Author: Phillip Frey
Description: “In this fantasy-comedy Hym and Hur are a young couple who never age and have been in love for more than a century. They also possess an array of magical abilities, two of which are either to play pranks on humankind or to perform good deeds. Enacting both at the same time is now what gets them into trouble, especially since it's the character of Death they must deal with to bring their plans to fruition. The prank Hym and Hur have come up with must first be agreed upon by Death, who happens to be an unruly, difficult character. Once agreed upon, the prank is set in motion. But then Hym and Hur soon discover Death had tricked them into a contract with dire consequences for all of us. During their attempt to break the contract, Hym and Hur try to save the relationship of an earthbound couple, knowing they are truly meant for each other. A good deed that will bring Hym and Hur even more trouble.”
I like the concept for this story, though at times it felt a little choppy. The characters were fairly well-described, though I missed out on some action with Archie’s ability (not enough, that is). But I can understand that you don’t want to get into a derail and suddenly have this thing be about zombies. Like other reviewers, there was a sense of disconnectedness, and of not really getting into the characters. I realize it’s a delicate balance in a short story, but I still had that sensation.
Some of the criticisms of the editing have probably been taken seriously: I did not find too many errors (e.g., it’s now “wreaking havoc”, so that’s good). That is why Kindle is great—you can fix things very quickly. But, to that point, it did seem like it needs just a little more polish. Another little dab of Turtle wax.
I did not feel like the author was trying to push any type of agenda—he was merely pointing out the fact that we tend to kill each other a lot on this planet. Why blame the collector?
Death? I like him in this one. If you have read “On a Pale Horse” by Piers Anthony, you will understand when I say that this newest intern to the gruesome collector’s job is a bit of a prick. Funny, but still one who enjoys his work a little too much. Since Death is such a popular character in fantasy, I like how Frey keeps the focus on the main characters and doesn’t delve too much into Death, although I could see another whole story about this.
As an aside, I think it could have ended a little differently, a little darker. This is purely personal taste, but I thought of a specific ending as I read of the troubles that Hym and Hur went to in order to negate their deal with Death. I’ve shared this with the author, so perhaps another version sometime?
I was given a copy of this for review.