Dark Perceptions

Mystic's Carnival Collective

Young Adult - Horror
63 Pages
Reviewed on 11/26/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Debra Kristi was born and raised a Southern California girl. She still resides in the sunny state with her husband, two kids, and three schizophrenic cats. As a writer, she loves to dabble in multiple genres where the characters break the rules of normalcy. Unlike her characters, Debra is not immortal and her only super power is letting the dishes and laundry pile up. When not busy drumming away at the keyboard spinning new tales, Debra is hanging out creating priceless memories with her family, geeking out to science fiction and fantasy television, and tossing around movie quotes.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite

My foray into the world of the Mystic Carnival Collective, henceforth known as MCC, introduced me to an authoress of exceptional talent and a story with a magical pulse. With Dark Perceptions, Debra Kristi has written a paranormal/fantasy story that, if I’ve done my research correctly, is the second short story/novelette in a series. This series will eventually include at least two additional authors collaborating on the same premise and using the same characters. Each of the stories revolves around a common fantasy world where characters may cross over from one author to the next. In this case, there was no abrupt cliffhanger ending that often leaves the reader…shall I say, less than a happy camper?

With great skill and pace, Ms. Kristi introduces two main characters, Matt and Sara, and a potential mainstay character in other stories, Sebastian. There is also an array of supporting actors that may or may not appear again, but that doesn’t matter; it really doesn’t. Each of these characters is completely defined and, if one or another should disappear from the rest of the storyline, it’s okay.

I’ve often thought that some prose has a rhythm, similar to poetry or a song lyric. When I mention this, most people raise their eyebrows and lightly tap their index finger against their temple; left or right handed, the message is clear enough. This cadence is subliminal to be sure and as only a few writers can do it, most readers can't "hear" it. I have seldom read the works of a wordsmith with this exceptional touch, but rest assured that Ms. Kristi has obviously “got it" in spades. She has written a beautiful story-song for the ultimate nightmare scenario. I’ve discovered that Ms. Kristi has a second MCC novelette available and I shall have it. I urge you to get on this train as it leaves the station bound for a mystical, carnival world told through an exceptionally well-written story. I haven’t written much about the story, its plot or subplots, because to do so would likely lead to a spoiler, and that would be a grievous mistake. You’ll have to trust me that the story is alluring, but it’s the musical movements, the twists and turns, metaphorical and fantasy attributes of the writing that will take your breath away.

Robert Ahanes

Dark Perception, a mindful and thrilling short story by Debra Kristi, depicts a fascinating yet outrageous and fictitious circus where every clown seems to be a murderer to Sara and Matt, two lovers influenced by drugs on Fourth of July. Sara falls into the wonderland of horror and tension. Elements used in this book remind readers of the story of Alice in Wonderland, an 1865 novel written by English author Lewis Carroll. The author expertly manipulates a heartbreaking reality, playing with the clowns of a fictitious circus in Sara’s mind. Sara runs away from the circus, but she doesn't have anywhere to go. Matt’s fate differs from Sara’s. Ferris wheels, a roller coaster and tattooed evil clowns are the most dominant elements of this breathtaking story. The author sends a clear message to her readers. Everyone’s fate is different; Sara’s from Matt’s and ours from theirs. Can Sara accept this sad and solid reality?

Debra Kristi’s short story, Dark Perception, is a page-turner, fascinating and startling. She symbolizes a circus with wicked clowns to make readers think about the sorrowful yet hopeful way of transference. This book is highly recommended to readers who long for a suspenseful and thoughtful short story, and avid readers of Alice in Wonderland. Kristi takes you to her wonderland of dreams and fate, where the reader can feel what Sara and Matt feel and what their fate brings to them. An unforgettable and mind-blowing experience awaits you in the circus of fate and darkness.

Jack Magnus

Dark Perceptions: A Mystic's Carnival Collective Story is a dark fantasy novelette written by Debra Kristi. Sara and Matt are two college kids who've been dating for about a month. Sara's crazy about Matt but reluctant to get more involved as she's trying to come to grips with her parents' recent announcement that they are getting divorced. Thinking that relaxation might help her cope, she asks Matt to get a joint for them to share, and they're parked under the stars and lying on top of his car as they smoke and watch the star show. Sara's thinking about the long term relationship, but Matt tries to have her think about what they have right then. When another car pulls up, they drive away. Sara is suddenly aware that she has her eyes closed, and there's a musty smell of old popcorn. Her first thoughts are that she's in school and asleep at her desk, but the reality is a lot worse than that.

Debra Kristi's dark, horrific fantasy, Dark Perceptions: A Mystic's Carnival Collective Story is spooky and nightmarish, which is exactly what a horror story should be. There are even clowns, lots of them, when Sara finally opens her eyes. Kristi's writing is spare and elegant, and the quiet time Sara and Matt spend that night is so beautifully conveyed in all its stillness and angst. It makes the nightmarish carnival Sara suddenly finds herself in even more shocking and horrible. I enjoyed watching Sara find herself and come of age as she analyzes her situation as best she can and then springs into action. Her change from a damaged, insecure girl into a strong and determined young woman is marvelous to watch, especially since her situation is so very bizarre and trying. This was my first Mystic's Carnival Collective Story, and I really enjoyed it. Dark Perceptions is highly recommended.