The 13th Essence
In the Tower of Metris, a babe is delivered on the doorstep of an orphanage. This is an all too common tale in the Towers of Kahlea. As Adventurers die braving the dungeons of the Towers, the children left behind are stripped of their home, their possesions and their name. What might seem cruel will sometimes be the only way that the orphans may survive.
Dante is such a child. His thirteenth year is upon him and he must now leave the orphanage to become a student of the Academy, where the skills of an Adventurer are taught. Dante, his class and all others in their thirteenth year, will be entering a new life.
From their new affinities of magic to the political power plays of the upper tier citizens, will Dante and his friends even survive before they make it to the dungeons?
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Just to set the ground rules for everyone reading this review; 5 stars means that that part of the fiction is exceptional, 4.5 stars means that while it could be better it is good, 4 stars means that it needs some work, and anything 3 stars or below means that the author has to rework that part of the story entirely. These ratings are based upon my own reading experience when it comes to average ratings here on RR. Now that that's out of the way let's get into it.
The story is quite good with mysteries abound and problems for our main cast to tackle. The worldbuilding starts off a bit stilted but it hits its stride after the first few chapters. I personally quite like the little detail about their team name having two translations; it's not a necessary thing but it makes the world feel so much more real.
Like the worldbuilding it starts off a little stilted in the first few chapters with too much telling and too little showing, but after they get set up in the school it gets much better about that. While it isn't the most exceptional writing style I've incountered on this site it's still leagues ahead of most.
Once again the characterisation of the cast suffers from a little too much telling and not enough showing at the beginning of the story but it gets better after that. I feel like the character of Jasmi is a perfect example of what the author does great and what still needs to be worked on. I won't say much on Jasmi because it gets into spoiler territory real quick but suffice it to say that her characterization regarding her past is great and feels very natural while her romantic interest in Dante still needs some work.
Grammar (this section is directed at the author only, read at your discretion)
Please get an editor, or at least give it a look over before you post it because there are somewhere between 2-6 typos a chapter. I'll admit that they're fairly innocuous but they're still there. But the major thing that needs work is your understanding of the difference between possesive and plural word forms. To give an example: Adventurers is the plural form while Adventurer's is the possesive form. So it would be: "The adventurers walked into the tavern," and "That's an Adventurer's sword," not vice versa.
Overall I give the story a sollid 4.5/5 on the RR rating scale. It's good, but it still has room for improvement (as basically every story does).
I wanted to like this story, I really did. The latest chapters, however, really killed things for me. It went from a story about a boy and his friends dungeon diving to something completely different.
Style: No complaints here. Personally didn't like other character perspectives but that had more to do with the characters than with the perspective shift itself.
Story: Again, I liked the original premise just fine. Unfortunately it has been morphed into something where the main character is supposed to
Become the hero and save the world
I feel like I got baited into reading it. The most recent chapters have taken a rather drastic turn. Not to mention all the time skipping doesn't really give a chance to endear the cast to the audience. Its basically one big training arc with events sprinkled in from 13 to 15.
Grammar: Could definitely use an editor. Nothing that makes it unreasonable to read but it can add up.
Characters: The biggest flaw this story has. All of the characters feel a bit hollow to me and the whole friendship thing going on really makes me want to cringe. The main character is special, but for no apparent reason other than because he is. We don't really get a good explanation other than "he's the chosen one" type of thing. The supporting cast is ugh, with secondary characters thinking to themselves about how the MC and crew might be better and special. It really kills the mood and the story for me.
The writing is GREAT.
The story telling, world building, and characters needs work.
There is a lot to like, but there are flaws mixed in with everything that make it impossible to actually like it.
Spoilers below, fair warning.
The lore is great! Neat world - except it is completely unbelievable that no one lives in the perfectly safe outdoors. There is no pressure keeping people in the towers. Adventures sure, they have a job to do. But everyone else? They just sit inside?? It's lore breakingly unbelievable!
The main cast is great! Complete with unique personalities that include believable histories. But everyone gets along with no conflict. No angst. No hormonal issues. No real flaws. Everyone just trusts the mind reader to be cool. No one gets upset when he DOES read their minds and pulls out secrets. They go through heavy shit and everyone is fine! Get tortured with worst pain a person can experience? No problem! They don't react the way people do. Its hard to see the characters as people.
The magic is cool! All kinds of elements and unique bits to it! But it's not fleshed out all the way. This results in it becoming inconsistent and frustratingly arbitrary. Magic is introduced as something you absorb and can then use to manipulate the world.
Life magic let's you manipulate living things. Super dynamic! You can do lots of neat tricks with a tool set of manipulation options.
But Death magic? Death magic is set up more like spells in a video game. It's more of a theme than a real part of the above magic system.
Death let's you use spirits! But also death magic let's you create bones then animate those bones? What? And those bones can only be used to hold enemies not attack? What??
If this was a System then system style thematic spells would make sense for death magic. But this isn't a System world. If it was a System-spell-world life magic wouldn't make sense!
Then there is the 'essence' mage. Strongest ever! All forms of magic come from essence whooa! Except the mage cant do ANYTHING that anyone else can do. Right. Everyone else's magic comes from his. But he can't do any of it. Ok. So what random shit CAN he do?
He has a unique set of abilities and they are not strong. The one attack ability is described as being able to shape essence. Wait! He can shape essence! He can make ANY shape? That's amazing! Except it isn't because all he does is make copies of weapons. . . Really? No beam that shiits across the room. No sir. Spear in my hand thanks. Actually a spear is too good. I don't want to be too far from danger. Gimmie short swords. . .. . Ok essence magic sucks. He is literally just a warrior.
I'll be short, Pip the Penguin wrote the perfect review, I have nothing to add, I agree 100% with him.
To clarify what he was talking about,
Adventurers is plural form of Adventurer.
Adventurer's is a short version of "Adventurer is"
Adventurers' indicates that something is owned by Adventurers.
Ignore this! My review has to be 50 words long, so I wrote this sentence to satisfy that requirement!
The protagonist of this story is supposed to be this "super awesome essence mage, super rare and everyone wants to control him". What he actually is, is a dipshit teenage boy who lacks the braincells for a coherent thought or the willpower to make the most simple of decisions for himself.
He never speaks up, he never decides what to do himself, he NEVER has an idea on his own.
The fun-factor of reading this is somewhere in the negative triple digits.