(A) The big change here is that Alona is dead. On top of that, her death is a beginning, rather than an end. The emotions I pick up on that are a result of this change are acceptance (she’s dead, and she’s getting on with it) and connectedness (even though she still sees the physical world, she is now detached from it). It’s tempting to say the fear being activated is extinction, and that may be true for the reader, but I don’t see it as a fear for the character–she’s dead, but she still exists. To me, the fear is separation from the physical world. The core need I think the opening addresses is significance-where does she belong now that she’s dead? What draws me to this opening is the irreverent tone. I also think the first line is great, and what I really like about it is that the author resists the urge to finish the thought: Dying should have been the worst moment of my life, but it wasn’t. I think the fact that it’s left unsaid allows it to linger with the reader.
Yeppers, Alona’s death IS a new beginning, rather than an end. Now, perhaps one might expect that in faith-based fiction or in vampire fiction, but this is neither. This is YA. Alona is definitely dead, definitely trying to get on with it, but she’s going to fail and flail because she WAS “the popular girl” in the high school and now she’s… nothing. She doesn’t fear death. She fears–as the story unfolds–she’s no longer the prom queen. It’s an adjusting to the New Normal (as we all are lately, eh?). And she does NOT adjust well. 😉
And, yes, I love that Stacey Kade doesn’t finish that opening quote and TELL why dying isn’t the worst moment. No explanation = must keep reading to find out WHY.
What I like best about this opening is the writing style, which is direct. I also appreciate the way the writer builds up the anticipation for what Sam (and the reader) know he will find. And the fact that he finds what he thinks he’s going to find provides a little mental fix for the reader. The author delivers on her promise.
Brockmann is a superb wordsmith. She’s also the queen of Deep Third (for you inmates from my previous class). In this opener, she gives just enough gruesome stuff to keep you reading without–at the very beginning–grossing you out. But it’s also–as I pointed out in my deep third class–from the MC’s POV. He has law enforcement training. He knows what the flies and maggots and smell portend.
//Interstellar Adventure Infused with Romance//