Novella Review: The Flute Player by Shawn Mihalik

Title: The Flute Player
Author: Shawn Mihalik
Genre: fantasy, novella
Publisher: Asymmetrical Press 
Publication Date: 12 March 2013 
Pages: 67
Rating: 3.5.stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
For nearly ten years, young Oliver has begrudgingly accepted his position as the flute player of the peaceful village of Drommar—a responsibility thrust upon him after the previous flute player, and Oliver’s best friend, drowned in a tragic childhood accident.

Now on the cusp of adulthood, a mysterious young woman enters Oliver’s life, and he begins to question the nature of his world and the importance of his place in it.

My Review:

In the village of Drommar, the Flute Player is a position of honour and prestige. Every morning and evening, the player inspires, motivates and soothes the villagers with his tunes. But it’s not a position Oliver wanted. When his childhood friend died in a tragic accident, Oliver inherited the role and the flute. Shut out from the world by his father, Oliver spends his days trying to write new tunes for the villagers. But devoid of stimulus, Oliver lacks the motivation and inspiration to write. After discovering there’s more to the world than just sheet music and the flute, Oliver thrives and finds so much more to life. There’s a girl, Alexandria – a stranger from another land that only he can see. But things are not right and Oliver needs to find out what’s meant to be and what isn’t before it’s too late for Alexandria.

This short story is a very interesting read. I found it a little uncomfortable to begin with. There are some sentences that go for over a hundred words broken up with a series of commas. But as I got into the story, Mihalik’s style of writing grew on me and only added to the fantastical nature of Oliver’s story. The simplicity of village life nicely contrasted with Alexandria’s modern (or at least modern compared to Oliver’s standards) way of living and I liked how they interacted with each other. Both isolated in the world and yet – though each other – not alone.

Mihalik has crafted a great story with a different style and vibe to most. Despite it’s length, The Flute Player still manages to give some twists and delivers beautiful imagery. To sum it up in one sentence – The Flute Player is a  quick read with a great journey.

P.S. – how great is the cover!

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