A monster is born in the depths of the wilds, but she isn't like her siblings. Curiosity colors her every thought, and a hunger for understanding grows within this little creature. The world is full of wonders just waiting to be discovered! She's not just hunting for her next meal, her prey is something far greater: knowledge. But as wonderful as it is, discovery alone is missing half the point. After all, what joy is there in finding the next amazing thing when there's no one to share it with?
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Cover art by the amazing Kailey!
Gore tag for some somewhat graphic fight scenes.
Profanity tag because there may be some explicit language, it shouldn't be excessive.
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This is going to hit trending hard, I can already tell. It has all the signs: premise that's a big twist on a normal trope, beautiful cover, sizeable following at the one-month mark, and, of course, brilliant writing. Let me break it down for you.
First, style. Somehow, the author has managed to make their writing emulate the POV of a curious animal with admirable consistency. Every scene feels like you're looking out of MC's eyes, and every thought feels like her own. Mind you, this is while still maintaining a rich vocabulary and sentence variation, which is a feat in and of itself. Amazing job here, Zat.
Grammar is, as always, my shortest category. I didn't notice anything, so it's a big 5 for me.
Story-wise, we have a weird combination of a lot of action and a more slice-of-life type of pacing. Mind you, weird in the absolute best way. I highly wish we had more types like this, that managed to balance these two aspects in perfect harmony. We get little mini-conflicts every chapter, and it looks like at the end of chapter 5 we're headed into a wider, more intense conflict.
And finally, characters. I normally consider a story's characters worse if the MC is the only one that really stands out, but that's kind of unfair for this story considering that so far, the only other possible characters are MC's instinct-driven siblings that are there for the sole purpose of not being characters.
I also can't judge based on the level of depth, since MC isn't supposed to think deeply like a human. So, I'm just going to give a 5 because MC acts exactly as I'd imagine a curious monster-swarm creature would act. Oh, and did I mention it's super cute? Well, it is. Monsters can be cute, guys. My heart nearly blew up from cuteness on chapter three. (Oh, and cuteness is another +1 for trending!)
Overall, definitely keep an eye out for this story. I almost guarantee it'll be top of trending, and when it does, you'll be glad that you picked it up early. Great pacing, prose, characters (well, character atm), and just about everything you'd want in this type of story!
I never thought a story about a shadowy lizard monster would make me go "awww". The wonder and innocence is like a balm for the soul. I'll be with this story to the end.
(reviewing at chapter 44)
It's cute, it's funny and let's you take a look at culture through the lense of an alien mind.
This monster-lead really is an animal that somehow achieved sapience. Not an otherwise human mind that somehow got transferred into a monster body. I don't see that often and done as well as here even less.
So far, the main plot point seems to be the main character genuinely discovering and learning about civilisation for the first time. So if you are looking for fast paced carnage and action, because the lead is a monster, then this story is probably not for you.
On the contrary. Conflicts are more often than not of a social nature. Doesn't mean, there is absolutly no violence, but it definitely takes a backseat. (at least so far)
The characters are great, the style is pretty lighthearted. I didn't notice any jarring issues with grammar, but I'm not the best person to judge that.
All in all a great read.
The story is a unique and endearing take on the traditional special/intelligent monster story. A swarm monster is born with a bit of curiousity and appreciation of beauty. That spark of curiousity changes it's whole life to both it's benefit and detriment.
That is, a cat that's as intelligent as a human, criminally adorable, innocent and curious, and just downright compelling in every single dimension.
This is the chronicle of a beast's journey to becoming something more - a fully-sapient, intelligent lifeform in a world where such a thing is both anomalous and fear-inducing.
I can't say much more without spoiling the story, but this is one of the most well-written, engaging, and fun reads on this site, regardless of your interests or preferences. I myself am an SF/Fantasy action junkie, but this story had no issues capturing my interest and keeping it the entire way.
This story has no real weaknesses, but for me, the characters really stand out as a strength, above and beyond the other elements. This story is really all about the protagonist, our adorable, fierce feline, a stranger in a strange land.
Her development as an individual, from how she uses her superior intellect to aid her chances at survival, to later on when she progresses to higher-level, more abstract thinking, her development progression is just superb. Pacing is perfect, she comes across as more three-dimensional and complex than most human characters, yet she retains a core curiosity and innocence that both makes her lovable and continuously drives her to explore new heights for her self.
Now let's talk side characters. They're great. The author has a real knack for making his characters - even antagonists and ones we've only met briefly - come to life. From their verbal tics to their body language and mannerisms, both of the supporting characters are superbly done. I talk a bit more about this below in the spoiler tag, which contains some spoilers up to ~chapter 10:
Annie and Jonas, the two supporting human characters, are superbly done. Annie's motherly attitude and competence as a researcher/animal trainer come across beautifully, and we even see some real, believable character progression from Jonas, who starts off as a gruff, suspicious bodyguard, whose resistances slowly break down, opening his heart in the face of our adorable protagonist's antics.
I really have nothing to criticize here. The main and sides are loveable and likable, and the antagonists are delectably hateable. Can't really do better than that!
Perfect. I know most of my reviews say similar things, but I tend to only post reviews well-written stories. This one stands out as being a cut above, and easily one of the very best in RR. I spotted perhaps three or four errors total in all of the 25 chapters I read. Sentences flow from one to the next, paragraphing is well-executed, and the prose is clearly written by someone who has a high talent for the art.
This is a tough one for me to comment on, not because it's poor - quite the opposite - but because unlike some other stories that are just dripping in flourish, this story takes a relatively milder approach. The prose disappears, which is among the highest praise I can give to it. It lets you dive into what really matters - the protagonist's adventures, her emotions, her sense of wonder at a shockingly vast world, and I really believe that the perfectly-sized sentences, the right words used at the right times, the delightful interjections, and the varied vocabulary all help contribute to that experience.
In short(or long), it's just perfect, and easily one of the best I've come across on RoyalRoad. This is really an easy, enjoyable read.
Oh boy, the story. How am I going to talk about this without spoilers? It's pretty frikkin' glorious. Don't expect a fantasy epic, because this story isn't that. It moves a bit too fast to be called a slice of life, but Adventure fits it to the T. Adventures are filled with wonder, curiosity, dangers, new encounters, and the hope of fulfillment at the end. This story delivers all of that in spades. In fact, I think Shade Touched captures the very essence of this genre more than any other adventure story I've read on this site, distilling it into its purest form.
There is little drama here, only a genuine, innocent curiosity to boldly go where no scary-but-cute-intelligent-and-innocent-cat-monster has gone before!
Read it. It's worth your time. Especially because you're getting it for free. So be thankful to the author for sharing their imagination with the world.
Because it's a gift.
I will not lie. I'm very biased towards fantasy, and this story checks off all of my boxes.
The only thing I could complain about is the short paragraphs--but that is the nature of e-readers. I'm very biased towards the longer, more traditional paragraphs. The fact that this is the only thing I could complain about tells you something!
The style of this author is so clear and concise, and the flow between paragraphs is well done. I envy the way Zat conveys this story, it is something I cannot achieve as a writer and the praise this story is getting is well deserved.
The characters are amazing and realistic--which is something given the MC is a lizard monster. I found myself wanting to learn more about them, and follow them through this journey. They're simple thoughts, which ties into the style that was intended for this story. I'm impressed that reading about a monster/non-human MC is so enthralling.
Overall, this is a phenomenal read. It deserves it spot on trending, and it deserves to be top rated on the site :)
This is a really wholesome story that desperately needs direction. Often times, without a plot immediately presenting itself, readers will lose focus (especially on this site with the average attention span hovering around 3 seconds). That isn't the case here. Even slice of life stories supposedly need direction, and yet the author has created a character who is interesting enough on their own.
Minor spoilers maybe (idk, just being safe).
Style: I especially liked the style. It's refreshing to read a non-human MC story that doesn't feel too distant and detached. My only minor, teeny tiny complaint is that I think the author spends a little too much time inside the MC's head in the earlier chapters.
Story: Not sure where the story is going, but it’s going. I hope a major plot line will pick up soon so I can change this part. (Yes, I actually do change my reviews, frequently)
Characters: Other than the MC and Annie, the characters are a little flat. The generic, know-nothing towns people are generic: old news. You could make the argument that this is by design, but there's an extent to which I'm willing to go along with that idea. Of course, that's just me stretching for some health criticism; the MC, Annie, and to and Jonas to a lesser extent, are very well written. It's hard to write a non-human character and not have them come across as a caricature or just a child, and this treads that line, but I think the author has done great job there.
I just wish i started reading this story much earlier, i just missed out HARD on this one, but am also grateful i actually got to read this story, as it was fully worth the time reading it, with how well it reads and how well the premise works for this story.
I just love reading about the MC, as she wanders about thinking in new ways, discovering new things and learning about the world, curiosity is really her core trait and what really defines her alongside her abnormal intelligence for one of her kind, something unique. It is also what makes her so interesting to read, it is quite rare to find a monster character written like this, with not survival and getting stronger being the main goal like one would see in many other monster MC stories. Of course she does value her own life, but is willing to go far for those she cares about.
The world this story takes place in is solid, even if its just the usual kind of standard Medieval Fantasy world with magic and monsters, atleast as seen so far.
For now, this kind of plot works very well for the story, and makes it one of its strongest points, though i do have questions about how well it would do in the longer term or if we will see a different kind of plot, since there aint a clear end goal for our protagnist beyond her sheer rampart curiosity about all there is to be found, which i dont exactly mind, but that can give some problems later on, given there is only so much to be done with such a premise.
But as said already, it is working very well currently, and i dont see any problems with it coming in the near future bar maybe her interactions with civilization, which will certainly have an influence on how the story can go.
Grammar is overall solid, though it is helped by the fact that this story had some editing rounds since it was first posted, in which the vast majority of typos and other errors got corrected, i myself only noticed just one single mistake, which was even a minor one and didnt impact the reading experience at all. So good job here.
This story in my opinion, is expectionally well written, atleast for the standards of this site. The writing from the very start, just dragged me in, which is also helped by how the MC is portrayed in the story. The story reads just so smoothly, feels just paced about right, not too slow or too fast. I quite like the overall tone of the story, mostly a feeling of discovery as she explores the wider world, with all its dangers and oppurtinities. Of course this story aint bereft of the action and intense scenes, like the Swarmings, or her first encounters with other Humans.
Author, you are on the good track here, dont stray from it, but as said earlier, also dont get locked too hard into having the same kind of plot for the story.
I do wholly recommend this story, in my opinion it is worth reading for anyone looking for a story with a monster MC, but done somewhat differently from the usual monsters out to kill and survive.
Shade Touched is a unique, wholesome story set in a rich and interesting fantasy world. I love the main character, I love learning more about the magic and creatures of her world, and I always look forward to the next chapter!
Shadow is a creature unlike no other. She came, she saw, she discovers!
A slice-of-life magical tale of a non-human MC's discovery of the human world, and the people whom she meets along the way.
Well-written and charming, Shade Touched reminds us of what really matters is not what people think you are but to be who you need to be.
The story is currently on hiatus but it has been worth the read!