The Luckless Mage of Greidwhen Academy

by DavidDaulton

Original HIATUS Action Drama Fantasy Female Lead Magic School Life Sports

A TOURNAMENT OF SORCERERS…

AND THE MISFIT WHO ENTERED IT.

Ever since she was a little girl, Lucy Hardtvelt has wanted to attend the same academy of magic her mother had graduated from, as well as compete in the same, famous Sorcerers Tournament hosted there every year. And finally, after having her application accepted, Lucy is jubilant to begin her first year at the prestigious Greidwhen Academy for Mages.

Unfortunately, Lucy soon finds that, unlike her mother, she herself has little to no aptitude in the magical arts—struggling to keep even the most basic of spells from blowing up in her face.

Now, having been given a harsh dose of reality, Lucy must find out if she has what it takes not only to survive at Greidwhen, but also the Sorcerer’s Tournament and its one-thousand contestants where the winner will be given the title of Champion Sorcerer, as well as the right to challenge the Celestial Mages—who are known to have been defeated only a handful of times…

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redria7
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Learning about Magic

(written after ch 14)

The luckless mage is an underdog story about learning to successfully cast magic and utilize a variety of techniques to improve skill, while learning how to make friends and build relationships along the way. There is a mix of politics, magical world building, and powering up through friendship. That last one is less cheesy than it sounds as the author does a good job of using comradery to mentally focus and center the characters rather than an arbitrary power buff because "Believe it!"

Done Well

The story is well paced, with each chapter covering a fair amount.

The world is straightforward and is slowly building over time as more is revealed. The author opts for a slow reveal over info dumps, and has done a good job of making the information flow natural rather than dragged out or forced. There are open questions remaining but the expectation with the current content available is that questions raised will have answers.

The characters at first seem to fall into tropes, but as the chapters go on they develop some depth.

The combat and magic scenes are also done nicely. They are entertaining, and the author keeps them diverse.

Good Enough

I'm going to qualify the magic system as only good enough for now. At this point after the first arc seems to be completing, the magical concepts from the story are decently fleshed out. We've only seen Lucy learn a few spells, and we don't really have an idea of affinities or mana capacity type situations. As mentioned above, there are no signs that these won't be explained further as we progress, so I'm not worried about it. If you need immediate resolution on these though, you might be frustrated with the slower release of information instead of an info dump.

The Things I Don't Like

The release pace. Okay, this one isn't the most fair point, but the author is currently moving to a 2 or 3 week release schedule. For the quality of the content it is more than worth the wait, but it is rather unfortunate when the style used focuses on explaining details through action. At 1 week per chapter it felt in line with many other stories here, but I'm sad about the slow down. I just want to read...

Should You Read It?

The core question of any review!

At this moment in time, if you would enjoy reading about magical studies in relatively controlled environments, I would recommend the story. There are no indications of dungeon style adventuring with lives on the line, but there are emotional and personnal repurcussions to combat matches played out under guided rule sets. We will be learning about spells, magical theory, and combat applications, and if that sounds neat to you, then dive in!

l nimbus
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Politely told my expectations to eff off.

 This story surprised me, truly. It blew past the expectations I foolishly set for it upon seeing it's cover and title. It all but shattered them, to be honest. I try to tell myself to never judge a book by it's cover, and yet I found that I has stupidly fallen for that trap when reading this. Let me take a few seconds to apologize to the author for that, and to encourage new readers. The Luckless Mage isn't what you expect, when you look at the title. At all.

 I didn't find a light novel, or a gimmicky story. No, I found something that I well and truly enjoyed. Something that will be added to my favourites list in short order. Because I loved it. From the first chapter on, it only solidified it's hold on me, kept me wanting more. That right there is the sign of a good author. The ability to make readers want more is something so few of us can claim we have down to pat, but I believe you have it.

 Whatever you're doing right now, keep it up. This wasn't just an enjoyable story for me, it was a lesson. A reminder. One that I'm thankful you provided me with.


Story:

 I originally had this story mistakenly pegged as comedy, by the first chapter. That mistake was quickly revealed and corrected by the next few minutes. Despite it's cover and light novely look, The Luckless Mage is anything but. It comes off as a serious story, with very deep moments placed throughout, and one of consistent quality. It has already set firm goals for the cast, chosen it's direction and very largely succeeded at what it tries to get do.

 It blends magical academy with a huge tournament arc. However, BOTH of these elements feel actually very well done. I'm usually no big fan of magical academy story, since most try to outdo Harry Potter, or more often, just say how large/grand/impressive everything is. While some of that is in The Luckless Mage, it's quickly gotten out of the way with and moved on touch more important reading material.

 The Luckless Mage isn't just about the title, as good a gimmick as that might sound. No, it also takes clever stabs at several subjects as it's core themes. Bullying, shunning and self-entitlement. These subjects are played out right. Not rushed over or quickly aired out without the proper gravitas to back them up. David knows what he's doing here, and it more than shows. Watching Lucy struggle and push her way through situations despite the weight of the world on her shoulders was some of the best parts of The Luckless Mage.

 One of the more important things to point out about this story, and something that will please readers who've seen a lot of stories on RoyalRoad, is that the story is neither too slow, nor rushes things. It doesn't rely on cheap, predictable tricks or plotlines, both of which would only detract marks in my book. This can be seen in the buildup to the first round of the tournament. We see proper training, thinking and strategizing. Not the usual "try till you succeed once and you have it made" or "I have a plan. Fade to Black" schtick that we see too often. No, I was pleased to see characters acting within the limitations that had been established for them, and doing so believeably, as ridiculous as that sounds, since we're talking about fantasy and magic here.

 What I do want to go out of my way to congratulate the author on is his being clever. This fully showed during recent chapters. Particularly, strategy during fights. He kept believeable reactions, thoughts and counters from both sides of the field, something rare in these types of stories. He also didn't pull solutions out of midair, instead using things he had subtly planted over the entire course of the story. Bravo on that.

Style:

 I think I mentioned it above, but when I started this story, I nearly mistook it for a light novel based on the writing style. It actually isn't. While it may look similar at times, the style used to write it is much more effective and easy on the eyes than the cheap style LN uses. So much that the author actually makes it addictive for you to read. Through dialouge, descriptions and actions scenes, he never loses a beat as he switches it up nicely. I have little no critique to give him on this.

 Save for the warning to you. It MIGHT look like a light novel based on the first few paragraphs, but it isn't. Instead, I actually found this style strangely satisfying. It stayed consistent, and kept pushing the story at a good pace.

Grammar:

 I normally read stories with the intent of spotting and pointing out grammar mistakes to authors. I found I didn't have to do that here. Save for a single instance in the first chapter, where an exclamation mark was inserted in the place of a question mark, the grammar had no mistakes. At least to my eyes. I'm sure grammar nazis could find mistakes if they tried, but I don't particularly care for those.


Characters:

 Another strong point for this story. The cast, while not too large, is well fleshed out and consistent. Lucy, for instance, may come off as too emotional, but that seems to be consistent with her backstory and overall character. Her actions stay on her script throughout the series so far. The same is said for other characters. They stick to their characters, preform in-character actions and dialogue, all while keeping things fresh.

 Flaws are brought up and examined, not hushed up, tossed aside of forgotten about altogether. Again, good on you for doing that. I like how there are several big character related mysteries that you didn't rush to answer, but rather drop hints here and there to keep readers on their toes.

 All in all, these characters feel very well thought and planned out. You succeeded in making the antagonist hateable, while also slightly explaining her actions to us.

 Not originality, but rather, consistency and good planning is your biggest asset so far when it comes to your characters. You've proven you don't need far out ideas and characters to keep your content interesting. I actually peg you as a better character writer than myself, currently. I could go and create unique characters than draw readers in, but you write characters that make people stay.

Bullet Points:

• Very well done, thought out story so far.
• Fleshed out, consistent characters.
• Magic system has depth, and is uniquely and engagingly explained.
• The actual tournament is well done in itself, with rounds being engaging, not boring, despite lasting chapters.
• Actual thought is put into strategy, solutions aren't pulled out of thin air and mechanics aren't suddenly unveiled to help either side along.
• Grammar is great.
• Style is one of my personal faves.
• Quality writing, reminiscent of WFG quality authors.


Closing:

 It seems like a damn shame that this story has so few followers, despite such high quality. I assume that most, like myself, would have stopped at the title, thinking they knew what to expect.

 You don't. This story subverts expectations and actually becomes the story you think it could be. We're it not for the sake of this review, I would have made the stupid mistake of skipping past this story and missing one of the better reads on RoyalRoad.

 The only thing I can complain about, and that feels like pointless which in, is the slow release rate. But, hey, It takes time to make the level of quality seen here.

 In a perfect world, I'd have three new chapters for this every week. In a perfect world, this story would be on the Best Rated list. But, hey, it isn't that world, and we'll make do with what we get.

 In the meantime, you get a follow, favourite and a review. I wish you the best of luck with continuing your writing carrer, David.

Cheers, L.

The Reviewer
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Awesome headings and cover

I love the headings on the top of each chapter. I wonder how you managed that! Also, the artwork on the cover is awesome!

Eli8iR
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Needs more visibility

If you're reading this review, stop. I'm frigging serious. STOP. Scroll to the top of the page instead and follow and favorite this story. NOW. DO IT. Because this story needs way more visibility than it currently has. I don't care whether you're on the fence about it, or want to wait until there are more chapters, JUST. FOLLOW. THE. DAMN. THING.

Calavente
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Keeping me on the edge

I Like the story a lot.

a black-horse running for a grand-prize and trying everything to win against the odds.

I like how you portrayed the "all girls flock to the MC" into the reverse... while not making it too shoujo like.

I like especially the science of magic... 

so continue to surprise me :)

Faeric Fireheart
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A complete first arc of delightful storytelling. I'll be sticking around for the next volume!

darrasdave
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Pleasantly surprised

As of chapter 17 the story is well thought out and very enjoyable. I was worried the main character would make terrible decisions that go against all logic because the description talks of failure. So far the main character has been very likeable if somewhat naive.

RyuNaga
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When presented a story that draws on nostalgia

I am not Nimbus when it comes to reviewing stories, but I am another avid reader like the rest of us. For me, the luckless mage grew on me like building a Jenga tower with all the blocks. Let the blocks represent your expectations and let the player be represented by you and the author David. David will tug on your anticipation for more chapters and give you anxiety when placing the next block but in the end, the foundation of the tower is strong. This is my mental image for this story. Surely there will one day be an end to the story but the tower has a solid foundation and will stay strong from start to finish. 

Now on to the actual story, Lucy is an amateur mage in the making. What she lacks she puts the effort in to do better but she isn't protected by plot armor, no she is protected by friends who will grow as she grows. She learns and adapts and she rises in power to obtain her goal. The way the relationships are built in the story takes me back to the time when I was growing up and learning about society and making my first friend. Being one who grew up traveling and moving constantly, that feeling of friendship when it is first developed is something unforgettable and something that has left its mark on me and reading this story only makes me reminisce of simple days.  Lucy's journey is well paced and will surely exceed your expectations.

Just give it a read, that is my best advice for you.