- Traumatising content
If you could buy superpowers—but they might kill you, would you?
When Raz disregards his late father's advice and looks into getting a superpower of his own, he finds himself trapped in a chaotic underworld of clandestine labs, shadow organizations, and supervillains. Used as a human test subject, he must survive long enough to escape. His only advantage? A nearly useless power—a heads up display.
Contains: monsters, violence, death, dismemberment, gamelit, superpowers, superpower consequences, good guys, bad guys, good guys who might be bad guys, bad guys who think they are good guys, good guys that might go bad, bad guys that might turn good, guns for hire, competence, incompetence, continence, incontinence, conspiracies, and some of what I just said wasn't true.
This story is written in third person limited POV. That means you can expect to know the many of the thoughts and inner dialog of one character, and only see the actions of other characters. This POV does include scenes without the main character, and thus means the reader can and will know things the main character does not.
This novel is complete, and being released a chapter or two at a time.
- Overall Score
- Style Score
- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
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- Overall Score
Seriously, Shakey Cam. Thats what I thought when I read this story. At the time I'm writing this, there are 42 chapters, and 226 pages. This should give you an idea about chapter length. Throw in the rapid pov shifts, sometimes several in one short chapter, and it feels like you're watching what would otherwise be an interesting movie, but unable to follow it due to how the camera is jerking around.
Additionally, there was a very large cast of characters. So much so that you really don't care about anyone other then the MC. I got to the point where I would start a chapter, see if the pov was the MC, if it was, I'd read it, otherwise I'd skip it, since it added nothing to the overall enjoyment of the story.
Final point. the chapter length. You could easily compress the story into 10 chapters or less. Doing so would make it a much better story. When I saw a couple chapters that were 3 short paragraphs in length, I just skipped them. Figuring it obviously isn't going to be anything critical to the story, since its just 3 paragraphs.
- Overall Score
I couldn't get too far into the story mostly because I wasn't sure what was going on. I had too many questions and the story gave too few answers. Nearly a dozen characters get introduced to the story by chapter 16, and i know no more than i did about the protagonist than i had in the first chapter. The idea the story uses is interesting, but not new, and poorly executed due to the short chapters and relatively short screen time each character gets. Because of this, it feels unnecessarily convoluted.
Secondly, the situation the protagonist finds himself in is heavily forced, without much reason or explaination as to why. About the most i can glean from the first 16 chapters (which is about the equivalent to 16 pages of text) is that 1) he was testing his powers, 2) the organization responsible for it also happens to be a shady one, and for some reason hasnt been dealt with by authorities yet, leading to the protagonist becoming a prisoner/experimental subject, 3) the one responsible for this is a 'mad scientist' that has been accumulating super powers from those he captures, and 4) somehow the protagonist is the son of some pretty influential/powerful parents, and theyve sent in superpowered swat teams/mercenary teams to try and break him out of captivity.
Overall it feels incredibly forced, with little background or reasons why things are going on the way they are. The characters themselves have rather plain and shallow personalities, though this is no surprise with how little time each character is given within the relatively short bite-sized chapters. I can't say I'm a fan of the story's execution or how its written, or the characters within it.
- Overall Score
The author switches perspectives too many times, making the story hard to follow. I think the intention was to write a supsensful story. Instead I found the constant movement of perspective distracted me from enjoying what was happening.
- Overall Score
good concept... but, Dialogue is terrible. Somewhat serious conversations come off flippant or childish. That combined with the short chapters and POV changes make it impossible to care about any character besides the MC. Even then, the MC was originally shown to be smart, deductive, and improvisational.
The way he escaped from the clinic was great. He noticed small facial ticks and used his intelligence to escape. However, after that he becomes extremely dumb and weak willed. Any qualities that make you like the MC disappears right after chapter 1.
The constant POV changes and additions of tens of side characters muddle the waters of the story.
All together, The story needs a complete rewrite. It could be great, but it falls way, way short.
- Overall Score
Every other chapter there are pov changes that introduce at least 3 more characters who arent relevant to the story. I skimmed up to chapter 16 because it was so bad.
- Overall Score
Interesting premise and possibly interesting setting but 20 chapters in and still nothing of note has happened. Protagonist is kidnapped by mad scientist in the second chap and basically nothing happens after that. Just pointless filled with a scrap or two of world building. For such a great opening chapter it is really a very dissapointing read.
- Overall Score
As my title says, there is definitely a good story here. The main problem I have and I think a lot of others have is the extra, sometimes unnecessary seeming information we're getting.
Having some alternate pov's is not necessarily a bad thing. Even having almost half the chapters be focused on other characters can still work if done right.
The problem I have is that it seems like a lot of the information we're given in those other chapters could easily be summed up in a couple sentences and the extra fluff thrown out. This is particularly frustrating when the MC is in a bad situation for the entire first arc and I at least, want to see some progress on what's happeneing with them and how they're going to improve their situation (as well as get their powers and use them - which took I think until something like 23 chapters? with at least half not even being focused on the MC). Instead of having a focus on that, we're given countless chapters about these mercs and all their preparations or little bits about his parents. And a lot of it just doesn't seem important at all. It's just fluff we need to wade through to get back to the part we actually care about. It's downright annoying.
We're given an entire chapter about a team's training methods, then almost all of them end up dead. We have a whole chapter dedidcated to a few people grieving over lost teamates we don't really care about, or a chapter devoted to a character helping someone else with work, when it's unusual for them to volunteer for such a thing. Most of this could easily be shortened, with a lot of the info discarded and the important stuff summarized. Then these chapters could be combined so we have less taking us away from what we are actually here to read about.
For example, the chapter where the one girl, Hex, offers to help wraith with his work could easily be discarded. A chapter shortly after has wraith talking to his bosses about what they found. It would be easy enough to have his one boss whose pov it is think about how strange it was for Hex to help (in fact I think he already does), and have a bit of conversation inserted between him and wraith that covers any information in there that the author thinks is necessary for the plot, such as that yes, it's odd she wanted to help. Unless I'm missing some other key parts of that chapter, most of it seems entirely unnecessary.
Another example is the chapters about Krystah, one of the minor villains. If the author wants her to be an important character later, it is entirely possible to have some of her backstory be conversations with the MC in the future. Leave her as a mystery for the start as to why she helps him (if that's what happens, otherwise I'm not sure why we should care about her at all), and then let her gradually share some things through dialogue with the MC. I can see why at least one chapter of her and Fidel might be necessary to help set up the problems in their organization and her and maybe even his possible defection at some point, but between the two they have 3-4 chapters by ch 40. We don't always need to see inside everyone's head in order for them to become real characters to us.
A third example is the chapter where Wilson and Darby go to console Raven (ch 30). Most of the chapter is them talking about her powers, meditation, going over their grief, etc. There's some information in here that I bet has significance. For sure. This is admittedly a problem when I'm reviewing a story that I can't finish yet. I don't know for sure what in here is truly relevant or where the story is going. But once again, it feels like some of this could be thrown out, and some could be summarized or added into other chapters through conversations. Possibly with our actual MC if he meets Raven or others with similar powers.
A few chapters focussing on other characters that will be an important part of the story for a long time to come can be beneficial, but there are just too many as is imo and some with less important characters should be trimmed.
I have focused mostly on the negative so far, especially in the spoiler area, which is several paragraphs and meant to possibly help the author if they bother to read it and find any of it helpful. Sorry if it seems harsh. I know it can't be easy having others criticize your hard work and you do have a good story here. I also admit I don't know for sure where you're going with certain characters and plots, so some things I feel are unnecessary may have more importance than I realize.
I do like the premise of the story, the characters are definitely given detail and backstory, which is usually a good thing. The author does a good job of keeping us in the dark about some greater events and just what exaclty is going to happen. The powers are cool and the drawbacks to having too many is a good touch. There are some definite tropes in here, but I sometimes enjoy those, like the arrogant, inept, slightly stupid politician, or the mad scientist. At least the scientist has a bit of explanation for his situation if you pay attention to the story.
I like the MC and some of the other characters. I do think I'll continue reading. At this point I'm around chapter 40 and still interested. This is a good story, it just maybe could benefit from a little trimming of the fat. I think this is a story that has real potential but could probably benefit from a professional editor that isn't as invested in the story as the author, and can therefore look at things a little more critically.
With a bit of work, I'd likely pay for a finished story like this on amazon and consider it money well spent.
- Overall Score
The first twenty chapters were a bit hard to follow.
The perspective kept shifting far too fast and the cast of characters was too large for the amount of page-time each one of them got, past the main character. Eventually it started settling into having a better focus on the protagonist and things have smoothed out a bit.
It is still too early to know where it is going, but I'm going to give it more time.
- Overall Score
Writing this as of chapter 41.
The writing quality is pretty good, for example scene descriptions are succint but informative.
The basic premise of the world/world building is ok, unrealible narrators make it a pain to get a easy understanding of the world.
Where things start to get more questionable is the plot and characters-
90% or above of all characters could be described as "d*cks", think suicide squad. Which makes it seem like the majority of cast and world is an antagonist of the main character (even if not directly).
One questionable part of the story to date that would put of some readers is the less than 50% focus on the main character in the story, which is not illogical in this case but the extremely large cast of "I don't care about" characters in the story can be annoying.
Another annoyance for me anyway, is the kinda of holding pattern/repition that main character has be doing for the last maybe 35 chapters, which is ok plot wise and makes sense but is annoying to see no real plot progression for the main character in a long while.
And finally what I would consider the major detriment to the overall story, is the extremely slow plot progression, for example in the last chapter 41 there was a phone call between another new character and previous "bad" character which added nothing to the plot progression and only really showed that the "bad" guy now has another higher "bad" character/orgainization above him. That phone call lasted half the chapter.
- Overall Score
- Style Score
- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
First off, let's clear up some things.
1. This review is based off of RR's standards.
2. Like anything else, this review is done by my flawed, subjective standards and opinion. It is not a FACT.
With that out of the way, let's get to it.
This story is something of a conundrum. On one hands, it’s a damn good idea, with increasingly good execution and style. On the other hand, it needs polish early on, since it’s execution might drive away readers that would otherwise love it if it were writtenlike the later chapters. More on this later.
Incursions is not grounded in any one genre, instead mixing them together while standing on it's own. It’s mainly superhero, dark, and with a tinge of gamelit appearing later on. It has the unique honor of being both a good story, one that appeals, and something of an aquired taste. I did say 'conundrum'.
Instead of chapters, this story is written in scenes. This makes chapter length careen all over the place, usually with all the grace of me with three beers and a finger of vodka down the hatch. That's to say, little grace and all over the place. Fair warning, it also likes it’s POV jumps, but, this is where the scene writing seems to work. Instead of chapters throwing themselves across viewpoints, each scene is set in a single viewpoint, and this is pulled off nicely.
Basically, modern-day with a superpower twist. No heroes and villians, though. I like the twists inserted here, how people with powers lose their humanity and become borderline sociopathic. This lends a dark undertone to the story, one that I seem to be liking. That said, the story isn’t too interested in worldbuilding, being more interested in the characters. I should also mention that the author seems to have a pretty thorough understanding of the various media outlets and their techniques, while never naming names.
The plot advancement is set at a decent pace, being focused on Raz's kidnapping and the events tied to it. If you were expecting big, country-wide actions, you'll be disappointed. Instead, this story zooms in on the people relevant to this event, and their actions. A nice change of pace, to be honest.
Another thing to be mentioned: This story fairly oozes action, although that might be subjective. No, Raz won’t be getting into bare-knuckle brawls anytime soon, but ask yourself this: What is action?
Because if your answer is along the lines of: torture scenes, kidnappings, front-line views of mercenary assault teams going head to head with mutant monsters, more torture scenes, unexpected kills and a bunch of PMC members using each other as target practice, then yes, it’s got shittonnes of action.
If, however, you’re definition is an MC (who's worked a desk job most of his life) trying and failing to suddenly beat down his captors (hardened professionals who know wtf they’re doing), then, yeah, not much action.
I, myself take the first stance.
You decide what works for you.
I feel this needs to be said. The dialogue in earlier chapters needs to be spiffed up. From chapter 19 on, it, along with the rest of the story, takes a hell of an upswing. However, early on, it’s hard to read.
Now, this is more or less my personal opinion, so take it with a grain of salt, but here are some suggestions if you're going to go back and edit those earlier chaps for smoother reading and better reader retention.
This might overlap with the Style and Grammar sections, so I’ll just drop these here and address that stuff later.
Commas: Seriously, I advise you to make better use of these in dialogue. A few of these suckers, well places, would give sentences far higher readability. Lemme make a quick instance.
Incurions early on; (“Hey Jack blow that mothafugging pervert of this page, would ya?”)
My advice: (“Hey, Jack, blow that mothafugging pervert off this page, would ya?”
Trim dialogue: Consider this. When you talk, how much do you actually say? This gets better later on, but at the late start and in the middle, characters talked a lot. Text blocks, no pauses for breath, making me suspect every one of them has iron lungs enough to make most battle rappers jealous.
My advice: Try trimming out a little here and there. Condense sentences down a little. Break up the text by inserting character actions as they pause. Also break it into smaller paragraphs by using those characters actions to highlight actions. I've tried down this, and found it really helps.
Also, on last little thing to consider. You have already slipped in a little of this, but try exploring unique speech patterns and ways of talking. This will go a long way towards giving your characters life.
So, I did mention above that Incursion's biggest stand-out in style was that it is written in scenes instead of chapters. This works fairly well, but it needs some under-the-hood tune-ups, as I said above. Now, the style is passable, but could easily be twisted higher, as the author has started to do in chapters 19 and onwards.
Try describing how the environment around a character feels to them. Now the actual impression, but what the character notices and ignores, what stands out, what they think about what. Not too much, but small descriptions intersperesed in chapters can give both a scene and a character life and vision.
Maybhap a character finds a room too snug, filled by a desk of a colour they think is garish, but all is forgiven when they spot that all-important bobblehead next to the the too-large monitor. Things like that.
Also, SOME of your PSAs' while amusing, contain spoilers for the chapter. You do what you will.
This is frustrating. If all the grammar in Incursion’s was post-19, I’d give you a great score. However, early chapters are rough, with misplaced, missing or incorrect commas. I've noticed missing periods as well. This gets better and better as you write, but the early problem is still there.
Don’t take it too bad, but this reminds of my own first serial and it’s horrible grammar, so it’s kinda personal. Go do an editing pass, and thank yourself in retained readers later. Don’t make the same mistake I did, with just letting it sit there.
Other than technical shite, the grammar is good, with little to no mistakes, although I feel the prose could be more varied. Again, this is just me, and my chronic problem with poring over sentences, trying to find optimal prose. Ignore it.
Again, the Post-19 example. That isn’t to say they aren’t good Pre-19, but they’re clearly superior afterwards. Raz needs to make a better impression early on, though, as he fails to stand out right up until his AI mind. He isn’t all that bad, even above-average and more for a protag, but I just feel he could have been better. Some more noticeable quirks, flaws, and bit of TLC, and he could have truly shone.
Again, this is just me rambling from my high-standards of character writing, so, yeah. If you know me, you know I have to have my characters scream unique without showing it down a throat or ten. Scream silently? Maybe.
Incursions and it’s characters succeed, with surprise winners like Hex and Wraith, but some fleshing and tinkering could transform it from good-great to really memorable.
They’re far better written than most stories on RR, with actual reasons for doing what they do, relations, ironically not revolving around Raz (when the events actually do). I call this good writing, breaking away from troops and tired archetypes.
I mean, frigging Braithwaite. Do I have to go on? Hah! I'd like to someone do a better spinning of the Maliciously Happy Torturer-Scientist that this asshole.
So, yes, tired archetypes and troops are truly well, dead and buried deep in here. Believe it. This is why I want Incursion’s character to receive even more fleshing out in the future. The solid base you’ve built upon is promising enough as is, and the execution Post-19 is great. I want to see this improve even more.
Great, but rough early on. A little bit of TLC in the early chaps would go a long way to increase this story's fanbasez if I'm being honest. You’re a damn good author, So I will know you can get it done.
In the meantime, have I mentioned that Raz's power is not only well-done, fascinating, but totally worth the wait?