REVIEW: “Raw Material” by Brandon Nolta

Review of Brandon Nolta, “Raw Material”, in Myths, Monsters, and Mutations, edited by Jessica Augustsson (JayHenge Publications, 2017): 22-27 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

I found the opening few paragraphs of the story confusing because it wasn’t clear what the referent of all the pronouns were. A few paragraphs in, though, I diagnosed the cause of the confusion — none of the direct speech uses any quotation marks. So when the story opens:

It was near the end of LC’s fourteenth summer when her Aunt Chrys went to the family about her magic. My power should have manifested by now, Chrys told her assorted aunts and uncles…

both the “her” in the first sentence and the “my” in the second is Chrys herself, not LC.

I’m not sure why quotation marks weren’t use; there didn’t appear to be any narrative need for such a technique.

Despite this, the story is told in a confident, distinctive voice, and despite being relatively short managed to ease its way through quite a long period of time. The ending comes as a twist out of nowhere, though, because we haven’t been given any hints about Chrys that would make her final actions in keeping with her character.

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