(Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this story ARC.)
Loved the nonlinear (but not confusing) narration. An epilogue before the first chapter — and even before the prologue? Somehow, it works.
Of the various parts of the story, it was the prologue that I found least interesting/readable. It’s a bit awkward, although what happens in it isn’t boring or whatever. It just feels less polished, compared to the rest of the writing. The ARC does say that it’s still getting a last editing, though, so maybe that will be fixed.
I also thought that some of the quotes used at chapter beginnings were… not the best choices. Quoting Shakespeare and Dickens and Campbell, sure, but quoting Steven King and E. L. Doctorow and frakkin’ Jack Sparrow… To me, that — and even more so, the quotes worked into the story itself as a journal entry — came across more as name dropping on the part of the author, appealing to the readers’ assumed inherent geekiness, than anything else. YMMV. Also, the subtle joke with using the name Martin to call someone a wild card (*rolls eyes* Yeah, we got it) felt forced.
But… Most of this story, I loved. If a few parts of it sound like a 5th-grader who has only recently learned how to play a recorder competently, most of it sound like a really good Jethro Tull song, skirling flute intertwined with growling edginess. I want the rest of the story, not just “The Tombs”!