Review: Imaginary Beings by DorienStray

How to find happiness when you see yourself as emotionally crippled, hellishly lonely and trapped in something you can't name.

So - no cover image, no proper blurb? What the flippety fiddely's going on here? I'll tell you what, this is not an actual published (in the conventional or ebook sense) novel, it's a novel written at fiction press. Which means it is 100% absolutely free. This was recommended to me by Suki Fleet and I have to say it is better than many of the novels I've bought and read this year.

Although it has an HEA the content isn't always the happiest - it's emotional...emotionally quite dark in places, yet I loved every word. There was something very familiar, almost nostalgic about this. When I thought about it I felt it had echoes of mid-nineties, British indy films. I'm not thinking of any one specifically, just that general feeling and vibe those films had.

In this book we follow Dolph, both in the present and flashbacks to his life four years prior to the current day. It's basically a love story. A proper, grab-your-heart-and-don't-let-go, love story. Or to be more accurate, how did I fuck things up story. It's about Dolph's conscience and guilt and those freaking crappy decisions we all make. The ones that make sense to nobody but you when you're a teen with an inferiority complex and little self worth. It makes Dolph sound like a drip - oh, but he isn't. He was witty and sharp and a fantastic actor. At times I wanted to slap him...but only because I can remember feeling that way at eighteen. Who these days is really brave enough to write about proper self doubt? The kind that the character really and truly believes? The kind that isn't just there for lip service? DorienStray does. Dolph and Tristan are two of my favourite ever characters now. I honestly love them.

All the characters are fantastic in this. The setting is fantastic. The writing is fantastic. The flashbacks...yep, they're fantastic. It teases you with information. Drip feeds you it. A bit here, a bit there, pulls you into the story, makes you care about the characters more than you want to. Drip. Drip. Drip. Keep reading because you can't put the bloody thing down even if it is nearly getting up time.

There are flaws, the odd grammatical error - I assure you I didn't care at all. I'm quite sure I loved the story enough to have overlooked pretty much anything, the ones that were there felt relatively minor to me. It didn't interrupt the story arc or characterisation. I have no idea of the author's actual identity, but I really, really hope she/he has gone on to have a writing career, because otherwise it is a huge waste of talent - in my very humble opinion. Do yourself a favour and delve into this story - you have nothing to lose, it is free.

Imaginary Beings by DorienStray