by David Musk
- Traumatising content
Aeons once ruled the world with a power called Ethermancy. They reigned for centuries until a human faction called the Templars overthrew them. Now, their empire lays in ruin, and the survivors hide in every corner of the world.
Nahlia is a librarian’s apprentice who’s obsessed with Aeon lore. Until now, she had only read of their powers. But when the Templars attack her family, Nahlia is forced to infiltrate a secret academy and rise beyond everything she’s ever known.
Book 1 (The Lost Redeemer) is complete.
Book 2 (The Justicar's Heir) is complete.
Book 2.5 (Sky Pirates) is complete.
Book 3 (The Crowned Sanctifier) is complete!
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This is not enough. I want the next book, now. The lost Redeemer shattered my expectations and tossed them aside, giving me one of the more satisfying reads I've had this year. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even through some of it's flaws. This isn't RoyalRoad's usual fare. This is a quality work I expect to see behind an Amazon paywall, and rightfully so. It promises quality, and it more than delivers.
It takes a premise I thought was standard and carves a truly good story from it. With amazing worldbuilding and characterization, not to mention great dialogue and the author's uncanny ability to make you envision the scenes he's telling you, The Lost Redeemer is a book to be enjoyed. It held many small delights, subverted expectations when I believed myself foolish enough to predict plotlines, and gave a memorable story.
I've read many fantasy books, believe me, but this one stood out for me. Not just in the storytelling, but in the actual way it was told. How it presented information for me to judge, and how fascinating it actually made it 'magic' system. It took concepts you might expect a lesser author to flub, and pulled through. David Musk has proven that he's not only competent, but can deliver quality without pause.
I commend him for this.
The first few pages of the book had me believing this would be a standard, if somewhat good fantasy story. Better than a lot of reads on RoyalRoad, but nothing I hadn't seen before. That was promptly proven wrong over the next few chapters. Shoved into the shoes of a girl who's entire race is in hiding after having ruled most of the world twenty years ago, The Lost Redeemer surprised and delighted at nearly every step. Not just with it's quality writing, and it's refusal to let characters fall into standrad fantasy tropes and predictable plot traps we'd seen before, but with how it was layered.
Right from the very first chapter, it builds to the ending reveal, without you even knowing. Setting the plot, the history, the events, politics. This is one of the many reasons I so liked the story.
Take for example, how it compares to the fantasy genre at large. In common fantasy book A, so and so event occurs. Character has so and so reaction to it, and so and so avoidable event happens because characters A and B forgot details, didn't read into it deep enough, blindly trusted someone and was set up for a betrayal we saw coming a mile away, did something. stupid for so and so reason. The list goes on and on. This story subverted the shit out of those tropes.
The characters knew what they were getting into, didn't get tripped up by actual stupid, avoidable things. Instead, they knew their actions and the consequences, and had damn good reasons for acting the way they did. This is, in my mind, much better writing than many stories I've read.
The author also doesn't bias you towards one side or another. Oh yes, what the Templars have done is unforgivable, but he shows the story from all angles. How the Aeons are fighting back against the genocide of their race. How the humans were led the rebellion and then further riled by lies being spread and stories exaggerated. Not weak, outlandish lies either, but ones carefully crafted to seem as real as possible. A level of depth and care is shown here, one that takes thought and dedication on the author's part.
This large, overall plot is meshed together with Nahlia's journeys, slowly unfolding to the readers. At no point in the story did I feel bored, although some parts were less gripping than others. The ball was always kept moving at a good pace, and the stakes were always visible to the reader.
Oh, it had a few bumps and hiccups here and there, like Nahlia suddenly knowing the Templars weren't going to execute her father despite not contacting Thane, but for the most part, it stayed very good and consistent.
So, the big question. Despite all this, did I enjoy the story and find it satisfying enough to have invested these hours into reading it? Fug yes I did.
Good, great actually. I can't honestly claim you're my favorite or anything, but your style is easy on the eyes and good for immersion. Your knack for descriptions really puts the readers in the character's shoes or helps us envision a scene. I did notice a tendency to become more..vague in battle scenes, but there nothing strictly wrong with that, just my personal preference speaking.
Your style also favors skipping the small stuff, I noticed. Again, nothing wrong, but can makes vital scenes lack some of the tension and impact you might have been aiming for.
All in all, I quite like your style, and wouldn't terribly mind reading other works written the same way.
Now, we arrive at grammar. And hoesntly, you could do better. Hold off on them pitchforks and let me explain. Your prose is good, words are spelled right, commas are in the right places, first words are capitalized, and you didn't mix up yer question and quotation marks. All very good.
There are, however, mistakes. Two big ones I'll point out right below.
• Words are sometime missplelled: Okay, this happens more towards the middle of the book, and isn't noticeable in t evginning or end, but I've noticed times when words were misspelled or missed letters. Nothing too bad, mind you, bit still obvious mistakes.
• Uneeded quatation marks: Again, towards the middle of the book. I noticed several instances where quatation marks we're on a sentence without dialouge, we're on the start of a sentence but not the end, or were on a sentence multiple times, in one instance. Yes, editing is a beyatch, but I suggest tracking down and exterminating them with extreme prejudice.
If it weren't for those two things above, you'd earn perfect marks in grammar from me. Oh, I'm sure someone could tear you a new one over sentence structure and all that, but I tend not to care for that in my reading.
Honestly, they weren't good. They were great. Really great. Far room the best, but high above the RoyalRoad average. A solid cast, one even paid authors would struggle to create. Everyone in the story has a role and purpose, even if the reader doesn't know it.
What I liked most about the cast was, as I said above, how they subverted expectations. Not in the sense where they cast them aside completely, but they managed to often twist them, keep it new and fresh. Every character has thought and effort put into them, with each having unique feels and personalities. Oh, they aren't a bunch of wackball oddjobs like you'd expect from me, but any reader paying attention isn't going to mistake them for one another.
Nahlia, again, proved my expectations wrong for a protagonist in this situation. Her growth and evolution over the series was handled very well, being done so subtly that it felt natural, with the one hickup I mentioned above. She dumped the expectations I had set for her early on(to be conned and used by Thane), and more than proved herself as the main character.
The same with Thane. While he gets significantly less screentime than Nahlia, he was no less important to the story. Again, the author had me set expectations for this character in the first few meetings. He had me form ideas that I knew where Thane's plotline would go, and then prolly laughed is he proved me wrong.
Even characters we've never seen on-screen leave powerful impressions in the story.
Again, through the story, there are no clear 'evil' characters, even though everyone will likely be rooting against the Templars. Oh, some emerge in the finale, but for the most part, David presents sensible and well crafted reasons for either side of the conflict. It would have been easy to just demonize the humans and be done with it, giving his story no less pull, but he didn't. Instead, he gave each side clear, concise reasons for hating the other, and not some bullshit reason that could be solved by a "But peace in nice" argument, that, once again, seems so prevalent in many of RR's stories that follow this scope.
There is one little thing I have to point out though. Too close to be a coincidence. Your naming sense, actually. Now, you might not be aware of these, and that's cool, but other people will be and you might catch some flak for it. But, your have one Star Wars emperor (Palatine, two letters off) and two Final Fantasy character names in your cast (Locke and Zidane). Just a heads-up.
It was actually hard for me to judge this story. There were two different standards I could have held it to, both of which would have resulted in different rating. If held against fantasy books in general, it would have gotten a lower rating in general, but still an extremely fair one. Seeing as this was clearly a professionally done book, with a quality cover and planning, this might have been what it should have been held to.
However, the author did chose to publish it on RoyalRoad, and as such, I held it to RoyalRoad standards. Out there, it might not make the Top 100 Fantasy books of all time. Here, it definitely does. I have little to no critique I could give the author besides what I already have. If anything, I want to be able to write a plotlines as well as he does.
This story is far and above the usual RoyalRoad level of quality. The plot is complete, complex and well paced. The grammar is perfect, or so close as to not notice.
Style: This is a tough, gritty fantasy where the author sets the stakes high and keeps up the pressure on the characters. It is very well executed.
Grammar: As I said above, the story is very polished from an editorial point of view. There are no run-on sentences, the grammar is perfect, and everything is coherent.
Story/Characters: The story is well executed and interesting. The main characters are introduced in believable, sympathetic ways that immediately draws your interest. Motivations are complex and realistic, and the entire story lives in the gray area. There are no (at least to the point I've read so far) truly evil or flawlessly good characters. Everyone acts according to what drives them, and do so in ways that fit the character. This makes the story engaging and a joy to read. I have noticed a lot of tropes, but the author immediately starts to subvert the tropes almost as soon as they are introduced.
I also enjoy that this fantasy is not using generic tolkien-esque races as shortcuts, and took the time to develop its own world with its own species. At the same time, despite the differences in the species, their interactions and how they squabble and war with each other is all too human. It gives the sense of wonder you would expect of fantasy, along with a fresh take on the genre.
From the worldbuilding, unique races and magic system, to the complex, flawed but believable characters, this story has kept me on the edge of my seat, chapter after chapter. I have paused only long enough to write this, and I'll be going right back to reading. I look forward to the journey the author is taking me on, and where it will go in the future!
A very polished story with an interesting plot. It has some interesting twists and turns that will keep you excited for what will happen next. Most of the main cast has character development. They grow as people by overcoming hardships and confronting their pasts. The magic system has well designed rules and the fights make sense. Overall very high quality. Most of these reviews are only a few chapters in to book 1. The plot definitely gets extra thick in book 2 but is still engaging in book 1.
The moment I started the story, it feels and reads like a YA book sold in stores, like a traditionally published YA book. Good quality and way above what is in Royal Road. I'd be hard pressed to find flaws if I just review it by RR standards.
The plot is very engaging. I found myself trying to predict it, assuming this or that, but it ends up differently. There are many twists and turns to keep the reader excited. The author has also made a very likable main character. Let's be honest here, a lot of YA MCs are annoying. At least I find many of them too angsty or bratty or whiny (maybe I'm just old) but the author did a good job here of keeping the main character brave, while keeping her wits, and full of wonder in exploring a new world, while not being insufferable.
Being a bit more nitpicky - and I usually don't do this, it's just that the quality of the work is more than average - it does seem a bit too YA sometimes. And what I mean by that is some YA tropes are a bit recognizable. It wouldn't be much of a problem as tropes are tropes for a reason, perhaps I've just read too many YAs. They give I feel of "I've read something like this before". But the novel does goes into new paths to make the experience different. It's mostly the start that's similar to other YAs but afterwards the story becomes a whole new different experience.
The novel is also a bit rushed in a few places, in my opinion. I say they're a bit rushed because the author is building a wonderful fantastical world and I'd like to get to know more about it but sometimes it's already a different scene.
All in all, way above average for this site and a must try if you're into YA fantasy.
I really enjoyed Aeonica. As a teenager, I would have absolutely devoured this story. It has that professional feel, and hits all the right notes of a good-quality published YA fantasy epic - an ongoing sense of vast discovery, hidden secrets, three-dimensional characters, tragedy and war, and most of all, magic and adventure. Of all the stories I've read on Royal Road to date, Aeonica would be the one I'd pick to be most likely to be on the shelf of any traditional bookshop, and probably sell well at that. If someone told you they liked 'fantasy' and didn't provide any more specific details, Aeonica would make them an excellent gift.
There's very little to nitpick here. It's an all-around great story with excellent pacing, world-building and characterisation, and the writing style is beautifully easy to read. We follow the story of Nahlia, a young half-Aeon woman living in human society with her battle-scarred father as a fugitive from the systematic genocide of the Aeon race at the hands of humanity. But as we soon learn, the situation is vastly more complex, with both sides of this war having more than a little blood on their hands.
My one issue with Aeonica is that it can be predictable. While an excellent story in many regards, it doesn't really cover any new ground or approach concepts from any new angles. For avid YA fantasy readers, you can generally predict how the story's going to go, where the secrets are, and the general trajectory of the plot (although I would argue Aeonica does successfully avoid all the annoying tropes and only uses the good ones, at least to my taste). It's very traditional - great-quality traditional, but traditional nonetheless.
Aeonica sets out a vast, rich fantasy world marrying high fantasy with a society teetering on the brink of an industrial era with the development of gunpowder, and feels as much like a war between progressive technology and epic ancient magic as it does between societies. This gives it the sense that the outcome of the series could very well set the future course for the entire world, lending it that epic feel. And characters do have those quintessentially epic moments. Despite the vast backdrop, the action is often so constrained to just a few key characters that the world can often feel quite small, and that the fate of a major battle can be decided on the outcome of a single two-person duel or close-quarters skirmish. It's a smart storytelling choice and one that works well to create high stakes and meaningful event even if it does occasionally feel slightly odd.
Aeonica's characters are a definite strong point for me. Characters are never clear-cut heroes or villains, but come across as real people with relatable motivations, and good reasons for committing less-than-virtuous actions. People can change and learn, and do. A petty, one-dimensional villain might turn out a few chapters later to be forged from frustration at being a victim of entrenched discrimination, for example. Characters make mistakes with human fallibility and suffer the consequences. It's very well done.
The writing style is what I'd expect from a professional novel - smooth, comprehensible, seamlessly flowing from one scene to the next. There are quite a lot of typos in Aeonica, which is odd, because the rest of it is so polished. One proofread later, though, and it would be ready to sit on bookshelves.
Overall, if you like fantasy, especially young adult high fantasy, there's no reason not to give Aeonica a read. It's a perfect example of a top-tier classic of the genre, and while it doesn't do anything especially original, it does tell its story expertly well. Five stars from me.
Nahlia is on the run from the very beginning of the story. A fugitive from the genocidal Templars, an unwilling collaborator with a pretty complex dude named Thane, and a student trying to learn hidden powers--Nahlia's in a whole lot of trouble and only keeps getting deeper into the mess as time goes on.
I really enjoyed the first 15-20 chapters of this story, throwing our hero into a conflict she's barely a part of where actors from all angles seek to control her for their own ends. The story moves really fast and the scope of the world is broadened in a huge way. I think it slows down a whole lot after that, though, and halfway through Book 1 I was starting to wish something drastic would happen already, but it never gets anything less than entertaining.
The story is long, Book 1 alone being at the size of a fairly large novel, and I hope to someday actually catch up to its current chapter. But being well-written and with a dynamic protagonist, Aeonica is considerably above most other Royal Road stories and worth reading for fantasy lovers.
Disclaimer: this review is through chapter 20
This not what you come to expect from a RR story and I mean that in the best kind of way. A tale of a girl living in a world where her kind is oppressed offers plenty of mystery, detail, and some excellently written fight scenes. We begin with our hero studiously digging through books in a library, looking for any hint of information on her heritage and culture, but soon are thrown into a whirlwind of narrow escapes, political intrigue, and moral questions of how far would and should you go to protect your family.
The story itself is top notch, with world-building that I have seldom seen in a non-traditionally published novel before. In truth, the world is so large in scale to almost be daunting in the beginning. But the descriptions of the locations, the interconnected-ness of the cultures and politics, all the way to the usage of in-universe slang and verbiage serve well to draw you into this world and have you craving more from very early on. There are a few Deus ex machina moments and our MC definitely has Lady luck on her side.
The plotlines are both engaging and surprising, leaving you dying to know what occurs next on our hero's journey. What starts as a tale of one girl's escape quickly evolves into an uneasy alliance between herself and another member of her race. They both have their own reasonings and motivations that, while set in a fantastical world, feel grounded and realistic.
I'm not the best reviewer of style, but there are quite a few good things I can say for definite. The dialogue is both well-written and natural sounding. The character's dialogues and speech feel very true to the spirit and characteristics of the ones doing the speaking. Each interaction feels like something I could actually see occurring between two people in real life, rather than being needlessly grandiose or over the top. The author also does a wonderful job of setting and describing the scenes. I could smell the salt of the ocean and hear the water trickling down cave walls while I was reading. This serves well to draw you into the story and make the world feel alive in an impressive way.
In terms of grammar, the author has a near flawless grasp of rules and an excellent variance in vocabulary to keep things from feeling repetitive or overly-simplistic. Any issues I noticed with spelling or punctuation would be pointed out to the author, who would quickly address and fix them within minutes of me pointing them out.
The characters are all very well written and unique. The cast is very large, to the point where it almost gets overwhelming, but luckily each character is defined enough to help keep them separate. Each character serves a purpose, even if just to show the resolve and honor of the MC. There are really two main characters in my opinion, Nahlia and Thane. Both have their own motivations and personalities, and must work together to each reach their own goals. Nahlia can be a bit naive at times, likely owing to her narrow knowledge of this vast world. She has a lot of tough decisions to face, and they will make her question her own morality and motivations. Meanwhile, Thane thinks he must save the world on his own, while not realizing he may just be in over his head. These flaws are not a bad thing and only serve to make the characters feel more realistic.
All in all, Aeonica is an absolutely wonderful read that I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of fantasy. The world-building, dialogue and characters are among some of the best I've seen on this site. If you like complex characters, danger with a healthy heaping of political conflict, and moral issues that will make you reflect on your own personal character, this is definitely the story for you.
Note: Read only the first 4 or so chapters. So long term things can't really be assessed.
Gripping work, right from the start
Action, pacing, grips my heart
Our character in turmoil, oh help Aegon!
The pressure for her, does it pile on
One of the strongest, starts on the site
Everything solid, nothing trite
Read further in, I'm sure I will
No words wasted, all a thrill
My only critique, would be how
The name of your town, reminds me of WoW
It slightly pulled me from your world
But such weak trifle cannot be hurled
While you world you built doth thrive
A place of history and scope we dive
Plot and character, foremost drive
For these reasons, I give stars, five
This is part of a series of reviews where I read the first 50 pages of the book and give a verdict on if I wish to continue reading.
Aeonica is a expertly written book. Lacking many of the frustrating spelling and grammar mistakes that often plague so many web novels. Stylistically as well, I found the writing to have an excellent flow. Unfortunately, 50 pages in and it failed to capture my attention, though not for lack of trying.
As highlighted above, the quality of the prose is excellent. There was not a single instance were I was forced to pause by an awkward turn of phrase or a grammatical error. Instead I cruised through my 50 pages quite pleasantly.
The pacing of the individual chapters is also excellent, with many of the chapters leaving you with something that induces you to flip to the next.
I'll also give an honourable mention to the world building. Aeonica has a number of unique races, and you can tell a great deal of attention has been paid to crafting its lore. Which is distributed in delightful nuggets throughout the story rather than thrust upon you all at once.
Ulimately the experience was so smooth, and well written I was left scratching my head trying to figure out why I had no desire to continue. Too some noodling but I think I managed to figure it out.
Least Favourite Part:
The Characters: At 50 pages in I've yet to feel like any of the characters have depth. Despite following along with Nahlia and experiencing her thoughts and feelings. I rarely felt like she was a real person. Avoiding specifics, so as not to spoil the events of the story. I often felt like she acted in particular ways because that was what the story required of her.
More egregiously, I was left feeling as if her past was only barely there.
Despite being on the run from the Templar's her entire life, Nahlia apparently doesn't have a concrete idea of what the Templar's look like, or what she's going to do if they're closing in on her position.
Furthermore, while I enjoy the world building of having a character curse by Aegon, you later show that temples to him have been destroyed by the Templar's. If Nahlia is going to curse by the name of one of the Aeon's I think you need to have more of the oridinary character's doing so as well. To explain why she feels like its safe to evoke him, without blowing her cover.
The other issue was, despite the well crafted prose, I rarely felt the emotions you tell us Nahlia is feeling with any intensity.
In the end I think that despite being a technically excellent story, its flaws keep it from being a story that draws me in and leaves me hoping for more.
But for readers who can look past the weaknesses with the characters (at least in the first 50 pages), there are hints of an intriguing plot coupled with masterful prose.
Thus, those of you who it grabs are surely in for an stellar ride.
Wow, this was a treat, I used Siri to read this outload while I worked(had headphones in lol) and it is a fantastic book. This feels more like a good indie book I found on amazon more so than a book on rr. Not to be mean but most rr novels are wish fulfillment or vrmmos or litrpgs, which I really really don’t like. But when we have here is a real honest to God fantasy novel, and it doesn’t even follow normal fantasy novel tropes.
the main characters know what they are doing and it is quite refreshing to see them having a full awareness of what their actions will do, unlike most novels where the Mc is betrayed and we could have told them they were going to be betrayed in the first chap or two we have mcs that are as aware as we are. Pair this with a unique world, some really good world building and I must say this made my 10 hour shift fly by.
thank you for the read I loved it, I am going to read book two for sure.