Spoiler Free Summary: In Clover Fields Forever by C. Rose, Clover is looking for money to pay the rent. The problem is she’s a shopaholic narcissist who’s out of money. Lucky for her, Honey, (previously seen briefly in Eye of the Beholder) has some. Unlucky for her, Honey’s had it with her freeloading sister. Clover’s boss is fed up. Her landlord is fed up. She has to find a way to make it on her own.
Character: This story was probably my least favorite in the anthology. Clover’s arc wasn’t bad. In fact, it was expertly written. Where Supernova had a glimpse of hope and a tragic resolution, this story is tragic because of Clover and her actions. It’s not my least favorite because it’s poorly written; it’s my least favorite because it’s an expertly written story of a character who tragically refuses to learn. Some may say that makes it bad, but that’s more a matter of opinion. A lot of readers these days want to see the character evolve, and so they judge a story by whether or not the characters do. Some times people don’t change, and that’s unfortunate. This is a story I’d like to discuss with other authors after reading to evaluate the options and what could have been done. For me, I simply hated (and I’m supposed to) Clover.
Exposition: Strangely, where her exposition is normally a consistent knock on Rose, in this case, the exposition supported the theme. Readers have to see if they buy off on the theme. Those who do will appreciate this story. Those who don’t will not like it.
Worldbuilding: It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed one of these stories (I review stories in the same order I read them). With that in mind, I’d like to mention again how much I enjoy several stories in one setting (or planet). Add to that some clever character appearances, and I’m impressed. Honey’s role is larger here, but the reader can expect things from her because of her role in Beholder.
Dialogue: This might have been a bit forced at times, but it was never too bad. Dialogue and character are linked, and when one doesn’t like the character, he tends to be annoyed by the dialogue as well. There were some spots where the dialogue felt like exposition, but it never lingered or dragged the story down.
Description: This was solid. Rose gave detail on the things I needed to see clearly, but she didn’t beat me to death with specifics that my mind could just as easily fill in. The last few stories got stronger in this area.
Overall: Lest favorite story of the anthology or not, this is still one of the best books I’ve read this year. While my affection for this story was low, my appreciation for the quality of the writing remains as high as ever. This is a good anthology for fans of speculative fiction, especially those who spend time thinking about the vanity in today’s world.
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