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The Tower and the Toucan

by E. Lily Yu


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Number of Reviews: 2
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Short, well written adventure. Would've liked bit more of a story arc, February 28, 2018
This is a short Twine story; you're a waitress at a pub, and you're going to deliver food to the local recluse in his moss-covered tower -- The "Thinker of Thoughts" they call him -- as you do every afternoon. No one answers the door, but you (can) enter anyways, and then you start snooping around...

The strongest aspects of this are the writing, which is solid, restrained, and punctuated with some nice imagery, and the setting, which is imaginative, especially as this drifts into more fantastical territory. This strikes an excellent balance between these elements.

The story though doesn't really have too much... story to it. It's structurally more like one of those old-school CYOA books, insofar as it feels more like a series of events strung together, more than something with a set beginning/middle/end for our character. There are choices, and they "matter", but they felt pretty arbitrary (Pick up this thing, or don't?). There are a lot of basically dead ends, unsatisfying, and there might be a pinpoint path through all this that would've led to a more substantial wrap up, but if there is I don't really know how I would've reached it. I would've just preferred this be more linear instead, I think.

I was looking at a science fiction book anthropology when I saw this author's name, and I thought it looked familiar, which is how I came back across this. This shows well enough that I'm still interested in reading what the author does in a short story format with a bit more structure in place, and where the strengths of this should lend themselves well. (The book was "The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 11" also starring Yoon Ha Lee)