Spoiler Free Summary: The Start of Something Beautiful by Kacey Ezell is the final story in the Four Horsemen anthology, For a Few Credits More. Azah is a Tortantula who never should have survived hatching. Azah is about to bond an infant Flatar (and I just don’t know what that is, I think it’s the Torantula word for human, but I don’t know). But the infant Flatar, Sadek, isn’t at all what Azah expected, but after a close encounter with Azah’s murderous siblings, they start to see each other in a different light.
Character: Azah is proactive enough, but the character isn’t very sympathetic. Part of the issue stems from a short story (though this is the beginning of a novel by Ezell and Mark Wandrey called Weaver). It’s hard to connect with a character in just a portion of a story.
Exposition: This was honestly the best part of the story. I had my issues with this story, but at least the author didn’t try to narrate the problem away. The story moves quickly without forcing the reader to sit through a history and biology lesson.
World building: This story fell way short here for me. It might be that this story relies on the universe and is targeted straight at long-time fans of the universe, but I’m not in that group. I was lost. Sure, I understood the actions of the story, but I don’t have any context and couldn’t begin to tell you much about how this story works.
Dialogue: It wasn’t badly disguised exposition, but it wasn’t very informative either. It wasn’t snappy, and it didn’t really add to the conflict or tension. The characters just sort of talked to each other without any real range or wit.
Description: Honestly, I needed more here. I get that Azah is essentially a giant spider, but that’s literally the only thing that stuck in my mind. Now I’m a guy who actually isn’t a fan of description. But I wasn’t given much at all to work with here. It probably would have been easier to connect with this story and the characters if I felt more like I could see and experience what was going on.
Overall: This story is fun and cute in a lot of ways. It’s just find for a quick read, but there isn’t much power or entertainment value. Even as a first chapter, it felt a little forced. It’s not bad writing at all; it’s just not great writing. Fairly forgettable characters with a plot that seemed rushed. If you like “creature introduction” stories, this is just fine, but this final segment seemed a far drop from the awesomeness of the story before it.