if the narration just pulls me along or if it's too stilted, how the characters are.  

J.A. Campbell has built a world in few words; a world that has children warriors partnering with dragons, unicorns and wolves who fight the Darkness.  Not just the darkness, but The Darkness.  Underneath lies a mystery of why there is no one over 18 in this group (I'm wondering if it's to do with unicorns and communicating with the dragons, unicorns and wolves - a whole believability thing with young people), and where those over 18 go as well as where the babies come's hinted at - but ultimately it's a mystery, perhaps to be explored in another story in this setting (yes?)

The plot for this story is the kidnapping of a unicorn foal, and the rescue attempt that follows.  There are some very creepy elements in this Darkness - when you read this, watch out for the trees.  ugh.  shivery - a good shivery.

Campbell is great with dialogue.  You know when a voice is a dragon's voice, and when a human is speaking.  The dialogue is consistant, and is very believable.  Her narration conveys enough detail that you know what is happening and can follow the story without being overwhelmed with repetitive words or too many details.  When I started reading, my interested was caught and kept through the entire story.   The story contains a good mixture of  sorrow, adventure, horror and humor - which a great mix for a short story; it's a great mix for any length story, actually.

Another good short story by a very talented author with a wonderful imagination.


  1. *grin* thanks!!!!! Yes, there's a novel forthcoming in this world that will explain all :) I can't wait to write it.


  2. I'm glad you're thinking of writing a novel for this. I've noticed that there are a few very good series out there that began with a short story....