• ★★★★-4

Review: Feral Youth edited by Shaun David Hutchinson (Spoiler-Free)

This was... very strange. Admittedly, I still very much enjoyed it. It's hard to describe my feelings on a collection of stories that vary so greatly. The standouts in here (to me) were "A Cautionary Tale" by Stephanie Kuehn, "A Ruthless Dame" by Tim Floreen, and oddly enough, "Big Brother" by E.C. Myers. I really appreciate what this book set out to do and the overall construction of it was very interesting. Some stories were severely weird. And I don't mean that lightly. I have no idea where the idea for "Big Brother" came from, and frankly, I would rather let that remain a mystery. And, one must keep in mind, that my appreciation for "Big Brother" and "A Ruthless Dame" strictly come along with how the balance of fiction and fact was maintained by the narrator. If that extra layer had not been a factor, I would have found them significantly less meaningful. Some of these stories were a bit underdeveloped and cliché like "Jackie's Story" by Justina Ireland, and others were cluttered and utterly confusing like Alaya Dawn Johnson's "The Subjunctive." The ending of the book itself holds a message that undeniably aligns with Hutchinson's usual style. Overall, this collection held a lot of valuable ideas, and I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through it.

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