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Warning This fiction contains:
  • Traumatising content

Touch is a story about a boy named James, and his friends: a group of young, superpowered people brought together by trauma; all trying, in their own ways, to come to terms with what that trauma means to them and who they want to be in response to it. This is a learning process, and mistakes are made, but they grow, learn, and adapt to these difficulties in ways that some might say only young people can.

While it may look it at first, this is not intended as a sad story, merely an honest one. I wanted to make the characters human, and unfortunately, that means that difficulties hit them in very real ways through the story, but then again, they have some equally human moments of warmth between one another as they grow.

Triggers: Explores the aftereffects and recovery process of sexual abuse, and some other forms of physical abuse. I like to think I avoided making it edgy, but you deserve to be informed. Some readers have told me that it can feel a bit too real at times. A bit too honest.

If you like what you read, feel free to comment or review. I like the feedback. Or you can vote for Touch on TopWebFiction.

Touch also now has both a Discord and a Patreon!

Updates weekly.

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Prologue: David. ago
Mistakes: 1.1 ago
Mistakes: 1.2 ago
Mistakes: 1.3 ago
Mistakes: 1.4 ago
Mistakes: 1.5 ago
Mistakes: 1.6 ago
Mistakes: 1.7 ago
Mistakes: 1.8 ago
Interlude 1 ago
Catharsis: 2.1 ago
Catharsis: 2.2 ago
Catharsis: 2.3 ago
Catharsis: 2.4 ago
Catharsis: 2.5 ago
Catharsis: 2.6 ago
Catharsis: 2.7 ago
Catharsis: 2.8 ago
Catharsis: 2.9 ago
Catharsis: 2.10 ago
Catharsis: 2.11 ago
Catharsis: 2.12 ago
Bonus chapter one, Bex ago
Interlude 2 ago
Escapism: 3.1 ago
Escapism: 3.2 ago
Bonus chapter two, Tuva. ago
Escapism: 3.3 ago
Escapism: 3.4 ago
Escapism: 3.5 ago
Escapism: 3.6 ago
Escapism: 3.7 ago
Escapism: 3.8 ago
Escapism: 3.9 ago
Escapism: 3.10 ago
Escapism: 3.11 ago
Escapism: 3.12 ago
Escapism: 3.13 ago
Escapism: 3.14 ago
Bonus chapter: Ray Sullivan. ago
Interlude 3 ago
Dissonance: 4.1 ago
Dissonance: 4.2 ago
Dissonance: 4.3 ago
Dissonance: 4.4 ago
Dissonance: 4.5 ago
Bonus Chapter: Doctor Sharpe ago
Dissonance: 4.6 ago
Dissonance: 4.7 ago
Dissonance: 4.8 ago
Dissonance: 4.9 ago
Dissonance: 4.10 ago
Dissonance: 4.11 ago
Dissonance: 4.12 ago
Interlude: Lee. ago
Aid: 5.1 ago
Aid: 5.2 ago
Bonus Chapter: Natalie Sharpe ago
Aid: 5.3 ago
Aid: 5.4 ago
Aid: 5.5 ago
Aid: 5.6 ago
Aid: 5.7 ago
Aid: 5.8 ago
Aid: 5.9 ago
Aid: 5.10 ago
Aid: 5.11 ago
Aid: 5.12 ago
Reviews

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l nimbus
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A story to "Touch" your soul.

Anger. Fear. Happines. Excitement. Desperation. Europhia. Disgust. Awe. 

 

All the emotions i felt while reading Touch, broken down to eight words. And they can't even begin to express how much i loved this read. How much the characters matter to me. How real they feel. How...amazing this story is. 

I'm not going to blab on too much here, just get down to the nity gritty. 

 

Story:

Touch tells the story on three young adults in the modern day world with superpowers. Seen this before? Well, think again. There are no superheros or supervillians here, at all. Powers are hidden from the world, any evidence of their passing carefully written over by the well aware governments of the world. 

 

These powers are only manifest through trauma and stress, meaning that more often than not, those that recieve them are not the friendliest of people. james, our primary MC, recieves his after being raped. Sounds disurbing? Well, it damn well should be. Rhytmn doesn't gloss any details over, realistically portraying Trauma and it's effects on the human psyche. I won't go and spoil the other characters, but all of them have had horrible things happen to them in the past, and this makes them so much more interesting then many of the blatantly fake 'revenge MC's" you see by the dozen on RRL. This isn't some event that happened and turns the MC into a ruthless killing machine, this is horrors happening to children, events that scar them for life. 

 

This might turn off somereaders who want generic power creep MCs or glorify this, but i appluad Rhythm for the the way they portrayed this. RRL needs more stories that research this sort of stuff as much as you do. 

 

Style: 

Lets be honest. I like Rhytm's style and have absolutley no critique for it. The dialogue is presented well, the action flows much better than most stories i've read and the plot moves at just the right pace. Everything just clicked for me when reading this. A story, no matter how epic or emotional it might seem, is nothing without a good writer to convey it, and Rhythm doesn that beautifully. 

 

Grammar:

 

Again, the grammar in Touch is FLAWLESS. Nuff said. Either Rhythm is the God of Grammar or it has an entire editing team on standby. Don't know which one is sacrier to me. 

 

 

Characters: ( WIP Will expand this later. )

 

I'm not going to mince words, Touch's cast is amazing. Small at first, but steadily growing. Spread out and varied, it's downrigh amazing. 

10/10

 

Conclusion:

 

 

 A challenging read, one that constantly asks you if you have the balls to turn the page, or just run back to your normal weebo reads. But is it worth it? Five hundred pages in, and i say YES. 

Touch was worth every page, every minute i spent reading it. And i WILL be back for more. 

Minutiae Idiosyncrasy
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This story is the best on RoyalRoadl. The realistic reactions and emotions, are of a far higher quality than any others on here, and even the works of formally published authors. I cannot wait for more, my favourite character as of now is most definitely Tasha...She is, seemingly the muse for all displays of sassiness, crude-but-lovable and lighthearted even in the worst of situation characters. Her issues are...different than the others, but no less serious...though how well she's handling her living situation leads me to believe there is another issue that caused her powers to awaken. if that is true, my heart will undoubtly shatter into nonillions of pieces. This story is wonderful, and I hope you the best Rythminthemind.

Moist Nugget
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It's weird that this story is here in RRL, it really shouldn't be. The quality of this story goes far beyond anything posted on the site (apart from the top 5). So If you're looking for a legit book about the lives of people with superpowers (with the nitty gritty details, no gary sues showcasing 100% positivity and good) then this is the novel for you. Everything seems to have been planned for and is interconnected. The characters have depth and we might actually got some sort of plot later on. Thnx for the read, Author.

Killua Lawliet
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The stuff the characters are going through are real life things that actually happen and despite this being fiction what with the superpowers they have actual responses a'real' person would have the plot is great and the writing amazing not to mention that the characters themselves are well developed with plenty of though put into them

Magicwafflez
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Best modern magic story I've read in a long time~

in a lot of stories, I'll gravitate to one character and be frustrated when the pov changes... 
but in this novel, I've actually found every single character compelling in some way~
they all seem to be like actual people, instead of just caricatures of evil/good to further a plot~  

Although this story has a lot of mature themes, it isn't gratuitous and doesn't continually step on the main characters in order to invoke pitty. it starts off with tramatic events, and they are handled really well, but the plot also has many magical/vigilante arcs which are really fun~ It also holds a lot more tension than usual because, unlike other stories, the main characters can and do fail.

The logistics of this world are very well done too. Unlike most modern magic/superhero stories, there isn't the darker undertone of someone inexplicably going out of their way to make characters' lives terrible for no apparent reason. Motivations and plot points make sense for the characters and nearly all of them are redeemable and sympathetic. and those that aren't, at least think they are.

Overall, the story is very exciting and is easily one of my favorite novels on this site~

Lonesome Mariner
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First things first, Touch is not a story for everyone. It handles its subjects tactfully, but even so, this is a story which is fundamentally about troubled children and painful emotion. I don't see that going away.

I'll be honest and state straight out that this isn't my kind of story. It's a bit of a slow trek, with prolonged descriptions of the minutea of emotions and motives of its characters. That's not necessarily a bad or a good thing, but it is something to be aware of if you're looking for a quicker story. Heavy detail and a slow(ish, but measured) pace seems to be the writer's style.

That said, what it does, it does well. The writing is very technically solid. The characters and dialogue are genuine, even in their awkwardness. Nothing is 'prettied up' for the sake of the reader. There was a brief conversation between a husband and wife which made me cringe, until I realized it was an honest representation of a real pair of cringe-worthy parents. Touch can definitely boast of very genuine and 3-dimensional characters, all of which are easy to empathize with.

The writer begins early laying the framework for larger plotlines later, and there are enough glimpses of strangeness to keep intrigue high from start straight on through. There are strange and interesting things going on in Touch's otherwise seemingly normal world of car rides, schoolyards, and bedrooms.

STRENGTHS: Well written from a technical standpoint. The pacing is slow, but consistent, and it handles many perspective changes smoothly. From the first chapter, the plot leads towards interesting reveals, and the writer knows how to sprinkle questions and answers both to keep that rolling with a good pace of escalation. If this is your genre, it's quality writing and story-telling.

WEAKNESSES: Even taking the slow pace into account, scenes can linger for too long on occasion. Excessive detail can be given in explanation where hints or implications might carry more weight. This does get better as the story progresses, though.

CONCLUSION: Touch is an emotional drama set against a backdrop of super-human powers and mystery. It's very difficult to ascribe strengths and weaknesses to it because of how strongly preference factors into enjoyment. The story is slow going, the descriptions long and detailed, the content fairly unsettling. But the characters have soul, and the mystery is definitely there. For some people, that may be exactly what they're looking for. But for others, perhaps not their style.

If you're looking for quick action or grand adventure, this isn't the place. But if you're looking for honest, emotionally driven drama with a healthy splash of intrigue and strange powers, give Touch a look.

Rhodeworks
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Touch is very solid serial and one of the better you'll find on RRL. The writing is solid, easily some of the higher on this site. There are some minor issues with style (fairly frequent usage of ‘the boy [said]’ or ‘the girl [said]’, which can feel very alienating and dehumanizing) but the flow is generally good. It is slow but it doesn’t feel like it is dragging.

The children feel like children. Perhaps not perfectly, there are times where they slip into sounding a bit too much like adults, but better than I expected. I won’t lie—when I read the info on this page, I was initially fairly hesitant. But Rhythm does quite well with them, so, props are in order.

I did not note many grammar or spelling issues but there are more of the former than the latter (minor things like capitalization, rogue quotation marks mostly). There are some minor things I’d do differently, typically to render over-complexity down to simplicity, turn some big meandering paragraphs into multiple smaller ones, but it didn’t take me out of the reading.

One thing I think Touch does really well is how the chapters begin and end. Personally, I rate this as one of the more important parts of writing: strong endings and strong beginnings, both in general and chapter-by-chapter.

I feel the perspective changes mid-chapter aren’t ideal, particularly when they happen more than once. This is pretty subjective, however. Similarly, I thought especially that the Name: headers for each change were unnecessary.

Beyond that, if there’s one thing that stuck out to me as an issue, is that I don’t feel like I had a good idea of the world. I feel like, as a reader, I don’t know what the average person knows and that my expectations are somehow in a state of total flux but constantly being pulled out from under me.

All in all, Touch surprised me. That’s what I remember most about it, how it surprised me with its quality and how it handled its subject matter with care.

I recommend Touch, if you can handle the subject matter.

Cogcro
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Totally different from anything you will find on RRL. Interesting take on heros and their dark origins story. Forsure would recommend this story to anyone that enjoys good characters and are okay with dark topics. 

Elliot Moors
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I enjoyed the story overall. It was definitely a slow start, but the later chapters were more intriguing once the plot got rolling. I like the author's exploration of superpowers in ordinary people, and a lot of the minor details about the inner workings of the powers made my nerdy side giddy. I like Tasha so far. I think she's a well fleshed-out character with fun dialogue and a lot of agency. The rest I don't connect with so much. It seems like a lot of them mill around without much direction to them. Some of the prose was a bit hard to read. Especially the fight scenes made my head spin. I'd say it's still pretty good in terms of web fiction, I've seen far worse out there. Some of the dialogue made me wince, but there were some really sweet lines in there, also. Overall, good job. Thanks for a nice read, Rhythm. I'll be looking to pick this back up once you've updated with a few more chapters.

Arcturus
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Quality Characterization

On Touch
 
So Touch is a relatively unknown webnovel (to a shocking degree) despite it being one of the best webnovels out there.  It has only 190 followers on Royalroad. It's also probably in my top 10-15 webnovels.  I will admit, it doesn't update with the most frequency, with it updating on average once every 8.7 days or so, and with only 51 chapters thus far.  To exacerbate the problem, the chapters aren't extremely long either (~2.5k words or so), so there isn't the most content, but what there is, is of immense quality.  As a warning, Touch does not shy away at all from examining dark and traumatic topics, particularly involving child abuse.
 
A couple of quick definitions for my reviews: Coherence and Consistency are important elements for novels.  For me they have these meanings:
Coherence: This is an external examination that things make logical sense.  For example: it makes logical sense to an outside observer that this country has developed into a powerful industrial nation, due to its advantage in natural resources and technology.  Or: The characters are running into the swamp and are thus forced to slow down due to the difficult terrain.  The events in the setting, plot and character progression make logical sense to a reader who otherwise knows nothing about the novel. 
Coherent=what is said makes sense.
 
Consistency:  This is an internal examination to make sure that everything makes sense.  For example:  The character is known to be childish and suddenly does something extremely mature and out-of-character with no development.  Or: the countries have been fighting for hundreds of years and hate each other, yet a peace can easily be brokered without any major developments besides authorial fiat.  This means essentially that the relationships between settings elements, plot events and character traits internally don't contradict.  Consistent=what is said does not contradict itself.
 
Consistency is in general more important than coherence, since novels can be somewhat illogical to a reader's perspective, yet still maintain a general logic that governs itself internally and still be enjoyable to read.
 
I typically break up my reviews into four parts:
 
 
1. Style
A brief touch upon style (basically word choice, phrasing and such). This doesn't factor into my review grading except if it is bad, in which case it will knock down my overall rating.
 
For Touch, the author has a keen hand with adept word choice and is very fluent with their use of the English language.  Little to no awkward phrasings and the chapters flow very naturally.  There have been a couple moments with awkward phrasings which have been off-putting (which the author has acknowledged and corrected).  Also, something that is annoying for me (and not really a problem with the novel) is the author's tendency to have all of their characters' dialogue call each other "bud", or "kiddo" or "pal", etc.  I find it annoying due to how prevalent it is (especially when it's not just a pet name or something) and how many characters speak like that, but it's not a real issue.  All in all, extremely well done for a webnovel.
 
 
2. Setting
Setting is one of the three major areas I examine when grading a novel.  I look for coherence, originality (this is more of a bonus points area, then a need), depth, and consistency.  There's also something of a interesting-ness factor here too admittedly; I will be more critical of re-hashed/boring settings than something new.
 
Touch is an urban fantasy, so it isn't in trying to build up a whole new fantasy world.  There is the traditional veil where the magical elements hide themselves from the mundane populace.  Further, it is thoroughly grounded in modern society and culture, with the main setting being NYC.  It also draws liberally on some of the ideas and tropes from cape-fic (i.e. super-hero stories) with the clash between vigilantism and government oversight and the concept of trauma activating latent abilities.  And there are the usual supernatural creatures referenced such as fauns, dwarves, elves, etc.  The author does take care to put their own twist on all of these races and elements, and explores them all in extremely satisfying ways.  What exists is quite good.  The author is liberal with leaving the detail and description of the world to the minds of the readers, you won't find much in the way of luscious descriptions of the the places, but the minimalism works well with what the author is trying to do.
 
The author's magic system (which as I already said draws from cape-fic tropes), is also rather interesting and while it hasn't been thoroughly explored, what we have seen has been fascinating.  In particular, the author's system thus far allows for very powerful figures with immense magical talent and skill to exist, but they can be brought low/fought off by other weaker abilities as long as they are used intelligently or it is naturally countered.  Since the magic system forces its users to trend towards more specificity, there are no masters of everything.
 
Really, the only issue I have with the setting is that there is still so much to explore and I personally feel that the story has trended more towards exploration of the characters as opposed to the world a bit too much.  I wish I knew more. All in all, I give it 4.5/5
 
 
3. Plot
Plot is the second of the three major areas I examine when grading a novel.  I look for pacing, originality (this not so much of a bonus area), coherence (transitions), depth, and consistency while grading.
 
The story of Touch is thus far both small and large.  It has already begun to touch upon some of the larger, more mythic story arcs that I believe will play a much larger role later on, while still working through the smaller story arcs that make up the ongoing lives of our protagonists.  It is not at all lacking in terms of the themes and ideas that the author has chosen to tackle thus far, which can be quite heavy, though the author addresses them tactfully.
 
However, Touch does have some not insignificant issues with pacing and transitions, especially early on.  The author has a tendency to switch between character perspectives extremely liberally; there are very few chapters that are limited to only one character's perspective.  This can make for some difficulty in following the flow of the story.  I spent a good 15 minutes at one point trying to figure out who was being referred to due to a change in perspective.  The author has shown significant improvement here and with some edits and continued improvement, this will certainly be less of an issue.  The author's pacing feels at time fast and slow: slow in that it is much more character study and interaction, than action; fast in that what action there is moves quite quickly (which doesn't help the transitioning issues either).
 
As a whole, Touch does have a deep and insightful plot, which has been hinting at much more to come, despite flaws in terms of its flow.  I give it 4/5 stars.
 
 
4. Character
Character is the last of the three major areas I examine when grading a novel.  I look for coherence, originality (again, this not so much of a bonus area), depth, development and consistency while grading.  Originality is middling here.  I do not  really want all stock characters with traditional stereotypical personalities, but having characters who are very similar to other characters, whose personalities and backstories make sense is fine.
 
This is where Touch really shines.  Touch is a loving examination of its characters and there is careful emphasis on each action and word of dialogue by a character.  They not only make sense and feel right, but convey complex emotional states that are informed by past and current events.  These are living characters who think and feel in extremely complex ways.  Trauma, family, sexuality, all of these play huge roles in informing our characters' behavior, personality and beliefs.  We can see them changing as well some slower than others, though trauma is a major catalyst change and is rightfully used as such in Touch.
 
I really can't complain all that much about the characters.  Rhythm has done a wonderful job with them and I really could only nitpick.  5/5 for character.
 
 
Conclusion
Touch is a great novel that is just over a year old and is really a hidden gem.  With wonderful characterization and strong world-building, to go with solid story, Touch is a must-read for English Original webnovel enthusiasts and webnovel readers in general.  Altogether I give it 4.5 stars (leaning toward 4 stars, since it isn't perfect or with enough output to commit to 5 stars).  Highly recommended.