Scott Beecham would have been the ideal soldier, if a little bit of bad luck hadn't left him dead before he'd even seen his first battlefield. Unfortunately for him, that was only the beginning of his story.Now he's stuck in a body that's not his own, trying to get back to the life he left behind......
|Number of Pages||:||68 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Kandrel is one of the greatest furry authors in the community. Every story I’ve read from him has been a faptastic experience. Seriously. With each new story, he serves up something new and different. Most content creators are happy to stick themselves to a specific genre and they just stay there. They don’t really take the time to try something new and challenge themselves to do something different.But Kandrel has the balls to always try something different with his writing with each new story. He’s constantly pushing himself to new horizons and genres and themes. And that is why I talk so positively about him all the time.But I did feel that only having his short stories published in anthologies was limiting his skills. Well, he finally got his own solo publication titled Pile.For the most part, as usual, I liked this novella. However, it has this dichotomy thing going for it where the first half is really engaging and interesting, and then the second half shifts tone.The set up for the story is that a soldier, Scott, gets fatally wounded and rebuilt as an animal. HOLD UP. I know this sounds like something that has been overdone to hell, and I admit it has, but hear me out. This is Kandrel we’re talking about. So there’s going to be quite a bit of quality to it.Scott doesn’t just wake up as a furry and it instantly becomes self-insertion and fantasy fulfillment. No, Kandrel actually takes the time to get in-depth with Scott and what it would be like to wake up in a completely different body. Scott has to learn how to speak using a canine muzzle, and how to balance himself on two paw pads, and filter in all the new sensory input from his nose and ears, and so on. And it just really gets into the meat and bones that makes it properly feel like science fiction.And then once the physical obstacles are overcome, Kandrel builds the character even more by introducing emotional trauma. What about his family. Do they know? What about his girlfriend? He’ll never be able to go out in public ever again.I’m serious, Kandrel took the time to flesh out a sympathetic character and illustrates that he isn’t really entirely thankful for this new life. It’s just, it’s beautiful. It brings a tear to my eye.And then we learn that program has been going on for decades. Hell, even the doctor in charge turned herself into a furry. And get this; they work as a special ops team for top secret missions. This is the part of the story where it just sort of goes off.The biggest problem I feel the second half of this novels suffers from is pacing and information overload. We get introduced to so much in a short amount of time, and the reader hardly has any time to process it before we move on to the next piece of information and it’s just HSGOPJDSLH.We get introduced to the furry A-Team, and we hardly get to know them on a personal level, and before you know it, you learn the meaning behind the title of the story, and that is that each night, or when the team comes back from a mission, they all meet in this pit, and just cuddle. No lie, it is pretty much an accurate description of a furpile as featured in that one episode of CSI.Now, to give Kandrel credit, he does attempt to justify this and explain it from a logical stand point. Kandrel goes into this psychological breakdown of how these are people in animal bodies, they still have those primal instincts. They have that herd mentality, if you will. And coming together in a pile like that, it builds up familiarity and reinforces the team spirit and how it is beneficial to group moral and performance. But the problem is that this plot device, this pile, is shoved into the reader’s attention way too fast, and we’re not really eased into it and given time to accept its existence and the purpose of it.And it’s not like Scott is instantly cool with this thing. He freaks out, as he should. He’s still in that I’m human attitude. He’s not comfortable giving in to act more like an animal in that regard. And also, some guy was knocking at his backdoor, and he’s like, but my girlfriend is waiting for me, and then...Okay, I should probably explain. Most of the team are bipedal animals, but one team member is a quadruped cheetah, but the same thing with the rest of the team. A human consciousness in an animal body, but for her, an actual animal.So while some guy is entering Scott from behind, he’s getting frisky with a cheetah in front of him, and… Yeah, he loses it. And that’s what I liked. That’s what separates this story from a thought provoker and not some fantasy fulfillment. Kandrel does take the time to introduce some internal conflict on this, and challenges Scott to consider, what do I do? Am I still human, or an animal? What am I? And I thought that was brilliant.But above the issues I had before, the biggest I have is how fast this conflict gets resolves. It’s like he gets over it in no time. He cools down for a while, comes to terms with some stuff, has sex with the cheetah, and I must admit that was a scene I could not bring myself to read, and, it basically comes down to pacing. Pile could have benefitted to be longer so it could slow down and stretch things out.TL;DRIt starts off great and then it goes kinda ehhhhh. It brings up some great themes about humanity and animals, but it gets lost in the pacing. And if you get easily squicked from quadruped sex, you have been warned. I would say it’s worth reading, but you’re probably never going to pick it up again.
In the first five pages we found Scott has died and he's in a new, furred body and part of some secret organization. If that sentence intrigues you then you might be interested in Pile. "So we get to see what this organization does, Scot's reaction to it, and his trials and tribulations?" Well... almost. Instead of telling you what Pile isn't, I'll first focus on what it is: a story of transition. Going from one life, one idea of identity, to a new one with new rules, no people, and a new purpose. Our primary conflict is Scott adjusting to his new body and the other characters in the same situation. Of what we see of them, the characters are easily realized, with clear and interesting personalities, and good dialogue. The story flows nicely, pulling you along without any parts where you might want to just flip through it in boredom. The story has a clear beginning and end. The book is good based on the what it is.The problem comes in what Pile is not. It's not about anything but Scot's transition; we see nothing of the organization and Scot's role in it in action, we're really only introduced to the other characters, and then it's over. Pile reads more like the first chapter of a gripping military action novel, or the pilot of a TV series, not a stand-alone story. Rather than making me feel as though I want to know more, on the last page I felt abruptly cut off from the rest of the story. It's frustrating to see a situation cut off when things start to get Interesting.There's two instances of sex in Pile, but each one is maybe a page, maybe two. However I will put out a warning here for those who might be squicked (also, spoiler warning): there's sex with a sentient character whose in the body of a four legged animal. Based on the quality, I want to give this four stars. However the abruptness and shortness (and the cost) reduces that score down to 3.5 stars.
I'm a big fan of Kandrel's chocolate-smooth prose, excellent sense of place, likeable characters and snappy dialogue, so I looked forward to Pile and read it almost at once. Although it's more about the inner turmoil of the central character, who has been turned without his permission or knowledge into a superhuman, semihuman creature, than the science behind his transformation, you sense a well thought out universe lurking just beyond the narrative. My main complaint is that the book is so frustratingly short: the scene is set, intriguing characters are introduced, then it's all over in sixty-something pages of biggish print. (OK, OK: I wanted the husky character to have more lines.) But a book that leaves me wanting more is infinitely preferable to one I wish would end. I'd love to see a longer work from Kandrel, whether set in the world of Pile or another one entirely.I loved the stylised, atmospheric cover art by Unciaa, but was less keen on the internet-style gaps between paragraphs used instead of indents.
I agree with a lot of the reviewers that out starts out great then sort of goes too fast. My biggest issue is and I don't know if this is just my copy, but half of the physical pages are the entire story (or seems to be) then it seems like the story starts over. I'm not sure if this is a misprint or if I'm missing something, I didn't read the rest because it seemed like the same thing I just read. If what I did read was it then it would have been great if it was longer, allowing for the second half to not be rushed.