Edithe Zilonis

a Mystery / Thriller by MadHattersDaughter

Commended by mizal on 7/19/2019 1:25:11 AM

Player Rating6.30/8

"#131 overall, #10 for 2019"
based on 75 ratings since 03/13/2020
played 552 times (finished 30)

Story Difficulty1/8

"no possible way to lose"

Play Length4/8

"A well spent lunch break"

Maturity Level4/8

"need to be accompanied by an adult"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG.

An undertaker meets a dead woman who is more alive than most of the living.

A (mostly) illustrated story involving a very mysterious murder, ghostly romance and spirits possessing --- the dead?

Let's not worry ourselves with the details. This is Blackwood, after all.


UPDATE 11/9/19: Housekeeping and an added Bonus Update Epilogue. All your questions will be answered in time. Enjoy!

UPDATE 3/13/20: New, better art (finally!) The original art looked like it was hastily drawn in twenty minutes as if I was completely over this story by the time for illustrations came. (You all can tell me when my art sucks, sheesh!) Enjoy!

Player Comments

This was an extremely enjoyable game, and possible one of my favourite premises for a game on the site. I knew I was going to love it as soon as I read the synopsis. I love ghost stories and I love murder mysteries, so to see the two combined so well was a real treat!

There isn’t an awful lot negative I can think to say about this game. I suppose one thing that stood out to me is that the fact that, with half of the choices you made, the game then forced you to make the other choice… Which kind of made it feel more like a short story than a game. That said, that’s not really a bad thing. It was a really interesting story, and it grabbed my attention enough that I kept going back to see the brief parts of the story I’d missed out on.

There was only one major, major problem I had with this game, and it gave me a real fucking headache. Towards the end, there’s a whole bunch of sections where none of the speech uses quotation marks, ie;

Bob said, hi Andy, how’s it going?

I replied, great thanks, and you?

Bob said, fine and dandy!

This is just… Wrong. They’re having a conversation. I mean, it’s fine not to use quotations if you’re just giving a brief summary of what they’re saying like, “Bob thanked me,” or “Bob told me about a three hour wanking session he’d had the other night,” but in these instances, what they were saying was actual word for word dialogue. There should be speech marks, damn it!

Only other complaint I can think to make is that the maturity level feels a little low for me. You call this a PG? The game has bloody necrophilia in it… Kind of… Sort of… Not really… Either way, all the murder and shit should at least make it a PG 13.

Other than that… It was brilliant! The illustrations were gorgeous and I really think they added to the game a lot. The plain line art style matched the tone of the game perfectly. I really liked the main character, and thought it was interesting that he preferred the company of the dead to that of the living. I found him really complex and relatable.

Also, weird as it might be, by far my favourite part of the story was the brief part at the beginning where you get to learn a little about one of the Undertaker’s previous clients, and also the part at the end when you learn about the brief time they spent with the Undertaker before moving on. I restarted the game four times so that I could learn everything about all four of them. I just found it really touching, reading about the different ways in which these four completely different people had to come to terms with their death. Kind of makes me want to write a POV story with a ghost as the protagonist.

Anyway, to sum up… Absolutely loved it! ^_^
-- Avery_Moore on 8/28/2019 6:02:41 PM with a score of 0
This is a fantastic spin on the traditional murder mystery with magical and mystical elements woven into the narration in a manner so splendid that I never thought to question them at any point in the story. Because of the way the narration is presented, the protagonist speaking with the dead felt frighteningly natural; I never felt the need to have this strange ability explained to me. Which brings me to my next point, exposition. When dealing with fantastical abilities and events, over-explaining them often makes them lose a certain mysterious charm which in turn causes them to be tedious and boring. This is not the case here. Just enough information about the mystical and occult elements in the story is given to make me wonder and theorize about them thus making them interesting to me, and yet they are not laid bare in front of me so that I might lose interest on account of the mystery being explained to me as if I were a preschooler.
The characters I found to be endearing and quite likeable, particularly the undertaker. The dedication and love he showed for his work, as well as the involvement and receptiveness he continually shows to his charges are quite enjoyable as a reader. Edithe comes out as a strong and determined young woman with a golden heart and a gentle soul, which is always good and welcome. The undertaker’s sister’s brief appearances are also worthy of note, and I personally quite liked the vengeful spirit/regretful estranged sibling character that she represents.
This may not be a traditional CYOA, and as far as I could tell it has only two endings (though I may be wrong), with the various decisions you make along the way mainly dictating what information you received and how. This may sound like a complaint, but it most certainly isn’t. This kind of narration perhaps benefits much more out of having a more or less structured path. The author was clearly trying to tell a specific, concise tale and adding multiple paths and endings in an effort to make it more in line with the norm here would have likely caused the story and its intricacies to suffer as a result.
I did feel that the story ended rather abruptly, with the realization about the murderer’s state of being, the confrontation with him and the actual ending all happening in quick succession. Personally, I would have liked to learn more about the murderer and his motives. Was he Edithe’s father? Why did he kill Edithe and the sister?
In any event, this is a very good story with excellent illustrations that really do a wonderful job of setting the tone for the entire story and conveying both the physical appearance and personality of the characters they describe. All in all, this is a fun and interesting story that everyone should take the time to read from start to finish. Several times, if possible.
-- DarkSpawn on 8/5/2019 1:32:13 AM with a score of 0
Edithe Zilonis is overall a well-done story, and I would happily read another from the same author.

I quite liked the narration style and the occasional pages talking about the past or some other event. It gave the story the feel that it was actually written by the main character and narrator as a memoir of sorts. It also gave it a somewhat different feel from anything I can remember reading on here, which was quite nice.
I felt that there was a right amount of explanation to the fantasy elements to the story to leave me unconfused without bogging down the narration. I would have liked to maybe see a bit more about the whole murder and the motivations for it and such though, considering the category this was in.
There were not any mechanical errors that stood out to me—definitely nothing that broke the flow of the story.
Although not necessary, the illustrations were a nice touch as well.

However, it would have been really nice to have more real choices, I thought. The vast majority of choices had no real effect on the story, and while some like that could have added to the before mentioned memoir feeling, it is too much for every choice to be that way. Most of the choices seemed to only determine whether the reader would get an extra page to read. The format is reminiscent of the CoG style of games in that way.
If you are into that format, then that is fine, and you faggot who reads reviews before stories will like this. However, I am not, and branching means a lot to me.

I recommend this interesting and unique story, but with the warning that it is better considered as a sort of interactive novella than as a CYOA.

-- Cricket on 7/25/2019 4:29:48 PM with a score of 0
OMG So long. Its ok
-- C on 12/20/2020 1:33:22 PM with a score of 0
Beautifully, beautifully done. Loved every minute of this. This is a well-designed story. The setup, the tone, the conclusion are all perfectly arranged and well written.
-- Northwind on 7/30/2020 1:46:23 AM with a score of 0
Pretty well-written and a nice read overall! Some things are a bit ambiguous, but perhaps things are meant to be that way (or are revealed through exploring other choices and the sequels).
-- sdhramen on 7/28/2020 6:54:57 PM with a score of 0
truly an incredible story with a unique plot. i don’t like to read unless it’s really good, but if this was a book, reading it would be the only activity i do for an entire day or two. wow.
-- sarah on 7/25/2020 12:59:22 PM with a score of 0
The Mad Hatter's Daughter has given us a wonderful story with mystery, action, loss and love
-- DerPrussen on 3/10/2020 11:36:36 AM with a score of 0
so intriguing! enjoyable to play!
-- emilykat44 on 2/16/2020 3:40:14 PM with a score of 0
Let me start by saying that the beginning, and most especially the mid-game of this story were phenomenal. Though the start caught my interest, after about 10 minutes of reading, I found myself hooked.

I began to deeply care for the characters, especially Edithe. I was genuinely sad she was dead, and that's not a thought I expected to have in a murder mystery about ghosts. There was some point where the protagonist mentioned he was sorry that Edithe would have to move on to the afterlife, and I found myself growing almost angry. He seemed a bit callous, I thought, towards poor Edithe, who had found herself torn away from her life. I wonder - why was he so insistent that he bring others to the next life? Why not let some of them stay? Why not explain to them why leaving would be in their best interest, instead of forcing them to? Was leaving truly even in their best interest? And why did he refuse to so much as tell Edithe his name, despite all the time they shared together?

I didn't like how sometimes the protagonist would reflect badly on some of the other people he'd helped, either, like Damon Ellsworth. Most of the time, though, I did not think of the protagonist as callous. He seemed to genuinely care for Edithe, and had respect for the dead people he helped to move on. Their relationship was sweet, and honestly felt very meaningful. I could feel the lingering sadness that it was not to be. I do wish he'd focused a little less on describing Edithe's appearance, at times. I also wish that the options where you were nicer to Edithe impacted their romance, and perhaps the ending.

Edithe's character was extremely likable. For a dead person, she was just so lively, so full of spirit. Her fiery energy and humour were a breath of fresh air. (SPOILERS:) There was one line where the protagonist asked her if she wished to go to Heaven, and she answered no, for she did not like the colour white. I thought this was hilarious, and it was also excellent foreshadowing for what was to come.

The writing itself was amazing, too. Everything flowed so well. Though it was written in prose, the language just seemed so poetic. For example, consider the cleverness of this line: "My father had been an undertaker, but could not speak to the dead. My mother could speak to the dead, but had not been an undertaker." Every pause, every word choice seemed to convey the way a real person would think, should we be able to hear their inner monologue. I do not feel simply like I read a story. I feel like I truly became the undertaker. You truly did an amazing job with both the writing style and your characterization.

I was a bit disappointed in the ending of the story. The writing quality never dipped - it was always quite good - but I feel like the mystery was never truly explained. (SPOILERS:) Perhaps I simply didn't fully understand what the writer was trying to convey. But when they catch the murderer, the protagonist remarks that it is him, carrying his own lunch. At first, I thought this was some sort of bizarre time travel twist. Then, I clicked on 'stop the man', and realized the protagonist was simply imagining himself in the murderer's place? I missed this the first time around, and only realized it after re-reading the scene. Then I went back and re-read through the other choice (to warn Edithe), and the protagonist remarks on feeling like he might be trapped in some sort of time loop? That he feels like he met Edithe before? If so, that would be a brilliant twist...but it's never even mentioned again. And if the murderer was Edithe's father, I feel like that's not made clear.

SPOILERS: The part about the undertaker's sister was also quite clever and sweet. I like how you included it in the ending, as well. I have one question, though: how did the sister know about Edithe's murderer? Its mentioned that she died on her way to visit the undertaker, but not that the culprit was the same, nor how she knew exactly where he was.

SPOILERS: I like how your initial choice in the beginning of the story influenced the second-last page on the end. I like the implications that the undertaker's work has stayed with him, for he cares for the people he has worked with.

I also like how there were always two options present at the end of every page, but most of these options either led to an extra scene (before being forced to take the second option), or just completely moving on. I don't mind this, but I wish you'd structured the story so that I would be prompted to read through both choices before moving on. Otherwise, if I made the 'right' choice, I'd have to go back and make the wrong one to read through the extra dialogue. And I did usually do this, because your writing was very good.

Overall, this receives a 6/8 from me. I would rate it a 7 based on writing quality if my comments above were implemented.
-- Reader82 on 1/13/2020 2:41:36 PM with a score of 0
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