Sunday, March 06, 2011

REVIEW: "The Fear" by Julio Angel Ortiz

Charlotte awakens in the middle of the night to strange noises and voices in her room. But it isn't really her room, and the two unknown men in the room seem strangely familiar to her, but they're just as confused as she is. As she searches her memory to try to make sense of her situation, Charlotte realizes she can't remember anything other than her name. She certainly can't remember why she's in a cabin in the middle of an eerily silent forest. Silent, that is, until a terrifying creature comes for a nighttime visit. Repeated attempts by the trio to find civilization are unsuccessful, as they continually find themselves back where they started. When will this terror end?

This short story by Julio Angel Ortiz is immediately engaging as we are drawn into Charlotte's fear and confusion at finding herself in a strange place that feels "wrong" with two men who somehow seem "right." I loved the concept behind this story- there is a psychological aspect that was full of potential and offered a lot to think about. The very last conversation between the main characters was really fitting to the story and provided nice closure on the major theme.

The length and format of this story give ample room for the storyline to be fleshed out more completely. I wanted more explanation of certain things; in particular "where" this place was, and more about the role of the Waroo. I think I was most confused by the part of the Waroo in the story. I got the impression that there was something mythological and spiritual about him, but it wasn't completely clear. The question that most haunted me- what and where exactly this place was- was never really answered satisfactorily, and that left me a little cold. I also wanted to know more about Roger and his motivations. I understand what he shared with us, but it wasn't quite enough to satisfy me. The final scenes felt somewhat rushed to me, as Noah made some jumps to a conclusion that I had a little trouble initially following.

I think the overall idea is solid and entertaining, as well as thought-provoking, but more meat to the story would really help bring the theme home more definitively. Adding more to the story would also allow for stronger character development. We are given glimpses of the character's personalities, especially through their actions and dreams, but I think allowing more suspense to build would allow us to get to know the characters better and ratchet up our anxiety, making the story even more effective.

Overall, an intriguing concept and a fun read--

3 /5 stars

Available at Smashwords

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to read this story for a while as I've liked Julio's other short stories.

I think I can appreciate wanting more meat. I find Julio's ideas are really great and almost demand more room for the telling.

I'd really like to see what this author can do with a whole novel as his medium.