Queen of Ashes
- Sexual Content
- Traumatising content
Helia, a world where ordinary people can acquire the strength of gods, scholars learn secrets of ancient civilizations and use magic to unlock possibilities one could only dream of, and heroes defend nations from whatever dangerous foes emerge, engraving their names into the annals of history.
Rather, that must be what it's like for others. For Liri, it's a living hell.
"You are worthless." The first words she remembers hearing. A homeless orphan who had seen more tragedy in fourteen years than others had in their entire lives, the young girl dreamed of the day her eyes shut closed permanently. One day however, while she rotted in those dirty streets, Ora was attacked.
Now, forced out into the dead wilderness with nothing to fight for but her own life, her suffering turns into a struggle for meaning and survival.
(VOL. 1 - FINISHED)
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The story starts of with some glaring problems right from the start.
The main character is supposedly 14 years old and was kicked out of an orphanage and lived on the streets. But she does not have the street smarts you would expect and some chapters into the story she learns that she is "not human" but of a different race.
At that point the story felt artifical. The background story does not fit the character behavior, her internal thought process and her interaction with "Lise" feel like a slice of life manga and just won't fit with how the story started out.
Adding another character to the mix who has both primary sexual organs, just piles on top. Because the character is handled really badly.
In addition the guild masters of Warrior Guild and Hunters Guild behave stupid and unbelievable. Sending out a squad of people to *kill a dragon* without getting any info on the target, throwing in untested people to fight what is obviously a major threat and our gender confused warrior as the main tank, despite them not having been in a single battle so far.
tl;dr: Dont bother, the story needs a rewrite starting at chapter one and the author needs some guidance for character development and story telling.
This starts out promising.
The issue is the power balance and MC's awareness of what's going on.
Going up against truly unrealistic odds once or twice makes it interesting, but if it's the only schtick it starts to feel like a one-trick pony.
If dragons are known for taking out towns you don't send newbies to counter the threat. You send in your A-team. You know, the ones who just saved the MC's ass?
It seems unrealistic for 30-40-something characters to take out 80-something monsters, even with hax it only gets them half way. The MC barely lived through monsters 12-14 levels greater than her, with support, against 'infants'. The A-Team from the Sky Falls were against their parents with a level gap of 40-50.
All that said, it does have promise. The author just needs to keep these things in mind. It seems a bit strange that in her 14 years within Ora she didn't hear the word 'Gen' once.
The devil's in the details.
Two big things ding this for me:
Honestly, I would say skip the first few paragraphs of the Prologue until you get to the first status-y bit because the opening scene is just pure shock value but isn't...really significant. It could be replaced with so many other things and still serve its purpose. None of the effects or trauma or other stuff is ever a factor in any aspect which turns it into a weird...not really plot hole, but definitely something structurually weird.
Its also a bit odd that no one apparently ever called her a Gen her whole life until she left Ora, but she was the only one like herself thats she's ever known and every place outside Ora instantly calls her that and denigrates her? A week or two travel distance to the next town isn't...its not a huge 'cut off from society' distance.
Taking both of those points out though, Liri is a pretty interesting character. Very driven, and many "fun" interactions when people make assumptions either about her or the way she's lived and she smashes back with reality.
One neutral point that I just feel the need to mention-
So I thought Casaria was a trans character and then we get that twist she's actually a herm/futa. Points for unexpectedness I suppose. Not enough information about them yet but I do have concerns there's going to be a bit of weird societal/worldbuilding shakiness like the Human/Gen;Ora-vs-Elsewhere bit is.
While the story itself is interesting, the author uses a lot of hooks to keep you wanting to figure out more. The opening scene was a personal put off but I'm glad I kept up with it.
While I'd state there's not enough 'meat' to the story to state how well it would turn out, I'm liking what's been written and eagerly looking forward to more.
Also the author admitted this would be a Yuri Harem in a response to a review and that's so rare. I'm intrigued to see it play out.
Queen of Ashes is a survival/litRPG hybrid with more focus on people than the usual. It is also far above RR standards in this regard since it's an actual story that uses litRPG elements as a plot device.
We follow the adventures of Liri, a street rat turned adventurer by a twist of fate as she struggles against both monsters and the civilized world.
Style: clear and concise with no mistakes. It carries the story easily.
Story: Although it has many plot hooks that hint at a greater world, the story is still at its beginning. The pacing is good and I give a temporary 4.5 scores. I object to the gratuitous gang rape at the beginning though, it feels like a cheap shot at trauma more than a good exposition.
Grammar score: perfect. 5/5
Character score: We have several characters with real personalities and that includes the MC. I am removing one star for the typical incoherences such as the MC mysteriously knowing how to read fluently, facing several ennemies up front despite being supposedly a street rat etc.. It's minor stuff.
Overall I would suggest any fan of litRPG to read this. If you liked Azarinth Healer, Delve and the likes, this has the potential to match them.
Limited amount of chapters right now (at the time of this writing, I just completed the “Desperate Times” chapters). Well written and interesting though. I’ll be following along.
I don't understand some of the negative reviews I've read about this. This is honestly great. Some of the characters are a little.... different, but doesn't that support the fact that this is all but cookie cutter?
Fun read, and worth the time.
I'm just made I binged through it too fast....
Really great read, has amazing potential. I cant wait to read more.