Never Die Twice
by Void Herald
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... and a different view on life and death, or undeath, I suppose.
It is rare to find a well done vill.. cough.. good man misunderstood by the masses, but this one is among the best I have seen.
I haven't found a flaw yet, be it in story grammar or anything else, and I really enjoyed it so far.
Nothing more I could say, five stars in everything.
Note: This review contains slight spoilers.
This story is about a necromancer who wants to give everyone immortality. It should be noted that this isn't "I'm just studying necromancy to give people immortality, and I'm ethical." its "I get this criminal and do my experiments on them in such a way that is probably quite awful."
I would rate it as a Tragedy. The main character's only goal is immortality, and they don't really have any sense of ethics.
The characters are.. okay. The main character never really has any change of heart at all (like being less of a monster, I don't want him to drop the immortality), and grows more aggressive over the length of the story. For the characters that have any goals beyond being servants (MC, Gwen, Medraut), it tries stuffing them all under the "I'm doing this for myself" morality. Though, Gwen is operating more under the "This is good, even if I don't actually care." morality system, which the MC tries portraying as exactly like his. As well, some of the characters just feel rather empty.
Annie can be summed up as "In love with Tye; really skilled mage". She is also one of the few with a moral compass, but it kinda disappears for a portion of the story before reappearing.
The Priestess feels like she converts over far too easily.
The MC does eventually get called out about some of his actions, but only towards the end and he just completely ignores them. Along with him becoming more aggressive, this makes him hard to like even though I approve of his goal.
The writing style isn't anything amazing. The author's other story 'Perfect Run' has more vivid imagery and thought processes that really drag you into the world. This doesn't have that.
Worldbuilding: It takes a bunch of primarily Norse mythology and some extra bits to construct an interesting world. It is very stats-based, given that they have levels, but that is mostly just used as an excuse to have people get very powerful and to give the MC knowledge/capabilities over the story. It doesn't really delve into the magic that much.
Overall: I enjoyed the story, but I feel like it could do with making the characters in general more likeable (even if they're evil) and/or more interesting.
I'll note that it also isn't 'necromancer who is a shopkeeper'. It drops that plotline partway through, and even when it was active it didn't really focus on it. I actually prefer it not focusing on that, but the story summary really makes it seem like it would focus on that.
I came into this story expecting a comedy like Vainqueur the Dragon, but was suprised to see a rather different tale in front of me. Instead, I read an incrediblely well writen tragedy.
It is set in a Norse mythology world and is centered on a man who has died, then managed to escape from Helheim and realizes that what people believe to be true about the afterlife is fundamentally wrong. Thus, he sets off on an epic quest to change the world and defeat Death.
It's very well written but a classic tragedy all of the way through.
Coming from VH's Vainqueur series I had expectations for another lighthearted fantastical powertrip. Which got shanked in an alley and arisen as genuine appreciation for a carefully curated, character focused tragedy.
'Never die twice' is at it's core a somber piece about the fight against inevitability and mortality, it's philosophical and emotional underpinnings. That it still keeps an entertaining instead of educational tone is all thanks to Durand's skillful character writing and morbid humor. And while the story races to it's inevitable conclusion it is the conflict between the actors, their progression and their deconstruction which makes up the meat of the story. I strongly urge any prospective reader to actually deliberate the dia- and monologues in this story, instead of treating them as mere illustration between battle scenes.
A few things bothered me, like the occasional grammatical oddity, but mainly the feeling that the story feels torn between entertaining it's reader with battle and intrigue and actually exploring and challenging it's actors. Regrettably the latter does not achieve it's full effect due to the brevity of the work and the heavy focus on it's protagonist. Which is incredibly well written nonetheless. Lastly, at times internal monologue or debating get's increasingly muddled and hard to follow without analysing sentence by sentence. A lot of alluded plot avenues also never see fruition, which makes me hope for thorough editing or a revisit in the future.
To sum it up, I view this story as a flawed yet inspiring masterpiece detailing the rise of a villain through the lense of his inner struggles and absolutely worth the read.
Seriously, the title says everything. With Vainqueur The Dragon, he did what I thought impossible by keeping every new chapter just as fresh and humurous as the very beginning. After reading the first 11 chapters of Never Die Twice, I have no doubt that pattern of quality will continue!
Nice story, refreshing view point and I am a sucker for villian point of view Stories.
A misunderstood genius who is trying to conquer death. Never Die Twice is a beautifully written piece, skillfully combining folklore, myths and legends to write a grand new tale. With deep characters, story progression and world building Void Herald's has created a captivating story.
I usually don't write reviews so early into stories (read all the chapters but there aren't a lot).
I know Void's writing ability from other novels, so this is an advance I'm willing to give.
I really like the setting, motivations, writing style and just about every scene so far.
Good grammar, though you get a word out of place every few chapters. Author fixes errors and his writing grammar is very pleasant to read
Overall this is a story that ends in a complete verse. Most stories you find on RR are long, nearly never ending stories. But this story, though very rough with it's pacing, is a complete short story that wraps up like a fairy tale. Although I'm not sure any children should be following the morals of the story. From the synopsis you would think this is another long winded dungeon story, don't be fooled. The synopsis is more of an intro and origin than a clean synopsis of the story. Instead this is more of a villainess unscrupulous lead, willing to do anything for his goals, that just happen to be 'altruistic'.
so without further pandering, let's start with style: This is a little off to me, it starts with a more comedic approach and shifts into a more dramatic focus. this is a little disorienting and disharmonious.
grammar: was a little off. The sentence structure was strange and not well-practiced. None of this is overt, but it can be jarring.
Story: even through all that's happened and the way the story was made, I do enjoy it. Nothing is wrong with a clean story with a clean finish, and even though their were many loopholes plotholes and other things that are a little wonky and will make you think "You ended the story there?" I do actually like the story and the way it's wrapped up. If I were to compare it to food, I'd say it was the meal I wanted, just not as well done as I'd liked, yet still enjoyable. Also, it has an end! While I don't like endings, I do like when a story is ended instead of left to hang when the author runs out of motivation.
The characters are classic if not unique, but still interesting. They fit the story even if they don't jump out as being special and memorable.
This is a fun story that will hopefully get better as it progresses. The MC is rather single minded with a tragic backstory that is slowly revealed. The rest of the cast is pretty thin, and their relationships with the MC are not developed yet. They are either part of Walter's goon squad, and do little besides carry out orders or they are the traditional "heroes," who do little besides serving as opposition. I thought it was interesting at first how Walter sympathizes with some of the righteous characters while secretely opposing them, but so far the story hasn't examined this contradiction at all.
So far the plot consists of the MC being either dumb or brilliant depending on what direction the story wants to take. When you have a MC who is essentially a villain, what's interesting is often the moral dilemmas they face as they try to justify their actions. I don't mean that Walter can't be evil, but I find the fact that he repeatedly puts people he cares about in danger while facing no consequences makes him rather boring and unlikeable as a character. This is definitely something that can change in the future though.
Spoiler details: I rolled my eyes when Walter attacks the princess after hearing there is royalty in his dungeon, and again when he accidentally saves her because his shop is threatened. It was silly, but necessary for the story to move forward. But then, Walter executes an overly complicated plan with hundreds of unknown variables and no one gets hurt...really? Felt like a cop-out and a rather disappointing resolution.