What I gleaned about the stories: Being a teenager is confusing, and becomes more so if you turn out to be a supernatural creature too.
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Analysis: In the first two paragraphs the protagonist describes her father’s medal, studies herself in the mirror and concludes that no one would believe she was descended from the man who won the medal, and tells the reader about her mother’s alcoholism.
While it wasn’t all pure narrative, the information density was high enough that I had to focus on unpacking it rather than easing into the story.
As I wasn’t immersed after two paragraphs I moved on.
Analysis: While the density of the first two paragraphs did prevent me from getting into the story, having unpacked it I did want to go back into the story.
Analysis: The protagonist sees a deer, and “[u]nbidden, imaginations started to fill [her] head.” Imagination is the faculty of mind which experiences images and sensations separate from the senses; as such the plural refers to several minds not one. So the plural came as enough of a surprise I stumbled and had to go back.
Rereading, I concluded the author had used imagination to mean a thought or image; and had this been poetry or a certain style of fiction, that might not have been an issue. However, the style of the work up to that point had been modern casual, rather than allusive, so it didn’t fit.
Analysis: The protagonist punches a “hard-stone wall.” Hyphens in adjective strings indicate that certain adjectives modify other adjectives rather than the noun. So I parsed the phrase as ‘a wall made of hard stone’, which in itself isn’t confusing. However, in the context of flesh to stone, all stone is hard, so I immediately wondered if the author wasn’t merely mentioning that the stone was hard; perhaps “hard-stone” was an type of rock in this world.
Which left me two options: the author had either included irrelevant detail or chosen to name a rock in a way that was slightly confusing and lacked the obscurity of most real substance names.
Although I was curious to find out whether hard-stone was a name or a compound adjective, puzzling over author intention is a loss of immersion, so I pulled the plug.
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