- Sexual Content
- Traumatising content
To be a synth is the greatest privilege an individual could be born into. What greater purpose or grander sense of fulfillment could one hope for than to be a tool of King Decon, the ruler of the Galaxy?
09T07 doesn’t know what more they want, but they know they’re missing something. Friendship? Intimacy? This seems to be the answer when they find others who are also not as King Decon intended them to be. However, how long can such things last among tools to be used and discarded? And how far are they willing to go to protect their loved ones in the face of duty?
Thanks to Julia Peitzer for consultation regarding gender-expansive and non-binary identities
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This is a wonderful science fiction story, the kind I have not yet read before. It has tropes we're somewhat familiar with, but it does it so well and subtly that it might be the best version of those tropes.
The synth are.. the synth. And they do what they do. They don't wonder, or think, or dream. At least most don't.
Our main character has feelings and thoughts and wonders, when a creature of its kind tends not to. And we feel along with them, and want them to know that it's ok to feel things, and we watch as they struggle in their life. And then we find that there is more than one that feels.
Wonderful storytelling and style. Simple, but expressive, and goes out of its way to make us know about the synth (especially their expressive ears). There are also lovely little sketches by the author that gives us a glimpse of exactly how the synth look.
OK, in light of what I named this review, I will actually start by literally answering the question (even though it was rhetorical).
So: Start at Episode 0!
Technically, the story starts at Episode 1, but Episode 0 sets the tone and mood of the story right from the start. It's like the opening scene of a movie where you see the 'Dark Evil Antagonist' before shifting to the MC/Hero. It just gets you in the mood!
As for the story... I admit that when I heard "Sci-Fi" I was like: "Hmm, not sure I am up for this." Just the combination of Sci and Fi causes an involuntary reflex of turning away.
Fortunately! I know the author studied literature and actually has some skill, so I took the time and gave it a chance.
So worth it!!
Sci-Fi isnt that bad. Just like films: A.I. - Bicentennial Man - I Am Mother - Wall-E - Terminator [et al] . . . Sci Fi has it's place among us and the stories are not worse than the films. I guess I just get the idea of Star Trek and Star Wars and just turn away. Watching is one thing but reading is another.
Synth is great. There are a few things that are a little difficult in the beginning, such as character names, but once you get used to them, it stops being an issue.
World has a solid foundation and a subtle background that is always there but never shoved in your face.
Characters have a very human relateability that makes the reader invest in the MC and 'Their' friends. [MC can be considered to be genderless, as all Synths are, so no Gender pronouns can take the reader by surprise in the beginning]
Grammar is excellent, as we could probably expect from someone who studied the written language. Almost all mistakes in the story so far seem to be Typo's or very minor. The author also takes notes very well and is quick to correct any and all "mistakes"/"errors" pointed out.
Characters are great and often very loveable. The Synth's, as a race, are incredible. (my opinion)
As I said, Sci-Fi really isn't my genre of choice, so I struggled with rating it. Eventually I gave a 4.5 which I think is fair.
I am definitely going to continue following and reading this story. I strongly recommend you at least give it a try. It might surprise you. Also; start at Episode 0!!
1) Possibly character names and ID numbers. I got used to it but not sure everyone will.
2) ... I know I had a second one. >.<
The Synth exist for one purpose; to follow King Decon's every command. In Episode 0 we see what happens to Synth who fail to obey. Silence and duty represent the life of a Synth. However, some Synth want something more; conversation and even friendship. This is the world the author vividly portrays in this story.
09T07 is one such Synth. They yearn to speak with other Synth, yet is either ignored or treated with distain. The author does a wonderful job of showing the hurt and confusion 09T07 experiences. However, it's when 09T07 finally meets another Synth like themselves that the ability of the author to develop emotional depth in the characters really shines. Even the movements of the batlike Synths' ears are used to portray emotions. That's what really makes this story stand out.
One thing about the Synth; they're the ultimate conformists. Those like 09T07 who are different are considered "strange" and are often treated as an embarrassment, physically assaulted, or could end up being "corrected." The author handles this tension very well.
Grammar overall is quite good with a few minor issues here and there. The story is well written. One aspect the reader needs to adjust to is the use of gender-expansive pronouns (they for example) when referring to the Synth. However, within a chapter I didn't have any issues.
So if you want some sci-fi with an emotional bite, then "Synth" is the story for you
TL/DR This is basically about a robot that was able to feel, surrounded by robots that don't. At first I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was easy to read (as long as you don't get confused by the main character refering to themselves as 'they') and the world building is given in an incredibly organic way. 10/10 worldbuilding. Characters who's personality's are mostly robotic... forgivable considering the setting.
So this whole thing is about a 'cloning' facility that creates bat like humans that is run by a king that has them mentally and physically programmed to obey him. It quickly becomes apparent that the process isn't completely perfect (despite what the prologue seems to claim.) Once a clone is 'birthed' they are then trained and gotten ready for combat. Most of the 'clones' are basically hyper goal oriented and don't like anyone who stands out (They are supposed to be pretty much clones). However as this story is progressing it is showing that not all the clones are as identical as they seem.
This author knows how to characterize something so foreign.
I am not typically the type to go for a science fiction read, but this author drew me in with their creative artwork covers and fantastically written blurb. The writing style proves to be superior in every way when comparing other sci-fi's published on this site, and this is because the author puts love into their craft. With each word, I feel it is intentional. Edited. Polished. Perfect!
The author takes such washed-out ideas, such as a robot who loves when they shouldn't, twists it in their hands, and starts forming and molding it into a story that isn't quite like any other. I am blown away.
I loved this, I will love it, and I will always love it as I keep reading.
Great job <3
It's early days yet, but Synth is very promising.
What would happen if someone with feeling and freewill were thrown into a world where only duty mattered?
Would they thrive? Fail? Would life's hard experiences ground their hope and innocence down to nothing? Or would their heart change what lies around them?
Synth asks these questions and though we haven't gotten answers yet, I am eager to find out what they are.
Synth has taken a thoughtful pace, deliberately building its characters and world.
Already, the setting is growing and we have had delightful moments shared between the two main characters. We also have dread. The hints are subtle, but there's a promise of dark times ahead.
Witch's writing is clear and smooth, with little flourishes to add imagery and make things pop.
However, she truly shines with her dialogue. She uses diction, cadence and even the variance of contractions to differentiate one character from the next.
That's good writing, and it lets one hear these characters as people.
There are minor issues with some of the paragraph sizes and a few little spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, but they did not detract from clarity. A quick proofread is all that's needed.
Undoubtedly, this novel's strength lies in its characters. Our main leads are endearing; a great mix of innocence and curiosity, like children exploring the world for the very first time. They also have little pops of somberness that grant them gravity.
As of Chapter 3, Synth is shaping up to be a contemplative and heartwarming story. It also has a touch of dread. While slow boiling for now, there is a lot of potential ahead.
5/5, I am looking forward to what Witch has in store for her characters and us.
A sci-fi story on being different in a world of uniformity, and trying to survive.
Also, space bats.
The story is coherent, the setting immersive and with a touch of unfamiliarity, but very engaging.
The emotions are real and relative and raw.
I look forward to the journey of T0 and their companions.
This story is easy to read and a joy to see unfold. The 2 main characters, TO and DH (who were created to be mindless servants to the evil King Decon) begin a heart-warming friendship in spite of the strict, militaristic environment they're forced to live in. A few typos and grammatical mistakes were spotted, but nothing too major. Overall a great start to a promising story. I highly recommend this to any sci-fi fan who loves alien protaganists and heartfelt friendships!
First things first: This story is wonderful!
This review was supposed to be for my Weekly Review series, which reviews the first 50 pages of various stories on this site. But I was so enthralled by Synth that I read much further than that (and ended up reviewing it a bit late lol).
The story starts off with one of the darkest opening chapters of a story I’ve ever read on Royal Road, setting the tone for what’s to come. A galactic empire runs on fear and terror and we get to see that first hand. But it turns out that this dark opening was actually used in a much more clever way. For you see, the story is actually about trainee Synths, the plucky young soldiers-to-be who are mere grunts in this world of fear.
In that way, the opening chapter provides an amazing source of tension. These optimistic young beings are completely ignorant of the reality of the empire they serve and just want to be successful and happy in their own lives. But even as they discover themselves and each other, the undercurrent that everything is not going so well persists, giving the story an edge that keeps you reading (and ready to cover your eyes when things get real dark again).
Synth’s story is also a thinly veiled queer coming out narrative, and it’s much better for it. The story follows a young Synth who feels like they are different than their peers and separate from the herd mentality most have. They try to find others like them so that they can live happily together even amidst the scorn of everyone else, and the vague threat of violence against them if all goes wrong. It’s well done so far and I’m glad a story like this can succeed even when Royal Road tends to be hostile towards this kind of thing.
The writing style is decent, though sometimes lacks the emotional punch I am looking for. It’s about in the realm of any given paperback sci-fi novel you might pick up, albeit with actually good character interactions instead of bland technical descriptions. It’s probably the weakest part of the story so far, but it’s also still good, so that just tells you how good the story is.
Read Synth. That’s all I gotta say.
Full disclosure: at time of writing, I am online friends with the author. I didn't properly know them until after I started reading Synth, but my review may be positively biased based on that fact.
I had no idea what to expect going into Synth. I had never seriously read any serialised online fiction before. I had know idea what a She-Ra was, but on the particular site I had found myself on, Synth seemed like the only truly original science fiction I would enjoy reading, so I loaded it onto my e-reader and set to work.
I've been reading one episode a night for months now, and I can say in full confidence that Synth is seriously brilliant. From the opening paragraph I knew that this was going to be something special.
The setup is immediately intreuging. An enigmatic malefactor known as King Decon has conquered the galaxy and has created a race of half-human, half-bat people to help manage it. Every member genetically programmed with a singular purpose: to serve King Decon. But cloning isn't an exact science, and very quickly you realise that maybe individuality is harder to control than just shuffling genes around.
We follow one of these synths - trainee 09TO7 - from their unusual "birth" to just... kinda... bumming around a big training facility asking questions, to be honest. But to say that Synth is a sleepy slice-of-life sci-fi would be selling it short. There's plenty of action scenes, tense character interactions and head-scratching philosophy to keep the average reader invested, and that's before you get into the intricate space beuarocracy so keenly built up through careful exposition.
Speaking of which, let's get serious for a second: I have Asperger's Syndrome. I have struggled with it my entire life, and will continue to struggle until the day I am dead.
Never in my time have I came across a work that so thoroughly described my experience without any explicit references to cognative ability or neurotype, whilst still being an entertaining story in its own right. That's impressive.
Indeed, if you want to get really pretentious, I think that Synth could speak to all aspects of queerness. Fighting to fit into a tough world where your default state is never "good enough", and exploring to find a tribe of people like you is an experience I think a lot of people can relate to.
That's not to say it's perfect... Synth is written by a single author with a sensitivity reader and no editor, and sometimes it shows. I did find a fair few spelling mistakes, a couple of wrong words used here or there, and sometimes when reading the epub version the formatting takes a weird turn where all the paragraphs are unusually spaced.
It's a little unusual in its delivery too, which might put some people off. All the synths are non-binary, using they/them pronouns, and everyone is referred to by an inpronouncable code name. This is justified in the narrative, but takes some getting used to. Eventually you start seeing nicknames, which at first are different spellings of codenames and then just straight up English words.
But putting all that aside, I like these characters, I want to find out what happens to them, and if this work ever goes to print, I'll be first in line at the book signing.
TL/DR: Go read Synth it's good, innit?