Shipshape (Now writing book 2)

by tremir

Original ONGOING Adventure Fantasy Harem Magic
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Sexual Content

 

Jack had always wanted to be a Shaper, to form pure life-force into obedient beasts and monsters and lead them into battle. Unfortunately, the only way to Shape life-force is through the use of Patterns, and the knowledge of how to make Patterns was lost when the old-world fell. These days, what Patterns remain in the world are closely guarded by their owners, who charge exorbitant amounts of gold from anyone who wants to use them.

It took Jack years of scavenging in the ruins of the old-world, evading deadly traps and ravenous monsters, to gather the gold needed to pay for access to a Pattern and Shape himself a pair of hunting Hounds, and take the first step into realizing his dream.

 

Book 1 can now be found on Amazon

 Cover art by Amarihel

Story will contain unusual/harem relationships!

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tremir

tremir

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Ral
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weak story elements with midling results

From reading the author's previous story Phantasmal Party, I'm really not enthusiastic about this. I'm surprised though. It is not as bad as I thought.

Style:

Well, I could say that the style improved a bit. Just a little bit. It still kinda rough and dull.

Descriptions aren't interesting but there is effort here that you could admire. The problem is on how unemotional and unadorned they are. Great writers would try to make the descriptions and expositions interesting by adding some flair, style, and humor; but here there is none of that. At the least, the descriptions are functional.

Related to the issue with the descriptions is the prose itself. It is really plain and bland. The author writes in Beige Prose. It doesn't use any figurative language or imagery. It is just kinda boring. At the very least it is not irritating so nothing actively annoys you.

And there is the dialogue; it is really poor. There is very little variety with he dialogue resulting to the characters sounding the same. The greatest problem with the dialogue though is that it is mainly used for exposition. A common pattern is someone asking a question and another one answers, wash and repeat. Heck, sometimes it don't bother with questions; characters just explain things with no provocation. It is like that the author can't think of any use for dialogue other than exposition.

Overall, the writing is passable. It is dull and boring yes but it isn't really that disruptive. I'll give it credit, if you don't mind the writing that much, it will be invincible. Sure it adds nothing to the story but it doesn't go on its way to ruin it.

Story:

There are many problems with the story but overall not that bad.

One main issue with the story is how episodic it is. For the story to be most effective, its various story lines should build upon each other but that isn't what happened here. It is just things happening one after the other with traveling in between.

To be honest, an episodic story doesn't mean that the story is instantly bad. While an episodic story doesn't have that much of an impact like a more solid story have, it still could be enjoyable. Still, the overall adventures that happens here though tends to be generic and predictable and not all that exciting, but overall not that bad. However, there are other problems with the story.

While other readers praise the 'uniqueness' (I don't really think it is that unique) of the magic system and it is this story's main selling point, it was never actually used for anything interesting. I mean, sure, able to create shapes (essentially just summons) with vim (essentially mana) and the ship shaped shape is interesting but what did the author do with them really? The creature shaped shapes are used like how a typical summons are used (mainly to aid the summoner) and the flying ship is just used as transport with additional offensive capabilities. Even the fact that these summons are rare doesn't seem to factor much into the story. In short, while these shapes are a big part of the draw of the story, it isn't really used in interesting ways.

But, to the author's credit, the system here, and the setting as a whole, is more coherent. There are still problems but not really that big and most would accept with a little hand waving. It is really clear that more thought and effort is given to the setting than the disaster of a world that was in Phantasmal Party. There is a really solid work here! Great Job!

The pacing of the story also sucks in many areas. A lot of space is devoted to characters just moving from one place to another or engaging in empty dialogue while actions tends to end quickly. It is like the author is avoiding writing about the difficult parts and uses transitional elements and fillers, which are easier to write, to bulk the story up.

And of course there are those parts that just adds nothing to the story. The most egregious was the sex scene early in the story (like, is the author trying to write an erotica?) but there small parts of useless things like that peppered throughout the story.

With all the exposition, dragged scenes and pointless scenes, there is actually not that much story here than what the word count suggest.

Still, it is not without substance. There are still the typical adventure stuff, all the neat monsters and the shapes are kinda interesting, even if they not utilized all that much. Nothing incredible or ground breaking but there is something worth reading about.

Grammar:

Grammar is actually good. There are errors here and there but overall it is above average RR fare.

Though there is something I want to highlight. It is in capitalizing shapes and italicizing vim. It seems the author is so proud about them that the author wants to emphasize them all the time. You might be proud of your work but you are still breaking grammar rules in doing that. They are also distracting.

Characters:

The characters don't improve that much from the previous story the author have written. The characters still really empty and devoid of personality and the protagonist still has bouts of stupidity, but not as terrible as the brain dead MC from Phantasmal Party.

The author also stays away from bringing in really annoying characters. The author has a knack with them and I'm thankful that the author doesn't exercise that dreadful skill.

Overall, better work than Phantasmal Party but still not good.

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Surprisingly, not that bad. Well, not as bad as I expected it to be.

Shipshape overall is an average fare. Its greatest weakness is its really uninteresting characters but you could still enjoy it for its interesting ideas and vast setting.

torac
  • Overall Score

Western Xianxia + Pokemon elements + anime girl.

Review as of record 29/51

 

Xianxia Magic System:

Living beings automatically generate life-force ("Vim"). With access to the right techniques, this can be challenged into supernatural abilities or accumulated into gaining special abilities. Animals that accumulate enough "evolve" into bigger monsters. Cultivators go out in the endless wilderness and slay monsters to siphon their power, in turn getting better at fighting stronger enemies. Typical exponential growth mechanics.

Unusual elements: "Evolutions" from extra power are inherited. Humans don’t have a good evolution system, so most are still baseline and instead infuse their gathered vim into "Shapes", which are basically pokemon, including having distinct evolutions once they have gained enough exp/Vim through fights.

The exponential growth is stunted by clans/families hoarding "Patterns" which are essential to these shapes and requiring money for every single use, effectively keeping everyone else from advancing at any appreciable speed.

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Xianxia Setting:

Typical sparsely populated fantasy medievalism with treasure filled ruins and monsters all around. As ist convention, the MC starts in a backwater region, the local Clan (noble house) is lording over the others etc etc. More European fantasy than Asian, though.

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Xianxia Protagonist:

Young isolated teenage male dreaming of becoming a great cultivator (=shaper) who wants to keep his head low, but doesn’t. The only noteworthy "aquaintances" are the one semi-friendly noble™ and the local barmaid/prostitute he cannot afford.

As is expected, he finds some legendary treasure which frees him from the clans, allowing him to begin his uncapped exponential growth. As is also a common trope, the treasure keeps ignoring how shapes/patterns were established to work to the point that I would not be surprised if the ship decided to talk or grow more elemental crystals one day.

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Beautiful Blue Haired Big Boobed Anime Legal Loli (Majory/BBHBBALL)

Physically, she is a bit over a meter tall, has boobs that are described as being ridiculous in size, but somehow not looking ridiculous on her and is of an undefined age. Also, she is the only one with blue hair (explained as her basically being a shiny version of dwarves, but with extra special power).

Mentally, she has the attention span of a gnat and emotes like a cartoon character. She goes from a desperate fight for her life, to wide-eyed amazed gushing, to sinking to the ground in despair once she is reminded by the MC that the bodies of her brothers still lie right beside her- to basically teleporting into an enthusiastic hug one after another, any new emotion completely replacing the last one. It literally seems as if she can only think about what is directly in front of her, with no thought or consideration to the past, future or anything outside her direct sight, be it her brothers or potential dangers the MC tries to remind her of. She is extremely enthusiastic about everything, and decides on things without any hesitation.

 

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Rating-wise, I’ll keep the 3 stars. It’s mostly generic and the anime tropes (including the MC being clueless about the BBHBBALL wanting bone him while it’s obvious to the reader) are not for me.

 

Old review in spoiler:

[spoiler]So far I have read until chapter 06 (dwarves), which felt so jarring I had to write this review and may or may not just drop the story outright.

The beginning was interesting, if somewhat bland. Generic post-post-apocalyptic outpost in a fantasy setting. MC is introduced as a young ambitious treasure hunter who, surprise surprise, finds some legendary treasure to start of his adventure. Not much to go on that far. Decent worldbuilding so far, and good sprinkling in of a few background characters and worldbuilding. The first chink in the story is that the treasure soon reveals that it breaks a number of very basic rules about how "shapes" work, but nothing that could not be explained later.

Chapter 6 starts fairly normal. While flying around, he found a band of dwarves ambushed by raiders and decides to intervene as the need to save lives trumps his need to keep his treasure hidden. There is a very specific point where everything changed:

 

>"A few seconds later, the dwarf abruptly took of his leather helmet."

Even while reading it, my first thought was why!?, why did the last remaining dwarf, in the middle of a tense standoff while wondering whether they were rescued or just seen as an easy target take off the helmet?

Apparently it’s to show off her gender and allow the author to spend the next paragraph describing what an exotic beauty she is. You may guess what follows. The dwarf is instantly tranformed from badass fighter into a socially awkward young overly emotional anime-esque airhead who is in absolute awe of everything around the MC. He, of course, can immediately take charge around his newest follower.

He reminds her that they are literally standing besides the unconscious bodies of her fallen comrades, whom he examines while she stands around awkwardly and awaits further instructions (or sits down in helpless despair as she cannot imagine how she could get them to the nearest town despite the flying ship right besides her). He immediately recognizes the specific poison used against them etc etc.

It follows this pattern for a while. There is also a bit where the ship shape decides to break yet another rule of how shapes work by eating the girl’s cannon and she immediately decides she will now become part of the crew, without even being asked. Then he breaks character again to promise her "half share" which is not only absolutely ridiculous for a simple employee, but also goes directly against his prior decision that he specifically did not want to hire anyone because of the monetary cost.[/spoiler]

(As an aside, no thought was spent on abandoning the other dwarves. Or did she want them to hire on, too? Actually, who are the other dwarves?)

noguer
  • Overall Score

MC to overpowered no real crisis

This is not a full review just my opinion.

I just have one huge problem with the plot, the power progression is just to clear, there is no logical setback, the main character only has to farm for a long time and he has all the problems solved, all crisis are forced and artificial,  or even better just get a bunch of friends and make a flying armada, the MC is just to overpowered.

patlıcan
  • Overall Score

* Contains mild spoilers

 

The story has a really cool concept for a magical system with vim (basically another name for mana) and shapes (could be taught as summons). I love the setup with shapes, leveling and vim management. The story started out good too.

Unfortunately, other than the magic system, the story is just not very entertaining to me. The story and the characters are disappointing. My interest has been slowly waning, and with this latest plotline about abduction and warped, I think I've given up on this.

Toastforbreakfast_was_taken_by
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It was nice but then it went to ship

It is very unique in some parts but incredibly dull in others.

DarkAether
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both unique and damn awesome

I came to this series when I found out that the author for Phantasmal Party made this series, which is a series that I am completely in love with. However when I started this series up I found to my astonishment that I think I like this series even more then Phantasmal Party (although it's a close compition to be honest).

In this series there are two thing's that just really catch my attention and hold me when reading Shipshape, the first thing would have to be the character's attitude and how he carefully plans everything he does when ruin diving and fighting rather than the boring approach that most author's tend to use being "me thump charge real good". The next thing that really catches me is the unique power in this world called shaping that can only be used if you have access to a tapestry and will give you a shape depending on the tapistry.

In total I would have to put this series up there with my most favorit's such as Phantasmal Party, Arcane Emporer, Void wolf, and Lament of the Fallen. Great work Tremir I can't wait for the next update..... no really I can't wait I NEED ANOTHER ONE

Skunkman
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It's good, like cheese with holes.

This story and characters are engaging enough to hold my attention. It doesnt have poor spelling and grammar. There arent huge info dumps.

Why i dont give it a higher rating is because it has some deus ex machina moments that are unimmersive. And wile the magic mechanics seem normal on the surface when thought a bout logicaly there are massive holes.

For example, the ship patter happens to have sailor patterns on it to sail it( by the way, a shape within a shape has never been see before) + it has a super convenient captains outfit that that gives him super convenient knowlage on how to sail the boat. AND the same ruin just HAPPENS to have the air orb to make the ship fly and not be a usless because its trapped in an underground ruin. 

The MC is an experienced scavenger and is cautions and makes sure he isnt followed to his ruin by other scavengers, as he mentions before that it is a hazard of the job to have your find stolen by others. Yet, he convenientely forgets this and boasts to multiple people about how much whitesteel he found( which bites him in the ass, duh) going as fas as showing off his shapes to a persob he has said he doesnt fully trust.  It was jarring to read that part in the story because it was contrary to his established character and was so poorly integrated in the story.

Correct me if im worng, but do the shapes have to be allways in physical form? Is there a stand by phase? It was never explaned. Later in the chapters the MC goes to a pub and leaves his shapes outside. What if there were 4 other shapers in the pub and they left their shapes outside? Is there now a massive crowd of shapes blocking the road? Also if you can reshape destroyed shapes why cant you shape new ones if they are the same type? Whay does he have to buy new onesif he unshapes them, isnt that the same as destroying one? 

If you can get past some mechanical and plot holes then the story isnt bad. And since it has just started there is hope for improvement in the tightnes of the story.

Bobboky
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The story is very good. The sex scenes are unnneded and detract from the story. 

silentveteren
  • Overall Score

I see we have a fellow Geneforged fan!

 Damn, but it's been a while since I last thought about Geneforge. This novel is really a blast from the past. I can tell this novel has potential, and look forward to reading more! 

jpuntuned
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I love original magic systems

I have grown sick of the overdone elemental magics in fantasy where the characters sling fireballs and icebolts like it's no big deal. Magic is being trivialised and rehashed. Authors do the same things over and over again instead of trying to make something new and fantastical. Tremir isn't one of these authors. He has thought outside the box and used his imagination to create something different. 

Initially, I checked out this story because it is on trending and I thought it might be a comedy about a living ship. Boy was I wrong and glad for it. I carried on reading because my story has a school of Magic called Shaping as well. I wanted to make sure there wasn't too much overlap. Instead, Shipshape has inspired me to improve on the school.(the similarity ends at the name and the use or blueprints which will no longer be called patterns. The author need not worry about me stealing his IP)

Over all, the story is very well written. The style is simplistic and monotonous at times but doesn't take away from the prose. I'm still waiting for the plot to take off, but love the characters.