They Who Rule

by Sii

Original HIATUS Action Fantasy Sci-fi Grimdark Magic Martial Arts Multiple Lead Characters Mythos Supernatural Urban Fantasy Villainous Lead
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

To those of you who have followed this story so far, I thank you all. It means a lot to me that you actually enjoyed my little story enough to want to follow it. I have decided to put my story on Hiatus because I am in the middle of rewriting it. This will result in a retooled, completely redone version that I'll release at a later time once I have enough of a backlog to feel comfortable with posting it. I went back and took a look at my earlier chapters and the work overall and I decided I didn't like what I was looking at. Thank you again and I hope you will all enjoy the rewrite once I start posting it.

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"Welcome to the Motu, where everything belongs to the Tu'i."

On a mysterious island in the middle of a hateful sea, the Tu'i reign supreme. They hold tournaments, luring any and all would be challengers with muddled promises of fame, riches, and the off chance to join the enigmatic Tu'i.

Through their front, the Conglomerate, they influence the rest of the world, regardless of time or place. All are welcome to partake in the tournaments but few, if any, ever leave.

As the 12th Advent approaches, intruders and visitors will flock to the mysterious Motu, hoping to topple or recruit the Tu'i and their reclusive leader.

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Violence, sexual depictions, gore, and adult language.

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Sii

Sii

Professional Wannabe Ninja

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The BlackStaff and NightMarE
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Style: Easily the weakest point of the story. Don't get me wrong, the dialogue flows well, scene's are well-differentiated, and there are rarely— if any — info dumps, but the underlying problem is in the 'voice' of the story.

While the story is intended to be written in third person omniscient, significant chunks of it are in third-person limited, and it kind of head-hops.

Lemme give you an example—

Spoiler: Spoiler

 You'll notice that every paragraph is told from the POV of a different character. Unlike in omniscient, the narration in each paragraph is limited to the knowledge of each character. We generally never do this because it can become very hard for the reader to keep track of characters and can give them a feeling of 'whiplash' as they move from paragraph to paragraph.

Everything else is good, but I think if you work on that it will get you more readers— simply because if something is difficult to read, people will shy away from it no matter its quality and the originality of its concepts. 

3.5/5 

Story: I'm going to divide Story here into 'Plot' and 'World Building'. The plot itself is... well, its more like events happening, challenges to the reigning king. I'm not sure what the drive is or why things happen and its... slow. 

That doesn't mean its bad, but the underlying motivation is one of the best ways to emotionally connect readers to the characters and push the plot forward and I'd like to see more of it.

On the other hand, I love the world-building. I like the concept of the Tui and the challengers that meet them. Their own internal conflict (or lack of because no one really fucks with Nima.) There is also a bunch of interesting lore (like the domain only the Tui can enter) It's unique and I haven't quite seen anything like it.

If anything it reminds me of the anime Project-K, with each King having there own group. Nima kind of reminds me of Mikoto. (This should probably be in the character segment LOL)

Anyway, Story—

4/5

Grammar: Punctuation, quotation, dialogue, and spelling... I see no errors and its well above the average Royalroad standard.

5/5

Characters: So you start out with your set of characters, the reigning champions, the Tui. They're an eccentric bunch and  the most memorable are Nima and Mai.

The others are interesting but I'm not sucked into them. I need more of a backstory, more of a feel for who they are, though I suspect that will come with time. The Conglomerate has been introduced but... well I'm still trying to figure them out at this point.

4/5

The whole thing was unexpectedly enjoyable and a unique read. 

Good job and good luck~~

Nameless32
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Warning: If you're one of those people who can't get into xianxia because "Chinese names all sound the same", this story may not be for you. There are many foreign (Polynesian?) terms and names thrown around in the first few chaps, and while I didn't have any problem keeping up, this may not be the case for all of you.

Now, onto the review. 

The Who Rule is an amazingly unique action-packed story that focuses on a group of characters, rather than one specific one. The Tu'i are this group of incredibly OP fighters that are the "gods" of their land, and right from the beginning we get to see them absolutely curbstomp a few people. If you're a fan of OP MCs, this novel is definitely for you.

The world is also fantastically built. The culture seems to draw heavily from Earth's island-dwelling populations, but also with a melting pot of other things thrown in. The magic is already coming into its own, and the entire Conglomerate is just fascinating.

There are also some good characterization moments, for how little screentime each individual gets in the start. It might not be enough to completely flesh them out, but we get enough to make them both distinct and interesting, which is still pretty good in my book. The villains are incredibly hateable, and it's a really nice rush when they finally get their due.

Really, this story is near perfect. The only other thing that I can nitpick, and I think this was mentioned in a previous review, is that it sometimes switches from third person limited to third person omniscient. However, this can be fixed quite easily by just adding the horizontal lines that are already used to convey a switch in POV. 

Overall, an absolutely fantastic story that combines elements of traditional western fantasy, RR-type progression fantasy, and more foreign elements. If you like OP protagonists or an incredibly-built world and culture, definitely give this a try!

Jon Wander
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An interesting story in a uniquely different setting

Reviewed at: Ch. 6 - Advent gathering

 If there is anything else quite like 'They Who Rule' I haven't seen it.

The story is the work’s strongest point, we have a unique setting inspired by Polynesian culture and practices mixed an anime style blend of magic and super-tech. World-building is interesting and nicely handled and the plot is going in an intriguing direction.

I spotted no grammatical errors, so full marks.

The style is pretty darn good, especially by webnovel standards, but there’s an occasional bit where it can be a bit beige and telling instead of showing, which robs the unique setting of some of it’s impact. A little more descriptive language would really elevate this story to the next level in my opinion.

Characters: What I’ve seen of the main group, nobody seems to really be the ‘main character’, is both well done and interesting. They can definitely carry the story through. That said the current villain is a bit over the top in how dislikable he is supposed to be. 

Overall: If you’re looking for a unique setting with an intriguing plot this is what you want.

soundsofhysteria
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I am blown away. When I got into this, I was thrown into a world I wasn't sure I could keep up with. As I dived into the coming chapters, I realized how necessary the information was in the first chapter, and quickly fell in love with the characters and setting. It was an easy set of chapters to binge, and whenever life is a little less hectic with COVID and work, I want to finish binging the remaining chapters. 

Style
A few people have complained about this author's styles, but I found it enthralling. Unique. Captivating. It helped me dive face-first into a world I know nothing about, and absorb the information in real-time, just as the characters are. 

Grammar

I noticed no issues. I'm not typically a grammar police, though, unless it's drastic. Nonetheless, there were no drastic grammar issues :)

Story

This story is what won me over in the beginning. This starts off with a running start, and I LOVED it. This is a story that shows that world-driven plots can intertwine with Character-driven plots, may it be primary or subsidiary plotlines.  I am in love with the way this story unfolds, with the conflicts and issues posed towards our protagonists, or the champions. To me, the character and story go hand in hand.

All in all, I loved this story and what it is building up to. It really grasps at you as a reader in the beginning, and it makes you want to stay once you understand the Champions. 

BubblesWritesTrash
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A Beautiful Polynesian Epic, But One With No End

Reviewed at: Ch. 5

So, this book...This book is something else. It's unique, it's splendid and it has so much to it that I love that it pains me to rate it as such. The characters are vibrant, individualised, and they all have their particular blend of gruffness that is patented to themselves, so much so that I can't  help but relish every moment they're on screen. A pity that they're not shown more.

Style:

A little lackluster, however solid and moderately consistent. The main detractor is the fact that most of the sentences sound the same, to the point where there isn't much variation. It's always a 'He did', 'That did', the focus always being on they who do. After a while, this static structure becomes stale and clunks up the reading. Not to mention the fact that the perspective seems to change on a whim, mid-chapter or paragraph, creating a jarring narration, where the reader must walk a mile in the shoes of too many characters in too short a time. However, I must applaud the brevity of the style. The short, brisk sentences do make for a very primitive sense to the narration, one that, intentional or not, really ups the value of this fiction.

Story:

This is quite hard for me to say, but the story progression is quite...dubious? Namely, I don't have a feeling of any plot going on. The individual events that happen are perfect in their own little bubble, however, there is no semblance of connection to them, or any motivator or purpose in sight. They just seem like random snippets, slices of life, although the development of the characters would tell otherwise. Another problem is that sometimes, the action just halts. Some chapters sport enormous passages of exposition that are simply the narrator telling the reader everything. When that's all that happens, the narration becomes clunky, clumsy and the pacing is thrown off. I would've much rather had characters organically expose these facts or have them be discovered rather than the way they are now.

However, on the plus side, the worldbuilding is quite out of the ordinary in terms of attention to detail and originality. Whilst apparently following a xianxia novel plotline, this fiction mixes its own special twists in, to create a novel reading experience, one that I have thoroughly enjoyed simply because it was never before seen to me. If this were a score for originality, it would've been a 5/5, but alas there are other factors in play.

Grammar: Good, but not perfect. Too many instances of misspellings, word omissions and odd structures warrant at least this deduction.

Characters: Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Although due to the perspective and the stylistic choices some characters are hard to pin down at first, each and every one of them shines in their own unique way. The Tu'i all share one trait, power, but their skills, mindsets and abilities ensure that never do these overpowered beasts overlap. With a diverse cast of unique individuals, and a plethora of supporting characters that only serve to build the world around them more and more, it's hard to not give a perfect score in this area.

Overall, this story is quite the read. For what it's worth, it is a captivating myth, akin to the poem of Beowul and the tale of Hercules, a true legend that beautifully employs the mysticism of Polynesian culture. With characters that inhabit a beautiful world, superbly built around mystifying characters, it's hard not to love this story. However, a clunky perspective and multiple pauses in the narration serve to detract from this piece's actual value. I sincerely wish that this story - at least the earlier chapters - was granted a new voice, one that could accurately and organically convey its actual glory.

Vera Anne Wolf
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Overall: The opening is a bit abrupt and rough, but basically what we have is a secret island owned by the Conglomerate where the Tu’i reside. The Tu’i are near-mythical fighters that are said to be as unbeatable as they are mysterious.  Challengers come to face the Tu’i, confident they can overcome these shadowy like legends. They either leave broken or dead. There is a potential for some very gripping action here, but so far the lack of tension, since each challenger seems doomed from the start, makes it difficult to remain engrossed.

Style: The overall style of the story is very omniscient. Despite the occasional internal thought, the emotions of the characters were very reserved and restrained. One thing I would have liked more of in the fight scenes is a more visual battle. We are told enough to understand their fight style but by then the fight is pretty much over against the Tu’i.

There were quite a few areas where information was repeated almost back to back. (See chapter notes)

When not engaged in fight scenes the writing was very passive, with bits of exposition world-building, or background set up of the challengers. I wouldn't say this is a negative, except I feel like the important elements of the world-building have still not been met. (More on that below)

Story: The story is presented as very action-based. The plot so far consists of the Tu’i maintaining their seat of power on their island. Challengers are lured and brought to them. What I don’t understand is how the Challengers are drawn in? Especially when most of the Tu’i kill foreigners after they’ve been defeated. The Faifeku (who work for the Conglomerate and monitor the Tu’i) collect whatever loot or valuables are left behind by the dead/defeated challengers and pawn them off for cash. I’m not sure if this is where most of their finances are derived from or if the Conglomerate has another means of funding this operation/tournament/island.

This is where the world-building falls a bit flat for me. I don’t understand the motivations behind the Conglomerate, the Tu’i, or even the Faifeku. There is a mention of Gods at some point, so I’ve settled for cultist fighting type civilization for now.

The story seems to jump from challenge to challenge without explanation as to the driving force behind them. So challenges, challengers, and the reigning Tu’i are very much the focal point of the story. The pace feels rushed when it isn’t slowed down by exposition.  

Dialogue is minimal and to the point. The one fight match I got excited about between Nami and ‘Ek got glossed (skipped) over basically. I’m guessing because the writer wants to keep Nami’s skills secret until a later reveal. But the other fights were equally underwhelming or over too quickly, which left me a bit at a loss as to what part of this story I was meant to enjoy or focus on.

Grammar: Other than one or two missing words and a few awkward phrases nothing that noticeably disrupted me from the read.

Character Score: As I mentioned above, the very omniscient viewpoint of the story made connecting to the MC(s?) difficult. So far Nima felt like the MC of the story as he is the strongest of the Tu’i, that said we barely spent more time with him than any other character. After 10k words/5 chapters and two tournaments, he did leave the biggest impression on me after his (hidden) fight with ‘Ek and his gentle side with Camarin. Also, the fact that he manages to keep the rest of the Tu’i in check is commendable.

Taha was memorable because he was some deformed, sadistic, woman-hating Tu’i, though we have yet to see him fight yet. ‘Ek is a tattooed giant of strength. Rau is a beautiful (and dangerously fast) fighter. And Nami is a mystery. There are a few other characters mentioned, and most of the Faifeku aren’t given names other than their roles as part of the organization.

Half Life
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They Who Rule is a plot-driven story, which is so far mostly focused on deep lore and world building. Several protagonist-type characters are slowly revealed, but there isn't a clear, accessible main character introduced until a few chapters in. As an ensemble piece, most of the characters are also OP, which does not leave a lot of room for those characters to develop. As a result, I was relieved when two new newbie main character types were introduced later, to give us a chance to enjoy some growth.
 
However, the real star of the show here is the mysterious setting. In some ways I feel a certain similarity to the ensemble TV show Lost, because of the layering of mysteries and deep lore. In much the same way, the point of the story seems to be unraveling the mysteries of the world. The characters seem almost secondary, and many are disposed of almost as soon as they appear.
 
The writing style here is breezy and straightforward, written in the traditional novel style. No flowery prose or poetic descriptions, which makes it easily accessible and highly fitting for a story about a violent fighting tournament.
Mia Dendragon
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A very interesting story in a world setting different from the usual medieval or fantasy world. Engaging storytelling that keep you wanting for more as your click that 'Next Chapter' button. 

 

First of all, the story is written from multiple point of view . I'm not sure whether its just me, but I'm really having a hard time to identify the characters in the first few chapters. Different chapter seemed to revolve around different characters. However, as the story progressed, it get better. If you're a fan of a story revolving a group of MC, then you definitely will like this. 

 

The world building itself are very interesting, with the introduction of different cultures, name, belief, etc. Author did a good job providing little note about the foreign word, or I'll be lost in the sea of confusion forever as I try to figure out what they mean. Grammar wise, I have no issue. I'm not good in that area either. 

 

The best part of this novel is the plot and the fighting scene. Its well written and described vividly. 

 

Overall, its a story worth reading! 

 

Gallekryde
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Unique and Engaging with a Compelling Cast and Story

Reviewed at: Ch. 6 - Advent gathering

Story (4.5/5)

As my review title states the story is unique while still calling to enough familiar tropes to keep me captivated. While I was reading it, the Pacific-Islander setting drew out both fond memories of similar settings such as Bionicle and the powerful group at the beginning reminded me of similar variants from JRPG/anime such as the Elite 4 from Pokemon. If you are a sucker for tournament arcs like I am, I think you will enjoy this story because it looks to be structured in this way for the future. The only issue I had was the first six chapters seemed to be set in disconnected arcs that seemed more like snippets of the setting than part of a greater story. However, they do serve a purpose in giving the world a sense of scale, and draws the reader in for more.


Characters (4.5/5)

The characters themselves are colorful and memorable. Each has their own distinct personality who will either cause you to like them or dislike them for a variety of reasons. The colorful characters add to what looks like a compelling story to be told.

Style (4/5)

The style is in third-person omniscient, at least for the first six chapters. The flow of language is easily understandable, but I would love to see more description to help paint the picture of the story in my mind. On this, there is a bit of telling vs showing for the first five chapters, which is no deal-breaker especially for novice writers, but the telling has the purpose of setting the stage for the rest of the story.

Grammar (5/5)

I see no glaring issues as far as grammar is concerned which takes it well far and beyond your average web-novel.

Ankur_93
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The MC is OP and there is no attempt to hide it. Something which is just delicious. 
If you want unadulterated OPness, this novel is for you. If you want MC that dominates their opponent until they absolutely crush, then this is your novel. If you want arrogant people getting their just deserts, this is your novel. 
However, we get to see the challenges of those that bear such power and how this affects them. Which is just cherry on the top!
Grammar is good and the sentences natural. The dialogues flow into each other and are not just 'he said, she said' kind of thing. Overall, a pleasurable novel.