I have been taken to task by other reviewers, and rightly so, for reviewing stories too early. I will not be doing that anymore. I have also been taken to task for giving everything I review a 10 for how much I liked it appeals to me, and story plot; I will continue to do that because if I would be giving a story a C rating, an 8 to my way of thinking, then I did not finish the story. I have no time for a story I am not enthralled with; I need that time for schoolbooks I am not enthralled with. I might give a low score for technical quality. I do resent authors being upset with pedants and grammar junkies (sometimes), grad school has taught me the art of nuanced writing and that is what grammar is for and yes, there are certainly exceptions.
So I come to Sleight of Hand by one of my three favorite authors on SOL...(G. Younger and RoustWriter). First, as aroslav, points out at the end of this iteration of his story, thank you Lazlo Zalezac for creating an interesting universe.
This story appeals to me a lot more today than it might have a few years ago as I now need a cane to get around and my hero days are long gone( and they were not around for very long come to think of it...me being highly allergic to danger or even hints of discomfort). aroslav always thanks his editors/proofreaders, and well he should, from a grammatical perspective this is superb. From a story telling perspective, as one who really, really likes his long stories, this one is pretty damned good. I am not usually much of a short story reader and perhaps because this short story fits so well into a larger universe, it is not without context.
The sex is fun, if not especially sick and disgusting, which is my porn choice (a joke, no hate mail). The story is a combination of fantasy and scifi and manages both aspects well. The reality part of the story is right on. Like with almost all stories on SOL this one, like all scifi and fantasy requires a suspension of disbelief, especially for the sexual combinations, not to mention the primary plot device...oops, I mentioned the primary plot device, naughty boy; maybe I can get Courtney from Living Next Door to Heaven to give me a...use your imagination.
I suggest going to the first story in this series to get context, not required yet a good idea. Go visit Lazlo's page.
I've been a big fan of the Damsels in Distress universe ever since I first stumbled over Laz's original work 'A Portal Doorway to Adventure'. Since then I have read all of Laz's work in the universe and several tales written by other authors on SOL. Some were good and some didn't meet my tastes and some I felt moved away from what Laz had established with his original work.
'Sleight of Hand' by Aroslav is a wonderful example of how to retain the feel and essence of the original work while building upon it and creating something new. The author clung to the fundamentals of what a Hero of Earth should be while showing us that not all heroes are alike. The author also showed us that love is more than just lust and that a hero knows the difference.
Overall Aroslav's story is filled with originality, humour, romance, and well written action. He has added to the DiD universe, but what he has added does not conflict with what Laz originally wrote. I personally loved the 'Dead Cart' that Aroslav added to the story.
The story is well written and it flows. It is short and each chapter builds upon the other. I highly recommend this story to the readers of the DiD universe. It is well worth the time reading it.