by Ken Raynous
- Traumatising content
In a not so distant future, five teenagers are selected for an advanced antiterrorist unit, having to balance their personal lives with their new responsibilities to avoid world chaos.
2035. A world on the verge of a new large-scale war due to lack of resources has found a way to generate clean, self-sustaining energy. Nuclear plants all over it have been reused on the basis of this miraculous discovery conducted by the energy conglomerate Cytek.
This company has recently expanded its horizons and developed mass consumption products such as cybernetic limb prostheses, their latest success. However, media from all over the world claim it has secretly developed vehicles, weapons, and many other military-grade prototypes.
From terrorist groups to entire nations, everyone seeks to seize these new technologies, boosting the worldwide wave of violence and terror. In response, the United Nations has endorsed the questioned “Sentinels” initiative, a global military force funded by its most powerful nations.
Nobody doubts this project has been carried out only by the enormous pressure exerted by international financial capital. What no one suspects, what no one even imagines, is the dark origin behind these new technologies, capable of completely changing the course of humanity...
Discord Server: https://discord.gg/qZDtHbW
PS: The design of the cover is mine, but the main illustration is a montage between two images that aren't.
PS2: Since English is not my native language, any kind of constructive criticism around this aspect of my prose will be welcomed.
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I'm going to hesitantly call this a cyberpunk story. It doesn't quite dip into the genre, from what I've seen, but it does toe it, and the cover and sypnosis show the author is aiming for that. It was actually a good read, in my opinion. The author shows clear talent for this, even if I do have a few small things to point out to him.
Honestly, the characters are very good. Surprisingly so, in fact. I expected something different upon reading the sypnosis, bit I was pleased with the read I got instead. The world, while hinted at, seems interesting, and the school life parts, which normally bore me, we're well thought out and done. This actually feels like a professional story at times.
I have to give the author credit for this. They've VERY clearly done this research. Unlike many other stories based in the far East, written by Western authors that have little clue as to the happenings there, Ken has shown extensive knowledge of Tokyo. From sections to highways, he describes them in a way that seems accurate and right to even a person who's never been there. I don't know if it's fully correct, since I've never been there, but it feels like it. So, either he went stupidly in-depth with studying it, lives/lived there..or got his knowledge from Shin Megami Tensei IV like me.
Either way, the story his a very real professional feel to it. While it's only picking up steam currently, it manages to make several scenes that authors usually fumble actually good and done right. The overarching plot is slowly revealing itself now, hinting at things to come.
There have been several action scenes insofar, one car-boke chase that spanned three chapters to start off the series with a good bang, followed by chapters focused on characterization and plot development. Again, this shows the author knows what he's doing and is thinking things through.
The subtle hints at world building scattered through the story show a bleak world, or at least one part of it. I like how this isn't just tossed in at readers, but done through scenes like the MC seeing a homeless man on the street, among other things. There are scenes that directly tell you information, but those are laced with plot development, so the slight info-dump is excused.
I can't say more, since the story is only taking off so far, but I seem to have already built expectations for quality and some interest. Hopefully, what you deliver meets those.
Okay, let's get this out of the way. You have a good style, with very good descriptions and prose. Above average for RR, in fact. But, there are a few weeks things holding you back. I'll try to point out what I've noticed. These are the things that, if you want to fix them, could lead to this being an even better read.
• Text blocks. Throughout the story, I've noticed times when scenes where one big block of text. I suggest breaking these down, as it's both easier on the reader's eyes, and flows better.
• Okay, this isn't the only story I've seen have this problem, but parts of your actions scenes come off as skippable. They're not bad, but with the pattern you fall into, the real meat that advances the scene won't be in the big paragraph, it's usually in the next, shorter one.
• In the same vein. This is simply personal preference, but; I feel you use too many words and say too little in action scenes. Over description. Action scenes should be fast and tense, not entire pages noting every little detail there is and detailing every little manuver. Doing this can ruin the effect you want an action scenes to have. Try slimming them down, packing more content into less words, letting the readers imagination donl the job for you.
• Over the top metaphors: This should be brought up. During the story, I noticed times when the metaphors or some descriptions we're just over the top. The worst offender: Almighty electric pulse... Really, an electric pulse used to pull a pistol from someone at short range is 'almighty'? Don't take this the wrong way, but look up what that word means. 'Mighty' might have been fine, but not 'Almighty'. Universe destroying electric pulses we're missing from the scene, if one looks closely.
Again, far above average for RoyalRoad. There are a few mistakes here and there, but I feel those come more from missing a letter while typing than lacking grammatical knowledge. Just run your stuff through a quick grammar checker like I do before posting, and it's point out anything you might have missed. Other than that, very good on this section.
Another well-done section. I find myself applauding the fact that you gave us an actually good cast using some archetypes and settings that we've seen before and are easily screwed up. They're well fleshed, have thought-out dynamics, recognizable personalities and differences, and insofar, remain true to character and make decisions that fit their personalities.
They're flawed, in ways that make them human, but most are self-aware of these flaws, and if they're not, other characters are. They make mistakes based on their characters and succeed there too.
Dialogue isn't half-bad. Actually good, considering the environment and how many authors I've seen fumble this.
Again, the cast is just finding it's feet, storywise, but it holds potential, and you've shown you can rise to meet the occasion. I expect good things from them in the future.
A very good, solid story. While still getting to it's feet in terms of plot, it already has several memorable moments and good characters. Cyberpunk or not, it's an enjoyable addition to anyone's library if they're a fan of the genre. Oh, it's not perfect, but no one is.
It's a really good and captivating story. One that should be read.
However it falls a bit short of the Cyberpunk genre. It gets really close to it and in time might really get into it, but at the moment it is testing the waters.
The story aspect is rely well constructed. However, it looses some points in the first few chapters because of it's style. It is too descriptive. You could actually open a map and follow the progress of the characters. It has the same problem from time to time after chapter 6, but it gets under control. It is actually a pretty cinematic in the way it is presented.
I did mention the characters. Hat down to the author. Some really well done protagonists, support characters and vilans. No, I will not spoil the story ;)
And really outstanding level of grammer compliments the entire experience that is Ergon V.
Keep up the good work, because this is a must read for any fan of sci-fi :)
Honestly, Cyberpunk is one of the few genres I avoid but, Ergon V is not your everyday Cyberpunk.
Ken is a man with a plot. Smooth pacing and an amazing setting had hooked me. Though I must say I really got into the story from chapter three but, it was worth it and I truly enjoyed reading up to the latest chapter. The world building was done rather subtly, which is something few authors manage to do.
Now this is the best part of the book. I love the characters -especially Saori - they have been fleshed out well and have distinct and memorable personalities. They are built logically and are not simple meatbags designed for the progression of the plot.
Style and Grammar
While the grammar is amazing and the world has been detailed out very well, the large blocks of texts are something which I felt was jarring. Moreover, the description of actions scenes had - perhaps - become more of telling each move rather than showing the fast-paced action.
I was rather brief with this review because I was typing on my phone in the middle of the night because this blasted novel managed to keep me awake all night. And I disliked Cyberpunk! Feels like Ken just slapped me with Ergon V asking me to kindly change my perspective xD
Good job Ken.
Tokyo in the near future, future-gadgets, techno-trerrorism, beefed-up crime-fighting unit. It's all here. What you Cyberpunk-heart desires is all here.
The story does not move much in the first three chapters, but it moves fast. It does not slow down for needless exposition and instead focussed on heartpounding action, describing the events in vivid images that sem to slow down time for the reader - albeit sometimes too detailled with exact descriptions of directions, objects and actions. But almost all of the times, it conjures up amazing scenes in the reader's head. And in the back, there is some sort of mystery, just the slightest hint, if the reader looks for it.
The style and language are very well-honed. Sometimes a stumbling english comes through, but it never falls, always picking the imersion back up.
The characters are drawn one layer at a time. No endless backstory is heaped onto the reader. Instead, the thoughts and actions of the characters reveal bit by bit, what they have gone through, what impact it had made on them, and how their fates might be connected. Even the Prologue character, seemingly a throwaway, is interesting enough, not just as a character for a different PoV, but also as a part of the world.
The world is set in the near-future, using events that the reader will surely remember themselves, and new, fictional events to tie together a believable world acting as a backdrop for the action.
So, if you're a fan of Cyberpunk and crime-fighting action, put on your angled sunglasses, disable you adrenaline-dampeners and turn up some funky synthwave, because this story is going to take you on a ride.
Grammar & Style:
These were intertwined, so I just stuck them together.
Some structural mistakes/awkward phrasing. For example: “Such unfortunate his words were…” (Chapter 1) It should be “How unfortunate his words were…” or just simply add on “Unfortunately, a man….” I can kind of see what that line was supposed to create in terms of setting up the irony of the following situation. But I don’t think it’s all that necessary as it doesn’t add much to writing voice. It would be more shocking to just jump into the next scene like, “ ‘It's not as if we were going to get in his way where we are.’ Suddenly, a man appeared out of nowhere in the path of the patrol..” Or even just fiddle around with the transition more and consider other possibilities like, “Directly after his words, a man suddenly appeared…” Or “ ‘It's not as if we were going to get in his way all of a sudden.’ Yet like a ghost out of nowhere, a man appeared out in the path of the patrol.” There multiple ways to make the transition more dramatic and fluid. Other contrast words like “however, despite, yet” could also be implemented.
Your descriptions are great, but to be honest, they can be overdone in the sense that action needs to be quicker. In chapter 2, the whole chase scene felt slow and undramatic. It lacked in suspense by focusing on details that seemed unnecessary to the scene. It might’ve been due to the fact that it felt like a sequence of events rather than being in that scene, watching with bated breath. The lack of sounds or dialogue too made it seem oddly quiet. Usually, in these spaces, lack of dialogue could be countered with introspection. The scene is almost too detailed to make a visual—something that I had difficult too before my rewrite. Even after, it’s still not perfect, but at least with my descriptions, the visuals were necessary for creating the fantasy setting. Here, every detail of the city scene from the route 416 to ramps to various paths and lanes cause some discombobulation for the reader in trying to map out the exact course of Blue Jaguar.
Lastly, this description: “Before him, the copious trees saturated the road with a beautiful green color fresh from the last buds of spring, its leaves whispering by the wind and shimmering by the moisture and the lamp poles. A central flowerbed full of grass and surrounded by guardrails separated the lanes of the artery that flowed in both directions.” It felt out of place in the scene. I could see it being used as a form of disquiet, like it’s too quiet and something is happening, listening and surveying the seemingly peaceful area before something happens. But instead it lacks a transition or reason for the lengthy detail. Why does knowing the flowers make any difference to the action in the story? What significance do they have? For example, when I show the various plants (in the rewrite) they’ll all used for some reason whether to evoke amazement, astonishment, fear, or physically used to hit or take (like the berries off). In short, each visual description should have some significance. If for settings, then a reason for why it’s important to include in order to set up the settings.
Strangely, on one hand, I appreciate the slowing down, but on the other the quietness of the actions made it feel like watching a movie in slow mo that flicked to every detail of the setting, but the sound was muted. So you could keep most of the detailed stuff as long as it became more dynamic and evoke more of the senses.
Story & Characters:
Again, these two intertwined for me.
The beginning shows the relationship and some of the characters’ personalities while also giving a tidbit into Yoshiro’s reason for being a policeman. This is good on a character-wise level, but moving on from here…
The beginning as a whole is a bit hard to follow because it switches the “MC” point of view from initially Yoshiro to then Blue Jaguar to then Kazuto in a span of five chapters. At least Kazuto was connected to Yoshiro when he was originally introduced, but overall it still like like it jumped scenes and narrators three times. It’s difficult to have multi-lead characters, and I applaud anyone who does that while jumping around a lot but pulling it off successfully. But as it is, I find that focusing on one for some time (rather than just a chapter or two before moving onto the next) makes the story more fluid and understandable. It also helps connects to the characters better rather than dumping on a whole bunch and their backstories, viewpoints, and actions.
With that said, you did note that Kazuto is the main MC, and considering that Yoshiro said his family was hurt (specifically the parents killed) by the Amaterasu, the quaint in comparison life of Kazuto after the previous chapters makes one wonder how it all connects. Kazuto speaking normally to his brother after the event feels…too normal. I expected more of a shake-up. But that’s a minor point that just specifically struck me after thinking back to the first chapter. It’s not a main cause of concern.
Vol.1 Revolution I - Book 1 - THE VIGILANTES X —> It feels like the main plot/conflict is most clearly being set up. Before this, the chapters felt like a very long lead in/setting up of something while focusing on the daily lives of various characters with slight nods to the bigger plot. I can’t say that I prefer this kind of pacing, but I certainly wouldn’t say that it’s necessarily wrong or a bad way to begin a story. It might also be due to my expectations after the initial 3 chapters of action. The sudden drop into quotidian life was unexpected and slightly disappointing. Again, this all personal. I’m just not the biggest fan of slice of life.
Anyway, right after this chapter, we jump back into all the action missing from the very early beginning. It finally feels like the story is beginning and the overall idea of what’s happening and going to happen is being put in place, although, not completely. But unfortunately, that’s where the current chapters that are uploaded end.
Your writing is very good! You have a good command of language with just a few hiccups (as any writer might), but sometimes it does seem to get ahead of you and make parts more drawn out than seemingly necessary or beneficial to the progression and pace of the plot. Considering that it took 150 pages to get to where Kazuto meets the real action, I personally wished it jumped much quicker to this point. This is a bit of a stylistic preference of readers. Some don’t mind, others might like it, others won’t. For those that like this style, they'll love this story as it's very realistic and reminiscent of a bleak slice of life. But for those like me wishing for a more of a journey, it feels too long to get into. (I think it depends on what type of "action" readers are looking for/prefer.) But in general, good work on the story! Keep on writing~! (:
A Glance Review by The Reviewer:
Nice novel! I can't say much because I'm not into this genre of novels, but the story isn't bad at all.
Style and Story:
Style of writing is nice. The prose and the way you make it seem like the reader is experiencing the scene firsthand is a good skill to have. Allowing the reader to read as if they're in the moment is essential in any good novel.
The story and plot are decent. I haven't read that far, but the way it's developing would be very entertaining for those that like this genre. Me personally, I'm not intrested but it still deserves at least a 3.5.
Grammar and Character:
Grammar is well maintained thoughout the few chapters I've read. Not perfectly though, there were a few times I saw a few mistakes. They weren't anything major, you could sometimes go by not notciing at all if you weren't reading specifically to find things like grammar mistakes.
Character development is on going smoothly, enhanced by diologue and the narration. I find the main character relatable in a few aspects, garnering it a 4.5. Not perfect for me though. After all, these characters aren't physical so there's no way I'm giving it a 5.
That's it for this review. I hope this wasn't demotivating in any way! Peace out.