SFINCS Review: The Collector’s Lost Things by Jessica A. McMinn

Today’s review is about THE COLLECTOR’S LOST THINGS by Jessica A. McMinn. It’s a novella that follows a young assassin on his current mission. It brings him back into contact with his childhood friends, for one of whom he harbors feelings. This story is one of recognizing who is important in one’s life.

SFINCS logoThis review is brought to you by my participation in the Speculative Fiction Indie Novella Championship (SFINCS). SFINCS, pronounced “sphinx”, is a yearly competition to recognize, honor, and celebrate the talent and creativity present in the indie community. It’s a sister competition to both SPFBO and SPSFC, and it highlights greatness in the novella format in all areas of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc.). I am part of Team Behind the Musings. You can find out more about us here.

Author: Jessica A. McMinn
Series: None
Age Category: Adult
Publisher: Self-Published
Publish Date: January 22, 2023
Print Length: 75
Purchase: Amazon

Official Synopsis

Blind Those Who See…

Rei-Hai Shaw is a Collector, and he is very good.

At just thirteen years old, Rei became the youngest recruit ever to join the ranks of the Tower, the shadowy organisation that oversees the fulfilment of Whyt’hallen’s darkest requests.

Favoured by the masters but distrusted by his peers, Rei comes to learn the price of his accolades when the Tower demands more than the simple procurement of trinkets.

They want him to steal lives, too.

When his latest missions thrusts him back into the world of his childhood, Rei is painfully reminded of all he left behind—and what he can’t bear to lose again.

My Review

THE COLLECTOR’S LOST THINGS follows Rei as he carries out the orders of the Tower to climb within its ranks. Recruited at thirteen years old, Rei is a prodigy of sorts and is quite good at succeeding at whatever the masters throw his way. But his latest trial takes him back to where he spent his childhood. Memories and emotions surface after several years of survival instinct pushing those experiences into the depths of his mind.

The author paints a grim, cold world where Rei resides at the Tower. The masters who run the organization pluck youngsters from troubled homes or environments and train them in their ways, one of which is assassination. However, while the Tower may have a more stable environment, it certainly isn’t all fun and games.

In Rei’s latest trial, he must assassinate someone in the royal family. Whether known or not to the Tower, Rei has history with the youngest generation of the crown. So I expected Rei to feel more inner turmoil about this assignment, but felt that aspect went unexplored. His assignment brings him back into contact with one of the princes for whom Rei has feelings. Despite his task, Rei contacts the prince and they let each other know how they feel.

This essentially causes Rei to realize what is important to him and to try to make it work despite his unconventional occupation. There is also an allusion to sexual assault, the emotions of which I would have liked to see explored more. But perhaps Rei embraces the stoicism to carry on with life, one day at a time.

At its heart, THE COLLECTOR’S LOST THINGS is about recognizing who matters and working to keep hold of it. The writing is great as are the descriptions, particularly as Rei carries out his mission. While not grimdark, this novella is on the darker side, so readers should take note of any content warnings.

Rating: withheld
Content warnings: sexual abuse of a minor (partially on page & implied), sexual content (partially on page & implied), blood, murder
Reading format: Kindle e-book

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