A Journey of Black and Red
- Sexual Content
- Traumatising content
Where am I? What is this! I... I don't remember anything. I am in chains? Why am I in chains?! And why am I so very...
This is a story of vampires as I believe they should be, with their strengths and weaknesses, with their remnants of humanity and the beast inside. Updates every Friday. Mind the tags.
Cover by Antti Hakosaari: https://www.artstation.com/haco
Special thanks to Svensonsen for getting me started, as well as Omi Nya, Jemima, my patrons and you dear readers, for the support.
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I first dismissed this as "oh, just another vampire story", but then I saw a recommendation and decided to read a few chapters. A few days later I was fully caught up, and eagerly awaiting the next chapter.
Easily one of the best vampire-lead stories I've ever read, and in the top 10 of all things I've read in the past year.
The varying internal voice(s) of Ariane are particularly well done - I especially love when she's blood-drunk.
The title says it all. Easily one of the best stories on RR. I read all the available chapters on here and then immediately became a member of the authors patreon page and finished everything they have written. My only complaint is I have to wait for another published chapter. Faster please!
A delightfully refreshing story. Like a cold Coca-Cola on a hot summer day.
Man am I thirsty now.
RR wants me to write 200 characters, so I guess I'll give it a go. This story is not your typical RR story. In an age of overt LitRPG, this story shines with its subtleness. The author doesn't tell us what time period it is, who the main character is, nor much else really. However, he shows us. Through vocabulary, sentence structure, mannerisms, and all sorts of subtle shenanigans.
Hats off. 5/5
This story is well deserving of all the praise and hype surrounding it. It is so rare to find a novel that has such a unique yet familiar setting an style. It somehow manages to draw out all of the romanticism of the early 1800's Americas while still presenting its flaws. It finds a way to mix the bloodthirst monsters of Dracula with our modern twist of the heroic villan in a way that (at least for me) wonderfuly blends all the most interesting traits of vampires archaic and modern alike.
Read this book. You will not regret it.
Beautifully written, engaging, solid character-focused piece. Intense, passionate, pacing is excellent. Your take on the time period and supernatural elements are inspired. Some elements perhaps a little too into it for my tastes, but whatever.
Stumbled on this by Read Random, binged it, loved it. I look forward to your future work, and thank you for posting.
As it’s a review I am going to include what I hope is constructive criticism. I do want to state upfront that I really, really enjoy this work and will continue reading it as more chapters come out. I would also recommend this to anyone who does not mind the occasional NSFW scenes. But on to the rest of the review.
The style and grammar are excellent. My only issue is when it comes to POV changes, since they often involve new characters never seen before, they could be better introduced to make the shift easier. Even something as simple as starting them by subtitling the POV with a name and short blurb on who they are, before starting with the POV chapter. The author does provide some backstory during the POV chapter, but until it is finished, the chapter itself feels strangely disconcerting. At least to me, though maybe that is my own personal taste and your mileage may vary.
I also like the story and how the arcs progress internally and how they relate to each other. I will only nit-pick about the worldbuilding. One issues is that vampires weakness to sunlight and inability to operate during this time seems to be a debilitating weakness in an era with gunpowder and other explosives. This would seem to make them incompatible with having resting places that seem to be well-known to other vampires who seem to have no compunction about turning on one another for their own gain. One of the antagonistic organisations also seemed strangely fragile considering how they were able to obtain a powerful artifact from the Rosenthal’s guard and co-opt the US Army for their own benefit in attacking a civilian’s house. Their American branch seemingly evaporates overnight with the removal of a high-ranking member as governor. It does not completely break suspension of disbelief by being too unbelievable, but it does push it right to the brink.
I also have doubts about how the masquerade that hides magic, vampires and werewolves from the general public can continue. All of this “otherness” obviously has great utility and is not restricted to a single individual or handful of individuals but involves thousands of people. There are thousands of people all over the world who can slip up and share information that then will be passed on to other people. With very good reason to not bother hiding it and using it. For example, why would the Gabrielites aid in hiding this information when sharing it with the world at large is one of the easiest ways to obtain recruits and turn the public against them? Sure, maybe one or two leaders might feel secrecy is better, but in such a large organisation with a long history, there are bound to be a few firebrands who are willing to break the masquerade beyond any hope of repair. Many people might not believe it, but with the number of vampires and mages running around, it should be much easier to break the masquerade rather than to keep it. I would find it more believable if it exists similar to the idea of the criminal underworld. It exists and most people know of its existence. But few really know about just how far it reaches (or does not reach), nor the details of how it really operates and its relationship with more “official” powers; as opposed to how they believe it operates. Having written this entire paragraph on the masquerade though, I am happy to note that while this story does contain a masquerade it does not pretend that it is all encompassing and that no “civilian” suspects the existence of the magical. Its just that the story sometimes edges close to breaking the suspension of disbelief.
I am especially fond of the characters. Everyone who has more than one or two lines in this story feel real and three dimensional. Even the major antagonists, with the exception of a certain judge. However, the sheer size of the cast means that even one or two more stereotypical characters does not feel out of place. Just like how most blondes you meet are unlikely to be ditzy bimbos, but (if you meet many blondes), one or two of them being ditzy bimbos does not feel completely unrealistic. What I think pushes the already good characters in the story is that the author is able to convey emotions for not just the main character, but also the supporting characters as well. That and how no character seems to do something purely for plot reasons, but because those actions seem to be in character for them. I tried really hard to come up with some constructive criticism on the characters, but the best I can come up with is that some seem more stereotypical than others. However, even then this is trivialised by how the author is able to make it work and give them real emotions and believable actions in the world he has created. TL:DR version; the author is just too darn good at creating and writing characters. Far beyond my ability to critique them.
Its not really a category, but I also appreciate how the author has kept his work free and promises to keep it so. While also including a patreon page and some works on Amazon. Much respect, and I also know what I am going to ask for this coming Christmas.
Edit (28 October 2020): Amended one of the comments to be less spoilerish. When I read it through again I also think my "daylight weakness" argument seems weaker as a lot of it is based on conjecture. I still think its a valid point, just a relatively weaker one than I initially thought.
This book reminds me of the film 'interview with a vampire' in it's scope and approach.
It's excellently written, with detailed world-building, a compelling plot and sympathetic characters. It's written with a warmth and humour balanced with frequent bouts of ultra-violence.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes good writing, but especially to fans of progression fantasy who fancy something a bit different.
An excellently written start, and generally has a pretty coherent story/arcs. I recommend it overall. But there are some parts where a particular story arc is introduced, explored, and concluded in a single chapter. This has a bizarre feel for it like the author has suddenly thought "oh crap I need to address that" and then does it all in one.
I think other character POVs could do with being explored a bit more often, if only just to get a better example of our very unique (by the worlds standard) MC. Very close to great, and I think with a bit more fleshing out in places would be truly book worthy.
Update 08/22/20: As right now all I can say is this is an amazing story. The story has developed quite nicely and smoothly.
Five stars for style
Five stars for story
Five stars for Grammar
Five stars for Character
This novel is the real deal guys. You should definitely read it or you're just missing out on such a thrilling story.
I heard about this story from the crossover April Fool's chapter with Azarinth Healer. So when I finished up the current chapters there, I gave this a read.
And it... Is GOOD. This novel is just nonstop action, character development, and lore. There are no stagnant parts. Every event has a purpose, there's no meaningless cliffhangers, every word is building towards something. This story was put together like a master builder putting together a clock, every piece fits together. 10/10