Sixguns and Spellfire
Texas Lawman Cash Renshaw gets pulled into a world of magic and mysticism that he never knew existed but finds himself uniquely suited to handle.
Alhambra Sheriff's Office Detective Cash Renshaw is about to wake up. He learns that there is another world out there where all the creatures of nightmare and magic are real. Not only that but he finds that he is a special type of person called an "Archetype" that derives powers from the collective power of human imagination. Now he will join his new partner in the Agency for Metanatural Investigation to investigate a strange new type of Runic Tattooing that allows normal humans to tap into magic powers, at the cost of their lives. Cash will learn that his new reality is as deadly as it is mysterious, and his first case might be his last.
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*Review written as of chapter 29, the summary at the top is mostly spoiler-free but the more comprehensive breakdown has some major spoilers. Be warned.
This story has a strong start and a surprisingly great power system for the main character, one of the coolest I've seen on this site thus far. That being said, a lot of the coolness of the main character's Archetype (Lawman) is being supplanted by endless romance. This story could really benefit from taking a step back from the romance angle and doubling down on what made it unique and interesting in the first place.
The main character at first seemed like a very interesting concept, how could the physical representation of the idea of old western lawmen be anything but? That being said... it's taken a back seat to romance in the worst way, the kind of way that is strictly against Renshaw's original character concept. You will see things like Renshaw being completely willing to lay down the law against werewolves and criminals alike, but the second he sees a pretty girl his character does a complete 180 and he'll be kissing each of her toes regardless of how evil she is. It is beyond frustrating to see a character who is supposed to represent the law refuse to so much as shoot a stun round at a murderous she-thief despite her literally just dropping a dumpster on his partner. And that's just a segue into how bad most of the female characters have been so far.
To start you off with that, there has yet to be a single female character that hasn't been described as the hottest thing to grace the planet. In addition to that, all of them that have spoken to Renshaw except for the Director are inexplicably attracted to him at first sight regardless of whether or not they're an antagonist. It's yet to even hit a week in-story and so far, out of 6 female characters introduced (Santiago, Tina, Zhang, Bianca, Vanessa, and the Director), 4 of them are nearly jumping him and 1 of the last two has already caught the eye of the detective when she went to the gym. The romance is being pushed so heavily that character development is being thrown to the wayside for all but the earliest of characters. The only side characters I feel even remotely attached to are Agent Ruthersford and Agent Santiago, and that's because they're the only side characters with any backstory to speak of.
Typical urban fantasy setting with an interesting spin in the form of Archetypes, they are what makes this story really stand out and if more focus is put on them then I can see this story going places.
It's really too early to tell whether or not the story is going to be good or not, but so far there have been a lot of interesting plot hooks thrown to the readers. Agent Ruthersford's troubled past and his search for revenge, the main character's family dying in a suspicious fire, connections between various antagonists, and connections between what happened to Ruthersford and potentially what happened to Renshaw's family (and even his long-dead father). Lots of promise, but too early to see if any of it will pay off.
The story has a few issues with spelling and grammar, but they are getting rarer the further in that I read and they've rarely interrupted the flow of the story or the immersion of the reader. The story could benefit from some proofreading though, that's for sure.
I enjoy reading this story. The characters are easy to imagine, but have depth without being too flat or overly developed. The mystery, supernatural element, basic detective work, and character interactions keep the story from becoming heavy. I can see that the author will need to further edit the story, but I am not allowing that to detract from my enjoyment of it. I am interested to see where the story leads.
This is a story that delves into traditional urban fantasy with a central character that intentionally fits the western Lawman to a T. It has crime, werewolves, vampires, and mystery. I personally found that a number of characters were blatantly and instantly sexually interested in the main character, and felt that it came on too hard and fast, repeatedly, for it to feel organic. Honestly, the author should have the sexual content tag on this story, as it came up often enough that I started to get irritated, because I was actually interested in the central plot. This might or might not be an issue for you, but it felt overplayed to me.
The author nails the western urban fantasy mix. The work is written in the first person narrative, as though the narrator is recalling events and telling the story over a glass of whiskey. There was no issues with consistency, and the style used help convey the narrative and meshes with the characters.
I don't have much to say here, I read all 32 chapters published at the time, and didn't encounter and grammatical issues. The read is smooth, with no jarring breaks in convention or language,
At this point the story has begun ramping up. With all of the buildup, and narrative hooks the author has set dangling, it feels like we are in for a complex evolving story that still wraps up nicely at the end. I personally enjoy where it seems to be heading, falling into a mix between Pact by Wildbow and Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher.
Now you might be wondering, why was the character score only a 3.5 out of 5? In short, the characters can at time feel incredably flat. Yes, occasionally we put on masks and act in one dimensional way, but it happens repeatedly with multiple characters. There has not been a single recurring female character that the MC has met that does not develop sexual interest in him, or is characterized in large part as being attractive and interested. I understand that this serial borrows a lot of western tropes, such as the handsome stranger and getting the girl, but in such swift succession and repitition it feels forced in a bad way. The characters are interesting, and unique, but they don't feel whole and real in the way I wish they would.
Not as fast pased as some that leave you worn out but fast enough to make it really fun. Lots of side comments to keep you ready for the next chuckle and belly laugh. Well written story with, for Royal Road, very very few editing glitches. I'm having a good time reading this.