Hooked - Chat Stories is a new Android app for reading that promises to solve the problem of stories that are, at least according to the app's description, overly "long" - and which therefore become "boring." Whether or not it solves those problems may become the subject of friendly debate since it is actually quite addictive, but its premise is relatively simple. Tales within the are spun in the form of text message conversations, as though the reader has stumbled across a chat between each of the stories' characters. That concept itself isn't entirely new, as app developer Telepathic points out, but it works. As of this writing, Hooked currently has between 1 million and 5 million installs via the Google Play Store and holds a rating of 4.5 stars out of five from across a total of 59,688 reviews.
According to the application's Google Play Store description, Hooked borrows its storytelling method from the style made popular by Bram Stoker's Dracula. The difference here is that stories are presented as back and forth conversations between characters, while Stoker's work was presented in more of a diary format. The underlying "epistolary" style is pretty close, but Hooked's format may make more sense in the modern age of smartphones and instant, text-based communication. One really interesting thing about the way the stories are told is that messages roll in as the user clicks a "next" button. Because of that, the narrative flows as though the reader is witnessing the conversation in real time, rather than as something that has already happened. For reasons that are probably completely psychological, that definitely serves to add a sharp edge to everything.
As well as providing readers with "gripping, edge-of-your-seat thrillers" that will keep them reading for hours, users can try their hand at writing their own stories. As such, there are new stories added daily to the app. Unfortunately - or perhaps, fortunately - there is a time delay before a user can continue reading after a set number of "text messages." When a user runs out of "hoots," as the app calls them, they must wait 30 minutes before continuing to read. For readers who find themselves unable to put their new phone or tablet down, an in-app purchase removes the time delay.