Ragna: A young girl's failure to become a hero
by YAK Edge
- Traumatising content
Family, love, a promising military career - Ragna Griffin's life was perfect. Well, it was, but when her kingdom brands her a terrorist, it all falls apart. Caught in the center of a conspiracy, she's forced to flee.
Thus, Ragna sets off on a journey to clear her name. Unfortunately, she'll soon realize the cruel and brutal reality of the real world. Each day, her mind and convictions drift closer to their limits.
In the end, will she persevere or break?
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(Note this fiction has been edited in the time since I left this review; I haven't yet had a chance to reread it.)
Ostensibly, Ragna tells the story of a promising young military officer falsely accused of a terrible crime and setting out to clear her name. What the synopsis doesn't mention is that this isn't merely a fugitive-focused thriller, but an epic-in-progress rich with adventure, history, exploration and mythological lore.
Ragna takes place in a world where mythology and magic have as much a place as modern technology, and absolutely shines in its unique, well thought-out world-building. I could easily recommend this story based on this aspect alone. Mythology in Ragna takes direct inspiration from its counterparts from various historical cultures in the real world (with a particular focus on Norse mythology and culture) but with its own highly original twists. You'll recognise names, references and analogies, but they're never quite what you expect. It's familiar but... not. And I love it. Ragna is not a story that rehashes old ground. It's refreshing, different and stunningly detailed.
The story is well-paced and always interesting, moving easily between action scenes, exploratory scenes expanding on the world or advancing the plot, and deeper, more reflective moments. Author YAK Edge weaves fascinating lore into the story in each interaction which never feels awkward, and I can't reiterate enough how interesting it is. This is a world brimming with secrets to be discovered and conspiracies to be unearthed around every corner. You want to know more about its societies, technologies, structures and magic, which are at once so familiar and yet so alien. And it only gets more interesting as it goes on.
Where it falls down is in terms of clarity, not an uncommon problem in web fiction. More than anything, Ragna needs a serious edit. And we're not just talking grammar, which does need work. I found myself butting up against frequent inconsistencies, plot holes and instances where characters made questionable decisions or events just didn't make logical sense. Much of this could be greatly improved by better explaining why characters acted a certain way or how they arrived at their decisions. I get the impression it's been kept vague deliberately to leave certain aspects mysteries for longer, but in practice it just ends up being confusing.
This lack of clarity is perhaps exemplified in the story's glossary chapters, which are more useful in helping to understand what's going on than they really should be. I was grateful for the assistance and appreciated their parody-like tone, but the story should be able to communicate key concepts clearly on its own. (To be fair, given the sheer amount of complex lore crammed into Ragna, it does succeed at conveying quite a lot through context already. But the glossaries should act like refreshers or quick reference points, not the main source of information.)
Another area this tended to crop up in was where the story attempted to take the interactions of magic to their logical conclusion. On the one hand, I adore this sort of utilitarian, lateral, problem-solving approach to magic (or general conflict) and find it highly engaging. When it worked, it was immensely satisfiying. But it was hit and miss - and when it missed, it felt like it was because the story had failed to address what should have been key concerns in that situation. From some of the author's comments, it seems clear the reasoning had been thought out in many cases but just hadn't been adequately communicated to the reader. Again, clarity.
Would I recommend this story overall? Absolutely. If, like me, you enjoy originality, exploration and a continual sense of discovery, Ragna scratches that itch and then some. It's both thoughtful and fun, and has some of the greatest potential I've seen on Royal Road to date. But it needs an edit.
Story – 5/5
The story is quite interesting, I like it so much. The synopsis helped me understand a bit more of the story as I read through the chapters.
When I read chapter 08, I had an “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” moment which lasted for quite a while. When I first read the synopsis, I asked myself “what conspiracy will she be in”? And then, I found out!
I have so much more to say, but I can’t find the right words on how to express how I enjoy this story.
Style – 4.5/5
Very good, it’s written in the Third Person perspective, and the execution was fantastic. The descriptions written by the author are very nice too; it gave me a vivid painting of what was going on as I was reading through the text. The author has a wide vocabulary as from what I could’ve read, so he has large disposal of words ready at hand whenever he needs to write descriptions.
The action scenes in Chapters 1 and 2 are quite fascinating to read, and like I’ve said, his descriptions help a lot.
I also like the little bits at the end of each chapter, explaining things that may be confusing for the reader.
Grammar – 4.5/5
Exceptionally great, I’ve seen no problem except for some minor mistakes.
Characters – 5/5
Our main character is Ragna, and as I read Chapters 1 and 2, I told myself “I probably won’t like her,” but when Chapter 3 came, that’s where it all changed. From then on, I liked her personality. She’s pretty fleshed out, so that’s nice.
As for Altera, at first, I thought she was going to be the antagonist, turns out I’m wrong. That’s a plus for tricking me.
As for Sven, I was about to write something about him, when he just went “Aight, ima head out”...
As for Princess Aurelia, even though it’s just been a few chapters, I've already become intrigued in seeing more of her.
If you ask me who is my favorite out of all, it's either Aurelia or Ragna.
Overall – 5/5
Do I recommend this story? Without a doubt in my mind, absolutely! I'll recommend it to my classmates who are interested in fiction.
The start of the story is a little confusing, and I lost track of what was going on. When the action start though the confusion went away and the story started to get more consistent and I had a better idea of what was going on. There is a bit of a rocky start, but afterwards the rockiness is gone.
The story has some different aspects of tension, as there seems to be some romantic tension between the main character and her charge, as well as the obvious combat tension of an action story.
Style: The style is straight forward and simple. The world-building is evident but maybe a bit too much in the background as at the start it is confusing to tell what is going on.
Grammar: The gramma is good to excellent but there are a few places where the wrong words are chosen. These places are few though and do not detract from the story.
Characters: At the beginning the main character is a little unsettled, and its hard to get a grip on her personality, later when the story gets rolling the character locks down. There are a few places in the early portrayal that are a bit jarring.
Style: Superb world-building, and excellent action scenes that are greatly narrated and flow perfectly.
Story: So far, the plot is developing nicely and the world is slowly being revealed to the reader.
Grammar: Great grammar, nothing detracting from the story and pleasant to read.
Characters: Characters are believable and detailed. The way the author writes them by focusing on their emotions and inner thoughts makes the reader care about all of them, which is not an easy feat!
"We shall rule the world with an iron fist. The peasants will beg; the rich will fear, and all the dandies in the world will beg even more." An out of context quote that does not spoil you the story.
The one thing that captivated me the most about Ragna: A young girl's failure to become a hero is the author's ability to write good dialogue consistently throughout the novel. This is not an easy task and for that we have to thank Ragna, the stoic main character that never bores me. The book also contains detailed worldbuilding, so you don't have to worry about lack of information.
Grammar and Style are both on point. Nothing to report.
I don't regret a single minute spent reading Ragna and I know you'll enjoy it too!
If you love nonstop action, this is the story for you( well, in the beginning, I can't speak for the rest of the book, not there yet)! I would say, don't judge this story until you read further because that's when you actually start to see the characters and their personalities. Right now, I don't know much about the protagonist, except she is strongwilled/confident(first two chapters). Later on, she seems angrier than the average Valkyrie, maybe a little juvenile(could be wrong dont yell at me lol)? I'm waiting to see her character development, will it be for the better or worse? I believe the author does a tremendous job with worldbuilding. I want to know a little more for what's going on it the protagonist's head, but I will probably get that if I read more into the story :)
This story presents an interesting futuristic (and possibly militaristic?) world. I think there's magic too since people can teleport. Overall, reading was enjoyable, the descriptions are very lively.
Style: This in my opinion is the major problem with the story. I ended up being confused for the entire section that I read. The setting is very creative, but you should first concentrate on conveying the setting in as easily understandable a way as possible. I know you don't want to do an info-dump, but I think an info-dump would be preferable to the confusion I had. There are transitions to new scenes and no explanation as to when it takes place in relation to where you just were. - This bit, in particular, is easily fixable, just make sure at the start of each scene to quickly explain how long it's been since the last one when it isn't obvious.
Grammar: This needs an edit. It conveys the message, but the reader needs to work to move around commas (there are lots of unnecessary commas) or fill in words that aren't there.
Story: The story itself is quite good. There's betrayal, death, love, and loss all in the first arc.
Characters: I liked the characters. Ragna, although not entirely likable, is relatable and interesting. The side characters do what they have to do. For the length of the review, there was really only enough time to showcase one character so I can't fault the story for not having fully fleshed out side characters at this point.
Altogether, I think this story has potential if it can fix the style problems I saw and the author does an editing pass. If you can get past a bit of bad grammar, I think you'll enjoy reading this.
I quite enjoyed this story for what it is: an adventurous story about a young military official who is fighting to save her name after a terrible crime was framed upon her.
This author clearly has spent hours upon hours building up this lore, and it shows clearly while going through the first few chapters. That being said, I agree with a few reviewers below that the lore is, indeed, kind of just shoved in your face.
This author has well-crafted prose, though, and despite a few typos and confusing paragraphs, I found myself enjoying the story. Once the author goes through and fixes these more than awkward scenarios, I can go back and up the grammar and story score! That was the biggest downfall to this story, and I know I fall victim to this too as a writer. Often times, our first drafts are full of paragraphs that are overly complex or vague because we, as authors, worry about foreshadowing too blatantly, or accidentally spoiling something that will happen later on. I have found, though, that making a second draft early on really helped me fix those paragraphs. I suggest the same to you, Yak.
I loved the glossary Yak had included in the beginning of the story, it really made the plot and environment feel fleshed out. I did not mark down the story score because of a lack of lore, but more so a lore overload in the beginning chapters. I'd suggest, if you do make a second draft, to go back and scatter this world-building more naturally throughout the story so the reader isn't overwhelmed.
All in all, for a first draft this is an amazing start. I think, after a little rewording and editing, this story will take over the site and become a loved story about a woman clearing her name. Good job, Yak, and I'll be following this story.
Ever heard of the worldbuilding technique Iceberg Theory?
Ragna basically says the Iceberg Theory can go jump in a lake and melt in the summer sun. Like now.
Everything regarding worldbuilding is shoved at your face.
If you are a fan of intricate and detailed down to the minutiae worldbuilding, Ragna is made for you. You could choose to stay just for the worldbuilding.
There's two glossaries, for goodness sake and a glossary often included at the end of the chapter!
But it is no fun to scroll down every time you're unfamiliar with a term. Or even read it after the fact. So lower style score for me.
Not to mention that the amount of terms exclusive to the world building in this story can be an overwhelming. Some things can still be unclear contextually.
Basically, I've written so many paragraphs on this one aspect that you can see how over the top it is.
Ok fine, some of the book, band, and song names are fun, especially with a detailed description in the after chapter glossary.
I do enjoy the viking lore and modern tech combo. It makes for some very clever set ups.
But still, it's too much.
Gah! Need to move onto the characters and plot.
Ragna is naive. Her sense of morality is understandable, but wouldn't work in reality. The population would be decimated!
Her reaction to several horrific events wasn't fleshed out enough. Like someone dies and at the time she freaks out but a chapter later she's kind of...over it? Nope for me.
But overall, we know she's going to have to acclimate her perspective to her world's reality which draws you in.
Sven is a sweet boyfriend. He's not immature, and he really wants the best for Ragna. His conversations with Ragna's dad tickled my funny bone. Gosh those were some hilarious lines.
Ragna's dad is a tad stereotypical, but he's still wonderful. Again he's got that humor. Like charging his daughter interest on a money loan! Plus there is the whole development later on. Mmmhmm.
The princess knows how to be prim and proper and a vision of loveliness, and she's also got an uncouth side that just fleshed her out beyond the perfect princess.
That's all for now.
I applaud the author for putting so much thought into the story that is being crafted. Just...yeah.
Either you'll swim through the worldbuilding and love it, or drown and leave.
Ragna's set up for character growth and even a coming of age into what the world is really like.
The plots between factions and kingdoms exists, but refer to above worldbuilding.
Please note that this is an edited review.
So, after Chapter 3 I was a little confused. I'm not going to lie, it showed in the review (the one I'm editing right now, that is).
But dang. YAK Edge clearly knows what he's doing with this! The characters are interesting and fleshed-out, and although they seem to take back-stage to the overall plotline in terms of priority, their attitudes and actions remain consistent with their personalities.
I think my favorite character is the MC, with least favorite being her Valkyrie buddy. She seems to be obsessed with doing the right thing (albeit with a substantial amount of bloodthirsty), while her friend seems to dislike her to the point of sabotaging her training program.
The fighting is well-done, with quite a bit of honestly anime-like sequences that flow well together.
My favorite moment was definitely when MC's family was just sitting outside the pizzeria, chatting about whatever and just dealing with life. Their characters really showed well during that.
The synopsis is well-designed, clearly stating the overall plotline without revealing too much, although the picture doesn't accurately depict any of the depth, range, and size of the world created here.
Have a good read!