My friend Jake recently posted the final draft of a short story he has written called The Downfall of EAV Cyrium, and I’m pleased to present a brief review of it!
Downfall is set aboard the titular EAV Cyrium which is on a mining expedition in the depths of space when it is set upon by enemies known only as “Liberators”, which seems an ironic choice to say the least. Quickly the crew must assemble to make last stand to save the ship.
I found Downfall really easy to read. The story is of ample length, without plodding along with needless padding, and cuts both into and out of the action at the right points. We begin by finding the protagonist, Jakob, waking up from cryogenic status and the story immediately asks questions about the setting and then proceeds to answer them, while all the while there is a building sense of tension that something is happening aboard the Cyrium.
As expected, the danger soon manifests itself, though the characters we’re introduced to are seemingly placed away from the danger; however, the dire nature of the situation is emphasised and the characters make a last stand on the bridge.
The action scenes are taut and pacy, with excellent descriptive work to boot. The frantic nature of the fights and battles are punctuated well by sentence structure; however, the story does at points stop to get its breath back, and allow we the reader a little insight into the characters we’ve met and their stories, and it’s good to see a sense of worth build in each character, and these moments of reminiscence allow the tension of the incursion to build up once more to another satisfying action scene.
The ending is tragic but thought-provoking – it leaves the outcome open-ended, if a little loaded, with a little wiggle room for the reader to ponder, “what if?” General points I’d have to bring up are occasional spelling/grammatical issues and a couple of instances of tenses being muddled; these however are merely structural niggles and not reflective on the narrative or stylistic choices made.
I’m not going to give The Downfall of EAV Cyrium a “rating”; I was very impressed throughout. Jake’s done an commendable job of creating an atmospheric, intriguing setting but also skilfully reined in the focal point in the universe he’s building on the subject of the short. I’m left asking questions but also I feel I learn enough to fill in the gaps for myself, as I’d imagine them to be filled. I’m looking forward very much to seeing more of his work.
Read The Downfall of EAV Cyrium for free at Giant’s Domain!