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 a few swear words, it shouldn't be excessive.
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(as of chapter 23)
This is the most recent of the gems that came to my attention via the trending list and, oh my, it's a very sparkling one! The MC is a newborn shadeling (a dangerous swarm-type monster) but unlike her instinct-steered siblings she has curiosity and acquires critical thinking. Instead of only eating and sleeping, she explores her surroundings and gains unusual abilities, estranging herself even more from the others. When danger looms and she tries to do something against it, everything goes wrong; she ends up helpless in front of some strange two-legged creature, but luckily that one is equally open-minded. Oh boy, those Monstrous Manuals the humans rely on will have to be rewritten, because this specimen is clearly not a normal shadeling...
Style/Grammar: The story is told in third-person style from the MC's point of view, staying close to her thoughts almost in a stream-of-consciousness way. The reader can follow her discoveries and observations directly and see how she interprets them. Of course, all that from a non-humanoid perspective. Descriptions and word choice are very good, the sentences are full of wide-eyed wonderment; they're written in an easily readable way without confusing overcomplexity (unlike this review; I know my faults). From the older comments I can see that there have been a few small typos/errors per chapter but so far they have always been corrected before I could see them.
Story: Where are we here? Oh yes, on RoyalRoad. That means there are lots of stories with unusual protagonists around and some of them have monsters as main characters. You've probably read a few of those already. Those non-human(oid)s usually start out a little different from their peers, which quickly leads to a massively diverging career path. After all, not everybody can be a protagonist. Yes, Timmy, you're nothing special, your mom was just lying to protect your feelings. *cough*, erm sorry, back to this story. Well, our current protagonist made it into a story so she really is special, q.e.d., EZ. After breaking through the hivemind instincts she does almost everything different from her siblings. The storyline is rather fast-paced here, with new things to see and learn in each chapter. Some things are progressing very quickly and work much too easily for the MC in my opinion, her guesses about what something could mean are always spot on; that strains my suspension of disbelief as not even a human child genius could repeat it
e.g. how quickly she learns to communicate with a completely different species, or learning to write with better spelling than some RRL authors within one month
. While that is the only relevant drop of bitterness in this story, it is greatly outweighed by how cute the MC's actions and thoughts are and how lovingly they are described.
Characters: Shadow (that's how she gets named later) is a smart little thing, quickly learning what her stupid siblings would never even think about. And soon acting like none of her species has ever acted before, oops. Her cat-like curiosity together with an inherent friendliness make it very refreshing to follow her story. Did I already mention that it is super cute? So far we have only met two other characters who at first glance are just simple archetypes (Ms. naive researcher; Mr. grumpy with a soft core) but the MC and we soon learn that they're a bit more complex.
All in all, this is a very nice story with a monster MC whose curious and good-natured personality together with good writing quality make for a happy reading experience.
I really like, this story...Obviously it is still early in the story, but so far it has everything that makes one love web novels:
Great characters, an interesting premise with a new spin to it and good writing to give life to the story.
The author captures the thought process of a nonhuman creature in a way that is very refreshing and intuitive at the same time.
So many stories like this skip the early development stages and basically come down to a "human mind in nonhuman body" and very quickly devolve into "human mind in nonhuman body, but somehow it morphed into a human and now it's basically just normal fantasy"...this story is different so far and I just love it.
I won't spoiler anything, but if you are looking for a story with a nonhuman protagonist or just a cute story with great characters I would definitely recommend this one.
What can I say...?
The way you manage to maintain the focus of the story on its main or at least stronger tematic without subtracting an inch of realism from your world in itself along with the various and rich characters that populate it is simply perfect.
The evolution of your MC, how she interact with the world, it's people, it's culture, and the true deptness you manage to give every interaction and how they reflect on not only Shadow but everything and everyone around her is simply amazing.
And how everything is always filtered by her ever evolving perception of the world, shifting opinions and more. She is always the true focus of the story, the prism through which the light is split.
We readers may know more about things which she still don't know or understand but that only build the tension toward the moment we would be able to experience them from a truly new and different point of view.
Phanta Rei... Yes indeed everything is in Flux and I can fell it so well trough the MC. Like everything is fresh and new, the world as a endless journey of discovery with the only reward as the journey itself and the treasured experiences it would bring.
I can really feel your character to the point I really forget about the subspention of disbelief and the narrative pact.
Really the way you write make everything so alive that I really can see Shadow only as real person and yet I am also aware she is technically not human while surely a sapient being.
But that is the question isn't it? When is a human a human and not something else? What determines whether we are what we are and more importantly who?
The way you portray Shadow an her development really make me question that and so much more...
If I were to drop my prejudices, my preconceived notions and cultural background noises and found an impossible creature somewhere that is surely sapient would I think of it as another human...?
Isn't a rose by any other name still a rose?
But I still think the way you portray how the world influences us and the way knowledge really is a double edged sword as fantastic
You show how innocence and naivety can take different forms and meanings at the beginning of your tale, you show how being different could be a blessing as well as a stigma. You show us the desire of fitting in and it's consequences and so much more. All themes that exists from the beginning of this journey and only shift and change as the journey continue.
You only added to the story never subtracting anything. Yet you only enhanced the complexity of the fiction without making it more complicated. Another of your actual achievements so far
For now I'll end this review here but I will surely address other less metaphysical elements later if you so wish.
this is what really struck me out the moment I decided to review your work so I let it be my main focus.
Excellent work sir I really hope to see and read more from you
I am truly sorry I have nothing to critique about all of this but I truly can't see any problems for now but I will try to be more usefull in my next review... For now I have let my mind wander on the more abstract side of reality.
This could easily become one of the best rated stories on RR!
Awesome writing for an awesome, adorable monster kitty. You can instantly see that a lot of thought and time effort was made for each chapter, a lot of love went into each description.
Highly recommended to all sorts of readers!
For now I love the story, it is perfect (until chapter 30) and I hope the quality does not decline.
The only bad thing is that I found it very soon, it has few chapters and I am up to date, luckily I have other stories to follow and the waiting for more chapters does not consume me so much.
The style: The author is using the limited third person narration style. We are seeing the world of shade touched through the perspective of the MC, a curious and lovely cat. The writing style fits the novel storyline which was told from the point of view of the little cat, perfectly.
The Story: What a story this is. It follows the journey of a curious little cat as she seeks knowledge which was greater than meal to her. A well crafted story that progresses beautifully according to the plotline. The world of the cats is perfectly crafted by the author who must have recollected a past life as a curious cat. Great story line.
The grammar: Top quality. No noticeable errors that could affect the flow of story.
The character: They are well written and defined. Although there other characters in the work, the main focus is on the curious little cat. The character of the main cat (MC) is a masterpiece. The way the cats behave among themselves and interact with their environment is beautifully done. Readers will want to know what happens next in regards to the characters. What more to say?
Well done, author. Keep up the good work.
Should have rated/reviewed this forever ago casue it's the best non-human story on RR so far as I can tell. But actually this is just condolences after reading the haitus message., Very sorry to hear about your loss and I hope you are doing ok. I watched my girlfreind deal with the loss of her father recently and I can say that while that pain never goes away it does fade with time. Doesn't mean much now I know but just know it'll get better.
And at the same time, I wish I waited longer! The story is so good that a 300 page binge couldn't satisfy me. I was expecting a generic intelligent monster farming up levels and experience, so I put off reading this one. It is honestly so much more, and this story has a lot of character. Props to the author.
Following the story of a magical creature that is fundamentally different from its siblings strikes a chord. There is something inexplicably human about the premise of Shade Touched. What makes me, me? What makes one different from another? This is the fundamental question this narrative explores.
The story uses fantasy elements to explore questions of identity and individuality set against first nature, then society at large. This story isn't the first to explore questions of identity and certainly won't be the last either. So why does this story deserve your time?
The setting is unique and crafted with care. While the formatting can be a little jarring at first, once you understand it becomes easy to follow. Individual chapters are densely packed with content. The only real hindrance to the story in my opinion is the relatively low number of chapters so far. The author is not a full time writer so this is understandable, but not having more content available at the time of writing deserves mentioning.
Shade Touched has a lot of potential in its future. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.
This is a fun adventure in society integration for a monster. Shadow is a believable character that was born as a swarm cheetah monster thing, but is intelligent and wants to be more. The interactions are believable and so far no punches have been pulled. People die and get hurt. Traveling takes time.The grammer and spelling is usually good. I think I only had to reread a paragraph one or two times.
I would recommend this to anyone that wants a different type of coming of age story.