There are so many things I love about Unlocked I don’t know where to start.
1. Pricing – Unlocked is selling (as of this writing) for 99 cents. That’s the magical marketing price of “pocket change”. Unlocked is certainly up there with Mary Balogh’s A Matter of Class, which (as you may recall) was priced at $16 USD. So, practically free. In fact I already gifted a few copies of Unlocked myself.
2. Marketing – Milan is self publishing a novella set in the world of an ongoing series as a placeholder between the books. What could possibly make waiting for an anticipated book better? It’s like the Pixar short being shown on demand instead of right before the feature.
3. Names – In Unlocked we meet Evan and Elaine. Lady Elaine. Can we all have a Mr. Roger’s moment please? Not since finding out Simple Kid’s real name is Keiran McFeely and getting my Cap’n Kangaroo flashback on have I smiled so much at a character’s introduction. Ok, her last name isn’t Fairchilde but she has time.
4. Concept – Evan met Elaine when he was young and stupid and immature. In other words, in his late teens / early twenties. Their initial relationship is that of bully and victim, and like many in that situation Evan has moved past his actions while Elaine has lived with them. When Evan returns to England and discovers what his impulsive cruelty cost her he is ashamed enough to try and repair the damage. Elaine may have been victimized but she’s not exactly a victim. Her coping mechanisms may be outdated but they’re clever enough. Elaine has learned to stop internalizing the cruel words of others. She’s not ready to forgive Evan, she’s not even ready to believe him, but neither does she feel the need to please him. Both have to examine the part they played in their past. (But mostly Evan)
5. General Awesomeness – Unlocked was just a great read. Ultimately all that matters is the story, was there a good one, did I enjoy it, will I remember it? Yes, yes and yes. Any point I might argue about Unlocked would come down to wanting more. If it was in an anthology I’d feel sorry for the other stories, frankly.