Story Title: ‘Young Blood’ by Jordan Taylor.
Collection/Anthology?: Available as a stand-alone story. Details from the author’s website.
Briefly: It’s the eve before a historic battle, and a young soldier writes a letter in the fading light of a candle.
Afterthoughts: Young Blood is a stand-alone short story published by emerging writer Jordan Taylor, which tells the tale of an underage boy and two friends, who manage to blag their way into the trenches of the Somme during World War One.
Overall, Taylor has produced a readable little story. It’s clearly written for a younger audience – typically under-15s I’d say – and it’s very well suited to this age group. The author has not only managed to capture something of the brutality of the First World War – which should be remembered by all, of course – but also the changing mood that occurs during the course of a long and brutal conflict, where the ‘shininess’ of war wears off and becomes tarnished.
I would say in all honesty that the prose could do with a little polishing up (the odd sentence reworked, some punctuation tightened etc.), but as a short story it’s almost there. That said, I would have liked to have seen something a little more unique in Young Blood. Taylor has clearly worked historical fact into fiction, and she’s effective in doing so, but she’s ended up with something that feels quite generic; a story that’s more or less been told a thousand times. Better if she had researched more widely, and uncovered something a little more unusual but as equally affecting, to turn into fiction.
Do I think that Young Blood is worth the price of its cheap download? Well, if you’re looking to keep your young teen happy on a short car trip, then absolutely. I’d also say that the story is ideal for the high school student who has yet to be introduced to horrors of the First World War. I think it’s the kind of story that would serve well as a dramatic yet sobering opening introduction.
You can find out more about Jordan Taylor and the fiction she writes at her website. From there you can also find the links to purchase and download her stories.