As the Godking Wills
The Empire and the Church span almost the entirety of the known world, absent some pockets of lawlessness and the realms of the deceiver.
They are governed as a despotic theocracy, ruled in name by the solitary and omnipotent God, Al'Shazan.In practice, Al'Shazan is bored, flighty, cruel and has little interest in ruling the Empire.
Instead the Empire is run by the High Priest, Minister of the Treasury, and the Knight Commander of the inquisition. Their job is to make sense of the contradictory nonsense spewed forth by their living God while simultaneously ruling the greatest nation that the world has ever known. The entire time, they have to maintian the facade that Al'Shazan is a benevolent and loving God in order to maintain morale in the general populace.
The actual genre for this is more along the lines of a Fantasy Political Comedy/Drama/Thriller. It will not be 'crunchy' (minimal action, minimal descriptions of powers/abilities) but instead be focusing on world building and political maneuvering. As a warning, it is fairly dark.
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Overall: The only way to serve the God-King is without a soul.
To be honest, coming into this, I thought it would be something else entirely. I kept hoping for that ray of redemption, a character I could side with, cheer for, and empathize with.
Instead, what I got was a High Priest greedy for power, a Fanatical-Blood-Crazed-Buffoon Knight-Captain who runs the inquisition, and a timid Treasure to smart for his own good stuck between the two. These three serve the one true God who prefers to be called AL and is basically your typical spoiled teen on hormonal steroids. All he cares about is sex, booze, partying, and being obeyed—oh and if you piss him off he’ll burn the whole Empire to ember.
Style: If I had one complaint it was the way the flow of the story was constantly interrupted with exposition after exposition that was always about past events or explaining this or that. The worldbuilding was heavily told. In fact, almost nothing was shown actively that I can recall. Exposition was about 60% of the first 7 chapters with dialogue taking up the other 30% and some active writing the other 10% (give or take).
The story is presented well, just in a very narrative and passive way that I did not find engaging. The dialogue itself was the only part of the story that ever felt active or in the moment. It’s a stylistic choice, but it did not work for me.
Story: I mentioned it’s dark. If an orgy between a god, a leper, and a ghoul named Karen won’t turn you away, then you should be fine. I think that was probably the high point—if not disturbing one—for me as of chapter 7. The Characters in and of themselves I found equally disturbing at times. In particular, Matthias.
Grammar: Nothing that stood out or that I can recall really.
Character: I have to give this a solid 5 stars, because even though I questioned certain aspects of the story, the characters are done in a solid way that makes you detest, abhor, or just feel cringy about them. Again, I really left with no one to cheer for. At some point I think I mentally accepted the world within this story was doomed to burn, and the characters are were just the rats trying to keep a sinking ship afloat for as long as humanly possible.
I DECREE, ON THE 22NTH HOUR OF THE 8TH DAY OF THE 8TH MONTH IN THE TWENTIETH YEAR, THAT THIS SHALL BE A READ TO OUTREAD ALL READS!
I am no master of satire, comedy does not come easy to me--but when CocoP comes to me with this story in his hand, pleading it be read by my seeking eyes, I nod my head and have high hopes.
The hopes have not only been met, but they have been exceeded.
This story is a dark comedy that follows a set of characters--but my favorite being THE CAPS LOCK GOD, Al’Shazan, and Balthus, the high priest. These lively characters have their moments of almost insanity, with Al'Shazan demanding things that bring to light the darkness that lies beneath the idle frustrations our High Priest has to experience. Beneath the layer of satire is a world so dark it shouldn't be read by the light-hearted. Keep this in mind, this story is not for the faint of heart, but that being said: if you are up for it, you do not want to miss this story.
Since I went into why I loved the story, I'll go into the specifics of the other score determinants:
The exposition is quick cut and clear, it's easy to keep reading and not stop. I had to force myself to spread the love and read at my leisure--this is a story I could have read in one or two sittings easily. It was just that good.
No issues there aside from formatting typos, and quick-to-miss repetition. Overall, it's pretty flawless.
One of my FAVORITE things about this story is the characterization. From Al'Shazan's CAPS LOCK AWFULNESS to The High Priests dry view on life, to Marissa's EVERYTHING, it is all perfect. It is realistic, riveting, and beautifully crafted. CocoP put his heart and soul into NanoWrimo piece.
Easily some of my favorite characters crafted into a story that I've read to date.
This story is something to gawk at with your mouth open, it is a story that should make any author envy the exposition.
One of the few stories that I found nothing to find distaste in, one of the few stories I can call my favorite on the site, and one of the few instances where I enjoyed every minute from chapter one to the author's note. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Overall – As The Godking Wills is a treat for readers who love truly irreverent black comedy. I encourage you to give it a try even if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea – it’s a wild ride I would only try to keep the most squeamish of readers (and children) away from. While Godking is a considerably edgy tale, it is not overbearingly so and never crosses into unfunny territory without knowing exactly what it’s doing. Binge reading this was like subjecting myself to a microcosm of the whole range of human emotion, and left me sorely wanting more even as it stripped away my sensibilities as it left no line uncrossed. I do hope the author comes back to this for that second book someday.
Style – I can tell the author had a lot of fun bringing us this tale. It oozes a certain charm and panache that fills me with both joyous and horrified laughter. It takes a careful balance to tell a comedy this dark without falling flat on its face – especially without making a single misstep aside from the occasional typo. The POV characters are definitely distinct enough to tell apart even if you struck out all the characters’ names – which also speaks to the strength of the character writing itself.
Story – I was instantly hooked by High Priest Balthus’s impossible plight to protect a struggling empire from the whimsical mad god that rules it by liberally addressing said deity’s wild edicts. It starts with funding a party the empire can barely afford and quickly spirals out of control in ways you’ll never see coming. And the pacing! Al’Shazan be merciful, it just doesn’t let up! There’s hardly a single wasted breath here.
Grammar – There’s a couple typos per chapter as you go on, and one minor character does get their surname changed. Don’t worry about it. Al’Shazan willed it, and though Its Intent is perfect mere material cannot always capture the full splendor of divinity. it doesn’t detract from the wonder and amusement of Its story.
Character – The POV characters might be at the heart of what makes Godking great, You’re going to love or hate almost the entire cast, and you might even find yourself feeling both ways about a few of them. There’s just something marvelous about the way they joke, talk smack, and put up with each other that makes this offering such a wonderful treat.
We live in the world where our supreme rulers are assmbely of petty, self-aggrandising idiots, delinquents and psychopaths. What if it would be other way around? What if the leaders of the world would be supremely competent, dedicated and selfless? Well, in that case, by the law of cosmic balance the might of all of the universe would conspire against them and results would be not better then what we have in real world, or even worse. But if the take into account such plot device as "unreliable narrator" we coud see this story as representation of how our leaders see themself and their role in the world. Citizens are always ungrateful and capricious, too stupid to understand what's good for them. Natural or economic disasters are always unexpected and lack of preparedness totally was not leader's fault. Best way to deal with opposition, separatists and dissidents is decisive application of force, military or administrative. There is always no time for long-term solution, it's either stop-gap measures or disaster. And because the leader is the best person to lead the country it's ok to change some facts, until their story looks like this story.
When I saw GodKing in the title, I thought maybe it was something like a Xianxia, but its nothing of the sort. Al’Shazan and his high priest remind me a lot of God and Jeffrey (A YouTube series by DarkMatter2525) in their interactions. All of the characters are fleshed out and each is interesting in their own ways.
The story is honestly funny and you don’t feel like putting it down until the last “next chapter” button is highlighted. I’m surprised there aren’t more people reading this truthfully. It’s definitely one everyone should bookmark.
There is no reason in this world that As the Godking Wills should be on Royal Road instead of on my bookshelf. I know that's a bit of a cliche to say in glowing reviews around here, that stories are "too good" for web fiction, but in the case of Godking, it's good to the point that the lack of attention this story has gotten is downright criminal. It isn't that the story is too good for web fiction--it's that web fiction has completely ignored one of its best recent stories. We don't deserve it.
This book is a pitch-black comedy, a satire that makes you think worse of the whole world and laugh while doing it. It's about the leaders of a fantasy world government who have to deal with the ins and outs of their nation as it descends towards collapse... and to serve the whims of the God who has absolutely no interest in anything but itself. How do you make the world a better place with religion and governance if the deity you serve is acitvely opposed to everything you stand for? You try your best, that's what you do.
Our trio of main characters, Balthus, Gareth, and Matthias, are extremely well-developed. Like, amazingly so. They are so distinct that you can recognize which character is the POV of a chapter after just a couple paragraphs. Each has their own little subplots, but they are together unified in the common thread of trying desperately to deal with the crises of the kingdom to the best of their abilities. And... let's just say they come into conflict sometimes.
The best part of Godking is that everything just plain works. There's many POVs, but they always tie together. There's all these offhand jokes and lore references and they almost always come to relevance later. Every character matters and every chapter is of paramount importance. It's at that level of cohesion and polish where I start to genuinely care about the main characters, or actually start to hate them in one particular case. In my time reading web fiction, this happens so rarely that it's like a revelation here.
The only problem I can even see with this book is that it's got plenty of typos and misplaced commas, though at this point I'm judging it in comparison to a published book and not a WIP web serial. When your story is THIS good, there isn't much else to say except please, please read it when you have the chance.
NOTE: There is a second book, but I didn't read any of it because there are only a few chapters and it hasn't been updated in a while. I have no idea what that book entails, but I'm actually surprised it exists from how complete and standalone the first one is. Regardless of whether that one continues or not, you have GOT to read As the Godking Wills. Got it? (EDIT: That sequel has been removed since this review was originally posted on 5/17/2020, but the promise of a true sequel lingers on... Perhaps one day CoCoP will make it happen!)
I comit the grave sin of lacking experience in writing reviews.
May Al'Shazan have a good laugh at my inability, and the inquisitors not think of finding me.
Still, I quite enjoy this.
I think I've run into one or two spelling errors, but thats it.
This little gem here, is seriously a good story, the twisted kind of where you just laugh as everything just goes from bad to worse while the characters try to rebuild it all.
All exist to serve the Godking Al'Shanar, the Creator of All as He Wills, and they shall not forget it, for he is almighty and does not take kindly to defiance of His Will. Thus the Ruling three of the empire scramble to accomplish his unreasonable commands while trying to keep the Empire afloat, which is no easy task with a whimisical God doing whatever he wants. And it doenst help that each of them are vastly different in character and the methods they serve their God with.
Most apparent is the poor High Priest Balthus Aster, head of the Church, who is the one who gets in direct contact with Al'Shanar, the One True Flame of Creation in His Realm, and thus carries his Divine decree out of the world. Such a burder is hard on him, given he is one of those responible for keeping the entire Empire together despite all at play, including the Godking himself. And given his morality, this is even harder for him, as he conflicts with the Godking on many things, but does not openly speak out, given that He is an uncaring God who does not care for the lives of his subjects at all, and rather would just laze around, unless there would be a threat to His divine rule, to which He responds with godly power.
It all is really no easy task, because one of the other Three is the Knight Commander of the Inquistors, who is utterly devoted to the Godking, to fanatic degrees, which causes lots of headaches among them all.
This story is just long enough to tell what has to be told, without dragging it out further, it neatly tells the main plotlines and concludes them, with a rather predictable twist in the end, that would be clear for those who are paying attention, Still a fun twist though!
There is not much time spent into actually building the world, given it exist at His whims, and thus can be destroyed at a moments notice, or changed wholly. But still the author has made a rather well constructed world for how long this story is.
This story could use a good editing round, as i have noticed quite the share of grammar errors and spelling mistakes while reading this story, but nothing that cant be fixed with editing, and i know that the author can have a story with good grammar from his other works,
The author manages really well to make the story switch between the many viewpoints without an hitch. Which enchances the story even further as it is told from so many viewpoints, and with the length of this story, it is rather impressive that the author pulled it all off. And the tone largely is a dark one with comedic undertones, which got some dark, twisted laughs out of me as they suffered in His name, and of course that ending twist was just a great extra!
Just read it, this is a wild dark comedic story which is also completed, that is wholly worth spending time on, just do it, in the Godking's name, so thus He decrees!
I can't even describe how much I like this. It's pretty cool! The writing is great.
Ah? Why can't I post this review... 200 character minimum? Horrible. How could you do this to me? I will contact your manager... wait, no... you're a piece of code... I will inject you with viruses!
This story had been hyped up a fair bit for me before I read it, and I still somehow managed to miss the fact I would be reading a comedy, let alone one this funny. So when I was introduced to Balthus, High Priest to the hedonistic nincompoop who is unfortunately also the omnipotent deity Al'Shazan, I was unprepared for what I was in for. Much like Balthus, as it turns out.
Yes, in As the Godking Wills, God is real, running an empire and, er, really shouldn't be. While not actively malicious, it's clear Al'Shazan is concerned solely with sating its own desires while the heads of its own empire run around frantically trying to keep it happy and soften its devastating edicts lest the capital go up in flames, as has happened multiple times in the past. It's a wry depiction of corruption in politics, the dangers of poor leadership, and what it's like having to 'manage up' to bosses having problems with competence, empathy or both. Too real, CoCop. Too real.
It is very funny, though.
Style-wise, I'd place Godking very close to the observational wit and social commentary of infamous comic fantasy writer Terry Pratchett. It has about the same level of absurdism in it as well, with the majority of characters played mostly straight, while others at first seem ludicrous until you realise you've at some point met someone just like them - or worse, multiple people - in real life. Again, too real. The writing quality is superb except for all the grammatical errors, which are prolific. It's particularly out of place here because Godking is such an intelligent story. But with a grammar edit, it would easily be professional quality.
Godking's characters are just wonderful. For the head henchmen of a terrifying god, Balthus and Gareth are wonderfully ethical, pragmatic, competent and fallible, devoting their lives to making the world a better place for its consituent races despite Al'Shazan's constant ability to thwart their efforts. Matthias, head of the religious inquisition, is an absolutely hilarious antagonist and another character I'm adding to the Too Real™ Squad. Then we have Al'Shazan itself, a breakout character if I ever saw one, whose every scene had me almost in tears from laughing so hard.
Godking is strongest at the start while new characters, trials and concepts are being frequently introduced, its exposition second-to-none. By the time we get to the mid point of the story, the pace slows down somewhat, with some of the concepts and characterisation being rehashed in what feels like slight overkill, and the plot perhaps delving a little too heavily into the intrigue side of politics without much forward progression. The final third picks up again with some key scenes and revelations culminating in a satisfying conclusion, although the ending did feel like it snuck up on me out of nowhere. Going from that slower pace in the central third to the too-rapid pace of the final act probably contributed. There was also one key realisation I made just a chapter before it became plot-relevant, which I felt I should have made earlier - this could have also used more exposition earlier on.
All that said, Godking is an amazing read that will make you laugh while delivering clever commentary about power, corruption, politics and religion. It asks the question 'what if God was real' and follows it up with '...and do you really want it to be?'. I think fans of Pratchett or British-style humour in general will absolutely adore this, and have no hesitation in giving it a five-star recommendation.