***** – 5 Stars
Extraordinary was the first short story I read by K.M. Herkes and I’ve since read more. There are even more of her novels and stories on my Kindle that I still need to read, and believe me, I intend to.
In all fairness, I’ll state that K.M. provided me with an advance copy to read in exchange for my honest review. But, if my statement that “I’ve since read more” says anything, it’s that I am enamored of her writing.
Extraordinary was, for me, a jump back into the short story format I loved when I was growing up, studying literature in school. You don’t see too many authors these days delve into this format, and I think that it’s making a comeback. And with the wave of this comeback, K.M. Herkes should be at the forefront.
As for this story, it brought me right in to this fantastical world. Dropped me in and left me to explore and integrate. I like that. I don’t like to be hand-held when I read. I like to experience the world and adventure for myself. Create my own gestalt. This story does just that for me.
Extraordinary lies in world where, by happenstance and kismet and genetic chance, people either remain human for their entire lives, or if they have the “R-factor,” they transform over time into what can only be described as monsters. And these monsters aren’t caged, they roam the streets, have jobs, have frank discussions with their friends, drink beer, and do all the normal, everyday things that people do. And with this story, the very idea of the R-factor becomes, in a very good way, everyday.
It’s like… it’s the way life is, and as you read you quickly understand and accept it, you accept this wild crazy fantastical world (even if you’re scratching your head at it a little, but I didn’t mind that), and find yourself living, in a sense, in that world. Characters are tightly and indelibly defined within a few sentences, and not by the way they’re described, but by what they say and what they do.
The dialogue is free flowing and natural, and again, this world is painted around you as you read. The story is vivid and bright and cinematic yet efficient. The action… and yes there is a great deal of action, is fast-paced, conflagrating, and stirring. You have to resist the temptation to speed up your reading to know how it ends (even though you know in your heart what has to come).
You want to savor this one.
Extraordinary packs a massive punch in a small package. You’ll find yourself glued to your kindle and you won’t want to put it down until you’re finished reading this. And then you’ll want to grab another. And another.