A.R. Hellbender

Portland

I wrote Unicorn Hunting and play bass in a band called She's Not Dead. @royahellbender ~ facebook.com/unicornhunting ~ arhellbender.wordpress.com

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So gripping that it didn't even need dialogue

This is a great story, complete with research into the time period, a suspenseful plot, and plenty of empathy to be had for the character. It makes you realize how different life was in those days. And what's more, there was no dialogue in the story, and none was really needed.

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Chilling!

Not only does this story scare you, but it makes you feel, more than any other story does, that it could be you. The victims are innocent, but there is no way for them, let alone the people they killed, to know that.

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Compelling story with a twist

This story made me feel sorry for not just Dolly herself, but for her parents who aren't even in it. A true historical fiction that shows how little you can trust those closest to you and how even the cleverest ideas are risky.

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The shortest story, with the longest timespan

This story got a lot across in so few words, a bit like the character does literally. This was fun to read, and left me wondering what the main character could have done to avoid the predicament he ended up in.

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A delightful quick read

I enjoyed reading this. It was short, fast, and cute. However, it would have been great to see more of the setting in the story. I would much rather have read part of the story in great detail than the whole plot in the little detail it has.
However, this was a fun read, and anything with cats in it is awesome.

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Killers are everywhere, and they look just like regular people.

Nothing scarier than a murderer with well thought out methods, who kills arbitrarily and without a weapon. I'm going to keep my hotel key card extra safe every time I have a hotel from now on.
This story was great from beginning to end, and reminded me of the crazy people from some of Jerzy Kosinski's books.

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A retelling that has not been done before

This was a great story with an interesting take on Alice in Wonderland that I very much doubt has been done already. I feel like the beginning was very slow, and the story would draw readers in faster if it started with her entering Hatterson's shop. Then her being sick and running off can be told in flashback.
It also seems like Alicin's family and friends are all awful or indifferent people from the start, which doesn't quite serve to further the story. What I would recommend doing is having her parents not be so indifferent, and instead actually being bad people that she wants to get away from.
It would also help if maybe her fiancee seemed like a good person at first but turned out to be a terrible one. Otherwise, we're left wondering how she got engaged to such a pompous jerk if they have nothing nice to say to each other.
Her friend Charlotte is also a character that something more could be done with, so maybe showing her to be a good friend will raise the stakes for when Alicin leaves for Wonderland, because she should have at least one thing that she regrets leaving, so that it's not such an obvious decision.

Wow, this is the longest review I have ever left on this site. I enjoyed this excerpt, and it left me wanting to know what happens next.

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Great story, with a compelling main character

I loved reading this. Harlow is an awesome character, and there was a lot of personality to many of the characters who showed up in the story. Every chapter was interesting and made me want to read more.
What could be improved upon, however, is the descriptions of some of the steampunky aspects of the setting.

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A haunted piano unlike any other

I got pretty scared reading this, especially towards the end. We are introduced to whatever is haunting the piano or the musical piece step by step, and when the story is over, we still don't quite know what it was that happened.
The whole part where Melody is playing the music and has a nagging sensation that she should bring herself back to reality but somehow still doesn't care is done so well. That was definitely my favorite part.

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How creepy!

Wow, what a chilling story! I found myself hoping that Kitty would live, but being pretty sure she wouldn't, either, I would have liked to understand more about her and why we care about her, but it is still a good story without that. And the murderer acting like it's so normal is what makes him such a scary villain.

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Great story

I read this at the beginning of the Beyond Time contest, because the teaser grabbed me right away. I love the way that we're not only gripped by suspense throughout the whole story but also left with uncertainty at the end.

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Awesome story!

This is one fantastic sci-fi tale from the very depths of imagination. With such an imaginative twist and a brilliant ending, this was a great read. By the time it was over, I was sad not to see what happens to Matt on Mars.

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Brilliant Mystery-Fantasy

With a well thought-out magic system and a mysterious plot, this story had plenty to keep me interested. I was hoping for a bit more of a battle between the bad guy and Irulen, but the story didn't seem anticlimactic without that. I would love to read more of Irulen's adventures.

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Gets a lot across in such a short story

This was a fun read. The fact that nearly every chapter is told by a different character really adds to it, as well as the plot twists. Through the different points of view, we also get a more comprehensive glimpse of the setting than a lot of stories of this length give us.

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3rd Place in Reclaim Time
Top 10% in End Game
Top 10% in Epic Worlds

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