Review: Frozen Embers by Sasha Skye

Rescued from the freezing streets, Ashley finds himself in the arms of an angel – a handsome doctor who nursed him back to health. Little did he know that he’d crept into Oliver’s heart, and the other man wants him to stay warm in his arms forever.

Review by Erastes

Short review for a short story.  It’s only 35 pages, so there’s no point me going on and on.

It’s a recognisable theme; the first part is almost entirely a rewriting of The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson. Ashley is a starving, badly dressed and hungry wood carver and we are told this over two pages.  He strikes a match, sees a wonderful feast, and instead of his grandmother, a dove arrives, disguised as an angel to take him to heaven, and the little wood carver lies down to die, just like the Match Girl.

However, this is a gay romance so matters don’t end there.

I found it a little confusing, because he was in his freezing cold rooms attempting to burn his carvings to keep warm and suddenly he’s dying in the street.  When he’s rescued it’s Christmas, and when he wakes up it’s New Year. Seems a little long to be comatose and near to death without nourishment, but I’m not a doctor.

However, things move along, Ashley is rescued and finds himself warm and dry and being interviewed by a strange woman.  For some bizzaro reason, we are told that Ashley has a “soft, English accent.”  What else would he have, considering this is England?  We are introduced to the woman’s brother (he’s Danish, as a wily tip of the hat to Hans) and things move predictably from there, it’s fairly obvious that within  minutes of meeting each other (especially due to the shortness of the story) that Ashley and the good Doctor will be falling in love and getting unsuitable feelings in no time at all.

It’s a decent, if short read, but what spoiled it for me was the fact it was obviously written by (I assume) an American, (or at least a non-Brit), and the thing needed a damned good Britpicking.  British readers will get annoyed at the Americanisms, and frankly Dreamspinner should have edited them out–it’s an old complaint by now–we don’t have sidewalks in London for example, or cranberry sauce  either at this time in history and other things–and it’s about time that authors and publishers were hotter on this aspect than they are.  Either that, or what would be the harm in writing this set in Victorian New York?  Write what you know is a good adage at times.

It’s not a bad little story, but it’s rather overpriced at $2.99 I feel (considering some pubs do novella-length for this price, and Torquere do sips for under a dollar) but I found it rather over saccharine .  I’ve grown out of weeping heroes, but anyone with a penchant for schmoopy will love it, and it is seasonal.

Author’s Livejournal

Dreamspinner Press

2 Responses

  1. Thank you for the review of my first short story. You are the second person to mention about the doctor being Danish…believe it or not, it is not because of Hans C. Anderson…:)

    There are flashbacks in the story, (Ashley remembering the cold of his room) and Ashley was in and out of consciousness for a week (he did not recover until New Years Eve, one week later) Im sorry, that was not clear.

    One improves their craft by listening to the constructive criticism of others, I appreciate you taking the time to read and review my short story.

    A side note apology… I did send my editor the re-writes to correct the “Americanisms” (Back in June 2009). You should have received that version, not the one with ‘sidewalk’, “fall vs autumn’ etc…I now have a friend (from Canterbury, Kent England) who corrects/edits my “Americanisms”.

    Sasha

    • Hi Sasha, and thank you for your kind comments. I wish all authors were as polite. I will also amend the review to reflect what you said about the americanisms and good luck with your writing!

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