The Dash (Volume I)
Like a grown-up Alice, Claire falls through a rabbit hole of sorts and enters the town of Cloak Valley, Monochrome. Suffering from amnesia, Claire is taken in by Art, a quiet and loving writer. Cloak Valley reminds us of our own world, yet there is something slightly off about it: the town is quiet and colorless, and the people are either warm-hearted or menacing, but everyone is unpredictable. The Dash offers memorable and intriguing characters. John Smith™ harbors an unreasonable hatred for Claire and his presence imbues a sense of impending violence. In contrast, there is the mesmerizing Des Moines family, an exquisitely handsome, eccentric, and wealthy clan. Mrs. Des Moines is “beautiful to the point of instilling instant envy,” Mr. Des Moines is “shy and conservative, [but] can light up with…great passion and intensity.” Their youngest child, Reeve, is half-human, half-beast, with a shaved face and body, “snake-like slits for eyes…and a drooling mouth of fangs.”
Despite the excellent cast of characters, The Dash would benefit from an editor’s hand. The author frequently repeats the same phrases and uses words inexactly (or even incorrectly), such as “half-looks at her,” “borderline,” and “scoffs.” The excessive descriptions of the characters’ movements and sounds (such as moaning and coughing), particularly during dialogue, interrupt the narrative flow. For example, upon hearing that a teenaged couple broke up, “Frankleen throws up her hands while Zandro nearly vomits in laughing disbelief.” The characters continually conjecture about what other characters feel and how they should feel about it, whether or not this has any bearing on the scene. For example, during a conversation, Mrs. Des Moines and Claire “reply virtually at the same time, their faces drooping and their bodies inactive. Art is uncertain whether or not they are really feeling this way, or if they are just putting on a charade for him.” I think with the careful eye of an editor, The Dash has the potential to let its memorable characters shine through.
|Page Count||716 pages|
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