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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A dark and gritty vampire story. It calls on Bram Stoker's Dracula and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles but doesn’t just copy them. The world is set in the Southern United States two decades after it was formed, specifically around the French speaking populations.
The vampires in this story aren't nice, they burn in the sun and sleep during the day. They drink the blood of humans and fight with other magical creatures like Werewolves and mages all against a backdrop of a still tumultuous United States of America. It has interesting interactions between its characters all influenced by traditional European, Native American, and African cultures. The characters' different backgrounds influencing how they perceive and interact with the main character.
The characters are well written and well explored. They each have people they trust and distrust, they betray each other and help each other, they have likes and dislikes, flaws and strengths.
The pacing of the story is a breath of fresh air when many stories on this site have much trouble with either rushing through or going so slow that it turns into a slice of life.
The plot is well thought out and interesting. The main character has her share of ups and downs, walking a twisting road through life trying to avoid any of the truly powerful entities in the world that could kill her in a second flat.
All around a very enjoyable story. It is perhaps a bit Grimdark for some people's tastes, at least in its characters’ flexible morals and proclivity towards violence. If you like a more down to earth and gritty depiction of creatures that can only survive by taking lives then this story is definitely for you.
I think it would suffice to say that I pledged my support on patron after the first 60 chapters. But for anybody that would require a more comprehensive review, I will try my best at highlighting what makes this novel great, not perfect, but great.
First of all, it gets better the more the story goes on, style wise, story telling wise, character and world building wise as well as plot wise. There are some less engaging and duller parts, though I dare say this is highly subjective, but the more the story progresses and the more polished everything feels.
I will try to keep this spoiler free, but in case I should fail in this endeavor, beware. You have been warned.
Now into the heart of the matter. The start of the novel is a solid 10/10, the perspective chosen for it is great : not only does it allow you to share in the MC disorientation but it still lets you keep a comfortable distance that permits a wider understanding of what is going on. The result is the acute consciousness of the MC's predicament as well as a fair understanding of the general situation. It is so engaging and high in emotions that the end of the introductory arc left the second arc tasting blander than it should have for its overall quality.
For the characters, well, the MC isn't overtly original in its base model, though the coloring added and backstory give her unique quirks and peculiarities that make her either amusing to outright hilarious to simply badass as death, without falling into simplicity through the addition of obstructions and adversity throughout the entire story. All of that being masterfully thought through and brought to life by Mecanimus' incredibly elegant and refined writing style (did I mention it gets better the more you read.
Side characters are like-wise purposefully introduced and developed in such a way that you never find yourself wanting for more neither being fed up with anyone of the characters. Every arc finds closure, every character serves a complex purpose by the intricate but subtle development of personalities, little by little bringing you to a better understanding of everyone of them. I should also mention that the world-building is so well done that it feeds itself further. Indeed, the characters are never one-sided or simplistic and can always make a come back to bring more life and depth to the story and serve as highlights for newer characters.
The magic is soft, it is not clearly defined (as of yet) what it can and cannot do, yet it is powerful to be sure, and takes part in the story as one more element to a deep and complex world. Nor overpowered neither feeble, it is perfectly balanced, depending heavily on the user to determine the height it reaches.
It is overall a great vampire story, punctuated by many references to various subjects, be it litterature, language, civilisations, history of which the accuracy deepens that much more the immersion.
The vampire side of it leaves nothing to be desired and avoids cliché and overused tropes, but I will let you discover for yourself what it really means to be gifted eternal life, in this superbly reconstructed 19th century.
This is a story I didn't realise I needed until I found it.
This is a story of real vampires, they drink blood, sleep during the day and definitely don't sparkle.
The plot is fabulous, exciting and interesting the main character has to fight for her victories and it doesn't get boring.
The characters are engaging and the non-human mentality is well done.
All in all, it's a good read and worth your time.
(review written after reading all 23 chapters currently available)
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.
I am not normally a fan of vampire stories but I find this one to be a story I look for updates for a couple of reasons. First the MC is really well done. LIkeable, realistic, makes mistakes and grows in knowledge and power slowly. You feel liker her journey is your journey. SecondI like the slowly developing world that while it has many normal vampire tropes, it still feels original and interesting. I look forward to this story adding to its world.
Finally a Story to at least temporarily stop my craving for Vampyr or World of Darkness storys.
With a nice pacing and good worldbuilding similar to WoD it is a nice read.
My one criticism is that the first ark could have been a bit more detailed with one or two "missions" more or more discovery of the underlying workings of the supernatural world. At the same time it avoids the usual needed Infodump and such information can be included when needed.
I for one would enjoy a deeper look into magic at a later date, till then
Looking forward to MOOOARR :)
Basically the first Vampire novel I could ever sink my teeth into.
As of chapter 26, I have nothing but positive words to say about this story. Really looking forward to where the story is going; it’s brimming with potential.
Note; don't get weirded out by the beginning of the story
As you can see from the score I find this story amazing, from the writing, the wit and the general plot, characters and action. This story is amazing.
The start can be off putting but I feel adds to the experience once you understand what is going on
The story of A Journey of Black and Red is very continuous, and connects plot arcs very well. It shows growth of character, detailed story, and has engaging combat, while not relying on any one of those for a sole support; rather joining all of them in a mixture to keep the story going.
Yes, there are errors, and yes, not everything is for everyone. I have parts I didn't like. But the vast majority of it I loved, and this was posted in-progress, as it was written. This shows that The author wrote well, and wrote engagingly enough that people would keep reading through the distasteful parts. And even then, if you look at it, even the parts I did not particularly like were well-crafted and interesting.
One of the best stories I ever read. The main character is touching, fun, and savage all at the same time. The world feel alive, gritty and well put together . The secondary characters are generally amazing and unique.
The story itself is great. There is combat, politics, Manipulation, Magic, Monsters, Humor but also just people being people. There are untones of Lovecraftian horror (as if I couldn't like this story) , half dread, half awe inspiring .
And no oversexualization which is a welcome first for a vampire story.
As a non English reader (French), it was easy to read, and it felt like really fluid writing.
Without a doubt my favorite on RR. Actually made me go on patreon because this is the kind of story that makes me laugh, dream and desperately wait for the next chapter.