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Reviewed by Carine Engelbrecht for Readers' Favorite
Finding metaphors to describe Kyot: The Storybook Puzzle Box by Brian Bennudriti is not too difficult. Lego, Minecraft, stage magicians, and even Boccaccio's Decameron come to mind - even though the stories in this collection number far more than a hundred. But these are far more than a random selection of micro-fictions and vignettes. Pay attention, even though that can be challenging at times. With every word, the author is building the picture of a fast-evolving dystopia where a few lines of code or a tiny twist of DNA can affect millions. Is this an invasion of consciousness or a revolution by design? In a framing story, three bickering sisters are probing the story-waters for clues. To the reader, their roles and identity represent an additional layer of mystery.
The effect that this form of storytelling has on the reader is profound and engaging, although it comes at the risk of experiencing a not so mild case of ADHD. It's a bit like having a swarm of tiny gnats enter your brain en masse and then start firing synapses at will. The fast-paced evolution of experimental biotech reminded me of the brand of cyberpunk William Gibson was famous for. It has a similar feel, but I also liked the hints of a long time and ancient history. What got me was how real each snapshot felt. Even individuals that were little more than bit parts in the greater reality were one hundred percent relatable. But brief as they are, the stories will give you plenty to digest. Therefore, it is recommended that you take your time over Kyot: The Storybook Puzzle Box by Brian Bennudriti. It's worth it.