“Victory is worth any cost. Defeat is a coin with no value,” Guang said”
One of my favorite tropes is found family with chaotic vibes, which requires you to be very attached to the characters, and Hayes pulled that off wonderfully here. I loved our mismatched band of morally grey misfits, and I was invested in everything that happened to them. The villains were also well-developed, multi-faceted, and satisfactorily terrifying; they felt like a true threat. This was a very important factor as we spend a lot of page time in battle scenes, and we need to feel there are actual stakes to each fight. The ending felt a bit rushed to me, but that’s not enough to take away from the fun I had with the rest of the story.
I will be recommending this as a semi-finalist for SPFBO8.