Monday, October 12, 2015

Review: The Byte of Betrayal by Ashavan Doyon

Reviewed by SinChan
The Byte of Betrayal by Ashavan Doyon
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 73pgs
3.5 Pants Off

Caleb McDonnell lives his life online. A thirty-year-old fast food worker, he spends his time talking in an Internet world where his job and living conditions can't dictate his friendships. He's found acceptance, friendship, and even romance. But when an online friend is revealed as a fake, Caleb loses all sense of trust. To stave off the emotional collapse of his betrayal, Caleb leaves his online life behind and retreats into the monotony of his job.

Nicodemus Rokos feels like his heart has been torn out. He knew Caleb would be hurt, but he'd hoped not to be shut out of his boyfriend's life. He can only hope Caleb still feels something when he shows up in person to reclaim what he's lost.

Caleb has a crush on Nic but he doesn't have the courage to tell him so he tells his online best friend, Kevin. He also can't afford a trip to visit Nic since he's so poor, he's eating Ramen noodles and stale bread. He's living his life online and having online friends. A thousand miles away, Nic wants to be Caleb's boyfriend and discovers Kevin is a fake. Nic tells Caleb the truth but he can't accept it.

Caleb is getting depressive and reliant on his online relationships to feel a connection. When he discovers his best friend (online) is a fake person, he spirals into depression. He's background is really sad. He used to live on the streets so he's proud to have a home even though its a crappy one. Not many people understand how reliant he is on online relationships/friendships. He thinks real people on the street are impersonal and trusts his online best friend, Kevin. It turns out that Kevin is really Tami, who's a boring and mousy character that wants people to talk to her and gets addicted to using a fake persona. My heart goes out to him and hope he trusts people again with Nic's help.

Nic is the nice guy and the perfect hero for Caleb. However, his home situation is weird. He's financially supporting his friend and her child. His friend becomes reliant on him and tries to break up his relationship so Nic will never leave her. They are not husband and wife but they give off a very domestic feel. It would be difficult to add Caleb into the mix.

The online chat format may take a little to get used to. The ending of Nic coming to rescue Caleb and his recovery is rushed. Overall though, the story ends with a HEA and at a very hopeful note. Fans of the hurt/comfort trope would enjoy this story.

3.5 Pants Off

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