TITLE: When You Were Pixels (Syntax #0.1)
REVIEW: Holy WOW! I fell in love with this story from the Acknowledgements page. That’s how good it is.
Or, more accurately, I recognized the soul-deep bond of the terminally smart-assed. After laughing myself sick, I showed the Acknowledgements to my family, who also laughed like loons, all the while nodding and agreeing that the author’s writing style did indeed bear an uncanny resemblance to my own when I’m in a particularly snarky mood. I then turned the page, prepared to chuckle and grin my way through what promised to be a rip-roaring, rollicking good time.
As is the case with all the best assassins, I never felt the blade until my life was pouring out onto the floor. This writer wields his words as if they were the finest of obsidian blades slipping between the molecules of my integumentary system and cleaving muscle and bone as if they were butter on a summer’s afternoon. Like a character in a Japanese ghost story, I found myself holding my head in my lap and wondering about the peculiar perspective I seemed to have suddenly acquired until it dawned on me a few minutes later that I had, in fact, been decapitated so neatly and expertly that I hadn’t even felt my soul exit through my now rather gory neck. (It would have been neater – and probably more efficient – to have used a lightsaber rather than a katana, but I’m sticking with the Japanese theme).
In other words, Genao has written a story so heart-rending, so profound, so poignant and human and raw that I could only bleed and weep helplessly alongside the hapless narrator.
Many writers don’t seem capable of producing a story that leaves the reader feeling satisfied without giving the MCs an HEA, or at least an HFN. The warning is there, near the end of the section called Story Info, but I’m sure there will be those who grouse that they feel cheated of their happy feelings. Let them grouse. This story is a masterpiece, exploding all of the usual conventions of romantic storytelling. Yet, I have rarely read a story more deeply romantic than this one.
Mr. Genao has given us a unique gift, the product of a vibrant mind and lively intellect. It’s a story that will live in my mind and my heart for years to come. I’m still in a sort of fog, going through the motions of my daily life, firmly in the grip of a book hangover.
I wish I lived next door to Mr. Genao, so I could share tea with him and spoil his cats shamelessly while pilfering the contents of his brain at my leisure. Well done.