Fiction Friday is a series where I talk about what I’ve been reading. Short Stories (and sometimes Novellas) are featured as in-between posts and the first Friday of the month will feature a new novel review. Today, I review Contractual Obligations by Jaime O. Mayer
Fiction Friday: Contractual Obligations Review
Today’s review is on a Podcast story from Cast of Wonders called Contractual Obligations, by Jaime O. Mayer. The podcast is narrated by Katherine Inskip. You can find it here. This is also the first review of a podcast story. The podcast is roughly 45 minutes, (More or less 40 minutes for the actual story) and is around 5600 words. The site mentions that this is her first pro market release (CONGRATS!!!), so let’s see how this holds up.
The main character is Jiasi, who is the student of Emmaline. She is a dancer who breaks her legs in an ice-skating accident and is forced to remain with broken legs. Being a performer, she couldn’t accept this. I thought she was a good character, reasonably cautious, but knew to take risks when she had to. Numerous times she did things that were very risky, but all worked out in the end.
The main villain is Lady Drayden. She is a major house noble who runs a show that her student and Jiasi participate in. She has a contract as well. I’ll get into contacts in a moment. Anyway, she is the usual motherly type villain who will do anything to get what she wants no matter who has to fall in her way. A lot of the characters are simple, which is usually never a bad thing.
I thought the characters had plenty of personality and motivation. Seeing Jiasi cope with her new legs and survive towards the end was a good experience all the way through, even if it was simple.
The plot is what I imagine short stories to be. It had a clear beginning, middle, and end. As for the story itself, it’s about a young dancer named Jiasi who breaks her legs while skating after an accident. She meets a small man who offers her a contract. Basically, get anything you desire, for a price. Her offer was to get her legs back in shape, but before they could be healed, she had to live with mechanical, steampunk-ish legs until she can perform for a good enough audience to get her real legs back.
The story is set in a steampunk world and it’s clear from the first few paragraphs. The story has a nice risk vs. reward setup and while I wished I could have seen the contractor more, I felt the ending was good. The story is fairly straightforward but good. It’s a nice tale to sit down for an afternoon and read to get rid of all the issues for the day.
I usually don’t give away too much, but the ending was, again, simple, but good. I don’t see anything wrong with simplistic stories. Sometimes, you just need a good story and nothing more. In any case, the story was good and I enjoyed reading (listening, rather) to the story.
The writing is good, not much to say. Since this is an audio podcast, I felt the story was perfect when listening to. The narrator did a convincing job and really felt like we were in the perfect time period. The description of all of the weird mechanical objects was very detailed. I felt the story flowed nicely. Nothing felt too fast or too slow.
Overall, this was a good story. The characters were convincing and the story flowed nicely. Looking at Mayer’s blog, this is her first fiction publication. In which case, this is a great first story and a good start to what I hope is a thriving career. I’m all for new authors making it big in the pro markets. I hope soon enough I join her among the new author ranks, but for now, I’ll just keep writing new tales.
That’s all for today. Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.