The only thing that really makes this story fall under the short story genre is the word count. A Cheerful Smoke for the Dead is not a concise story concept. With a barrage of characters, magic and motives, this story was clearly created to be a teaser for a to-be-released novel that the author mentions at the conclusion in lieu of a "the end."
I was a little overwhelmed by all the information presented right off the bat. Just as soon as you start to figure out what the heck is going on with Nathaiu the story ends. I confess I felt slightly disappointed in the fact that the whole thing felt like a "beginning" rather than a more complete beginning, middle and end.
But this story is not at all badly written. Leighton creates a sort of high-fantasy feeling vampire world. Though his interpretation of the classic myth is much more rugged and bloody than the current sparkly heart-throb fad. I could definitely see his story appealing to both the fantasy and vampire obsessed crowds.
Reviewed by Alain Gomez
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