by Jack Croxall, published on Amazon Kindle store.
Goodreads synopsis: ‘I spend all of my daylight hours in this musty old cellar now. It’s woeful, and I bet it smelled this bad even before everything turned to crap. Great. My second sentence and I’ve already resorted to swear words. When I decided I’d start this diary (five minutes ago) I thought it would be my poetic and deeply-moving goodbye to the world. Maybe I’d write about love and loss, or maybe even the splendour of nature. Then, if anyone ever found it, at least I’d have left something to be remembered by. As well as my corpse, of course.
This was a bad idea.’
Fifteen-year-old X thinks she is going to die. Shacked up in the cellar of an old farmhouse, she starts a journal to document her last few days. Much less than a few days if the things outside manage to get in.
X is a best-selling short story from Jack Croxall, author of Tethers.
My Review: Just… Wow. I really was not expecting that from a story less than thirty pages. Quite honestly, this is probably one of the most original and heartbreaking dystopia stories that I’ve ever read. And Jack Croxall pulled it off in such a short space. How?!
Firstly, the writing style. It was so raw and powerful. I felt like I was sitting in this destroyed world, reading the diary of the mysterious X. The whole story has this air of mystery to it, really. Nothing is quite explained fully. Not X’s real name; not the monsters that have invaded. She just calls them Uglies, and the rest was pretty much up to my imagination… It’s absolutely brilliant!
X is such a believable character. She has such a unique voice, as you can probably tell from the extract above in the synopsis: I just loved reading this. The whole thing is laid out as a diary, with some long, reminiscent entries, and some short and hard hitting ones, too. I may not have even found out her real name, but I felt like I’d known X for a lot more that twenty eight pages! I understood her… and she even seemed to remind me a little of Cassie from The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. She had that instinct for survival, that personality that stands out. I just loved reading about her! Also, she elaborated on her family a little toward the ending of the book. And oh, my, goodness. Honestly, it is so heartbreakingly sad. The history of her sister was told in such a powerful way it’s hard to read it once! I found myself reading that tiny but powerful paragraph, going “NO.” out loud, then reading it a good few times over. Just… wow.
The concept is much like a zombie apocalypse, though with these “Uglies”. It was all very mysterious and eerie. Read this alone, and you’ll find yourself checking over your shoulder every now and then! I felt like this world was illustrated perfectly within thirty pages. It was a really amazing read. However, if Jack does write more (and I have heard rumors!!!) I will most definitely be reading them!
Overall, X was a truly breathtaking story- and I was most certainly not expecting any of it. The concept was original, and a really stunning dystopia story that can be read (and loved, of course) in one short sitting. I was totally blown away! I loved the character narrating so much, and her diary entries were just so real. There’s something really captivating about X that left me wanting for more… though I think it was perfect as a short thirty page story. Recommended to all Sci Fi and Dystopia fans!
Also, check out this amazing interview. I loved it 🙂 http://sharonsant.com/2013/09/09/who-is-x-jack-croxall-spills-the-beans-maybe/
I purchased a copy of X from the Amazon Kindle Store.