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Reviewed by Chris-Jean Clarke for Readers' Favorite
Only If by Ariana R. Cherry opens with Bill, an elderly dishevelled man, ranting to himself in his jail cell. He has been accused and found guilty of the murder of his wife, Clara. Bill, however, won’t accept he is in any way to blame, and over time begins to believe he has been framed by a dark lord, masquerading as his friend. To the courts and prison guards, Bill’s actions on the night of the murder and his behaviour and actions afterwards are a sign that he is mad, but to Bill, it is his situation that is madness and the dark lord, the evil one … not he. Sadly, Bill knows his only hope of escaping the confines of his cell and the madness is to either commit suicide or to find a way to seek vengeance on the dark lord, but that would mean having to eliminate him.
I applaud Ariana R. Cherry for not wasting words as her short sentences throughout Only If cleverly draw the reader into the protagonist’s frame of mind and his wild thoughts, thus adding impact to the poetic verse. Furthermore, I believe the author's use of cantos and powerful images to divide each section, not only help to create the mood but also make Only If an intriguing page-turner. To conclude Bill’s story, Ariana R. Cherry gives us an insight into Clara’s story from beyond the grave as an appetiser to her next book. I found this to be a very intriguing concept. Only If will appeal to many fans, whether they love short stories, stories written in poetic verse or horror stories.