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The Year is 2150, Chicago is ruled by the elite, upper class, and everybody is monitored by government surveillance.
Desirae Abernathy is the daughter of a rich congressman who wants all personal and extracurricular augmentations outlawed. In a world of technology, this type of ideology can taint a family name and put hit markers on anybody who wears it proudly. Luckily for Desirae, that type of respect is not in her blood.
After a streak of rebellious involvement with minor illegal activities, Desirae finds herself involved with a notorious gangbanger that wants to use her for her father's database of sensitive intel. What was once a relatively innocent exchange turns into a life of stealing, murder, and personal advancements that will turn Desirae’s life on its side.
When she dives into the infamous gang, WiredSec, and explores her options as a street criminal, she finds issues within politics, within herself, and war hidden beyond the artificial neural network that could mean the end of her and everything she has ever known.
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There isn't exactly too much content to review here yet but from what is there this is an well-written cyberpunk fiction that delves into a world of illegal augments and corrupt governments.
Grammar: so far no grammar issues that I can find
Style: The author's style is readable and engaging though there are multiple PoVs throughout the novel which can be annoying to certain readers.
Story: The story of Vagrant seems to be at least somewhat well-thought-out but it appears to be the standard "MCs lead a cybernetic revolution against a corrupt government" which isn't exactly the most unique story.
Characters: The characters in Vagrant are somewhat you standard archetypes for main characters as well as unique in their own ways, I cannot elaborate on character development as there has been none so far.
All the other reviews say it, and this one will say it too: RR doesn't have a whole lot of cyberpunk. This story, 'Vagrant', doesn't just give us a decent cyberpunk, but a fantastic one. I don't read a whole lot of stories on RR but I'll definitely be continuing this one.
Grammar - Nice and clean. Any typos will be edited it seems and that is great!
Style: Wow, to be honest, I love it. The prose is great. The flow is great. I was made super easy to read yet still super descriptive. AND it's only going to get better!
Story - Intense. This story is intense. The underworld? The rich? You know sparks will fly.
The first chapter is also one of the best introductions to the story I have ever seen and shows exactly what Desirae is getting into.
Characters: I ABSOLUTELY love DeVile. What makes him shine even more his him and Desirae's contrasting personalities. Fantastic. Desirae also provides a great view of this cyberpunk world, alongside her many mistakes. These two characters are so fun to read, especially when together.
Now, if you go back to the start of this review you can see that I said RR needs more cyberpunk. Prior to this, I hadn't actually read any. For this story to make me crave it, you know it's a good one.
A great new story more on the scifi and cyberpunk side of things. The prose and writing is top notch, and I love the characters. They're realistic and complex and the big bad is a classic great villain.
Royal Road has nowhere near enough viable cyberpunk. Sounds of Hysteria is trying to fix that in a good way. Namely, we're looking at the seed of a very unique cybrpunk novel. The cyberpunk I'm used to features the runners, fixers, and samurai that hide in the shadows, ekeing out a living from major corporations. This... is different. The world has the same neon glow to it, but hte focus is on the disaffected daughter of an important figure falling in with the Wrong Crowd and ending up way over her head. In short, color me intrigued.
The style is my only real knock on this story. At times, especially early, the paragraphs can drag on and become a smidge clunky. It's not bad, still slighty above average for this site, but not quite silky smoothe. I think a once over by the author to improve flow would go a LONG way on this.
The only issue I noticed the author changed literally while I was reading it. If there are other mistakes, they didn't impede my reading.
Vagrant is a mystery/thriller (at least so far) and it's excelling at that. The MC falls in over her head, and everything after that is a combination of tension and paranoia so thick you can almost feel it. All the while you have two POVs, one in the underworld and one amongst the rich that both seem to be progressing the plot simultaneously. In short, the story is great.
There are two povs and both are great. They feel and act like distinct individuals and I enjoy how they view each other a LOT. Chipping beneath an arrogant character's swagger to see their anxiety is a novel and fun feeling.
In short, this story is carried by its story and characters, but that shouldn't be seen as a knock. Those two factors are most of the novel and they're great.
Just so whosoever is reading this review, I am not doing a traditional review because this story deserves a better, in depth analysis so, you might want to read the story directly instead of spending your time on the review.
Let's start the review off at a tangent, without delving right into the main dish. As some may call, a starter dish. As some time, maybe even now, we all have imagined how the future would look. Some might think of things similar to death stars and intergalactic travel, a war of Jedis and Sighs, diving into thousands of years into future in one step and others might think of about a hundred or so years, a near future scenario when compared to previous. (If you haven't, you're lying, but I don't see the reason why because delving into imagination and thinking of near unpredictable or impossible stuff is the very essence of fantasty.)
Now, you may be wondering, why I started at this point. When we think of the future, we always think of roses at the surface and not the thorns under the petals. This story teaches us just that. The story teaches us just that, but with a twist. The twist being the fantastic cast, a not so far from now world that may very well happen, presented with a solid grammar, hooking me really early on.
As cool as the underworld, mafia bosses and what not might sound, it isn't. Desirae just ventured into a pit of snakes, just looking to make a name for herself, landing her straight into, as they call it, the dark web of augmentations. People using what was innitially made for a better purpose. Here, the case is with augmentations.
As for Desirae, after being ignored by her father, for almost her whole life, started delving into the underworld to make a name for herself. Now, she is in some real trouble and can't count on anyone for help, causing her to fall deeper and deeper into this web. And the reason was that negligence.
Even later on, we see many such interesting dynamics in play that are there and you probably wouldn't notice unless are looking for intently. And all these, make the characters all so lively. Don't want to spoil although the want to do so is way too hard. Great job of the author for catching off-guard there.
You all might have probably read from other reviews here, there is not a lot of cyberpunk on Royalroad. So, we have to come together to make a home for this lonely Vagrant, so we all can enjoy it together.
Now, to whosoever it may concern
Style: I love the style of writing. Engaging and exploring every Character bit by bit, just my cup of tea.
Story: At the surface it may look like a casual cyberpunk, but underneath the surface, it's the dark side. And O dare say it's good.
Characters: Interesting and a lot to explore here. Every new Character brings up something new on the plate to explore.
Grammar: Can't find any grammar issue.
Now, since you have read the review thus far, let me share an interesting fact with you. Instead of reading this text-wall, you may very well have read the story first hand. Congrats on wasting your time here instead of actually reading the story. I do appreciate that you read through all this thought.
I'm not doing my traditional one-paragraph-per-section review because this story is especially close to my heart. I was actually one of the first beta readers for Vagrant, and even in its first drafts it absolutely blew me away. RR is severely lacking in quality cyberpunk, and I'm half-convinced Vagrant will singlehandedly usher in a new age.
The world is vibrant and described perfectly, but instead of getting dumped on you all at once like some stories do, it gets shown bit by bit to the reader as the story goes on. It's simply magnificent, and I'm in love with this aesthetic soundsofhysteria has going on. The concept of illegal augments and the underground market for them is a brilliant twist on existing tropes. (Okay, so I might still be rooting for the author to implement shiny blue boxes into Desirae's augment systems - what about it?)
Speaking of Desirae, she proves a wonderful lense for the world to be viewed in. For me, she's an oddly sympathetic character, and seeing the world through her eyes was an amazing experience. Also, her contrast with best boi DeVile is wonderful to read. Also also, did I mention the flow is silky smooth? Especially in the last few chaps, the prose flowed like a stream through my head. (Okay, that was a weird metaphor but you get my point. Words are 11/10)
Obligatory grammar mention: I haven't noticed a single mistake in this draft.
Overall, I've loved this story since its birth on a shared google doc. Perfect world, impeccable characters, and prose that will knock your socks right off. Please join the DeVile fan club to read the bloopers I wrote about our lord and savior, and have a great day!
Typically, it takes a lot for me to enjoy a sci-fi novel, and yet it didn't take long for songofhysteria's Vagrant to hook me. Through the author's prose, it is clear their Style has long been honed with experience. Grammar is flawless, as far as I noticed, and the Story is on a very interesting track, if you're interested in cyber-augmented gang wars and uprisings. Most important to me, however, is how great the Characters are, my personal favorite being the second view-point, who I will not spoil out of respect for new readers, other than them being fun and fascinating.
If you're reading this, seriously give it a shot. If you make it to Chapter Five, I bet you'll be as hooked as me.
Style - third person POV, well written, good prose, I didn't feel any hiccups as I blazed through the nine chapters in record time, and definitely well paced, raising questions and setting up the characters pretty well.
Grammar - Very, very minor oddities in some areas, and author works to correct mistakes and updates constantly, so you dfinitely will not have any issues reading this piece of gem
Story - Full disclosure here, I have absolutely no experience with Cyberpunk and whatever the genre entails. I haven't watched Blade Runner 2077, played any of Deus Ex Machina, or done anything else related to the genre. Yet, I still loved this story for what it is, an intriguing tale of a young girl trying to survive, caught between two warring factions, the people who are augmented, and the people who are not, pretty simple, but as the story slowly unfurls, and we learn more about the shadowy hands looming over the populace, things turn out to be not so simple after all...
Definitely well written so far, an interesting story thats being set up in a way that's not at all difficult to follow!
Characters - So far the MC is still pretty timid, a newbie on the big boi's table, but, there's definitely potential in her, a drive to do good, a pretty decent moral compass (in my opinion), and it'll definitely be a thrill watching her grow into her big gurl MC shoes!
As of chapter 9, I've been introduced to quite a few characters, there's one that stands out as a bigger asshole than the rest, but, other than him, I think the other characters are pretty greyish. I think you'll definitely find one of the more relevant that you'd want to root for, yet at the same time, you'll probably cringe at a few things they'd do. This is a pretty obvious sign that the characters are three dimensional, and I 100% can't wait to find out more about a few of them!
As another reviewer said, Royal Road does not have enough great Cyberpunk. Vagrant is a new addition to the list if greats though. In the windy city, our plucky young MC winds up over her head and in too deep.
The writing is great, the story flows well, and the techno-babble is at a minimum. My only complaint is that I personally don't enjoy MC's who have chips on their shoulders, but the story is interesting enough for me to ignore that.
I highly recommend this story!
Vagrant is an interesting cyberpunk that hooks you in with pretty high stakes (at least for the main character) from the very first chapter. And then it proceeds to escalate from there (in a good way).
Story: So far, it's quite engaging. I liked the rate at which things ramped up: not too sudden but not super stretched out, with the main revelation in the most recent chapter having ample setup without being too in-your-face obvious. Also, I really enjoyed the author's approach to worldbuildling. You get information in pieces that are just the right size, so no big exposition dumps, but the world still gets explored and feels alive. The exposition and information about futuristic tech that is provided is integrated well into the story, and makes me eager to learn more as the story progresses.
Characters: I enjoyed them for the most part. With only 5 chapters they haven't had the chance to be fully fleshed out yet, but you can already start to see the motivations behind their actions. My only gripe is with Desirae. I get that a Mary Sue with no flaws and who never makes mistakes doesn't make for a compelling main character or good writing, but some of the errors Desirae made were quite frustrating. While she does acknowledge and berate herself for those bad moves, it stretched my suspension of disbelief a little that someone who was already involved in shady underworld dealings would make those sorts of mistakes in the first place. It might just be that I overestimated her experience, but if so, it might be good to emphasize how benign her previous dealings were since I probably wouldn't have been so irked if I thought she was brand new to the criminal world.
Style: For the most part I really enjoyed the writing style. Vocab and sentence structures are diverse and varied, and dialogue was smooth. I personally enjoyed the perspective switch, partially because I wasn't expecting to get to see that character be fleshed out so soon, which made for a pleasant surprise.
Grammar: There was a very small amount of minor typos, nothing a little extra proofreading couldn't fix. They're hardly noticable and didn't detract from the experience at all. One nitpick I did have was for a handful of sentences when commas were used where there should be a period or semicolon instead. I know some authors (myself included) tend to be more flexible with that aspect of grammar as a stylistic choice, but I felt like it wasn't necessary in the cases where I saw it (which weren't that frequent) and I thought it made those sentences read a bit awkwardly.
Overall a promising start, and I can't wait to read more!