Welcome to one of the September 9th stops on the blog tour for Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle by S. L. Jackson! Don’t forget to follow the whole tour over at Silver Dagger Book Tours for other reviews, author guest interviews, guest posts, and a giveaway!
This stop is one of the review stops, so read on for my detailed review of this urban fantasy novella!
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Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle
by S.L. Jackson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 68
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle is a collection of creative stories based on the lives of animals in an urban underworld jungle. The stories are focused around a family of outlaw rabbits who are fixtures in the criminal activities taking place in the jungle while trying to maintain a balanced life and family structure.
Deceit and mistrust lead the rabbits down a dark rabbit hole of revenge and murder. There are no happily-ever-after’s in these stories. Join the Jackson rabbits as they navigate their way through the urban jungle using their Animal Instincts.
My Rating: 3/3.5 Stars (out of 5)
Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle is a collection of short fiction about a cast of animals living lives that mirror the rougher underbelly of human urban centers. Although each little story has an arc and does stand alone as short fiction, they also read and tie-in together like chapters in a larger piece.
First of all, let me say I am thankful for the “prelude” (forward) from the author that tells us readers about the origins of this collection of stories, and how they’re based on creative writing projects from elementary school. Knowing that, I find the childlike tone and quality of the narratives charming, rather than unfinished.
With that said, the author is no longer a fourth-grader and as such has had more time and experience in writing since then even if only academically, so I feel I must point out that some dialogue-heavy scenes suffer from “floating head” disease; once the characters start talking, there’s very little description of what else is happening in the scene. The most important reason I feel that this is a flaw is that we’re dealing with a mixture of animal characters of very different sizes and predator/prey persuasions, but it often feels like everyone is exactly the same size (six leopards fit into a bar frequented by foxes and rabbits?) and sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether the traditionally prey animals are as innately fearful of the traditionally predator animals as they ought to be.
I think this collection has a lot of potential. The characters are bright and intriguing, and the dialogue itself (despite my previous criticism) flows well. My favourite character is Groovy, the fox.
Since each story blends into the next nicely and all the characters are connected, I’d like to see this developed into a longer novel. If the author just wants to leave this as the collection of short stories it is, having now revived his childhood characters, and move on, that’s understandable. If he is at all interested in refining these stories, though, I would urge him to do so. Turning short stories and novellas into full-length novels, even after the shorter work has been published, is certainly not impossible. I own some novels that were once short stories as well as the anthologies they came from, all traditionally published by big name houses. Keep writing!
I will definitely be keeping an eye on new works from S. L. Jackson.
S.L. Jackson, an Urban Fantasy Author, from Inkster, MI, who now resides in metro-Detroit first entered the publishing scene in 2019 with the novella ‘Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle’. He’s an auto worker, a community activist skilled in the art of urban jungle survival, a podcaster, and a former entertainer and entertainment education provider. You can always find him reading, watching, and listening to interviews, helping others achieve their goals, and busying with anything that challenges his creativity. “Writing is my need to escape,” Jackson says.
Even though his first novella ‘Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle’ is considered an Urban Fantasy he prefers not to place himself in a box and stunt the growth of his creativity by limiting himself to one genre. He’s the creator of the hashtag #respecturbanauthors. He’s been nominated for several awards that include Feathered Quill Awards, Ippy/Elit Awards, Top Shelf Magazine Awards, and Top Shelf Book Cover Awards. His podcast “The Connected Experience” is a cultural and lifestyle show.
Jackson is currently working on a comic book and cartoon series for ‘Animal Instincts: The Urban Jungle’. His plans also include more books, awards, and his books placed in libraries across the world.
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