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Transcendence. It desires, more than anything, to be more than it is. Awareness. It desires, more than anything, to know more than it does. Six stories weave the fabric of the path towards these twinned goals. Six personalities in turn guide each path attempted.
The Book of Eidos: This story recounts the journey of Eidos, an immortal being, newly born into a dying world. But this is not her story, for try as she may, she has no control over the events happening to her nor her reaction to them.
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Conscientia is different from most stories in a number of ways, that makes it something of a unique existence as far as any of the stories I've come across here on Royalroad.
To begin this story follows Eidos an immortal passanger in her own body as she plays observer to the actions of her different host-selves in their journeys across the lands, while being the only part of herself to remember her previous journeys with each path living its own journey and giving differing perspectives on the various inhabitants of the world while slowly hinting at the mystery that is Eidos's undying existence.
The prose of this story is some of the most descriptive I've read and flows in a poetic manner that gives a sense of... epicness to Eidos's story that distinctly compliments the story's fantastical journey.
Despite this powerful prose however, Conscientia has a number of characters written into it that at times can come off somewhat flat or similar to each other.
The main character Eidos herself is probably the best character in the story as her inner-self delivers snarky commentary on the various actions of her host-selves while also taking in and remembering the journeys of each one as she learns more about the world and herself.
I'll admit my issue here might be more because of my preference towards long-term character interactions but due to the fact she's only really interacted with a couple of characters for more than a chapter, a number of the characters come off as quirky one-offs, that while interesting at the moment are kind of 2-D in the grand scale of things since we never really learn much more about them beyond that one interaction.
That said, I also feel that with the last chapter (before this review) where we have a different point of view of a character encountered on a previous path viewed from a different perspective and earlier in her timeline this complaint weakens, and if/when this kind of character interaction becomes more common will invalidate it altogether.
Regardless though I do feel Conscientia is a story that is different enough from the norm that if you like fantasy adventure novels you should give it a chance.
This review applies up to chapter 15.
This story almost defies words for me. In some ways it's brilliant, fresh, fascinating, in others it seems to do its best to turn people away. Regardless, if you look for excellent prose in the stories you read, look no further than Conscientia. I haven't seen better on this site to date. If you're still on the fence, let me elaborate.
The author possesses an impressive vocabulary and puts it to excellent use in crafting detailed descriptions that set the lonely, depressing tone of this piece. In this respect it reminds me of Dark Souls, an immortal protagonist facing off against various supernatural threats in crumbling castles and dungeons.
However, the prose is dense and more than a little complex. Combined with the fact that much of the text is dedicated to details environmental descriptions, layered on top of each other, the story becomes almost prohibitively difficult to read and enjoy.
While there are issues with the style that I believe would hamper a reader's enjoyment, I give it five stars simply because of how beautiful it is when you do get stuck into it, and the kind of potential it holds to elevate this story.
I noticed a few mistakes, but not many. The grammar is about as good as you can get for a web serial, and won't stand in the way of the reader's enjoyment of the story.
I won't go too far into detail here to avoid spoilers.
Conscientia features a lot of worldbuilding. It's atypical when compared to classical fantasy, and some elements are so strange as to seem alien. It's interesting, if more than a little confusing. There are lots of proper names and fantastical concepts to wrap your head around. That could be both a good or bad thing, depending on the kind of reader you are.
I feel that the main character, Eidos clashes with the overall tone of the story. Her inner dialogue is colloquial and modern, whereas the prose is highly formal, and certain other characters read like they're out of Shakespeare. As such, her dialogue would pull me out from being fully immersed in the story at times.
Read this if you love beautiful prose and complex worldbuilding.
First and foremost I will freely admit that I couldn't make it very far into this one, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the story itself. The fault was purely mine, as the vivid descriptions that paint the world shown to us here in brilliant detail clashed with my ADD and made it difficult for me to give it the focus it deserves.
It feels more like reading a classic fantasy novel than a web fiction, which is definitely not something I expected, and the character concept is very interesting. Much of what David Musk said in his review held true for me as well though, so I will refrain from going into depth on every little detail, as his assessment is quite thorough. The differences I gave in score were due to the relative uniqueness and quality of the story in comparison to other stories on RRL, the nigh impeccable grammar, and while I felt the MC could use a bit more insight into her character, the other characters in the story were wonderful, with vastly differing dialogue styles and personalities.
The amount of work and effort that went into this is abundantly clear, and I heartily recommend giving it a shot. Judging by the quality of the writing and the effort put into the characters the MC encountered through the chapters I read, I have little doubt that the MC will grow and develop, showing over time more and more of exactly who she is.
So, in short, read the story, it's worth it.
Review until A Dream of the Misty Woods — A Wolf.
This one certainly caught me by surprise. The author gave a detailed and vivid description of the environment and what's going on as the MC went to one place to the next. Masterfully written prose for all chapters so far. It was clear to me how much the author put into writing this, the world-building is vast and rich.
In short, read it.
Style: I have nothing much to say to the sometimes weird formatting since it could be easily solved. Although sometimes there was some strange description that made the story a bit had to consume.
Grammar: Pretty much almost flawless. There is little to no mistake which didn't affect the story at all. What makes me a bit bothered is that this story using present tense that I was somehow mistaken to be a mixed tense which actually not.
Story: This is a Fantasy-Adventure novel that tells Eidos, an immortal being just like what the plot tells. Pretty much having different paths and followed the game. After all, this novel could be said as the game adaptation.
Character: The Author has good skills in telling how the character moves with a detail explanation. But the over-detailed on the early chapter might make some of the lazy readers scared to read more. The other side character is brief but that's fine since we focus on the MC.
Overall: A Unique novel rarely seen in RR. If you're looking for some game-based adventure fantasy novel, then this is your cup of tea. It may not be an average web novel usually seen in Royal Road but an interesting one to see. Keep up the good work, Author.