Battle is an Art

by Thomas Loud

Original HIATUS Action Adventure Drama Fantasy Anti-Hero Lead Female Lead Magic Martial Arts Non-Human lead Strategy
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Traumatising content

Herah was many things: an artist, a zealot, a fighter, and now, an unwilling participant in Recompense.

What is Recompense?

Nothing special, just a high-stakes game created by Norwe, the Maker of Herah, which if won would grant her a single wish. 

Of course, with such a great prize on the line there was an equal price which had to be paid.
Which meant loss equated to a destroyed universe.

This doesn't even account for how other participants, hostile environments, and pretty much all sentient life that wasn't herself would definitely be challenges that Herah would have to overcome to not only win but to survive. Recompense truly was a battle of the fittest.

But with a broken No.2 pencil, a nervous master smith, a too trusting liar and an honest, omniscient jackass, Herah had Recompense in the bag.

After all, Herah was a master artist, and she considered battle exactly that: an art.

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Thomas Loud

Thomas Loud

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l nimbus
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Dragon morphs, Death Games and morailty.

Norwe needs to fucking die. That's the first thing I'm going to say. Barring Yuki Terumi, there is no character I hate more than that sonofabitch. And you know what? That's a sign of quality. That an author can make you feel that hatred, make you feel those emotions, that devastation, that emptiness.

That out of the way, this is a story I immensly enjoy reading. I'm not exaggerating here, I got addicted to this. To the point where I faked some bathroom breaks during work in order to read a few more pages. I NEVER do that. Now, with that out of the way, it's time to give this story a review it DESERVES.

There are a variety of reasons this story is overlooked and passed over, and those need to be addressed and fixed before this can take it's place as one of the best on RRL and ScribbleHub. It's unique, it's got a setting that awe inspiring, haunting and tragic at the same time, a great cast and a hell of a future.

But why is it getting passed over? I'll address that in a special section below. For now, let's review this overlooked gem of a story.

 

Story:

Okay, there's good, great and needs-to-be-fixed. Let's go at it. The first few chapters are well put together, if a little confusing. If I have to recommend something, it's that you smooth those out a little, answer some of the questions you leave open. I know that that's the point, but too many questions open will just confuse the readers.

To clarify, here's what most likely to turn off people. We only get a few guesses at information that's crucial to shaping the story early on, and most people don't like that. I just went through without rereading, and it took me a few chaps to piece together a picture of Herah's race. Also....The sentient pencil was actually nice. Once in a while, you get a story where you have something ridiculous, which actually works out. You did a good job on that here. BUT, some people will want an explanation for that.

Even now, at the end of the story, there are some things I don't understand. I know these aren't fully explained because the story is from Herah's perspective (with some exceptions), and she already knows these things and doesn't feel the need to explain them, but a quick primer on things like her techniques would do wonders for the reader.

That said, the execution, the pace at with questions are revealed and answered, or even the little trivia we get along the way is well-consructed, thought out and delivered. I liked how you sneak in little things about her race here and there, while luring us with the big stuff. Your method of answering and posing new questions every chapter works well, and is something I'm considering picking up myself.

Now, the actual story.

....It's good, really good. While the start is something that might deter readers, those who forge on will be blown away. I like what you did with The Recompense. You have balls for that, for making it VERY clear about things like morality, right and wrong, selfishness, tragedy and loss. The fact that you created two sides that are both in the right, stand to lose everything if they're defeated, and have an asshole of a god forcing the ultimate outcome with no escape is a unique, addictive setting.

You make it very clear that the Recompense is for this God's amusement, that rules are Norwe's to make and break, that he cares for no one despite his lazy, friendly attitude, and that no matter what happens, someone will pay. I love that. Too often, we have stories about 'Gods' bound by rules and technicalities, but not here. This is one of the things you did best, showing us what can happen if there's a bored, all-powerful being with no one to control them.

The Oni's perspectives actually make you see their side of the story, make you feel for them, hate the main characters because of their actions. You show their side of the story, and you don't pull the punches, somehow make what Herah and crew are doing alright, justified or brushing it over. No, you delivered punches to the nuts, and you did it perfectly.

There are times when you don't know who to cheer for, and I feel like that's what you were aiming for. This is just the first arc, but you're already asking heavy questions, brining out morality and the like. And it doesn't feel forced.

Speaking of which. There are a few, tiny parts of the story, just spread here and there, where it feels like too much info is added. Just saying.

 

Style:

You have an addictive style. I kept an eye on myself, and I can usually tell how good an author writing style is by how fast I'm racing through pages, and you pass.

That said, I'm going to try to deliver some critique as well. One of the things I noticed the most is that you have blocks of text here and there. These make it harder to read. Break those up and space them a little and it'll be much easier of the reader's eyes.

This is my personal preference, but I feel like your action scenes could flow better. They're good, but not great. Especially when character like Alex are involved. To me, fights are fast, blink and you miss it stuff. All the unimportant static is phased out, and only the immediately important details are shown. They should be fast, tense and unpredictable. Yours are good, but I feel like characters have too much time to think and talk during these.

They can also feel just a bit confusing to me. Oh, they'll please readers, believe me, but to me, my bar is a little higher. I might be getting elitist here, but I believe someone of you caliber can push yourself to take that little extra step and add the fights to the list of reasons readers keep coming back.

 

Grammar:

Again, good. I know I'm not one to talk, but I notice mistakes that you missed here and there. While you don't have misplaced commas or questions marks, I have noticed words that are in the wrong place, a few times where 'a' was in a sentance instead of 'I'.

In that same vein, some of your sentences feel a bit too long. Try cutting down the really long ones a bit, or inserting a comma here and there. You're grammar is better than mine, and we both know it, but I'm pointing out what you can do to polish this story even further.

 

Characters:

Oh goody, the cast. I have sooo much to say about this part. Let's get started.

Herah: Okay,my feelings for her waver around a bit. While you're going for a love-to-hate character, and there are times when you do love her, there are also times when you hate her. She's both a simple and complicated character. I like your portrayal of her zealotry, her dedication, unwavering faith, and her point of view. There are times when she purposefully comes off as cruel, and you did a great job of playing my emotions with her. You set her character of solid foundations, and stayed true to that all through the story.

Jeffrey: A sentient pencil. Who can be an asshole to Herah (Keep da bitch in line), Might be a badass in his own time, and is likely OP. Can we have side chapters with him/her/it already?

Owen: I Don't have much to say, other than good job. His character is well developed, his lore is delivered at a good pace, and he makes an impression. He is, however, overshadowed.

Alex: Everybody hates this asshole. I mean it. I don't care that the Recompense is Norwe's fault, I want to see Herah pound this asshole into a bloody pulp. Alex embodies everything I hate in a character. Way too much arrogance, a cold, calous disregard for others, except for those he likes, willing to use pain and torture to make other submit to him, and just being a pure asshole all of the time. He sticks his nose into Max's relationships and tries to make decisions for her. He comes off as nothing but hateable, and that's probably what you're aiming for.

Max: She balances out Alex. She likeable, has a deep, interesting past, her actions haunting her, a unique power, more or less everything that's needed to make a memorable characters. Also, her sense of humor is great. Seriously, 'Lavatits'.

Norwe: Kill this fuck already. I mean it. With those subtles hints, the seemingly simplistic dialogues, and disregard for anyone, you're jacking this guy to Scottf14 villian levels of hate. I want to see this asshole dead. I mean it.

There are many more, and all that I have to say is that the cast is excellently done. Even the fodder and the chars you only see once stand out with unique features, stories and levels of development, I quite enjoyed that.



Suggestions:

Don't take this the wrong way, okay? But....you need another cover and sypnosis. These are the two biggest things that hold BIAA back. They're well done, BUT, they don't appeal. With the setting of your story, you could have an infinitely more interesting hook to draw readers. Hell, just putting up the piece of art you have for Herah would get way more views than what you have right now.

What you have right now doesn't project BIAA's massive potential at all. It looks professionaly done, but is it clickable? Not really. Mentioning things like 'Universal Games' or 'Dragon Morphs' in your Sypnosis would get you hella more viewers and readers. You have a combination people would love, but the biggest hurdle they have to overcome is your own cover.

Next up is chapter length.

They're too long. Readers online only have so and so much interest and time to read a chapter. Try splitting these down to different parts.

Example: A Sketch is added.

Instead of putting up the whole chapter, split it into say, four parts and upload it one right after another. This will help A LOT. I tried this method, and it worked amazingly.


Conclusion:

BIAA is an amazing story, one I whole-heartedly support. It shows what can happen when an author takes something unique and delivers. It boasts quality writing, a great, fleshed out cast, questions in morality, dem feels, and quality helped on quality.

I like.

Sociable Hermit
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The Devil's in the Detail...

Hello and welcome to Battle is an Art, a novel that's surprisingly not a story about highschoolers who do battle by drawing weapons and animals who come to life. Misleading Title+Cover notwithstanding, BIAA is a whole lot more original and a whole lot more interesting than that premise. At its core it's a story about teamwork and relationships, so if you're into heavily character-driven stories and long, creative battle scenes, do give it a shot. Okay, let's get into the details, here goes:

Grammar: There are a few problems, especially when it comes to tenses, but overall the grammar is much better than 90% of stories on RR. It shouldn't really bother most readers too much.

Style: For the most part, the story's style is pretty decent. Very detailed and imaginative, it paints a clear, evocative image of whatever's happpening at that moment. Sometimes things get a bit fancy and it doesn't always work, and sometimes the detailed style slows important scenes down too much and lessens their impact a bit, but overall it does a good job at conveying the story.

Characters: The characters. Okay... uhm... the characters are... detailed like the style, I'd say. Just about every character is named, and just about every named character is complex and multilayered. It's actually fantastic how the author manages to make every character feel like a real person who matters, even beyond the scope of the story.

However, sometimes the story loses focus as a result. In some instances, characters are asked innocuous questions and they answer them with several paragraphs of backstory that seems unnecessary for the story at large. Some very minor characters, the kind who wouldn't even get names in other novels, get a full MC treatment, with a complex character, a backstory and a complete character arc, when all I wanted to know was what would happen to the main cast next. Also, a lot of the characters are... pretty unlikeable to me, though at least that doesn't include the MC who is great for the most part. More details on this in spoiler tags.

Spoiler: Spoiler

 

So yeah, if you like deep, complex characters and don't mind them being a bit frustrating for a possible payoff later, this section would get full marks from you. Unfortunately, my preferences are different, so it doesn't.

Story: First of all, the world, setting and setup are super creative and unique. Even so, most of it remains familiar enough from other, older stories that you won't be confused reding any of it. There are many strong story moments and twists, and you can tell that the author has put a lot of thought into the entire plotline. Overall, this section is a definite plus. However, due to the strong focus on characters and the slow style, the pace of the story can slow down to a crawl sometimes, which isn't great.  Plus, I'm not sure the character motivations, or the stakes, work all that well in the grand scheme of things. That might sound pretty vague, but I don't wanna spoiler stuff, so you'll have to read the spoiler tags below unless you want to take my word for it.

Spoiler: Spoiler



Okay, that was a lot of words. If you're still here, I'm just gonna sum up everything again. BIAA is a story filled with good action scenes, creative worlds, fleshed-out characters and neat powers. If that speaks to you then read away. If you're bothered by slow pace, a flowery style and an unfocused story though, this might not be for you.

Hejin57
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Universes All Their Own

It’s sometimes hard to judge something you like and then wonder how easy it is to recommend to other people.

Case and point, Battle is an Art.

In short summary, I don’t know if I’d recommend it to everyone. It’s detailed, but full of mountains of lore than can be a lot to take in. The characters are interesting, but extremely off-color and don’t usually fall into any definable tropes. If you want to read something very weird and wacky, I’d suggest this for sure.

To explain, the story revolves around Herah, a dragon-lady of sorts who is part of a race called the Cendreux. She’s gifted with a number of pretty awesome powers, most notably her sentient pencil Jeffrey, who can literally draw things into reality.

Throw in brother and sister Alex and Max, whose own powers could be called border-line godlike, and metallurgist gnome Owen, and you’d probably be wondering where the stakes are and why you should care. Thankfully, things take a turn when Norwe is introduced, a literal god in a sense who involves the main group in a tournament of sorts called Recompense. The winner gets to keep their universe and get a wish from the Maker, while the losers get their universes destroyed. Norwe does that purely for amusement, but it’s effective in raising the stakes in a story that otherwise has immensely powerful characters.

What follows all this is a series of vignettes as Herah, Max, Owen and Alex travel together and face off against different enemies and monsters, including a whole planet of Oni and other frightening threats. Later on, universe-ending beings called Abyss Walkers are hinted at, so powerful they make most of the main cast look like minnows.

As someone who’s personally become invested in this story, I still stand by my point that it may bit a bit hard to recommend. I think most of the flaws lie in the beginning, throwing us into the world and introducing many concepts and ideas all at mach pace. With some minor editing, maybe even a small prologue explaining the multiverse of the setting, I think the story could be far more accessible.

As it is, the story gets far better after the first three chapters, easier to understand and get invested in. It has a lot of unique ideas and crazy characters, and though it sometimes gets a little ahead of itself, I think it only has great potential from here on out.

If you want something completely out-there and willing to have a good time, this one is certainly for you.

Final score: 4.5/5

DefinitelyAGiraffe
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Glance Review - Written at Chapter 1.

Style:
I couldn't tell you a lot about the style, it just sort of existed. It didn't add to the immersion nor did it take me out, although some paragraphs could've done with being smaller (in my personal opinion). I do suppose that's a sign that it worked though.

Grammar:
Grammar was solid, I didn't notice any mistakes or any spelling mistakes. There were some missed opportunities to put colons or semi-colons, but that can come down to a style choice. Helped keep me in the immersion.

Story:

No idea what the story particularly was in the first chapter, but it definitely has things that will be developed as the story progresses. Most of it felt long though, with a lot of long names being dropped that I feel like I wouldn't remember. There was so much that I couldn't differentiate what was important or what wouldn't be important for a story, since all of it seemed irrelevent other than La Flemme  (is that it?). 

I think the story will definitely get better as time progresses. The fight scene in this works well for showing how powerful Herah is, but massively undermines the strength of everyone else. It's a shame that it couldn't have been done where she is seen as powerful, but at the same time, no one else is seen as massively weak.

Character:
There's one thing that I'll always dislike, and that's: arrogance. Straight off the bat, Herah annoyed me. She was brash, uncontrollable, carefree (in all of the wrong ways) and so set in her ways that it annoyed me - and I don't even know if her way is the good way yet. 

Throughout the entire fight, I was rooting for Rose, so I am highly disappointed that she didn't even get injured that much. I do hope that she gets some character development to maybe be a bit nicer. Although, I do have to admit, she's well written for an anti-hero (hence why I raised it from 3 stars to 3.5).

Overall:
The first chapter was well written, the grammar was good and it didn't seem like there were any spelling mistakes. There's a lot of things that are clearly seeds to be grown and developed, and while they don't seem appealing from the getgo (due to the abundance) it will definitely get better as time goes on.

If you're looking for an anti-hero lead, I'd say that this is promising. Just as long as you like some overpoweredness and a bit of arrogance/stubbornness. It's not my cup of tea, but I'm sure it can be yours. Give it a try, see what you think. 

MoonWatcher
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A Unique and Original Tale

Battle is an Art is a very original story with a diverse cast of characters and a lot of ideas behind it that are far from the usual stereotypes that one can see on this site. It is a tale that can't be found just anywhere and creates a definitive blend of action, crazy concepts and ideas and wild, interesting characters. From its very beginning it just escalates and throws new and amazing plot elements to create an insane (in a good sense) ride of a story. It is a fantasy outside of the norm that is definitely worth reading just for its interesting premise.

Style - It's plain and simple. There isn't any flowery or outstanding prose, but the style gets the job neatly done. It gets things across easily and is clear and clean. There are some things to be wanted by the vocabulary, but it's unnoticeable if you don't search for it. The characters' dialogue is the best thing, as it's sharp, thought out and clever. The profanity may upset some people, but I can't be bothered by such a thing.

Grammar - There are mistakes here and there, but nothing too major. The first two chapters had a bigger amount of them and that's the sole reason I give a 3,5/5 for the grammar. Beware - it gets better from there on and the rare mistakes aren't too noticeable.

Story - One of the best things about the novel is its story. Without giving anything away I'd say that the setting is unique and the plot is dynamic, full of action and twists. It escalates quickly and can be a delight to read. There are a bunch of crazy and awesome ideas thrown it that made the overall wildness of the story just more enjoyable. 

Characters - they are all very distinct from one another and their unique quirks, abilities and traits are properly developed. From the basic details like the race to minor things - they are all nicely fleshed out. You'll laugh with them and be amazed. They are a colorful bunch of creatures - from the human characters to the tiefling-like Cendreux that can be a little bit... hotheaded, to the gnomes and others. There is a sentient pencil, god damn it (if this isn't able to interest you, I don't know what can)! I definitely liked them more or less from the first page.

Conclusion: Battle is an Art is a wild fantasy story with interesting setting, distinctive characters, well-thought plot and nice specks of humor added in and the plain style and grammatical mistakes can't make it less enjoyable. Everything I've read so far has been of high quality. My overall score would be easily justifiable 4,5/5.

 

theyank
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A vibrant setting with an interesting concept

 Style: The style was the biggest problem I had with this fiction. The prose felt very dense and convoluted to read, with the ideas not expressed very clearly in each paragraph. There was a lot of telling, where the author would outright just tell the reader a fact rather than describe it a more elegant and active manner (showing). As a result, I was unable to become fully immersed in the setting, which is quite interesting and well-thought out.

Grammar: Despite the other reviews, I didn't find much fault with this. Maybe it's because the author edited the earlier chapters, but nothing glaring stood out.

Story: The story is fresh and unique, with a vibrant setting full of its own races, magic and environments. I was disappointed I couldn't get into it more because of the prose; it's really not the typical type of setting you'd find on a site like this.

Character: I really liked the protagonist's personality, a lot of which is shown (and not told). The side characters are also unique and memorable. No real complaints here.

Overall: The sole reason I rated this 4 and not 4.5 or 5 was because the style really bogged me down. If you're not pedantic about prose and are in search of an interesting world and a high-concept story, I would recommend this. It's fantasy at its core—a fantastic new world never seen before, far removed from the sword and sorcery that's bogged the genre.

Sazer
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Reviewed after the 14th release.

Story - I have to say, I was completely blow away by how much work seemed to have gone into this story. The chapter titles alone kind of give it that extra 'oomph' and once you've read the through the first chapter or two, you really begin to appreciate the world the author has created. Very unique and dynamic most of the time - other times, it can get slightly confusing, but serious props for the imagination.

Characters - Again, it's obvious they were planned as they are beforehand and not just thrown in randomly chapter by chapter. Very distinct and well-developed.

Grammar - I didn't see any glaring errors, nothing that would throw the average reader off.

Style - It's very straightforward and delivers what is required. Some sentences can be overtly long though and I have a few minor issues, like how names are sometimes overused in succession or how actions like puffing are written within the dialogue, but that's just my opinion and I'm sure action fans might enjoy that and the comic style sound effects too.

Overall - Really deserves more readers!

Well done, Thomas Loud, and good luck for future chapters!

Professor Porkchop
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Confusing on different levels.

I read the first three chapters. Then I read them again. It overly complicated, and at the same time lacking in proper description. Kind of baffling.

I didn't get that the main character's race even had tails until chapter 2. Much less what they look like? After three double read chapters, I guess that they're anthropomorphic dragons. More than that, it took a handful of paragraphs to understand that the protagonist wasn't human.

You go to the trouble of giving the race a name, but It's not a name I recognize, so, again, I'm left in the air.

then you throw in ...sentient pencils? Seriously. description.

 

Also. Might be a cultural thing but the dialog between the parents and child was super inappropriate. Angry I get. But you don't say "Who's getting fucked now?" that's a super rapey vibe. And you're gonna lose a lot of audience with things like that.

 

It boils down to initial descriptions. Give me some. seriously. Get in there, and make me a sammich of tasty descriptions. Rework those first few chapters where characters are introduced and describe them. If it's humans, you can get away with simple things like a tall brunette, or a skinny girl with a lost expression. but when you have a new race... man! I need details.

Zethuron
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A gem, that deserves more attention

So far, this has been a very enjoyable novel to read, and i would like to thank the author for that.

The writing has been really good so far, with the author not being afraid of constructing complex sentences and using hard words to improve reading quality. Althrough there are certainly points in where the writing could be improved.

The main quality of this novel lies in the overall story and its characters. But another major point is how the author does the battles in his story.

 

The overall story so far has been stellar, with it only having gone through the prologue and the first trial so far. Even if the fights have dragged on a lot (thanks to a certain character everyone knows), they still have been very good and highly descriptive.

 

All the characters so far have been interesting to read, the 4 main characters for the Recompense are all seriously overpowered in their own ways, yet also flawed in their personality and with limits to what they can do with their powers.

Even the side characters so far are interesting to read about and likeable . The only expection is Norwe, screw him that insane creator! The fact that the author made a character that people can dislike like that, while still keeping up the quality of the story, is just amazing.

 

In conclusion, please go read this hidden gem, it is far tooo low popularity for how high quality it is.

 

Onch
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Battle is an Art is a beacon of originality and freshness in a website that's otherwise swarmed by almost identical stories.

The Good:

-The grammar is good.

-Worldbuilding is top notch and the reader can see that the author has put a lot of thought into his characters.

-This story is filled with original and wonderful ideas; the plot and setting are unique.

-The characters are well written, they all have very distinct and consistent personalities.

-The humor is great.

 

The Bad:

-Not enough releases.

-A few grammatical errors here and there, but it doesn’t detract from the reading experience.