This story surprised me. After story after story of misogyny, male privilege, and general assholeish behavior, this one featured a character (Gage) willing to call out such problematic behavior in a fellow character (Thad): The first time I’ve seen this behavior explicitly commented on in the book. What a refreshing change!
This was also one of the few stories where the psychology of the story worked well one me — there was a constant wondering of why? and what will happen next? and even a bit of how?.
I don’t think these two things are disconnected: By framing Gage as someone who is not a jerk, Thorn makes me care about him and what will happen to him, and the uncertainty on this latter count is unsettling, and thus provoking, and successful.
(Originally published in Dark Moon Digest, 2017.)