With a clamor of bells and the sound of a crackling, burning fire, the tale of Juniper’s Knot unfolds. Juniper’s Knot is a short kinetic novel developed by Dischan Media. For those who don’t know, a kinetic novel is no more then a blend between a graphic novel and a visual novel. It’s an interactive fiction not in giving the reader choices to make, but by the different elements of a kinetic novel that wraps the reader in the world of the narrative.
The novel in itself is an eerie, dark, melancholy story that really tugs at the heartstrings of the reader. The kinetic novel uses a combination of music, sounds, and queer writing along side beautiful visuals for the reader to become entranced in this fictional world. Juniper’s Knot really makes use of its medium and creates a story that the reader can’t escape from; or rather, that the reader doesn’t want to escape from. A kinetic novel is one of the best mediums that can be used for story telling in my opinion. It allows for visuals, a reader can see the characters and setting while listening to diegetic and non-diegetic music that plays in the game. At intense moments while an emotional song plays, the reader can still hear the faint sound of fire that keeps the reader in the world of the characters. The music and sounds encase the reader in this make-believe world. It gives you everything the reader could possible want as it wraps them up in the text. The best part about the medium is that it leaves out the most important part that keeps the reader interactive with the story. That is voice for the characters. The characters don’t have voices, you have to read the text and decide when to move on to the next bit of text. This allows the reader to create tone for characters and allows them to dictate how fast paced or slow the visual novel reads.
The reader starts in an old, run down, abandoned ballroom with one of the two main characters, the demon, or fiend. The character is called demon and fiend throughout the novel and is never given a specific name. The demon is tied to this ballroom, a curse of sorts constraining her to never leave. Within a few minutes of reading the second character enters, a small boy that is probably around the age of twelve to fifteen. He is called ‘boy’ the whole time and is also never given a name. The lack of identity leaves them as these lost, unbound entities while also connecting them to one another. The story Juniper’s Knot creates an emotional tale of loss and loneliness. It’s a story of two characters with hard, fractured pasts that come together and by telling tales and intertwining their stories, learn sympathy and love for one another. What made this story so compelling is how lighthearted it started, and how quickly it spiraled into something much more serious. These broken characters were searching for something to believe in. The fiction changes from the fiend’s point of view to the boys and ends back with the fiends POV. This allows for the reader to get a rounded idea of what really is happening between the two, the reader is absorbed in their troubles and insecurities.
Now, why should you take time to read this? With a book you usually have one main writer and a few editors. However, with a kinetic novel it’s a group of talented people coming together and collaborating to create this new medium to express a story. Its innovative an interactive, adding multiple important themes that enhance the experience for the reader. I think it’s a beautiful story and I highly suggest that you—you reading this right now embark on the emotional journey that I did while reading the narrative. The novel can be found on iPhone+iPad app available on the App Store and the novel is also free to download for Windows, Mac, and Linux versions here. It’s a short hour, maybe two hour read. So please, embark into this kinetic novel, you will not regret it.