I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
Even knowing this story was written by JCP and was therefore probably good, I still hesitated to buy it. Several reviews stated that it was too short. Since that's a common complaint I have about short stories and novellas, it was a good bet I'd feel the same. Still, when a sale came around, I bought it.
While it was certainly as readable as everything else by JCP that I've tried, it really was too short. I got a brief look at the story's world, I got to know Hal a little, and I got to meet Micha and get the barest hint of what he was like, assuming he was telling the truth. Then it was over.
The best parts of the story were the world it was set in, the moments when Hal got to use his gift, and Hal's “voice.” Every character had their own gift, and I enjoyed getting to find out what it was. I loved that Hal didn't just tell doors to open – he had to convince them to open. Every door he touched had a personality of its own, suited to whatever it was part of. Hal's car door was protective of him and didn't like to open for anyone else. The door at a sewing factory had a strong work ethic and wasn't inclined to open without a key. In some ways, Hal reminded me a little of that door. He just wanted to do his job, with a minimum of fuss.
The weakest parts of the story were Micha and the attempt at romance, or at least attraction, between him and Hal. Micha was gorgeous, but I didn't feel like I got to know him enough for him to be anything more than that. I couldn't even get a sense of whether he and Hal could manage to last for more than a few days as a couple. There were indications that, unlike Micha's past lovers, Hal might like him for more than just sex. Unfortunately, the story was too short to really convince me of that.
I thought this was an interesting take on the Rapunzel story, although I snorted a bit when I found out what the “talismans” were. Would a guy like Hal really have called those things talismans? Anyway, although this was an okay story, it's the weakest of JCP's works I've read so far.
(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)