Valkyria Heart: A modern fantasy (on break until late fall)

Valkyria Heart: A modern fantasy (on break until late fall)

by YAK Edge

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Profanity
  • Traumatising content

Ragna Griffin thought she had figured out the world. Only once her kingdom brands her a terrorist must she learn how complex reality can be. Now, she just wants her old life back. To become a Valkyrie, Altera Xion must capture Ragna's father, who holds the key to a plot that could start a new world war. Yet, her worst enemy will be her own anxiety.

For the sake of their goals, the two must set aside their differences, embark on a journey through Aes, and gather allies. Aes, however, is a cruel future fantasy world full of horrors and secrets. Each day, their minds and convictions drift closer to their limits, their dreams further slipping away.
In the end, will they persevere or shatter?

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YAK Edge

YAK Edge

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Table of contents and map of Aes ago
A guide to runes (read after chapter 29) ago
Chapter 01 - Angel and imp ago
Chapter 02 - Millennium Peace ago
Chapter 03 - Valkyries ago
Chapter 04 - Halcyon day countdown ago
Chapter 05 - The end of the beginning ago
Chapter 06 - The curtain rises, the griffin falls ago
Chapter 07 - Call to adventure ago
Extra chapter 1 - Hungry empty vanity ago
Extra chapter 1.5 - Angels with masks ago
Chapter 08 - The angel I hate ago
Chapter 09- Frisian Forset's motel of horror ago
Chapter 10 - The seven in heaven ago
Chapter 11 - Princess illusion ago
Chapter 12 - Sky desire ago
Chapter 13 - The rainbow train ago
Chapter 14 - High speed; high death ago
Extra chapter 2 - Please cry when I die ago
Chapter 15 - Clockwork Horrorshow ago
Chapter 16 - Maestro's first lecture ago
Chapter 17 - The real colors of the world ago
Chapter 18 - Choose the evil, impose the good ago
Chapter 19 - Freedom for lust ago
Chapter 20 - Gods singing in the rain ago
Chapter 21 - Lockdown heretics ago
Chapter 22 - Past marvels ago
Chapter 23 - God abandoned you ago
Chapter 24 - Fly away ago
Extra chapter 3 - Debating life from god's point of view ago
Chapter 25 - An angel and a schism ago
Chapter 26 - Don't take it for granted ago
Chapter 27 - Hiding under the sun ago
Chapter 28 - Language of gods ago
Chapter 29 - Reflections are ephemeral ago
Chapter 30 - Voyagers past the horizon ago
Chapter 31 - Hear. Fear. Clear. ago
Chapter 32 - Eldritch and twisted ago
Chapter 33 - Upon all the universe has to hold of horror ago
Chapter 34 - Placid island amidst black seas of infinity ago
Chapter 35 - Fey ago
Chapter 36 - Night of the albatross ago
Extra chapter 4 - Do you deny yourself? ago
Chapter 37 - New day blues ago
Chapter 38 - Roundtable territory ago
Chapter 39 - Progression stasis ago
Chapter 40 - Watchers under watchmen ago
Chapter 41 - Giri Giri Grigori ago
Chapter 42 – Frozen lights ago
Chapter 43 - Sonnenritter ago
Chapter 44 - Toxic apostles ago
Chapter 45 - Retreat complete ago
Chapter 46 - Beasts of justice ago
Chapter 47 - Sideshow symphony ago
Chapter 48 - Screaming orchestra ago
Chapter 49 - Apostle of storms ago
Chapter 50 - Your cute little sister ago
Chapter 51 - A campaign for true beauty ago
Chapter 52 - Utopia princess ago
Chapter 53 - Goddess is artificial ago
Chapter 54 - Kingdom beyond; Mana City ago
Chapter 55 - Acting without purpose ago
Chapter 56 - Stay with family or not ago
Chapter 57 - Niebelungentreue ago
Chapter 58 - Prelude to judgment ago
Chapter 59 - The absurd logic ago
Chapter 60 - Temple of the outer god ago
Chapter 61 - The world end tower ago
Chapter 62 – Level 1 "Heroes never fail": Start ago
Chapter 63 – Level 1 "Heroes never fail": Perfection imperfect ago
Chapter 64 – Level 1 "Heroes never fail": Be a saint or an assassin ago
Chapter 65 – Level 1 "Heroes never fail": Wings of divine right ago
Chapter 66 – Level 1 "Heroes never fail": Saving for hope ago
Chapter 67 – Level 1 "Heroes never fail": Love me, hate me, kiss me, kill me ago
Chapter 68 – Level 1 "Heroes never fail": Dungeons and debauchery ago
Chapter 69 – Level 1 "Heroes never fail": The lightbringer princess ago
Chapter 70 – Level 2 "Bipolar nightmare": Racing thoughts ago
Chapter 71 – Level 2 "Bipolar nightmare": No god, but a meme ago
Chapter 72 – Level 2 "Bipolar nightmare": In a hero's image ago
Chapter 73 – Level 2 "Bipolar nightmare": Broken psyche shards ago
Chapter 74 – Level 3 "The hemorrhage countdown": At the mountain of absurdity ago
Chapter 75 – Level 3 "The hemorrhage countdown": Cry to smile ago
Chapter 76 – Level 3 "The hemorrhage countdown": There is nothing left ago
Chapter 77 – Level 3 "The hemorrhage countdown": Blood sacrifice ago
Chapter 78 - Intermezzo 1 "Requiem and reminiscence": Prey on predator ago
Chapter 79 – Intermezzo 1 "Requiem and reminiscence": Jus ad bellum ago
Chapter 80 – Intermezzo 1 "Requiem and reminiscence": How a hero is born ago
Chapter 81 – Level 4 "Aesir = Asurah": Primordial sea//Fiction cosmogony ago
Chapter 82 – Level 4 "Aesir = Asurah": Fate//Choice autonomy ago
Chapter 83 – Level 4 "Aesir = Asurah": Tragoedia//Comedia ago
Chapter 84 – Level 4 "Aesir = Asurah": Light of ruin//Titan of insight ago
Chapter 85 – Level 4 "Aesir = Asurah": Death drive//Will to survive ago
Chapter 86 – Level 4 "Aesir = Asurah": Fake life//Refuse to die ago
Chapter 87 – Level 4 "Aesir = Asurah": Future silk//Victory in progress ago
Chapter 88 - Intermezzo 2 "Thrash-talk poets": Liars, thieves, and heroes ago
Chapter 89 - Intermezzo 2 "Thrash-talk poets": Crossing fates ago
Chapter 90 – Level 5 "No freedom but my own": March of progress ago
Chapter 91 – Level 5 "No freedom but my own": Ice and blood ago
Chapter 92 – Level 5 "No freedom but my own": The sun's enemy ago
Chapter 93 – Level 5 "No freedom but my own": Dream beyond electric sheep ago
Chapter 94 – Level 6 "Broken idol theory": Transcendent paradox ago
Chapter 95 – Level 6 "Broken idol theory": Why the sun shines in the sky ago
Chapter 96 – Level 6 "Broken idol theory": Choser of the slain ago
Chapter 97 – Level 6 "Broken idol theory": Burning angel, cooling dragon ago
Chapter 98 – Level 7 "Yellow roses, wild hyacinth, sweet alyssum": Delusional grandeur blooms ago
Chapter 99 – Level 7 "Yellow roses, wild hyacinth, sweet alyssum": Valkyria roots ago
Chapter 100 – Level 7 "Yellow roses, wild hyacinth, sweet alyssum": Petals in frenzy ago
Chapter 101 – Level 7 "Yellow roses, wild hyacinth, sweet alyssum": Isolation Evergreen ago
Chapter 102 – Level 7 "Yellow roses, wild hyacinth, sweet alyssum": Breakdown Cotyledon ago
Chapter 103 – Level 7 "Yellow roses, wild hyacinth, sweet alyssum": Silver flower on silver platters ago
Chapter λ – Stories of you and I (Pride special) ago
Chapter λ-2 – Stories of you and I 2 (Pride special) ago
Chapter 104 – Intermezzo 3 "Comptine du désespoir": Gravitation surréaliste ago
Chapter 105 – Intermezzo 3 "Comptine du désespoir": Amour et douleur ago
Chapter 106 – Level 8 "Against the judgment": Exposition ago
Chapter 107 – Level 8 "Against the judgment": Rising action ago
Chapter 108 – Level 8 "Against the judgment": Climax ago
Chapter 109 – Level 8 "Against the judgment": Falling action ago
Chapter 110 – Level 8 "Against the judgment": Dénouement ago
Chapter 111 – Bond with shadows ago
Chapter 112 – Renewed autumn bonds ago
Chapter 113 – Let the bodies hit the floor ago
Chapter 114 – Dream for future ago

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Riveting exploratory adventure in need of a major edit

Reviewed at: Chapter 43 - Morning

(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.

Temple
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

It's high time more people tried this story

Reviewed at: Extra chapter 5 - Do you deny yourself?

Since most of the reviews here are focused on the earlier part of the story, I'll talk about when the world opens up and gets more developed, which is more or less when the runes system was introduced.

This story mixes the known and familiar with innovative ideas, taking a simple idea of runes (very common in myths and legends) to another level in use in this story. I could say that the author has really taken his stride in world building as the story moved along. Like the rune system, the setting is also a mix of the familiar (both modern and fantastical elements) and unique twists to make the story stand out from others. Very well thought out blend of real world myths and legends and mixing them with into a blend of sci-fi and magical world. 

We follow Ragna as she journeys through this world, which she herself doesn't know much of, so we learn together with her the powers and intrigue surrounding it. It kind of reminded me of long epic quests story but set in a unique world compared to the usual medieval fantasy setting. 

As for style, the author I think uses third person limited, or at least that was the intent. Some would probably think the author uses omniscient pov, however that's because the pov shifts in between characters for the same scene. It's hard to follow in the earlier chapters, but in later chapters the breaks became easier to understand who's pov we are in. While many people do prefer third person limited, just be warned of the occassional change in pov in the same scene, which is usually not the norm.

As for the characters, they really do come together as the story goes on, just like the world building. There are some inconsistencies at the start, but as we move along, we can recognize them as individual persons with unique traits. I think that could be exemplified when I can recognize who's pov it is in a scene where most of the main cast are present. 

Grammar, I don't really have an issue with it. There are occassional errors but nothing serious that took me out of the story. 

In all, readers should give this a try. This story shows the evolution of a writer. Maybe the issue before was when the author was still trying to build experience. However, he went back and edited his work (based on the comments - I haven't read this story before the edits), and I didn't really find anything that would warrant previous ratings. 

It's high time more people tried this story.

D.C.Veiling
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Ragna: A young girl's failure to become a hero, is a nicely written piece of fiction that has obviously already been edited, leaving few issues and you can focus on the strong parts of it: style and main character.

Style: I was a bit shocked in the first chapter, but if you read until the second, you can see that all of that was intentional and realise the genius behind it. After that, you can look forward to a constantly well flowing style that fits the character.

Grammar: as said, it seems to be already edited and only few, negligible, issues remain. 

Character: 5* for the main character - nicely fleshed out and refreshing. 4* for side characters so far. Ragna feels truly authentic, although it took me some time to warm up to her.

Story: There was a short part that stretched a bit for me personally (Chap 3) but it picks up and really drew me at chapter 6. I would advice to read at least until there.

Overall, I can definitely recommend Ragna as a really rare piece of urban-fantasy with a Nordic mythology flare.

I might update the review after reading further at a later time.

WinnieSallow
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The story begins with Ragna and her ambitions to be a valkyrie. Her hopes don't last long because first she fails a simulated test, and second she gets framed for a crime.

The full premise gets set up within the first six chapters. Before that, readers get introductions to the characters and the world, and as the story goes on those bits get deeper. A lot deeper.
 
World building here is pretty great. The characters inhabit a country called Midgard. Their enemies - the Vaix - are their tentatively peaceful neighbors. The politics are set up nicely, through Ragna's (rather prejudiced) thoughts and opinions. The world also contains both magic and technology. All of these elements have strong roots in Norse mythology, but the world still manages to be something different. Aes is a pretty unique place. 

Other places where this story shines are characters. There are some odd reactions here and there, but for the most part, readers have a good sense of Ragna and Altera's personalities. Ragna is ambitious, a bit hot-headed, but also a straightforward and caring person, towards specific people. Altera is a bit of a perfectionist. She's very reserved but also a good, logical thinker. As far as their characterization goes, I have no complaints, and they're likeable characters too. So, that's a plus.

In fact, all characterization is pretty solid. I can easily visualize, name, and describe almost all of the characters. My favorite is Sven.

Those are the best elements of the story, and honestly, I think the most important.

When it comes to grammar and style, there are a few things I think lack effectiveness. Grammar is alright. Not perfect, but still very readable. Other than the odd typo or tense change, the writing flows.

Style, however, could be more straightforward. The actual words and sentences are fine, but the author does like to build the mystery by hiding some information from readers. I don't think that strategy to confuse is the best choice for a mystery. I noted this type of thing a lot in the earlier chapters, but it lessened in later chapters. The author has also made a good effort to work on the confusion, but I did deduct some stars because I don't like to be confused, especially during cool fight scenes. 

Also, while I appreciated the glossary items at the end of chapters, I felt they shouldn't be needed as much as they were. Those types of world building details - tv shows, game consoles, locations, myths, etc. - really help make the world feel real. However, they can fall a bit flat. The reader reads past them, and the concept goes over said readers head, until the reader scrolls to the footnotes. Then, the little references become fun. It would be more fun if every reference could be understood within the text. The best references were those that included some hint as to what they were in the dialogue or thoughts of characters. If all of the references worked like that, I would think they were pretty genius. Right now, they could use some touchups. 

Overall, it's a detailed world, and with such detailed worlds comes the challenge of conveying all the little pieces. I can understand why the author might struggle to get everything to fall into their perfect places. That being said. The characters and plotline are great, which, I think, makes some of the confusion forgiveable. 

Hyper Suda
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Lore-Rich and Character-driven are a match made in Valhala.

Reviewed at: Chapter 08 - The curtain rises for a new concerto

Ragna is a story drenched in creativity. It's interesting concept is amplified further as we explore this incredibly well-written mythic ubran fantasy that truly lays a strong foundation for the characters to shine. In particular, the protagonist Ragna Griffin is probably one of the most well-written protagonists I've seen this way of web-fiction. While I'm not even half-way through the story, the way her attitude and personality blend with the setting in an incredibly interesting way. There's always a fear with these kind of stories that the protagonist is just written to be a pointless self-insert/OP protagonist, but she has a clearly-defined character that clashes well with her superiors in the millitary.

Action is great, tightly written with enough style to keep it interesting and grammar wise, I found very little wrong with it. Clarity is definitley a problem at some points, but this has been mentioned in other reviews, so I'd imagine it's definitley not as much of a problem at the current moment. If you are at all a fan of the type of mythlogy Ragna evokes, not reading this would be a mistake. If you're a fan of action and urban fantasy in general, still read it. It's great.

faciex_prima
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

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.

Spoiler: Chapter 8

 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.

durrik
Overall
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Story
Grammar
Character

A Good Fantasy Story Set in a Futuristic World

Reviewed at: Extra chapter 1 - Hungry empty vanity

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.

Onch
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

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!

Mitsuaki Seiji
Overall
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Story
Grammar
Character

"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!

TaxReligion
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

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.