Reader Review: Silently in The Night – Clayton Graham
Silently in The Night: ★★★
When I firstly received an email inquiring as to whether I’d be interested to review this book, I admit that I was rather wary of taking it on. This is not due to the book not sounding appealing but, more so, due to the fact that I personally don’t have all that much interest in short stories. When I get involved in a story, I like to be able to take time to immerse myself and get lost in the narrative as the world, the story, and the characters develop around me. Therefore, I didn’t know how good I would be at judging a collection of shorts as I don’t have much experience with it. Though I accepted the request as somewhat of a challenge to myself and I’m glad I did as the collection made for an easy, fun read which was better than expected.
‘Silently In The Night’ is a collection of short stories which explore the science fiction and mystery genres. Some are thrilling, some are upsetting, and some are just downright weird, but all have a tone that captures the reader’s attention and makes them want to continue reading more. Get to know the various characters in the short few moments you have them and experience their tales for yourself – the stories truly do leave you wondering where the book is going to go next and how it can further be expanded.
All of my reviews up until this point have been completed in reference to full-length novels or series’ because those are the types of books that I much prefer as a reader. Evidently, though, I can’t approach this review in quite the same way because that just wouldn’t work, though there were a lot of different elements of the book overall that I enjoyed and made comments on as I was reading through the various stories.
Firstly, I found that I immediately liked the length of the stories. I found that the stories weren’t too drawn out – they didn’t lag and lose the reader’s attention, but they weren’t too short to come to an end before the audience can really get immersed. As a collection of short stories, I liked that they were just that – short, but not always sweet. The pacing of the book flowed smoothly and, despite the obvious major differences between the stories themselves, the continuation of the book didn’t feel ‘jarring’. What I mean by this is that, even with the stories changing, the reader doesn’t feel themselves losing interest as one story comes to an end and the next begins. It effectively maintains a rather captivating tone, though does so with a relaxed pace that doesn’t feel rushed in any sense.
Further on from this, the changes in the story narratives are endlessly refreshing. It’s nice to experience stories with different plots and completely different premises because it keeps the audience guessing and ensures that the book remains unpredictable – which is sometimes exactly what you need to experience. I found that the plots showcased throughout the various stories are also original and interesting because they hadn’t been done previously. At no point did I feel like I was reading a repetition of another story or a regurgitation of another trope.
The stories are short, as I’ve already mentioned, but most of them feel developed enough for the audience to fully enjoy the story for what it is. At various points throughout reading, I thought that some of the stories had quite a bit of potential to be developed and expanded on further and worked into longer narratives, but nothing’s perfect. Though, generally, this wasn’t a big issue. I found that the stories were nicely constructed and the characters also had personality and depth, even though they were very short-lived.
Since the book overall does well to maintain attention and flows easily, it’s a very simple and pleasant read that, despite having unpredictable narratives and plot points, doesn’t throw the reader for a loop at any point. I would say that some of the stories do take you off guard, and that’s great, but none of them shocked me personally and I didn’t find myself all that taken aback.
As an additional note, my favourite story out of the bunch was ‘The Sixty Minute Warning’. The premise isn’t exactly original – it’s been done before, many times, in many similar contexts, but it’s still a fun concept to think about and read. I didn’t think it was the best story of them all, but it was my personal favourite.
Thank you for reading this short review and I’ll write you later.
If you’re a fan of short story collections which are going to keep you wondering what’s upcoming next, then give this book a look because it really does do the job well.
If you don’t know much about short stories and don’t know if you’d like them as a reader, then give this book a try – you might even be surprised at how fun they can be.