Katalepsis

Katalepsis

by Hungry

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

Nightmares and hallucinations have plagued Heather Morell all her life.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child after the loss of her twin – a sister who never really existed – and now struggling with her mental health at university, Heather teeters on the verge of giving up on life. A chance meeting ends in a revelation: she is not crazy. Her visions are all too real and they probably want to eat her soul.

Embroiled with a disabled, bad-tempered magician and her self-proclaimed ‘bodyguard’, Heather rapidly descends into a world of terrifying magic and otherworldly monsters, trying to stay sane, bring back the dead, and maybe, just maybe, make out with cool older girls.

 

Katalepsis is a Ancient Greek word which means ‘comprehension’, or perhaps more accurately, ‘insight’. Katalepsis is a serial web novel about cosmic horror and human fragility, urban fantasy and lesbian romance, set in a sleepy English university town.

New chapters are currently posted once a week, on Saturdays.

This is a Royal Road mirror of Katalepsis' own website, located here, currently updated at the same time with a new chapter every Saturday.

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Hungry

Hungry

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
mind; correlating - 1.1 ago
mind; correlating - 1.2 ago
mind; correlating - 1.3 ago
mind; correlating - 1.4 ago
mind; correlating - 1.5 ago
providence or atoms - 2.1 ago
providence or atoms - 2.2 ago
providence or atoms - 2.3 ago
providence or atoms - 2.4 ago
providence or atoms - 2.5 ago
providence or atoms - 2.6 ago
providence or atoms - 2.7 ago
providence or atoms - 2.8 ago
providence or atoms - 2.9 ago
providence or atoms - 2.10 ago
providence or atoms - 2.11 ago
providence or atoms - 2.12 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.1 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.2 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.3 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.4 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.5 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.6 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.7 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.8 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.9 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.10 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.11 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.12 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.13 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.1 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.2 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.3 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.4 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.5 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.6 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.7 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.1 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.2 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.3 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.4 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.5 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.6 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.7 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.8 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.1 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.2 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.3 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.4 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.5 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.6 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.7 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.8 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.9 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.1 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.2 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.3 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.4 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.5 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.6 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.7 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.8 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.9 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.10 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.11 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.12 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.13 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.14 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.15 ago
covenants without the sword - 8.1 ago
covenants without the sword - 8.2 ago
covenants without the sword – 8.3 ago
covenants without the sword – 8.4 ago
covenants without the sword – 8.5 ago
covenants without the sword – 8.6 ago
nostalgia for infinity - 9.1 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.2 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.3 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.4 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.5 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.6 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.7 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.8 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.9 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.10 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.11 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.12 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.13 ago
by this art you may contemplate - 10.1 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.2 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.3 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.4 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.5 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.6 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.7 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.8 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.9 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.10 ago
nothing more impotent - 11.1 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.2 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.3 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.4 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.5 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.6 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.7 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.8 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.9 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.10 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.11 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.12 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.13 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.14 ago
water of the womb - 12.1 ago
water of the womb – 12.2 ago
water of the womb – 12.3 ago
water of the womb – 12.4 ago
water of the womb – 12.5 ago
water of the womb – 12.6 ago
a very great mischief – 13.1 ago
a very great mischief – 13.2 ago
a very great mischief – 13.3 ago
a very great mischief – 13.4 ago
a very great mischief – 13.5 ago
a very great mischief – 13.6 ago
a very great mischief – 13.7 ago
a very great mischief – 13.8 ago
a very great mischief – 13.9 ago
a very great mischief – 13.10 ago
a very great mischief – 13.11 ago
a very great mischief – 13.12 ago
a very great mischief – 13.13 ago
a very great mischief – 13.14 ago
any mortal thing - 14.1 ago
any mortal thing – 14.2 ago
any mortal thing – 14.3 ago
any mortal thing – 14.4 ago
any mortal thing – 14.5 ago
any mortal thing – 14.6 ago
any mortal thing – 14.7 ago
any mortal thing – 14.8 ago
any mortal thing – 14.9 ago
any mortal thing – 14.10 ago
any mortal thing – 14.11 ago
any mortal thing – 14.12 ago
any mortal thing – 14.13 ago
any mortal thing – 14.14 ago
any mortal thing – 14.15 ago
any mortal thing – 14.16 ago
any mortal thing – 14.17 ago
any mortal thing – 14.18 ago
for the sake of a few sheep - 15.1 ago
for the sake of a few sheep – 15.2 ago
for the sake of a few sheep – 15.3 ago
for the sake of a few sheep – 15.4 ago
for the sake of a few sheep – 15.5 ago
for the sake of a few sheep – 15.6 ago
for the sake of a few sheep – 15.7 ago
for the sake of a few sheep – 15.8 ago
for the sake of a few sheep – 15.9 ago

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Thedude3445
Overall
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Outstanding. An absolute must-read, no matter what

Reviewed at: for the sake of a few sheep – 15.2

[GL Reviews #2]

[The full review on my personal site contains all the juicy spoilers for people who have already read the story. I'm not allowed to link it for some reason, so just go to my blog and search "Katalepsis" I guess]

OVERVIEW

Katalepsis is the best web serial going on today.

End of review.

Wait, don’t actually go! There's several thousand words below!

Okay, anyway. Yes. Katalepsis is a fantastic, astounding, stupendous, wonderful, sublime, eye-popping, wowzers-level good story. It’s recommended to almost any audience, almost any web fiction reader—ESPECIALLY if you’re into the whole Royal Road Progression Fantasy type stories. It’s a horrific cosmic terror-feast, it’s a heart-pulling romantic drama, it’s an action-packed adventure across dimensions with ever-increasing power levels and, somehow, extremely personal stakes all throughout. It’s funny just as often as it’s scary. Katalepsis really has it all.

I don’t usually read long web novels—I prefer stuff that’s sub-500 pages complete, and this is currently just under 4,000. Honestly, I didn’t really plan on reading the WHOLE thing, either; I planned on reading maybe 5 or 6 of the current 14 arcs, writing a nice review, then reading the rest after it finishes sometime in the future.

That changed as I got into the story and realized that, indeed, this is actually one of the most gripping things I’ve read in a really long time.

Please, if there’s any other thing you take away from this review, it’s that you need to read Katalepsis. Ignore any preconceptions you may have from the cover or synopsis or your idea of what horror novels or romance novels are supposed to be. Trust your instincts, take the dive, and if you’re not satisfied, you can blame it all on me. But you won’t, because you’ll love it too.

There’s a reason that an LGBTQ+ heavy horror romance fantasy novel is in the top 100 of Royal Road; it’s just THAT good, that it defies all niches to unite the entire site together. I honestly expect this to approach the Top 10 someday as it continues picking up steam, and especially with its impending audiobook and ebook releases. Katalepsis is going to be a Really Big Deal soon, and I can’t wait.

But I guess if you’re not convinced yet, then let me tell you WHY it’s so good.

First off, the characters are amazing. Almost every single main cast member is fleshed out to absurd degrees. Our protagonist Heather is an excellent, but biased surrogate into this magical world, and as she grows we slip further past the membrane and the characters slip further into our hearts. Even the asshole characters are endearing. Everyone is great.

The story is, essentially, a Progression Fantasy that isn’t marketed as one. Heather grows in strength, hones her abilities, and becomes a more social person. The power levels of everyone around her ramp up as well, and over time the story gradually gets bigger and bigger. All the classic Progression Fantasy tropes are here, just in a shell that isn’t a generic Tolkien-esque fantasy or system apocalypse. And it’s totally awesome!

And somehow, despite the major progression elements, the actual stakes feel relatively small, relatively personal throughout. A girl wants to rescue her sister from an alien God, but the story barely grazes the surface of what’s truly out there, at least as far as we’ve gotten. No matter how powerful Heather and friends become, no matter how powerful of foes they face off against, you never get the sense that the story has strayed too far from its roots, like so many power-growth stories tend to do. They’re still just teens going to class with emotional issues to work out.

And with those emotional issues comes one of my favorite romance plots ever, and one that even staunch anti-romantics might still fall for. Heather’s a real interesting fellow, and how she grows and explores herself romantically is genuinely touching, genuinely beautiful sometimes. It may not be the central core of the story, but it’s by far my favorite part. Gay girls just doing their thing, sloppy and cute and steamy and sad.

All this is great, but I don’t think it would have ever worked except for the final element to tie it all up in a pretty bow—the writing is really good! Now, this is a million word serial, and not everything in the story is amazingly written; you just can’t sustain that for a story this long without a professional editing team behind you. It’s not the top of the top in terms of web fiction prose, but it’s really far up there, thanks to some incredible British wit, a personality-filled narrator, and a lot of really nice use of literary story structures that rarely ever get used in this kind of writing. The dialogue is impeccable, and the descriptions of horrific scenery and cosmic abstractions punch with just the power needed to stick some brutal images in your mind for the rest of your days. Honestly, with a polish run by a pro editor, this genuinely would be up there in terms of all fantasy I’ve ever read. It’s just that good.

Put all this together and you’ve got yourself a web serial masterpiece. Eat dirt, Worm. Katalepsis is my new friend.

WHAT THIS STORY MEANS TO ME

There’s something special here, a certain something, which has made it my absolute favorite web novel. And I’ve tried to do a lot of soul-searching to really understand what it actually is that makes my love it so much, so that I can articulate it to potential readers to make them understand that this fiction is a Really Big Deal.

Two of my previous favorite web novels,  and  (both of which I sadly have not yet reviewed), both have some major things in common with Katalepsis that help me narrow it down. Doing God’s Work has an amazingly fleshed out magical world with powers beyond human comprehension and lots of payoffs to the crazier stuff, which Katalepsis also delivers on in droves. RE: Monarch tortures readers with dark emotional cores to the extremely memorable main cast, which Katalepsis also succeeds at brilliantly. But something about Katalepsis honestly cuts above them both…

This book’s turned me into a fangirl.

It’s honestly rare, just so rare that I enter a fandom these days. For one, usually I’m so late to the party with TV and video games that by the time I finish, it’s all died down. Or the fandom is so “mainstream” that there aren’t those classic niche nerd communities about it and you mostly just see people talking about it on social media. Like, I adore The Good Place, but did I want to join a forum dedicated to it? No; watching it and gushing about it with friends was enough. For the most part, the same is true for other series I’ve loved over the years. Ultimate Marvel Comics, Mass Effect, Venture Bros, Yuasa Masaaki animesJames Bond, She-Ra… I love the stuff, but never quite enough to seek out others like me, to participate in an actual fandom.

But then there’s the Really Big Deals.

In my late teenage and adult life, about the past ten years, only a select few things in my life have given me the kind of obsessive, all-pervasive fangirlness that drives me to join Discord communities and chat for hours and speculate about fan theories, to write fan fictions and avidly ship characters. Honestly, it’s really just been three. Homestuck, obviously, was a major part of my life for over 5 years. (Sadly.) Madoka Magica was such an obsession with me that I basically evangelized dozens of friends into joining a fandom cult and wrote a long-running fan fiction series from it (it also probably “cracked my egg” in terms of queer identity but that’s a story for another time). Steven Universe  and remains the one TV show that has since I became an adult.

Those three things honestly may now be joined by a fourth. I never even thought it possible at 27 years of age to fall into a teenager-esque love with a piece of fiction like this, but here we are. Katalepsis did this to me.

It’s the kind of good story that fits so far in my personal fiction wheelhouse that it’s become massively inspirational to my own writing. Fellow authors, take note with Katalepsis. Read the first 2 arcs of this story, and find out how the hell to start a web serial, because whatever this story did, that’s how to do it. The character arcs, the descriptions, the story arc pacing, all the elements that somehow give it a legitimate fandom… It’s all stuff that I have actually been studying and taking notes on like a university student—the story goes beyond just fangirl level good because it’s genuinely helping me become a better creator, too.

Heather’s journey has honestly been a really big influence on my life as I’ve read the book. I started on September 5th, 2021, juggling between a couple other GL books at the same time, although by October it’s become mostly all-Kata-all-the-time. I read slowly, deliberately, savoring each time I got to dig further into the story, and it took me until November 29th to finally catch up. I’ve never done this before with a fiction this long; usually I catch up really quickly then fall off, or I take really long pauses of a month or more before coming back to a series. Here, though, it was slow and steady for 2.5 months, and I think it might actually have helped me come to appreciate the story even more.

Heather’s growth, at some times, uncannily mirrored my own life, too. , then less than a week later I got to the chapter where Heather comes out to her parents. I go real-deal clothes shopping by myself for the first time, and a couple days later, Heather does too in the story. Heather’s journeys and growth inspired me to take a few trips and actually travel before it got too cold, and inspired me to put myself out there and try to make real-life friends in a town where I still don’t know many people.

I don’t know if I’m just weird, but a story that can do that much to me is one I’m gonna follow all the way to the end.

CORNUCOPIA OF COOL

This book, honestly, is just really cool. Like, I don’t know what else to say. It focuses on all the themes that interest me most as a reader, and it delivers them in the same way that some of my favorite anime series would.

Like, there’s a moment very early on in the story, arc 2 I think, where the characters get into a real-deal battle for one of the first times. Up to this point, it really hadn’t sunk in for me what was going on, until suddenly all of the horrific magical powers kicked into gear and the action went crazy. All of the buildup to that point, all of the gut-wrenchingly emotional moments in the story so far, had been in service to the beginnings of a full-on anime-style action story. The genre basically shifted away from what the synopsis and intro suggested, and somehow it completely worked.

The focus on exploration and discovery, on terrible horror creatures and demented mages… A lot of it could end up pretty silly in the wrong hands. Just a smidge worse writing, and some of the story, especially in more recent arcs, could have been outright goofy. Instead, it always feels incredibly cool.

The characters are mostly big huge nerds, but they’re also extremely cool. Cool in that anime way, where once everything gets super serious and the powers come out, it all completely changes. Badass super powerful nerds.

And it turns out that this is secretly an awesome adventure story, too! Exploring new places, fighting brand-new monsters, discovering new technologies to upgrade the home base… Totally up my alley in every way possible. Just too cool.

FLAWS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Obviously, Katalepsis is not perfect. Any series this long is gonna have some flaws, and here’s the ones that potential readers may wanna watch out for. Let me put my editor hat on for a moment:

  • LOTS of comma splices. Comma splices galore. There’s a few other grammatical errors that pop up now and then (“It was good for her and I” type sentences), but comma splices are by far the one that actually distracts from the otherwise excellent writing. It’s also continued all the way up to the newest chapters, so it’s definitely an issue that needs editing and one that genuinely impacts the reading experience.
  • Extremely slow pacing at times. It’s a million word serial, so you should be expecting this, but be warned that some story arcs are stretched a bit thin, going on for 10-15 chapters when they might have been best at 8 or 9. Some of them are highly deserving of that length, though. It really just depends on the arc.
  • The characters aren’t described physically enough. I don’t know if this is a “flaw,” but for me, it was hard to capture a good physical image of most of the characters because their details, besides hair, didn’t actually come up that much. It turns out that Evelyn does NOT have glasses, something I somehow neglected to notice the entire story, and certain characters had completely different heights and body types and hair colors than I realized (especially Twil). Official art’s probably the main way to fix this, but adding in more descriptions throughout the story is something I would have really liked.
  • Repetition in prose. Once again, naturally gonna happen with a story this long, and especially in a fiction where horrific and abstract ideas have to be expressed in a specific language, but there’s a heck of a lot of repeated phrases that pop up over and over again. I think this is largely intentional, but the one that I think is a “flaw” is in the dialogue tags. Certain characters will have one specific dialogue tag that recurs all the time. One character purrs, another stage-whispers, another hiccups. The writing is beautiful in so many places, but this is one that might annoy certain readers, so I caution that in advance.

As you see, though, the flaws are mostly minor, mostly stuff that makes no direct impact on readers’ enjoyment of this serial. It’s just my nitpicks that I think other readers may also nitpick about. I will have some more specific criticisms in the spoiler sections though.

RAINE

Oh my gosh. Raine is so good, such a powerhouse, world-shaking character that I have to devote an entire subheading just for her.

Listen. Butch women barely get any representation in fiction. Almost none in Hollywood, barely anything in manga or comics, and even in web novels it’s pretty sparse. But Raine… Raine just DELIVERS. She will destroy your world with every grin and then also probably shoot your world with an actual gun.

Once again, I’m not at all the type to get exceedingly attached to a single character. In my younger years I was a big shipper, but not really the kind of person who identifies with/gets a big crush on a fictional character who isn’t real.

Raine just has that way with people, though.

One day I’m going to invent a quantum reality device and bring Raine into our reality so I can marry her and she can kill monsters for me thanks to my quantum power accidentally also bringing horrorterrors into our reality too.


THE GL GRADE

(For those unfamiliar with my GL Reviews series, this is the “The GL Grade,” a special segment where I quickly rate the story based on Couple DynamicsSpicinessLGBTQ+ Representation, and Shipper Potential. These don’t necessarily reflect my overall feelings. However, the contains an expanded GL Grade segment filled with spoilers!)

Couple Dynamics:

Like, the best ever I’ve read in a GL novel. Heather and Raine have positively dynamite chemistry, the kind of blossoming love they make epic poems about. Every moment they spend together, being together and falling deeper in love, is another moment that makes me love the series that much more. Heather’s enough of a surrogate protagonist that the story sort of wants us to fall in love with Raine, but she’s enough of her own person that the couple together still moves along. They’re amazing together, with all the awkward, silly, work-in-progress mess of an early relationship. They’re going to get married and raise kids together.

There's more romance than this in the story, of course...

Spiciness:

Holy hell, Katalepsis is one of the horniest fictions I’ve ever read that has no actual smut in it. It gets a good 98% of the way to smut in a couple scenes, but it genuinely never actually shows the sex. It’s just… extremely about the sex. Geez, sometimes I’d be reading this book and start blushing and realize I shouldn’t be reading it at work anymore. I probably should have not been reading it at work to begin with.

There’s a lot of steamy moments. A lot of very lustful descriptions of attractive characters. A lot of frank discussions of sex, of sexual attraction. Once again, never enters smut territory, but it’s VERY spicy.

LGBTQ+ Representation:

Almost the entire cast is a member of the alphabet soup somewhere. Most of the characters are lesbians, or at least express no interest in men, with a couple open bisexuals here and there, and only one token straight character so far. It’s a bit refreshing, if veering too close to “slice of life yuri manga with no men” territory at times just because of the lopsided cast ratio. I always appreciate stories where assuming someone is gay is the right thing to do.

There’s a little bit of discussion of asexuality, though no one uses it as a label yet, and one openly transgender character, Lozzie, but it barely ever comes up and it's something I definitely want more of.

It’s not SUPER representative as far as the entire LGBTQ+ rainbow goes, with mostly L and a little BT(A?), but when you have a story nearly as gay as Touhou, I think you’re doing the right thing.

Shipper Potential:

This is the first story I’ve legitimately become a shipper for in… a long time. I will fight to the ends of the Earth for Raine/Heather to get married and have kids. And a bunch of other ships too that I can't speak of for the big spoilers they entail.

CONCLUSION

Katalepsis is going to be a Really Big Deal. It has an actual fandom, with actual fan art and constant discussion and avid fans going back years. It’s not yet anywhere near the popularity of, say, Worm or Wandering Inn or Salvos or any of the other big-shots that shaped the entire web fiction world, but honestly I expect it to get there. This series is almost universally acclaimed, for good reason. It has all the same sparks of ingenious inspiration that helped series like Homestuck and Steven Universe go supernova, not just for me but for everyone. I feel it already; being a web novel is hindering its ability to righteously explode, but it’s so good that that doesn’t really matter anyway. Sooner or later, the world is going to start discovering the secret of Heather Morell in the town of Sharrowford, and once the bottle’s fully unsealed, there’ll be no going back.

I’m mostly just glad I got here before the inevitable explosion, so that I can witness it in real-time. And I will do everything in my power to make sure that explosion goes off as soon as possible.

If you really read this entire review but haven't read the book yet... I really hope I convinced you because this took a long time to write lol

zarper
Overall

Good shit

The first few chapters made me feel a lot, which is normally hard.

It delivers on the horror, and in the romance too.

Just give it a try

Yaksher
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Surprisingly Wholesome Cosmic Horror

Reviewed at: a very great mischief – 13.3

Style: The prose here is ridiculously good. Like, "best I've ever seen" level. I mean, just read the first sentence:
"On the day I met Raine, the first thing I did was jerk awake in bed and vomit nightmares into my lap."
I've never seen a more engaging opening sentence, anywhere, I don't think.

Grammar: There might be a handful of errors occasionally, but I never really noticed anything and it's very infrequent.

Story: Rather than what one might expect from the summary and tags (or at least what I expected), I would not actually describe this story as all that "dark" (hence the title of "suprisingly wholesome cosmic horror") and definitely not grimdark. Balancing failures and successes, exploration of the unknowable and cute romance, the story just sucks you in. There's an overarching goal and progress and also side plots and what not. No plot holes that I've noticed either.

Character: Despite the cast being almost entirely made up of teenage lesbians, it somehow manages to have some of the most varied and distinct characters I've seen. Heather, shy and scared but good at dealing with pressure, often taking command. Raine, the loyal but violent and sociopathic knight errant. And many others, all consistently themselves, with character development and their own traits. They are almost all gay though and the entire main cast is female, which isn't really a flaw but might bother some people.

Overall: This is now like... top two for my favorite stories on RR (the other being Journey of Black and Red). It has some of the best prose I've seen pretty much anywhere, characters and relationships that I'm a total sucker for (I'm a big fan of the mess by default, cool under pressure type MC as well as hurt-comfort stuff lol), and generally does so many things well and nothing poorly.

Xethoras
Overall

Excellent writing, almost poetic in it's descriptions. On one hand it really manages to make you feel the characters emotions and immerse you in the story and on the other hand it's the kind of magic system that just doesn't let you down. Most magic systems either start to feel quite mechanical after a while, like you're in a video game or the rules seem arbitrary illogical, clashing with all you know about physics. This one however is both enigmatic enough to keep you engaged as well as consistent and grounded enough not to break the suspension of disbelief. Magic that actually feels magical.

Foursteps
Overall

An instructive display of writing technique

Reviewed at: nostalgia for infinity – 9.8

There are more than a few things needed to make a good story work, such as well written and lovable characters, good pacing and conclusive story arcs, and an interesting setting with solid worldbuilding. Katalepsis has all of those, and yet they are not what makes this story so damn impressive to me.

No, above all, its the way the story managed to immerse me, even in the most surreal and abserd situations. Managing to keep every experience of the main character relatable and invoking exactly the feelings needed is a rare talent, and Hungry is one of the few authors on this site who fully understands that having a well written concrete basis for the more abstract and magical parts of the story is as important, if not more important than anything else. As a result every part of Katalepsis feels grounded in reality even in the most alien and unrealistic places.

I personally think that this story is one of the best executed pieces of writing on RoyalRoad, and better than some of the published works I've read. Brandon Sanderson has a saying that is suitable here: "A cook knows which ingredients to use to make a good dinner, while a chef knows exactly what each and every individual ingredient does." It is no suprise to me that Hungry manages to prepare a dinner most tasty indeed.

Deleted and rewrote the original review I wrote because it didnt have enough words.

Cap'nSmurfy
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Aggressively Gay Lovecraftian Horror

Reviewed at: covenants without the sword - 8.1

A not so schizophrenic, lesbian college student discovers her hallucinations are real. Set in an Eldritch horror universe, this fiction isn't for everyone but is a treat for those who enjoys it's themes. The author does an amazing job of describing the unknowable and the character interactions are a treat. The main character Heather is a very broken, damaged individual Magic is straight up dangerous, poorly understood and has decent odds of driving you insane. 

Ink_Pit
Overall

Characters are extremely believable, starting with strong, distinct impressions and reinforcing them with every action the characters take. They're all very good. Easy to imagine how they'd behave outside the story, just in the street.

Definitely some of the most well composed prose I've ever read. Didn't notice any errors. Never lost the flow because something didn't fit.

It has its style. From the way they speak British English (carrying the culture I assume it's written from front and center), to the focus on imagery and atmosphere starting at chapter one.

I'm not a Lovecraft fan, for personal, ethical and historical reasons, but the cosmic horror here is put together pretty solid. Reading something that tries for a genre is sometimes like watching someone emulate an artist like Picasso, trying to copy with finger paint, taking a base impression instead of inspiration. That's not what this is. Author grasped the heart of cosmic horror.  No gaps in this reality they've created.

I get the sense the author definitely understands what they're writing and how to do it. Not the work of an amateur or hobbyist. It embodies a lot of talent.

Shame that something like this can go on for half a year and still not make serious profit. It is what it is, I suppose. Hope it blows up soon. Certainly deserves a little appreciation.

It started with a lot of potential and keeps getting more interesting.

Kudos.

Keep it up.

Beyogi
Overall

Lovecraftian urban fantasy romance

Reviewed at: and less pleasant places - 6.6

The review title says most of it. The story is about a seemingly insane/shizophrenic girl who learns her visions may be a bit more real than she thought and would like to appreciate.

A plot of discovering the strange new reality, romance, magic as well as action ensues. The story begins dealing with the protagonists problems, but soon the cast drags her into their problem and the protagonist drags them into her problems. While things escalate she finds love.

Overall I find this a very good story, honestly better than some fantasy romances you can get in the bookstore. Like many webnobels the pacing could be much accelerated. Right now it's pretty slow and the main plot's advancement is somewhat glacial. Apart from that the story is basically completely lacking male characters outside of villain archetypes. I guess it's better than the archetype/caricature/white knight thing you get in most of the hetero-variants of this sort of story, but it still struck me as a bit weird.

 

Ruler Of Pride
Overall
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An utterly unique work on RoyalRoad, one would be hard-pressed to find a novel of similar quality. That is not to say however, that the novel is completely without flaws, as there definitely are aspects of the story which personally hold it back from greatness. This is written as of C3.13.
 
Style:
Very clear and concise. The author is able to finely articulate the premise of the story. As you read the novel, the author smoothly weaves a world of mystery and intrigue right in front of your eyes. You are compelled to dive deeper, and dive deeper I did. Some areas of improvement could be the building of tension, which is distinctly lacking on occasions with seemingly high stakes.
 
Story:
As of C3.13, there has been a gradual tapering off of interest. The setup to the story is absolutely amazing. Mystery? Check. Compelling main character? Check. Unique Casts? Check check check. The author however does not sustain this long, as the lack of relatibility begins to drag the story down. Furthernore, as the story progresses, the stark distinction between the bits about romance and the main storyline make the transition not only jarring, but at times downright unbearable. This can be easily corrected through better proportions of romance and main storyline. By making the downtime feel more like downtime instead of what some may feel as unnecessary filler and repetiton of interpersonal conflict, the story would,personally, become much intriguing. As much as this is a romance novel, the main selling point is still the unique premise afterall.
 
Grammar: 
Impecceable as far as I can tell.
 
Character: 
The worst part of the story for me. I get the hurrah from LGBTQ+ representation, but the fact that every single character is some level of gay is quite jarring. This is a minor point. My main gripe arise with the poorly executed character development that the cast, especially the main character, undergoes. In this story, there is only one form of conflict that drives any meaningful growth. Interpersonal conflict. This in itself is not a problem, but the poor execution makes the characters come off as contrived. The main character for example, would swing from all levels of paranoia to a gullible, bumbling idiot. This swing can be applied to many characters. Often times the drama seems so inconsequential when characters are faced with quite literally bigger and badder problems. Furthermore, each character's personal trauma and back story may sometimes only influence the characters when it is to push the plot, which makes the characters even less likeable at times. The final nail in the coffin is the romance, which gets corny and abit too much. Im not trying to disregard all the good the author has done, portraying realistic characters with deep personal pain, but when the execution is done poorly, you cant help but be frustrated on what could have been much better character development. 
 
Conclusion:
Do try the novel out, it really is a cut above the rest on royalroad. Seeing all the good reviews, i wanted to temper expectations abit, as this novel is by no means perfect. Im am halfway done with what has been released, but the problems aforementioned has already creeped up. Once again, im not trying to say the novel is bad, but there may be aspects of the story that can be a dealbreaker to more picky individuals such as I.

 

Penicillin Namesake
Overall
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Stumbling across decent urban fantasy on RR is a rare occurrence for me. I wouldn’t put the fault with the writers, as I’m well aware of the fact that I have peculiar tastes. However, I think that most of you will agree with some of the points I am going to try to make in this review.

The heart of the matter is: in most readings, I find myself disliking the same things over and over. Too often, I’ve ended up dropping a book because they hold so much of the following stupid themes: “this villain is just a token bad guy”, “that character is going to die”, “this battle will last exactly two chapters”, “this villain will escape and come back to haunt the hero”, or the good ol’ “overconfident boasting villain will die pathetically two chapters later”.

Simply put, most of these books don’t dare to experiment. The authors usually have a very precise and specific idea of the direction the story will take, and too often, they stick to their own 'code' without bothering to try new stuff. This is the root of two phenomenons I hate above all else in literature: predictability and deterministic narratives. I understand that many people may disagree with this, but in my humble opinion, a fair share of urban fantasy I’ve read tends to be really uniform and bland.

This book is anything but bland.

Katalepsis, although not perfect, is an excellent example of why just occasionally straying from the beaten paths can make a decent book into an excellent one. It’s far from flawless. As a matter of fact, it bears a few of the flaws I mentioned earlier. But what makes it so much better than the rest is that it doesn't rely on them. Admittedly, this book contains a cocky villain or two, and it can also be somewhat predictable. But it’s always balanced by something. Whether it be crazy plot twists or the unexpectedly deep personality of some characters, Katalepsis always has something you didn’t see coming.

 

As for the actual review of the book:

The story is solid, albeit a bit slow to start. There are a few kinks here and there, the introduction of some of the villains is a little bit too… melodramatic for my tastes, but it quickly gets way better.

The pacing is good and matches the MC’s (mostly psychological) evolution reasonably well.

The worldbuilding is simply stellar. I never thought I’d find myself so enthralled in the descriptions of the cosmic eldritchness that is the ‘Outside’. The approach to the magic system is very rational, and I enjoy it immensely. Note: I don't mean ‘rational’ in the sense that everything ties together nicely, but rather in the way that characters don’t take things for granted. They try to understand magic with an approach that very much reminds me of the scientific method.

The grammar is excellent, although I don’t usually care about it too much (nor am I the best at judging that).

The style is okay, not much to say about it.

The atmosphere is dark but not depressing. It’s not edgy, and it doesn’t sugar-coat anything, which I very much appreciate.

Finally, the characters: this is where this book excels. I could spend hours detailing how great I find the depiction of Heather’s alleged schizophrenia is and how unbelievably… believable her self-doubt is. Without spoiling anything, there is no single main character in this book that hasn’t surprised me at least once. And that’s quite something. All of them are fully three-dimensional—even the dullest ones—and none of them feel 'forced' to me.

 

In conclusion, Katalepsis is a brilliant book that tackles serious issues in a confrontational way I very much enjoy while still depicting an incredible adventure full of deep and interesting characters.

Easily one of my favorites on this website.