Bang to Begin by: Jethro Weyman

Synopsis

Reality is Relative.

There is no such thing as universal truth.

But lies are always lies.

From auctions to assassinations, from cosmos to subconscious mind, the roots feeding into these short stories start fine, but thicken and tangle as they grow deeper.

Follow these wayward souls through their darkest moments, each beginning with a bang and each trying desperately to avoid ending with the same.

A metaphysical, visionary exploration of the human psyche and all that it means to be real – discussed via an anthology with a difference.

Evaluation

I debated for two days on how many stars to give this book, and I ended up on 5 stars. Five stars is reserved for stories that are perfect. I’ve only dished out five of them since I’ve started reviewing fiction. But Weyman deserves it, and here’s why:

Master World Builder

From my personal experience with writing, short stories are harder than novels because you have only about two or three pages to convey enough of the elements of a story for them to be considered stories. Weyman does it phenomenally. With minimal descriptive language, he constructs entire worlds within a matter of pages and creates delicately woven stories within maybe two characters. I’ve never read fiction so deeply portrayed in such a fraction of words.

Unexpected Plot Twists

This honestly applies to EVERY short story in the book. Weyman explains nothing. All of the stories start with a bang just like the title promised, and you just run with the plot. There’s no backstory for you to create a hypothesis based off of, there’s no foreshadowing. There’s event after event after event and then PLOT TWIST, and I didn’t see any of them coming. That’s partly because of the formula he used writing the short stories so action packed and description deficit. But it’s more about Weyman’s originality. None of these are stories you’ve been told before, so good luck guessing these endings.

Breathtaking Language

If I could keep your attention that long, I’d list every instance of literary brilliance. But then again, that’d practically be copy-pasting the entire book. There were entire chapters that were enchantingly poetic and then chapters where description was so spot on it was like a photograph with words. Here were some of my favorites:

  • “Guilt is a wicked mistress” (page 21)
  • “Masculinity can be a useful tool when used correctly. It can be moulded into stupidity with just a twist of the tongue, often not even that.” (page 32)
  • “Swooping down like parent to fallen child, I absorb her into me, incubate her soul in the warmth of time.” (page 75)

Stories I Loved

Scholar was my absolute favorite! The way they got possessed and sought revenge on the selfish king was righteously glorious. My favorite line in the whole book was this, “They scratch the skin from their faces, shove fingers in their mouths trying to pull out what doesn’t belong.” (page 33-34). Weird line to love, isn’t it? I have a soft spot for realism, and this line accurately depicts the gnarliness of possession. This entire story was well written, in fact. Scholar lives in my mind, and it’ll be the first I think of when recommending this book to everyone.

Abstraction was awesome. We got to see all points of view of the kidnapping: from the sabotage to the murder and beyond. What great, brief storytelling.

Mercy had a wicked awesome plot twist. No spoilers, but you’re going to love it.

Black Hole Heart started pulling strings on the first page of this story. Weyman started us off with trauma and then reeled up back in and just…Strengthen your hearts before going into this one. What an emotional shipwreck in such a pleasant way.

Stories I Wasn’t a Fan Of

The Death of Fate deals with this: “An explosion. Not from outside, but within. The sound of two conflicting thoughts colliding in the distance. Not a physical distance, but a cognitive one.” Right there, I realized we weren’t dealing with physical constructs. As a visual learner, my brain doesn’t understand how to imagine something that has no physical form, like our conscience or cognition as portrayed in The Death of Fate. This doesn’t mean Weyman wrote this wrong, or wrote it terribly, I just didn’t know how to process what was being written.

Same thing happened with Library of Dreams. This was a four-part story that followed Oliver, a boy with powers. Part one was grounded, it was realistic, there were people apart of this. As you follow the story, it starts to float, literally. The characters in part three are floating in mid-air and the disconnect between what started out as very realistic—a father and son suffering normal human trauma linked to the death of a loved one—ended with unrealistic power.

Does this review of these stories mean you won’t like them because I didn’t? Not at all. Your brain may not be as grounded as mine.

Ultimately…

With a collection of stories, not all of them are going to hit home with your reader. Only two didn’t resonate with me, and it was because of my brain, not Weyman’s writing. Because all the rest are five-star stories to me is why Weyman earned this 5-star review. Some stories left me jaw dropped. Others had me clenching the book with anticipation and thrill and fear. Definitely my favorite multi-genre collection thus far. Storytelling like I’ve never read before. Action-packed pages from start to finish. I’ll be recommending this book at every opportunity because readers will not be disappointed spending time with these characters and these stories.

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