The New Journey of an Old Soul
- Sexual Content
The story of a soul seeking new adventure in a new life. A secret wish to find some things he never really found in his old life. Will the universe have other ideas for him again? Warning: 18+ due to violence, language and sexual content Note: The story is complete. A/N: Since people seem to be skittish with the gender bender tag, I should probably mention that it does not play a particularily important part in the story. More in the beginning, less as the story goes on.
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This review will primarily be for the author, so heavy heavy spoilers.
The world, its mechanics, and characterizations are all pretty interesting. There's humor, interesting dynamics, and just a dash of the whimsical that makes the story worth reading. However, there is a LOT of lost potential and I really hope you (the author) take note of my criticisms in your next story. I'm bothering to write this review because I believe you have a good writing style. It's just your storyboarding that's not quite there yet:
1. Your story violates the "show, don't tell" rule very heavily. There are numerous chapters and parts of chapters in which you simply dump info onto your readers. Neleh does this and that and here's why it's so awesome, etc. These parts of the story make my eyes glaze over because it reads less like enthralling fiction and more like forced description. The better way to go about this is to narrate these changes through the eyes of the characters or random POVs. For example, you could describe changes to the new Duchy through the eyes of a traveler, or one Neleh's sisters. You could "explore" the world with the reader through the eyes of its characters. Paragraphs of third person description should be a last resort in writing, not the first.
2. Your characters get very little development. It feels like you characterized them with a few lines of description and have them act that way the rest of the story. For example, Nimue, Delia, Shiori all act pretty much the same way from their initial introduction all the way to the epilogue. Their personalities and reactions to events around are maddeningly consistent and don't really develop. A large cause of this problem is Neleh suffocating the narrative, in that she gets so much focus and is so powerful that other characters don't get a chance and mostly spend their time orbiting in her shadow. They never get a chance to do anything because every problem that emerges, Neleh smashes with her overwhelming power and knowledge. What I would have liked to see are these side characters having their own mini-arcs and POVs, which we don't really get here. The few side POVs we get just rehash Neleh events from a different point of view and never extend outside.
A secondary problem your narrative style causes is that characters seem to simply disappear. With so little screen time, characters simply to disappear and it feels really wonky. Solana was the first love interest and simply disappears after she gets rescued, making a nominal reappearance later as empress. Kanako felt like she was supposed to be an important character but after her initial introduction, she just disappears because the focus is on Neleh and she has stuff to do outside the school. Her next major appearance is as assassin and then disappears into Naga territory for judgement and we never hear about her again. The whole deal just felt extremely weird.
3. The conflict resolution is too simplistic. Every problem that emerges Neleh solves almost immediately with brute strength or some convenient arcane knowledge. She needs to act as an Inquisitor? She just happens to have perfect truth detection and irresistible torture techniques. The faeries got sick with an incurable disease? She just flies there and cures everyone. Almost every other conflict follows this exact mold and there's never any subtlety.
1. There's way, way too many women as characters, to the point of being completely unbalanced. Almost every single major character is female. The entire family is full of daughters. Due to the cheating father, he is immediately sidelined and almost written out of the story. All the leaders of the country are women except the Sun Court Aelrindel. Every single romantic relationship in the story is between two women. Instead of having a proper mix, it just felt like you didn't want to write about guys and were obsessed with yuri relationships. This is not a good cast for a serious story.
2. You shouldn't have blatantly written in references from other famous stories (you even highlight some in the author notes). For a parody/comedy story, it might be ok but for a more serious one, it isn't really. It breaks immersion and is a bit cringey.
3. The school arc in the story was very, very bad. Normal stories of this mold does a school arc early to introduce the world outside the character's home village and serves as a sort of coming out for the main character. What you did in Journey is have the MC enter school, leave to do things, and come back over and over again. The initial excursion as Inquisitor and back was fine. However, after she becomes the Chosen and gains status/powers, having her sucked back into the school environment made no sense whatsoever. The school arc should have been a one and done type of deal, not what was essentially a periodic recurring nightmare in Journey.
4. Character reactions to Neleh's exceptional strength and knowledge felt artificial. Reactions were either mute acceptance or tremendous surprise followed by mute acceptance. There was really nothing in between. It all felt forced.
5. Asheara's characterization was done very, very poorly. She never, ever felt like Neleh's mother. The whole falling in love with her daughter, becoming her disciple, getting frozen in time and then losing her memories was never resolved properly. She didn't feel like a proper character. She felt like a patchwork of random themes and really stuck out in the story's cast and made me fairly uncomfortable throughout.
I really enjoyed reading this fiction, except for the cases of blatant plagiarism. I get it, writing requires using tropes and already existing ideas to greater or lesser degrees. Almost every original idea has been already written, and even if they weren't, derivative works aren't a bad thing.
But I take issue with certain cases where the author is taking whole scenes and lines from other works and presenting it as their own. These aren't just allusions or sly references. These are almost word for word stolen from other authors. It's incredibly rude and ends up lowering my experience with this fiction.
The biggest example of this is Neleh's talk in chapter 56 about "Qadesh". This whole bit was stolen from published Author Anthony Ryan's Shadow of the Raven series.
Stealing work is lazy and lowers the quality of what you're trying to put out. It's a disservice to the original author and yourself as a writer.
A bit of complaint:
The ranking, rating, and review system is plain broken. Its some part the fault of bad design, some part the fault of an overenthusiastic community, and some part the consequence of vote manipulation (though I am cautious with that accusation).
I’ve been frustrated with separating the good work from the bad, and I hear some authors are considering moving work off-site.
That’s the context for this review.
This is a story about a soul reincarnated into a new life. Nothing new here.
Where this story shines is in its execution, and it means everything. We know dear Naleh (the MC) is overpowered. What’s great is, the story doesn’t hide behind that. We get none of that Messiah complex, I-can-do-it-all nonsense that has seen so many authors run their work into the ground. Instead we live the life of a complex, unreadable MC that has her quirks, tries her best, but has everything just about in her control. Things happen, she solves them, and there’s a mysterious enemy looming in the dark. Awesome.
The story is built around purpose and characterisation, and remains sophisticated and nuanced. That makes it an extremely enjoyable read.
This is not a bad story by any mean, but some element are definitely annoying.
Relationships, whether being friendship or love interest are described as if the author had never experienced them herself before. There is no emotional developments explaining what lead the MC to have sex with someone or have certain feelings for them. It is all very chaotic and detached from reality. (I'm not even going to mention the wincest sexual tension between the MC and her mother.. :S)
All the main characters are females, and if it has a dick, you can be certain that it is either evil, or a simple tool with no background meant to be used by the MC.
The MC's mother end up lowering herself to an even worse level than her cheating husband by contributing to her daughters' disdain toward their father. (But then again, their father has a dick so... EVIL...) If a female character do something evil, you can be certain that there is a dick's influence behind it.
Sigh... Still a good read, just super sexist.
So I decided a while ago (give or take 3 months) I would wait to give my review on this story until the end, and now that it is over I will give one honest.
First off, you may look at this and think why only a 4-star review? Well, that is because nothing is ever perfect and I will rarely give out a higher score than this.
The author seems like an accomplished writer and has a sweet yet deadly style behind his/her writing. They style is fluid, descriptive, engaging and heartfelt at times. There are not many things I can say that is wrong with this style, it works and that is what counts.
The worst thing about your writing can be that you sometimes drag it out.
Therefore, I will give you a 4½/5 rating.
It is a cliched reincarnation story but with a twist, the MC is a male "mini-god"(in my eyes) who decided to die so he can be reincarnated in a new world and live. In this world, he gets a loving family but it all goes bad quickly, due to his father being a 2-timing bastard, also did I mention he reincarnates as a girl cause the god that controls reincarnations wanted to make a prank on him. It then becomes the same old get stronger and stronger story with him or should I say her overtaking the country making it better and so on. It is a good story but there are quite a few cliche moments which does drag it down overall.
Based on this, I will give it a 3½/5 rating.
Something I have noticed on Royal Road is that grammar seems to not exist in most authors ie. they suck badly, but this author does a great job overall and I only from time to time find grammar issues, these are usually misspelled words or mistyped, failed comma usage or sentence structure errors. But compared to almost everyone else on this site, its high profile and nicely done.
So for the effort of actually doing a good job with grammar, i give you a 4½/5 rating.
p.s. my own grammar sucks badly :P
I have a hard time feeling emotional for the MC due to the way (s)he is, which quite frankly drags down the story and the score. I don't dislike the MC but I don't like him/her either. What does drag the score up is the immensely detailed and fleshed out side characters found in the story, it gives everything life and makes it quite enjoyable. To be honest, if the funny interactions between everyone were never there I would properly dropped this story a long time ago. But the side characters made this story as great as it is.
And for those, I am giving it a 3½/5 rating.
Overall its a really good story that will entertain you for hours on end, and I recommend anyone to at least read it once, you will defiantly have some fun in it unless you are a grumpy guy that wishes for the good guys to lose.
Thank you for reading this review, and what are you doing get back to reading the story.
Guy is reincarnated as a girl.
He was all powerful in his past life, now he isn't.
Except he is, and is constantly showing that the 'reincarnated reset' means nothing. Any semblence of powerlessness is purely for plot sake, except there never is any.
S/he pulls new powers and abilities out of no where with the justification "I had them in my past life."
And let's not get started on the pure hate for men this author has. Not only is every woman a lesbian, but all husbands are cheaters and get tourtured/killed/abandoned.
I stopped reading this once the MC turned into a giant fire god and was confirmed strongest being on the planet or some shit after being reincarnated.
Oh and lets not forget how she's "so beatiful" at 10 years old and throughout her whole life and how everyone loves her.
It's an honest shame because the writing itself isn't garbage, but the story is.
First of all, the elephant in the room. The gender bender tag. The MC is reborn as a female, but throughout the whole story, the only sex she ever takes an interest in is other women. Not only that, but other female characters start to turn into lesbians by simply being around her. The longer I read this, the more I realize a simple fact, this entire story could have been written with a male MC and nothing would have changed. Absolutely nothing would be different. Every character that falls in love with the MC could still fall in love with them, all the children she, SPOILER, fathers could still be conceived without "it's magic" being used as an excuse, and the plot holes with the world building could be made right if the MC was male. I wouldn't be so hung up on this if more effort was put into feminizing the MC and actually putting in some conflict to her relationships. It was established in an early world-building infodump chapter that the elves, her species, are not a fertile race. Such an establishment in any world would make homosexuality at least be conflicted with society, but no effort was ever made by the author to build on this. In fact, there's so little conflict in the middle of the story that the author had to make up a villain from space to build a climax.
I have nothing against homosexual main characters, but this story doesn't do homosexual characters in a medieval fantasy world any justice. It reads like porn, the MC is a Mary Sue, romance (aside from sex scenes) is completely nonexistent, and MC's entire family are forgettable 2d characters.
The author excels in world building and political drama. But other than that, needs to work on everything else.
all the way though great grammar.
however, the story and characters...oof...
one sided opinion of men effecting the entire story...
not going to go into any detail what so ever, to spoil anything.
However, it is obvious that the author spits on men entire way though, and doesnt even let men to be a part of the story apart from being villains, rapists, cheaters and generarly being all the evil in the world...
its sad that a story with such potential got ruined by this, I can see this as being somewhat a distraction with the yuri aspects... but thats it... its just a wasteland story wise, with the characters being bland. disapointment lingered though me as i read on... eventually just skipping though as reading this became a god-damn chore...
if you dont mind everything that i said and you are just looking for a story where the MC mindlessly and senslessly gains power. go for it you can drop it whenever you like anyway...
This was a really enjoyable read for me. While the reincarnation plot device has been overused, I never did feel bored with this rendition; it gave me a few laughs, to say the least.
The story was clearly well planned, engaging and adequately paced with a few comedic moments here and there. Most events do not feel overly “forced”, meshing well with world and character development. But only a few characters are well developed as of Chapter 23; most of the supporting cast are either only mentioned by name, or have barely a few lines of dialouge before disappearing – not that I’m complaining though. I’m perfectly fine with centering the story around the MC and her immediate vicinity, though it might cause the plot to derail or lose focus. I’m not entirely sure what the MC’s future plans are now. I fail to see how she can continue learning from her father while undertaking “missions” from various sources.
Other than some grammatical errors, the language is almost flawless, and made for a relaxing read. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good story. I’m already itching for more.
(Edit: I noticed a couple of plotholes on my 2nd read. But they definitely don’t lower the enjoyment factor.)
the story is pretty much great
the plot is interesting
the chraracters are interesting
and it kinda got a fresh style of something else
i had fun and smiled reading the story and i even heard the song baba yetu(after you posted the link in 1 chapter) till i finished all chapters
the atmosphere is sweet
i had a great time reading it
kinda funny after reading pretty much most story above 20 chapters
to find the real unique and good ones at last
and this one is definetly one those where i would recommend it big time to give it a try
there wasnt 1 boring moment
it didnt have that much action but enough for it
it was a mix of sweet slice of life+fantasy and turns to action+drama
well done writing it keep it up!