A Journey Away - Book One of The Eternal Flame

by The Juggernaut

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Fantasy GameLit Grimdark High Fantasy LitRPG Magic Male Lead Martial Arts Mythos Portal Fantasy / Isekai Reincarnation Ruling Class Strong Lead War and Military
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

Michael Collins, a normal college student living alone, was forcefully stuffed into the body of a dying man by the name of Ruthar Ges Lunar Kinderal III. Ruthar was the son of a conniving noble that had devised a plan to prevent the destruction of the Kinderal Family by the hands of those that would drool over the wealth the family had acquired and hidden. Now, Ruthar, or is it Michael, must survive and navigate through an empire that chases them for their dragon's treasure while his father had moved on to the spirit realm.     

With only his honor guard, led by two of the most fearsome men on the planet, he is on the run to find a home to call his own.

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The Juggernaut

The Juggernaut

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l nimbus
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A for effort. Seriously.

  This could be better with work. Not to say that it isn't already a good story for those interested in this niche type of story, but it could be improved. A Journey Away seems to be a less-than-typical Isekai story. It tries to be different from the rest of the genre, and succeeds at that. But, does it truly live up to the author's great visions for this story? Not quite.

  See, there are a few flaws to the book, which could do with soon ironing out. It's more technical stuff, although there are some story-related ones as well.

  While this review might seem like too heavily focusing on the Cons of the story, don't take that in a bad way. I'll be discussing what could be improved more than what is already good, since that is what will actually help you. With that, let's get on to the story itself.


   Story:

  Okay, A Journey Away's main story is a good idea, although the execution mars it somewhat. You have reasonable cause, a driving force for the protagonist, goals, means, etc etc. Done right, this could be a heck of a ride. It mixes unique fantasy with new ideas, showing a lot of promise. The initial storyline of him being trapped and tortured by enemies has yet to be fully explained, but it sets the tone for future plots and arcs well.

  The monsters are on the unique side, and well-described, though not excited to the extent of the bar I set for myself. No need to beat yourself up over that, though. That's all just personal preference. Not all your readers are going to share the high standards I set. Battles are usually shorter and harder to follow than I would like, but, again, ignore that. All in all, you did a nice job creating this new world, although I'll go ahead and point out what I seem are the flaws.

   Contrast: This is one of the things I have to bring up. See, across the story, you have these grand, epic moments. Meeting the Hectonchires, Usings Skills, the cities, etc etc. These moments aren't as powerful as they could be, however. Because there is little to no contrast to them. Nothing to show what is considered 'normal', as tell the reader why these moments should be remembered. My advice? Throw in the normal, the down in the dirt struggles. Show how powerful your ordinary human is, etc etc.

   No real build-up: Oh, don't get me wrong, you did plant some good hooks here and there, but for the most part, you didn't really follow through on foreshadowing. Look, again, at the Hectonchires event. While you did plant it (maybe) as early as chap 2, you didn't really build up to it. An event like that could have been this huge, monumental achievement for Team Ruthar, but it played out like just another chapter. It would have gone far better, imo, if he had learned what he needed from another source, and you had taken longer to dscribe the journey.

   Overdoing it: On the other hand, there's this. Don't sweat this too much, since we've all made this mistake, but you went too grand at times. Going right for stuff like Death's forest, endless journey, Celestial and Infernal when describing stuff that wasn't built up. Just tone down the grandosity a little and you'll be fine.


   Style:

  Your style actually skimps on descriptions and, if I had to say it, on fleshing out scenes. We get dialogue, some descriptions and character interactions, But I think you need to expand. That said, your prose could use brightening as well. It's not bad,.but more variation is always a good thing.

  And, as I said above, scenes can always do with more life being inserted. You have the basics down, but try throwing in small stuff, like colours, emotions (more of those), character movements and dscriptions, etc etc.

   Grammar:

  Again, good but not great. While eating through, my eyes were continually nitpicking small mistakes, such as you not using commas at crucial times, or ending sentences with commas instead of periods. I'd recommend sweeping through each with a Grammar checker and fixing those mistakes. Other than that, you're fine and good to go.

   Characters:

  Sounding like a broken record here, but these could do with moar work too. There is never too much characterization. Never. The characters are decent, and a mix between fleshed and flat. They have appearances and roles, but not much aside from that. Ruthar/Micheal does have his own moments. But, aside from that, we know little about his character or past.

  My suggestion is to flesh these people out. Give them more clear-cut personalities, disagreements, flaws, quirks, little things in their appearances that hold your mind. Describe the texture of one's skin, the shape of their ears, even odd hairs or something. All of these serve to breathe detail into a character, make them come alive on the page. Give them even more emotions, different reaction to things. What are their favourite foods? So on and so forth.

  Another thing to bring up are the overreactions. Again, personal preference, but these are the things that nagged me when reading through. Cyclopses freezing in mid-step, instant awe and overwhelming emotion, that sort of thing. Again, provide contrast to these. Show characters when they are bored, hunrgy, tired, underwhelmed or dissapointed and so on. These will help give light and depth to emotions of the opposite spectrum.

  And all of these are what makes a great cast. Variety, depth, emotion, flaws, quirks. These are the things readers will take away from the story. Not how great someone is with a sword or magic, but how they react and interact. Not how they succeed at everything, but how and why they failed and grew from that. I wish I'd known that when I started out.

   Closing:

  I give this a extra credit for effort, because Jugger tries, he really does. With some spit and polish, this could be a story to love, even though it's more slice-of-life than the epic fantasy you'd expect from the setting. Still, it hits the right points, with it's world, impending doom, and some backstory.

  It just needs more content. More fleshing out. And I know The Juggernaut is up to the task.

DefinitelyAGiraffe
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An interesting use of fantasy

Written as of Chapter 16.

I would like to preface this review by informing everyone that I am not a fan of high fantasy stories, most of the time. Therefore, take everything that I say with a pinch of salt. Without further ado, I shall jump into the fray.

Style:
The style of this story kept rotating between being easy to read and annoying me. Sometimes the spaces between paragraphs would be good, and othertimes I could mistake it for blocks of text. As the story progressed, I noticed that the author started to use smaller paragraphs, of which I am a much bigger fan.

In my personal opinion, the style was something that let the story down with how it was done. It felt weird to read and if anything, brought me out of the immersion that I had just gotten into. 

Things that I noticed in the style area was that some sentences were incredibly long, and if I tried to say them outloud, I couldn't make it without taking a break that wasn't there. Mainly, don't make a sentence into a whole paragraph by itself, for future reference. Additionally, there were moments where it looked like you had seen a long sentence, then deleted a comma and replaced it with a period to make two sentences. In the end, it made a sentence that felt disconnected, didn't make sense and was not grammatically correct.

Grammar: 
The grammar of this story was riddled with occasional mistakes, but none of them were particularly heinous. There would be a word that was repeated occasionally, a misplaced comma or no comma at all. Basically, mistakes that made me have to reread it to properly understand what was meant to be said. 

Despite all of this, it was imaginative with the language used and I could see that the author was trying to use new grammar, they just didn't necessarily succeed. This links into the style, in how the grammar did minorly help with occasionally bringing me out of my immersion, but it had no long-lasting effects. 

Story:
The story at the beginning was broken, didn't make much sense and felt rough around the edges. As the story progressed, things started to make more sense and it gradually felt like there was an actual plot. Personally, slow-paced novels aren't necessarily my cup of tea, but this one felt particularly long.

Details that were needed for progressing the story or making sense were held out for too long (see, his father's quest) and it left me wondering why I would want to actually read on. It's one thing to intrigue the reader by dropping tidbits of information that lead into a bigger picture, but if you fail to succeed with that, you've just got a story that doesn't have a good plot. 

Unfortunately, I feel like this was something that happened in the beginning. However, the story went on and it finally started to show itself, and it actually looked interesting. The flashbacks made sense, they were creative and they providied detail that had been lacking for far too long. In the end, by Chapter 16, I felt like I could sort of see what was going on. Although, this is where it links into characters.

Characters:
I don't know their motives. I'm still not sure what Michael's personality is, mainly because I can't tell if it's the Ruthar most of the time since they seem to be so similar. Why would a college student who was broke be so cocky to Agata? It made it hard to sympathise with him, and the whole insanity thing that's going on still doesn't make much sense to me.

I get that there are two people in his head, I just feel like it wasn't properly explored nor explained. In the end, I can only hope that more is developed as the story progresses, but you've got to wonder why someone would wait around that long. 

Other characters did have clear motives, mainly because they were "must protect our liege" so it wasn't exactly hard to do. Their personalities seem clear, there seems to be some sort of foreshadowing for a relationship between Agata and Michael/Ruthar as well. In my opinion, the side-characters seem to be better than the MC, which I can't tell if that's a good thing. 

Unless I didn't pay enough attention, I haven't seen a good enough reason for why Ruthar/Michael are so arrogant other than their family's prestige. I don't really get how Michael ended up in Ruthar's head, and I also don't understand how no one noticed the personality change? (Links into how they seem to have the same personality, which doesn't make sense when it's said that they're of two different dominions or something.) 

In the end, this story isn't my cup of tea. It has mistakes, as do most novels, but this one makes me get caught up on them far too often. Obviously, I've sort of looked for the bad features, but I can say this: it has good intentions. There is a plot that's beginning to form and characters do appear to be defined, I just feel like it has taken a bit too long to get here. 

I respect Juggernaut for the fact that they have taken risks. It seems like the author has tried new things and they do seem to be very interactive with their audience, which I respect. So, take what I've said not as serious, because I'm not informed on this genre. But, just know that if you do pick up this book, you've got a very caring author writing it who I know will try their best to give you the best story they can manage. 

Oh, and one last thing as a piece of information directly to Juggernaut: as far as my knowledge goes, it isn't a smart idea to start a story with description. It bored me from the getgo and put me in a negative mindset for a bit longer than it should've. Might not be the case for everyone, but it was for me. 

Thank you, and keep writing, Juggernaut. 

Sociable Hermit
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Epic fantasy, buried deep

Review as of Chapter 21

Honestly, I wasn't sure if I wanted to recommend this novel at first. There's a good number of problems you can expect from an inexperienced author. On the other side, it's epic fantasy. It's not much of a gamelit (despite the tags). It's actual, proper epic fantasy, something that seems to become a bit of a rarity on this site. It's really good too, with a fantastic world and really interesting plot. If you're into that sort of stuff and don't mind giving an inexperienced author a shot, please click on chapter one, or keep reading my detailed drivel down below.

Style: The story generally goes for a very flowery, sometimes even theatrical style in its descriptions. Although the auuthor lacks experience, many of them are done well, and a few of them are fantastic. Unfortunately, I don't feel like this sort of style fits well with the otherwise fast-paced and more whimsical tone of the story. A few times, a really pretty, but equally long and unnecessary description ruined scenes for me, usually either action or comedy. I feel like this has been getting better in more recent chapters though, so I'm pretty optimistic.


Story: There are so many neat ideas crammed in here that it warms my cold, dead heart. It made me realize that it's been far too long since I've read epic fantasy, and I thoroughly enjoyed details of the world and the plot. Unfortunately, the presentation doesn't do its best to convey all of these ideas. Interesting scenes oftenhappen off screen, when I would have really liked to read about them, rather than about two characters retelling how awesome they were. Also, some story threads are just left dangling as the plot moves in a completely new direction. Around chapter 20, the main plot is finally revealed, and it looks like it'll be great fun, with a really good payoff. Still, the problems established in the first few chapters seem all but forgoten most of the time. There are also tacked on LitRPG and reincarnation parts the story doesn't seem to need. I'm still not sure if they actually have a purpose in the plot. Even with all the flaws, the world and main plotline got me invested. I feel like with a slightly better focus, this section wouldn't just be good though, it would be fantastic.


Grammar: Mostly fine, but the style makes things dificult on the author. Since many sentences are really complicated, I had to read them very carefully to understand what was meant. So if there was a single typo, I couldn't just read over it. Instead, it made the sentences even tougher to read. Still, that's more of a style problem though, and this definitely gets much better as the chapters progress.


Characters: Just like the story, there's lots to love here. There are many likeable and hateable characters, each with unique quirks and personalities. Although most of them are a bit one-note, it's an interesting note, usually. The only problem I have is, unfortunately, with the protagonist. All of these great, interesting characters are subservient to the weird, bland, unreadable protagonist who is just kinda along for the ride. The MC is wildly inconsistent in his actions and emotions, so he's impossible to read. He seems to be doing nothing all the time either. He just coasts through the adventure with no agency, as his father's plans and destiny do all the heavy lifting for him. Again and again, he just stumbles into powerful servants, all of whom are 100% loyal right away. In more recent chapters, it looks like he'll have to learn to become a ruler, so now we're at least getting some development. Considering how good all the other characters are, and how early we are in the story, I'm still optimistic the author will take a right turn and make an MC who's worthy of his tale.


Overall is a piece of clothing. Also, A Dragon's Treasure is a story that mixes many good ideas with some inexperienced execution. The resulting product is sometimes fantastic, sometimes frustrating, but never boring.
If you're into epic fantasy you will probably get a decent kick out of it, and if you like cute floofs you will too.

Endemus
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Give it a try - it just might engross you.

Overview

Juggernaut’s fiction has a lot going for it and a lot holding it back, but the things holding it back are more easily fixed than most, which points to this story having a ton of potential. It begins with a kind of surreal atmosphere, which is a bit hard to understand because of the style, but it certainly drew me in and got me invested in the characters in the following chapters.

Style

This is one of the downfalls of A Journey Away. Ignoring grammar completely for the moment, the story lacks, at times, a rhythmic sense of prose in that the sentences can be of self-same length and the paragraphs can have the same issue. There is also a problem in the actual paragraph breaks: this story can be more difficult than others to read because it doesn’t flow particularly well, i.e. the actions aren’t at the beginning of the paragraph far too often for my liking. For example, one action or description might occur at the beginning of a paragraph, then a new one might start in the middle or at the end, and this left me feeling a bit dazed and confused when I either missed the action completely or realized that it had seemingly happened in conjunction with whatever description or action preceded it because of the paragraph structure. This needs some work.

But! There is good news: one of Juggernaut’s greatest strength is writing poetic turns of phrase, which are often fantastic and help to convey the emotions of the scene (usually--there are occasions when they don’t match the emotion of the scene, but those are rare). This makes the heavy scenes (like the flashback to Jax’s ‘origin story’ and the scene where Michael talks to the gods in Chapter 13) much more hard-hitting and I really, really enjoyed a lot of the descriptions.

Grammar

This is another part where A Journey Away needs some help. To start, there are in this story: misplaced commas, incorrect word usage, tense switching, sentence fragments, malformed sentences, and plenty of typos. It needs a lot of editing. Dialogue tags, too, need help. There is often more than one sentence of dialogue before the tag, and occasionally the tag is on a new paragraph, which is very weird. Some of these things improve in the later chapters, but not all of them.

For me, this section detracts from the quality overall, but I also have very high standards in that department. There are points at the story in which these things just didn’t matter, however, because I was so invested in the actual characters and story, which is very much worth taking into consideration. Unfortunately, I can’t give this story a high score here without some serious improvements, though.

Story

This is where we start to see the good news. I really like the story so far and, like I said in the overview, it clearly has a ton of potential. The world is clearly deep, there are a lot of cool aspects to said world, and the plot itself seems to have a direction which is revealed in the later chapters that have currently been released. I found most of the names, titles, etc., really interesting as well, though my personal opinion is that you should change “Status Reaver.” I see what you’re going for, but that usage of the word “status” is very contemporary and is incredibly jarring (for me at least) to see in a more fantastical context. I’m not yet certain what importance they have or whether the GameLit aspect is necessary at all, but if it is, that’s my recommendation for it.

Another good point here is the excellent themes that this story expounds upon. This first became clear to me in Chapter 15, and it seems like it will only get better from here on out.

One final note: there are occasional holes. When Jax kills all the bandits, why were there elderly and children? Maybe I missed something, but I thought their group just got attacked by a group of brigands. There are several moments like this when I feel like I’ve missed something that beg either another scene or at least some explanation (like, what the heck is Mister FluffBottom? There’s no description before he’s introduced by dialogue and little after). And what are the cyclopes actually asking of Michael? He’s called their savior, and he hears the ‘Great Ones,’ but it takes time before it becomes clear why they’re actually helping him. They apparently don’t know that he can hear the Great Ones before calling him such, too, which struck me as out of order. Another thing I could very well have missed: how does Michael know about Senzard? (I later connected him to The Thief, but this wasn’t clear before.) Regardless of whether I missed some of these things or not, a brief explanation that points back to how something originally happened would be useful in these parts and others.

Character

While some of the other aspects of this story make the characters hard to define at times, they shine through nonetheless. They are clearly different, have clear motivations, and their stories are occasionally told through flashbacks. The flashbacks themselves can be clunky at times, but they achieve their goal admirably in my opinion. The combination of Michael and Ruthar is also charting new territory that has a lot of potential for weird and interesting character co-play and could be a big part of this story in the coming chapters.

My only issue here is mentioned above--occasionally characters do odd things that aren’t explained enough. Maybe they make sense and are in character, but I need to see more introspection (my current example being the Mister FluffBottom portion in Chapter 10).

Conclusion

A Journey Away has really high potential in story and great characters that are bogged down by the language at times, despite the powerfully poetic turns of phrase. I’m told that Juggernaut is in the process of a rewrite, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing where it’s going.

Jacksonion Democracy
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Very Interesting Story (MC who is insane/sane pretty much trying to survive until he has enough strenght to just do whatever the hell he wants), Well Written, only complaint is that there aren't enough chapters for my eternal hunger!