Blood in the Wires

by Mejiro

The 'plex is Alice's world - concrete, neon-lights, and a place of bloody and brutal conflict.  While the halls of the fancy might be gilt and polite, the streets are raw and untamed, a place of bloody trades and constant conflict.  Alice is a trader and merchant, eking out a living on the edges, barely enough to survive, or to keep her own demons at bay.  And then, she comes into possession of something she shouldn't, something she doesn't want, and finds herself the prey, hunted across the city.  She must fight to survive, using her old skills to kill those that want her dead, in a desperate struggle to survive.

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The type of sci-fi I want to read

Reviewed at: Chapter 6: Footsteps over Concrete

As a prerequisite, I want to say to everyone reading this that not only did I not find anything (literally) to gripe about in this story, but I'm also the first to review it. Take that. I may give out high rates a lot, but that's because I don't review stories I don't like. This is a story I like, though.

Anyway, this is a dystopian sci-fi that focuses on the high-tech slum and ghetto vibes you see in the movies that never get much attention. It's gritty, it's edgy, it's intense, and I'm all for it.


Style - The story is told in a rare present tense perspective, and it's told exceptionally well. The author's writing style is clearly tailored and comfortable with this style of delivery, and it reads just as well as any good written past tense style. 

The present tense aesthetic really shines when it comes to the descriptions and especially the fight scenes. The wording choices are pitch perfect and give you real time imagery of how one action flows into the next, while also weaving in sensory details to augment the imagery. 

Here's a quote of one of my favorite scenes,

Spoiler :
There’s a sound behind her, and she spins, just in time to catch a glimpse of movement in the shadows. Here, the only light is the distant reflected city-light, enough to throw everything into gritty shadows. She moves on, senses sharp – again, the sound of leather scraping against a wall. And then someone steps out in front of her – barely a moment to react, as they raise a weapon. Her senses surge, and she reacts, sidestepping as something narrowly misses her, and then attacking. First strike to an eye, soft and weak, followed by a second to the throat, flesh yielding to the sharp tenseness of her attacking fingers. They stagger backwards, already gulping in breath to sob, starting to fall, head dropping. Before they hit the ground, Alice grabs them and twists, throwing them behind her, in the path of any attackers.

If this isn't an example of what a smooth fucking fight scene is then I don't know what is. I wish I was able to write like this, and will definitely be following this author's example in scenes for myself in the future. 

Story - Can't really go into details without getting into heavy spoiler territory, but I will reference you to the synopsis, as, the author says in so many words the same thing id basically say in this regard. It is a unique tale of an "on the run" type of story with all of the common elements.

It excels in the aspects of intensity, pacing, logic, and dynamic. I wasn't wanting for anything more when it came to following the plot. 

Grammar - Impeccable. Nothing to say here aside from sometimes I noticed a few extra commas than needed, but I do the same thing. So eh. 

You won't be put off by the writing at all, though. Just look at the spoiler I posted above for the proof that you need.


Characters - By far my favorite aspect of the story is the characters, especially Alice. The way she's portrayed as a street smart badass with something clearly being "off" in her head gives a strong sense of uniqueness. Every time she gets mad, or even irritated, I get the feeling that a caged beast is about to break free until her harness brings her back under control. 

She's like a lioness trapped inside of a body unable to handle her ferocity, and I love it. Her interactions with the rest in the slums, how they know her and fear her, along with other aspects make for an interesting character dynamic. Every encounter is a joy to read and hype, especially when she fights or you hear about her fights (she instantly kicks dudes in the dick if need be and it's savage af).

Side characters like the paranoid fucker are also very well done and believable, and expand on the type of environment you'd expect a web of low life's to inhabit. 

Overall the story was a very enjoyable read so far. Adding it to my list of many stories that I tend to read when I'm out in the field doing nothing IRL.