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Sheryl Lynn Rosenstock Marcus
Author, Illustrator
The Cassendre Decree

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Publish)

Two women, one soul. Cassidy on earth whose life stems from her alter ego, Cassendre, who was born in the afterlife. Amid the broken streets of Brooklyn, New York City and the next world, Cassidy and Cassendre live their adventures involving a deal and a contract, yearning and fulfillment, love and madness.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.50 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: The plot and its underlying true conflict is slow to reveal itself, but is quite compelling when it is clearly exposed to the reader. Much of the book bounces between time periods and locales--including sidesteps to the extra-temporal Eversod. The logistics of the Eversod are somewhat confusing, and the nature of time there and its inhabitants could be better established.

Prose/Style: For the first half of the book, the writing is clear and straightforward, with some song lyrics and poetry integrated throughout. The prose and the dialogue in these sections is unassuming. The later parts of the book become much more experimental until becoming almost entirely poetic in form. This parallels nicely with the revelations of the plot, and does not become confusing or obfuscatory, but rather is fresh and readable.

Originality: While the central conceit bears some resemblance to the love story within Dracula, the story and characters appear to be wholly original, as do the poetry and song lyrics within. The novel also features a number of illustrations by the author, lending a personalized, distinctive quality to the storytelling.

Character Development: The novel's characters take some time to emerge, but their narrative arcs are ultimately gratifying. The art in the book bolsters the characterization of the protagonist, a somewhat tortured graphic artist, while her perceptions of her boyfriend allow him to substantially evolve. The devil analogue is dimensional and becomes critical to the central storyline.

Date Submitted: August 07, 2019

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