Essence of Ash

by Woofcano

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Drama Fantasy Female Lead GameLit High Fantasy Magic Supernatural
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

For thousands of years, the Hunters Guild has been exploring Yggdrasil's many Verses looking for safe worlds for humanity to colonise. They've been fighting Dread Beasts, dealing with Primordials and hiding from the eldritch entities out to devour all life. 

Growing up, Kat dreamt of Magehood. She was sure her mother, Greypic's best apothecary woman and brewer would have little trouble getting her a seat in the Academy in the capital. Everything was set when she turned sixteen. She was of age, and sure of her talent. Then a brewing accident took her mother and left the Aether Channels in her arms warped. 

Now, Kat is struggling to make ends meet. She's doing whatever it takes to stay above the poverty line and save enough for the Hunters Guild license and a Codex.

Will their resources help Kaitlyn Fairleaf fix her scarred arms? Or will she die crippled and alone?


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[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge] 

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Woofcano

Woofcano

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Word Count (11)
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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
1. Virility for sale ago
2. Not your average drug dealer ago
3. Cost effective ago
4. Down ago
5. Lost and alone ago
6. What lurks in the shadows? ago
7. The librarian and his lanterns ago
8. Dread Wolf ago
9. There is no place like home. ago
10. Kat and dog ago
11. Learn from your mistakes. ago
12. Alchemist in the making. ago
13. Jack, Jaque and Neel ago
14. Induction ago
15. Nothing like a good brew. ago
16. Delivery girl ago
17. No time for mourning. ago
18. The wicked witch and her wyrm. ago
19. Thieves in the night. ago
20. Safe cracking. ago
21. Disturbance in the Aether. ago
22. Battle Alchemist ago
23. Goodbye! ago
24. Legs old and new. ago
25. Off leash ago
26. It's time to grow. ago
Aether ago
27. The expedition assembles. ago
28. To new worlds and beyond. ago
29. Triage under fire. ago
30. Separated ago
31. First watch. ago
32. Destination ago
33. Internal discord ago
34. Field medicine ago
35. Well deserved progress. ago
36. Maybe this is a bad idea. ago
37. Golems... ago
38. Remembering the Forgotten. ago
39. Oth ago
Map of the Drasil Plains ago
40. Reunion ago
41. One too many. ago
42. No one likes dirty dishes. ago
43. Full metal ago
44. The expedition reassembles. ago
45. Battle preparation ago
46. Sparring ago
47. Linked ago
48. Inevitable clash ago
49. In the shadows. ago

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Zethuron
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Traditional styled fantasy mixed with fresh ideas.

Reviewed at: 35. Well deserved progress.

This story honestly reminds me of more traditional fantasy stories in how it is written, with some well used ideas and concepts, especially the magic system and it sort of having some kind of system to measure skills, yet not like those other stories. Im certainly going to keep reading this story, it is just overall solid.

As said, this is more traditional in style, and that applies to most aspects of this story, such as the characters. Kat is a rather strong willed character, one that does not give up, even if burdened by the legacy of her mother who died in an accident which also damaged Kat’s magic protentional, but despite that, she does not give up on her ambitions, going on through her life even when it all seems bleak, until it all changes with a certain encounter. She can be flawed at times, but that makes her only better to me, as just no character should be perfect at all. Though Kat is not exactly consistent in her characterization, though that seems to be getting better with recent chapters. And then theres Bati, who acts as some kind of guide for Kat at first, but over time slowly becomes more than that, being an actual partner for Kat who can advise and assist her, though not overshadowing her.

The other characters are also well written, having some kind of actual personality, even if they are just side-characters, of course this is not perfect and the author can still improve in many ways, but to me, the characters are very well written for webfiction standards.

 

I really like how the world is set up, from the start, there has been tons of good worldbuilding which giving this story depth, making it feel like a more traditional fantasy world, the author didn’t shy away from going big in his worldbuilding early on. There are just so many things I like about it and the concepts used for this story. Such as the magic system, rather original idea that while still borrowing from more traditional systems, can be seen as a system that stands out from many others by originality, it may be not well defined or have some actual visible structure yet, but that is not a problem yet as that is certain to come later, though, throughout most of the story so far, the terms for the different categories of magic are used from the very start, and before the Aether chapter it is not explained what the different categories are and one has to look at the context to get some understanding, this is not that much of a problem to me, as I feel like a chapter dedicated to explaining the magic system, would have rather hard to write, and wouldn’t make much sense given that the characters all have at least some basic understanding in how it works, though I see that not understanding what they are can be a problem to many readers.

There is also some form of gamelit system in this story, bound to the Codex’s, which numerically measures one’s skills, it fits rather well together with the rest of the story, not feeling out of place at all.

 

The grammar is solid, though there is still a lot of room left to improve, as typo’s, grammatical mistakes and such still are there, even if they get fixed when pointed out, which sometimes can take a while as the author may have overlooked them. Still great grammar despite that, readers used to webfiction grammar shoulnt have any, just needs some more editing to become even better.

The story starts off rather slow, even if that start is solid, with lots of worldbuilding from the start, woven into the whole of the story, which slowly explains what things are, what terms do actually mean, aside from the magic system as already stated earlier. Just like the rest of the story, the style is also more traditional in how it is written, with a steady pace that does not rush anything, letting the story flow on naturally.

 

This story can be something great, its not often that I read a more traditional story like this, and I hope it can succeed and keep on going what it started.

So if you want a traditional story like this, with a MC specializing in magic and alchemy, you can certainly give this story a try, it has entranced me so far, and I invite others to come join that.

WisdomKing
  • Overall Score

ok, here's my opinion after reading 14 chapters.

First off, the story is interesting well paced and engaging. The worldbuilding is just great probably the best thing.

what follows are the things i didn't like. 

1- Time skip

There's always this time skip between the end of a chapter and the beginning of the next one, Author, i don't feel like what you're trying to do is working, if you ask me, i'd say, don't do it. at least not the way you are doing it, it always feels like i missed a whole chapter.

 

2- Too fast / Unrealistic 

This is one tricky point for me, because i don't know how to explain it.

The story has a good pace, but some situations, emotions are dealt with quite too fast (in my opinion) and the overall feeling i get is that things are being forced to follow a certain pace.  it's like the Author doesn't want to slow down and let his characters deal with certain emotions or situations "normally"

 

3-Too naive and needs to shut up

Our lovely Mc keeps making rash decisions, and seriously... she's annoying.

she and her lizard friend won't shut up, always spilling out their secrets😑.

Given her background (no social ties) , she shouldn't talk this much.

and when making life changing decisions she doesn't take her time to think carefully. At this point she's just lucky she hasn't met a really, really bad guy. 

Well, I'm not really into novels with immature Mcs. 

 

 

Traitorman
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The Start of Something Big: A Crossroads of Old Fantasy and New

Reviewed at: Aether

Pay attention to this one, folks. I'm serious.

A lot of people throw the term around 'the next big thing' to indicate, well... 'the next big thing'. I think Essence of Ash warrants that statement. We're at the foothills of something truly immense here.

What Woofcano or Jay does is cross the writing style and world building of more traditional fantasy works with the progression and game elements of a high quality LitRPG story. The marriage creates a unique experience and a high quality one at that.

Style
Essence of Ash is written less like a web serial and more like a traditional novel. It definitely leans more toward robust writing rather than quick prose.

Its worldbuilding is constant and generally utilized concurrently with story elements. It's rare that we have a point where someone has to sit down and explain things directly. That's good in that it makes things feel natural. The only issue is that there is quite the complex magic system here, and sometimes I found myself struggling to remember the relationships between the different types of aether. 

That said, Woofcano's reference chapter - 'Aether' is a good guidebook to use. And also fun wordlbuilding.

Story
For the most part, the story is quite good so far - though we are still veeeery early judging from the pacing.

That said, at times the story structure oscillates between the pacing of a trade paperback fantasy book and the slower pacing of a web serial.

This can be jarring when you expect the story to start really pouring on the gas, but it instead pivots into detaileld chapters of brewing processes, training and care for the main character's puppy. These scenes are written in such a way that they remain engaging, but it can throw you off when you're expecting a tense situation to be dived into.

The other thing is that while the story follows a logical structure, there is the odd time where it relies on coincidence to move the plot forward. Your mileage may vary on that one, though it's quite rare.

Grammar 
Not much to say here except that this novel is very well polished. It feels like a lot of editing has gone into it already and the author makes more fixes if errors are pointed out in the comments.

Characters
We so far have a small, but well characterized cast of characters...for the most part. Kat's companions are great, and the characters of her past are very well detailed and characterized quickly. Even Kat's mother has a major presence in the story despite her being deceased by the start of the narrative.

Only issue here is that sometimes Kat's actions shake her characterization a little. She's shown to be quite kind, but can now and then pivot to a surprisingly cold decision. It makes it a bit difficult to get a complete handle on her.

Conclusion

I think this is one of the highest quality fictions on the site and the start of a massive story among RR web serials (and maybe beyond).

All the ingredients are there:

A thought out, unique setting.
An intriguing story thus far.
Good polish.
Characters we care about.

Woofcano has used them to brew a fine tale so far, and one that could be around for a long time.

There's a strange alchemy here, and one that I look forward to continuing to follow.

Top marks.

- Traitorman


mormeg
  • Overall Score

Its well done, but not for me

Reviewed at: 31. First watch.

Read up to ch31.

The writing quality is good, the story appears to be different but for some reason it feels like theres is no build up of tension in key moments. 

jacobk
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I wanted to like this one. I kept pushing myself to read it, giving up, then pushing myself to read further.

I think my problem with it is that the story structure revolves around something happening to the protagonist, and the protagonist doing something in response. Then something else happens to the protagonist, and she does something in response. Then something else happens...

The protagonist wants things, but she doesn't really proactively go do anything to get what she wants. She just reacts as random opportunities fall available.

The worldbuilding is interesting, the magic system has clearly had some thought put into it, and the side characters are all right. The protagonist just left me cold.

Arusalan
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Good potential for this story to grow.  The world is being introduced and expanded on in an organic matter, and the characters undergo believable character development.  The magic system is nice and original too, and will hopefully be expanded upon as the story progresses.

 

Would definitely recommend.

Achtland
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Well written, but not for everyone

Reviewed at: 28. To new worlds and beyond.

Essence of Ash is well written and has a complex magic system, without the huge logical issues, that plague so many fantasy books.

There isn't much world-building, but it's well done. Grammar and spelling are excellent.

The story is rather unimaginative and I personally found it to be derivative and boring. On the other hand there are no glaring plot holes, which I very much appreciate.

The biggest problem are the characters, especially the protagonist. The author repeats again and again how intelligent she is, but that is neither reflected in her words nor her deeds. I would go so far as to call her dumb.

The other characters range from bland to annoying, with the biggest offender being Bati. I've have never witnessed such an ill-conceived character. His existance alone invalidates a lot of the work the author put into building his story and on top of that he's such a horrible character, that I checked ahead whether he will still be there in later chapters before dropping the book. Bad news: He will be.

The only remotely likeable character is Agatha, but she is so minor, that I'm convinced she'd be horrible, too, once we'd know her a little bit better.

The author is obviously a skilled writer, so I will be looking out for other books by him.

Aki-chi
  • Overall Score

I tried reading it but just couldn't keep going. Don't get me wrong, it's  a great work with even better potential, I just can't focus enough to get to the good part. 

Now as to the actual novel, I'd like to point to the magical system and world building, I can practically smell the grandiose of it. Even if just from the samples I saw, I can tell it's left a lot of potential and fun dynamics that would again make me want to play TRPG, which my broke and lonesome ass is unable to properly find a group or DM for. 

As of characters, the interactions and relations are obviously great, I could already feel for the main character, though her ambitions highly reminded me of my.... Exquisitive mother, so take that with a grain of salt and read it anyway. 

The pacing, I fear, is not for those or hyperactive mind. Quite slow, so not for me, but I am sure there are those more patient or more quickly engrossed in a story. Still, keep in mind that this way the author can properly develop both characters and world building, so there definitely are advantages.

gnarlytreeman
  • Overall Score

So, its rather obvious the title, magic system, and tone of the work, is lifted from Randidly Ghosthound, as inspiration.  That is pretty much where it ends.  The work itself is engaging, but mostly via circumstances, and less so on personal merit, the main character gets everything done.  The plot armor is thick, and MC takes the backseat.  

domestos
  • Overall Score

Entertaining and refresing.

Good mix of slice of life and action, non over powering mc that is not a child. 

Enjoying the flow of a well edited story and without the large info dumps we normally get. The characters interact well and the conversation flow is good.