Stories for the Masses

The mutterings of a half-mad Canuck who writes stuff

Human 76 – The Song of Aiden

KR Smith has written what at first seems to be a classic love story. And indeed, the plot does follow the girl-meets-boy, girl-falls-for-boy, girl-loses-boy structure. Where it veers off the beaten path is in it’s inclusion of girl-avenges-boy’s-grisly-murder, and girl-becomes-a-badass plot elements.

This story starts off with Maeve, a young red-headed lady (I must have missed the story meeting where everyone decided to make all the young ladies red-heads) and her cousin Kendra, who are excited to see  a locally-famous young man sing in the town square.

“Hurry, Maeve! We don’t want to miss the show!”
“But, Kendra, I’m supposed to finish my chores and put away the clean laundry. Your mother will be furious!”
“Never mind that,” she laughed. “If we get there too late to see Aiden, I’ll never forgive you!”
“Oh, all right! I’m coming! And he’d better be as good as you say. He’s all you’ve talked about for the last week.”
“He is! You’ll see!”

Kendra took her hand, giggling as she pulled Maeve through the doorway and down the street.
A crowd had already gathered in the dusty square at the center of the village when the girls arrived. Snaking their way through the gathering, they approached an impromptu stage which was little more than empty carts tied together, with a stepladder for access. Atop them stood a single man, young and tall, his hair a tangle of brown wavy curls. He held up his hand and smiled to the crowd, and after they quieted, he began to sing.

Maeve watched his fingers move over the strings of the instrument he held, their tones soft and rhythmic, carrying the words to her ears. As she listened, her mind traveled to places she’d never been, never known, into dreams that seemed too real. It was so different from the little music she had heard before. There were no hymns of battle, no chants of warriors facing death, no drums beating out a march. Words of warm evenings, of passion and love, of romance lost to time danced through the air. He glanced over the crowd as he sang, and when he looked at Maeve he smiled, or so she thought. When he stopped the words and melodies still filled her mind

If I were to nit-pick this story a bit, I might say that the titular Aiden is a bit of a Marty Stu. He seems to have no flaws and therefore seems to be more plot element than character. If I were to nit-pick further I might mention that I only notice this because I’m prone to doing the same thing myself and it stands out to me more than it would to most. Aiden’s flawless perfection doesn’t actually bother me, though, for three reasons.

  1. Maeve’s character is more than interesting enough to pull all of my attention away from Mr. Perfect,
  2. He isn’t in the story for very long, and
  3. He may not be a tremendously interesting character, but he’s a pretty great plot element.

I quite enjoyed this story. If I were to Hollywood summarize it I’d say it’s like a When Harry met Xena: Warrior Princess origin story with a bit of Top Gun thrown in.

If you haven’t read the book, it is available at Lulu.com in paperback and e-book formats. It is also available at Barnes and Noble as paperback and for the Nook, and at  Amazon (paperback) and Amazon (kindle). All proceeds go to Water is Life, so you should buy it.  Also, it is a very good book so you should buy it.

If you have read the book, Human 76 has been nominated for a Summer Indie Book Award in the category of Best Anthology. It’s a public voting sort of thing, so you should go to http://www.poll-maker.com/poll533527x2B2C4bFb-22 and vote for Human 76. You would be best advised to “Ctrl-F” and type ‘human’ to locate it. As of this writing, it is also listed twice for some reason, and the page allows you to vote for multiple books, so you can effectively vote for Human 76 twice. You can vote 1 time per day, so off you go.

1 Comment

  1. First of all, thanks for the review! And for all the others you’ve done on the Human 76 anthology. And now that the review is out, I can breathe again…

    As far as the review itself, I had the same concerns about the Aiden as you have. His character isn’t as complex as I’d have liked him to be. Unfortunately, when Lisa contacted me asking if I was still interested in submitting a story I was well over the agreed word limit and it wasn’t yet finished. I ended up cutting over 4K words. I didn’t want to ask a second time for additional leeway with the word count! So any thoughts of developing him more were set aside.

    Still, it was really great fun writing the story. I hope you and some of the other readers found some enjoyment in it, too! If anyone else has a comment (good or bad), I’d love to hear them!

    Thanks again,

    K. R. Smith

    P. S. I really liked “If I were to Hollywood summarize it I’d say it’s like a When Harry met Xena: Warrior Princess origin story with a bit of Top Gun thrown in.”

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