Shade Touched

by Zat

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Fantasy Female Lead High Fantasy Magic Non-Human lead Slice of Life
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity

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.
She's not just hunting her next meal anymore. Her prey is something far greater: knowledge.
Everything is a wonder just waiting to be discovered.


Aiming to update Monday and Friday!

Check out the Discord! Come over and hang out!

If you would like to read some chapters early, consider donating to my Patreon!

Cover art by the amazing Kailey!
Twitter
@kbearart 

Full-size piece here.

Gore tag for some somewhat graphic fight scenes.
Profanity tag because there may be a few swear words, it shouldn't be excessive.

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Author
Zat

Zat

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Nameless32
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Curiosity Didn't Kill This Cat

Reviewed at: 6. Plans

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!

FoxFace24
  • Overall Score

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. 

jonnnney
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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.

furball tiger
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cute little monster meets world

Reviewed at: 24. Stolen

great start, and if this keeps up it'll probably be a great story.
Cute little murder-lizard isn't quite like the others. She's adorable, and it's a sweet story so far.
The author does a good job of simulating communications and other gaps in the MC's POV, although there are plenty of phrases and assumptions and contextual knowledge that sorta break that fairly often. Still, being totally rigorous would make it really boring/annoying, so I'm glad they erred on the side of readability (although a few word choices could be tweaked to further reduce the issue).  
Overall it's cute and fun and well written. I think anyone who reads it feels compelled to root for our scaley little heroine.

soundsofhysteria
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PLEASANTLY SURPRISED & PHENOMENALLY WRITTEN

Reviewed at: 5. Creatures

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 :)

darkseven
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A short (but growing) journey with surprising emotional depth!

Reviewed at: 21. Letters

Its still early stages but I really enjoy the direction this novel went.

Pros:

  • Curious and clever MC
  • Inhuman MC
  • Strong well portrayed emotions. The moments of discovery feel very real!

Cons:

  • Not very long (yet)
  • ???
Vowron Prime
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Do you have a cat friend? No? Well, this story will make you wish you did

Reviewed at: 25. Consequences

 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.

Character

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:

Spoiler: Spoiler

 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!

Grammar

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.

Style

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.

Story

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.

Stillness
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This isn't a bad story, it simply has some problems as a result of the premise. I'll explain: First is that as a non-human that has trouble comunicating with anything and has a child's mentality, shadow (the cat) is limited in both character devolopment and interaction. Second, the begining is slow, you can only have a newborn cat learn things only so fast without breaking suspension of disbelief. Third, Shadow dosen't have any real goals to drive a plot forward, she's a newborn, and without much of a plot there isn't much of a story. Overall, written well, but not that engaging.

SmolShrimpa
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Unique, engaging, and fun!

Reviewed at: 17. Danger

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!

GalacticTNT
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Great start, this sort of reminds me of old school monster stories on this website, before human turn monster became a big thing. Her inquisitive nature and imprint understanding is very amusing to read. Can't wait to see where this goes!