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Julie Doe

Storm Front (Storm Force #0.1-#0.5) - Lissa Bilyk This review is based on the five short stories that involve the character of Tina Storm, which are available for free on Smashwords. I did not read the additional short stories contained in the second part of the book, the "novella"--technically, an anthology, not a novella--called "An Archive of Lost Dreams" (nor would I have).

I thought that the plot of some of the stories had potential, as did the character of Tina Storm. However, the writing was pretty weak, and I thought it was marked by some amateur mistakes:

1. Lack of world-building: Some information is contained in an info-dump at the beginning of the second story, but it is a bit unbelievable. For example, everyone with the surname Storm is either a demon-hunter or serves to help the demon-hunters. And yet, we never get the bigger picture about what demons are, where they come from, do normal people know about them, etc. The Storms are just "demon-hunters", and they go after the demon of the week in each story. The conceptualization of this world feels incomplete.

2. Lack of setting description: There's very little description of the places--the city, Tina's school, Tina's house, a Chinese supermarket, etc. I didn't get any kind of picture of the world that Tina lived in. People are described briefly, but not much beyond that.

3. Finally--and this is one of my pet peeves, so I'm more likely that not to notice it--is that dialogue tags other than "said" are used quite a bit.

I was also confused about Tina's age/school. The second story supposedly takes place during her first year in college, yet there are references to a car "speeding in a school zone", the school auditorium, the school's yearly musical, "art class" (just that generic), etc. which all seem more like references to high school than college. Tina also notices when a new boy enrolls in school. Again, this sounds more like high school than a college of any size. Later, Tina's age is mentioned as 17. So is she in college or high school?

Again, I think that these stories have potential, but they need to be developed more into a complete depiction of the world and characters. Verdict: 1.5 stars.