Dwarves of Appalachia
Magic is returning.
That is a simple fact. As the small newly reborn town of Barthel is whisked into the sky by the return of the powerful supernatural force, beings lost to time immemorial are returning. An entire mountain lifted into the air, surrounded by mysterious pillars, the only saving grace; three portals appeared around the town keeping travel possible.
Jamie, apprentice scavenger at an antique shop has let their life become mundane, enjoyable in the nature-filled monotony of the small town. But when a small thread of mana pulls itself out of the ether and begins granting wishes, even their own life will be thrown into chaos.
Contains: Town growth. Dungeon-core esq dungeon building. Adventurers. and mild litrpg elements.
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I'm not good at this so I will keep it short.
This story has just started and has achieved a good balance between world building and excessive info dumps. It has an interesting concept and some characters who are really cute.
There's a flying mountain and living toys.
What the title says. Prose is a bit clunky and has some mixed-up tenses and such, but the setting is hypothetically interesting enough - a world rediscovering magic - but then you follow all sorts of characters with not enough coherence. More slice-of-life-ish than anything else, but still jumping around between PoVs too much for me.
If you don't mind that, it's probably okay...ish.
An interesting and new take on the idea of a magic 'Apocalypse' (in the older sense of the end of the world as it currently is). Don't expect the end of all civilisation with gangs of bandits and monsters roaming the countryside. Instead, this rather heartwarming tale showcases a small town and it's sometimes rather quirky residents adapting to living in a world where magic has returned and all the rules are changing.
The style is generally fairly good, but doesn't really stand out to me. The pacing could be tightened up a little, but is overall fairly solid.
This is such a unique take on a basic premise that is often seen on this site and others. Take the modern world, now throw magic into it and see what happens. Oddly enough, I find this take on it perhaps more realistic. People aren't going to suddenly be all "I have magic now! Down with society and the government! Let's all live in anarchy!" as is displayed in many of these stories. People are confused about what this will mean for them, and just try to go about their lives with a minimum of fuss, except a few idiots. This is a great premise and execution so far (chapter 35).
No major peeves from me. No major mistakes or issues. Easy enough to read. The few minor things are probably just UK vs US English.
This is a very character driven story, and it shows. The characters are beautifully thought out and absolutely shine. The only reason this isn't a 5 is the current lack of a real antagonist. A possibility was introduced recently but that hasn't been developed much yet. Some form of antagonist that isn't simply the end environment or magic would really round this off.
A great read and well worth following. Thank you to the author for continuing to write this. Long may it continue.
The world needs more non-binary characters. It's nice to see that in Dwarves of Appalachia.
Although the events in the first chapter are rather frightening for the characters, I found the setting very cozy regardless. It's just a small, isolated town with a tight-knit community in a somewhat rural area. The jarring return of magic introduces a neat magical concept of "beings" that I won't spoil the details of, but I found myself particularly fond of. The storyline itself has a tame, slice-of-life style as our protagonists readjust to life in the sky; although I don't think I've hit the "plot" yet, the first handful of chapters give us enough time to become accustomed to the world and characters, so we actually have a healthy chance to get attached to them.
On that note, the characters all feel very unique to the point I could probably point them out without any identifying dialogue tags. They've got clear personalities, all distinct from one another, many of whom are very cute. Not to mention, a certain character is introduced in chapter 3 that I absolutely adore. Job well done in that regard!
The writing style ranges from excellent to somewhat vague at times. There are many moments when the text is nicely written and descriptive with just the right amount of creative flair, but there were also a few moments when I had to reread some paragraphs because something wasn't explained with quite enough clarity, which definitely broke up the flow of enjoying the story. An example of this was in the first chapter:
when the ground and mountain begins rumbling and the forest in the distance was shrinking, I didn't realize until a few hundred words later that the protagonist was on the mountain, and that the mountain was now floating. It made sense when I reread it with context, but said context didn't appear until much later.
(This could by my mistake for missing context clues in the synopsis, but I think the text should be able to stand on its own without it, you know what I mean?)
Typos are few and generally not distracting, but the punctuation definitely needs work. Several sentences bleed into each other when they could be separated by a period or semicolon, and there are a lack of commas in some places where there should probably be one. There were also a few instances of the tense switching from past to present for one or two words before switching back. Between the occasionally vague style and grammatical errors, Dwarves of Appalachia would benefit hugely from some thorough editing and/or proofreading.
Before I wrap up this review, something important I want to briefly discuss is grammar regarding Jamie's gender. As they are non-binary, it can be challenging to use they/them pronouns effectively due to how ambiguous they can be in some contexts (namely, when "they" could be either singular or plural in a given situation). However, I noticed very few instances where I was confused about the usage of their pronouns. It might be because I've written gender neutral characters myself and I'm familiar with the concept, but I still think the author did a fine job in that regard. If you catch anyone criticizing that detail of the story, you can freely give them a noogie for me.
From what I've read so far, Dwarves of Appalachia is a cozy, fun, and whimsical story. If you can look past the technical issues, you'll have a great time here.
This story really pulled my attention, it's incredibly unique. Without spoiling too much it comes down to the fact that we get to see so many perspectives about how the world has changed/is changing. There are both sides of my favorite coin here too, it has just enough OP influence from will (a very interesting take on a typical cliche character) while being balanced out by the current slightly underpowered jamie. My only criticism is I don't feel like we have spent too much time with Jamie yet, while most of the characters feel alive and vibrant Jamie is a little bit flat. However I am optimistic that this will change as it gets further into the story.
thanks for writing this story!
Great story, I have not been able to find any serious grammar or spelling mistakes (with this I mean that the grammar and spelling are great).
So far the author has shown to be very competent. They have succeeded in adding magic to the mundane world. The world itself is rich (with this I mean that there are good descriptions of the world) and the characters are fun and engaging.
I would recommend this book if you like the following things:
- Dungen building
- Town building
I don't really care for LitRPGs or town building or whatnot, but this one is set in the Appalachian Mountain region of the United States (AKA my motherland), and stars a nonbinary protagonist! And it's filled with cute characters and humor! Surprised this one isn't as big of a hit yet because it hits all the marks of being actually pretty neat.