What I gleaned about the stories: Characters from a world based on the Far East spend quite a lot of time explaining back story.
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Note: Apart from the centred copyright page, all the text in this book is ragged right rather than justified. While I didn’t charge a WTF, the deviation from usual typesetting did raise the suggestion the book might not be professionally set.
Analysis: The first few pages contained missing commas, em-dashes with different spacing on either side, and other anomalous punctuation. I finally lost immersion when I encountered a semi-colon used to start a list instead of a colon.
Analysis: The main character kills a number of other characters for the last in a series of irritating things. The reader is then told the reason they were killed was the final insult the protagonist would tolerate. My immediate thought was that if the protagonist would kill someone for an act they tolerated, what sanction might they apply if someone did something even worse?
The implication that people the protagonist had killed might commit further insults also threw me.
Tolerance by it’s very nature requires that the tolerator doesn’t respond this time, so the conflict between the act and the description destroyed my image of the protagonist’s mental state, throwing me out of the story.
Analysis: The story is written in distant third-party. A character’s gender is described as being obvious because the character’s wife is a woman and the character is monogamous. My immediate thought was that monogamy is not a quality of a particular gender (many monogamous partnerships are between people of more than one gender), so I was slightly confused.
I then realised I had missed the narrator’s point: where I had thought of monogamy as a trait equally applicable to both people in a heterosexual partnership, the narrator was relying on monogamy not being a trait of non-heterosexual partners; if monogamy only occurs between a man and a woman, knowing one party’s gender does indeed define the other.
While my own views on the capability of LGBTI persons to also be monogamous are less harsh, the expression of the idea would not on its own have broken immersion. However, the book until now had been filled with very flexible characters: people who were also both birds and astronomical bodies, goddesses who were also animals, cross-species relationships. Therefore, having a character several pages through a scene express such a thought without any previous sign their outlook was strongly biased against a flexible world-view came out of left field.
This sudden apparently out-of-character reaction made me question my understanding and belief in the story to that point, shattering immersion.