Beneath the Dragoneye Moons
- Sexual Content
- Traumatising content
Elaine is ripped from this world to Pallos, a land of unlimited possibilities made real by a grand System governing classes, skills, and magic.
An ideal society? What is this, a fantasy novel?
Adventures? Right this way!
A Grand quest? Nah.
Friends and loot? Heck yes!
Humans are the top dog? Nope, dinosaur food.
Healing and fighting? Well, everything is trying to eat her.
Join Elaine as she travels around Pallos, discovering all the wonders and mysteries of the world, trying to find a place where she belongs, hunting those elusive mangos, all while the ominous Dragoneye Moons watch her every move.
Hey! Beneath the Dragoneye Moons is my first writing effort, so please be kind, but don’t hesitate to point out the flaws.
The story starts off slowly, more like a slice of life than action-adventure, but it gets there!
I’m going to be posting M-W-F
I do know how the story ends, and I promise if it ever gets dropped, or I stop doing this, I will post the ending. There will be no random “this is the last chapter” out of the blue.
Cover art by Lee Kent: https://www.artstation.com/leekent
This story is being published on Royal Road, Tapas, and Scribblehub.
[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]
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The author has made it clear they want to explore sexism in a litrpg setting. Which could be very fun and interesting to read about. There are a lot of fictions that take a unique look at sexism with specific magic and science in play with lots of interesting world building. But in this story, the sexism is tossed in without any reason given for it; making it feel nonsensical and unearned.
Things happen for a reason. Societies aren't sexist "just because." There are things that push a society to be so. Whether it's health related, greed, from the women mostly being kidnapped from raids, whatever. That doesn't justify it, but you can see how they get from point A to B and you think, "Okay, I can see how this happened." It makes sense.
However, in the society we're shown, we're never given a reason for the sexism. The author wants them to be sexist, so they are. We're never shown any kind of cultural, sexual, or darwinist pressure for this to happen. There seems to be absolutely no reason for it, it just is how it is. When women can attain skills to fling lightning bolts without consequences, it doesn't even make sense. It's completely unearned and unsatisfying.
Why is this society like this? How do you marginalize half your population when they're freely allowed to attain superhuman strength and cast magic? What are the ramifications of having x sexist action happen with a litrpg system involved? Cause currently, the ramifications are.. exactly like they are without the system. If you remove the litrpg, it just reads like a random, medieval, sexist society. The litrpg aspect would have huge and interesting impacts on this kind of stuff and society as a whole. The whole point of adding the litrpg is to add to the story and explore how it being present changes the world. But it feels like it's being written in as an afterthought with the world building of it almost completely ignored.
The story isn't terrible, but it's hard to get past constantly asking "why is it like this?" and there never being a satisfying answer. The answer is because the author wants it that way and didn't put in the proper world building for it. The end.
Edit: I have thousands of comments across hundreds of fictions. This is the only story I've been banned from commenting. I don't think they appreciate the problems and inconsistencies being pointed out, so don't expect the writing to improve.
This is my first review so sorry if its unreadable or just outright confusing. Skip to the end if you want the short version of the review.
Let's start with the positive parts of this story, from my perspective.
The world itself is very interesting from what I have read. There is a war in the background that seems to be a threat that will come into focus later on in the story, but for now we only know that it seems to be a war with another species. The focus so far have been more on the nation and cities rather than the whole world/continent. There seems to be hints that there exists more nations with humans in them but so far we are only aware of the main nation and it's allied nation, which if I remember correctly was hinted to be more of a city-state.
What this story does very well is give off the feeling that humans are not the dominant species who rules everything. There are many stories around where the author has stated that humans are weak but have later on had problems following through on that and allowed humans to be nigh-unbeatable. In this story you will not find this flaw, as the author stated in the summary humans are not the top dog and every time the protagonist goes outside the city walls you can feel the untamed wilderness around them with dangers hidden in the surrounding. Of course there are dangers lurking in the shadows of the cities aswell.
Overall the author does a great job in conveying and really making you feel as if this is a proper world with many dangers. This is in my opinion the best part of the novel and I can barely get enough of it.
Now the negative parts.
Sexism without reason, read the review of Ziggy, unearned sexism from poor world building, I aggressive with what he is saying. Also remember this is a litrpg world where you can upgrade your stats and gain skills, classes and levels.
The characters. I do not like nor believe in perfect character, flaws are what makes characters go from archetypes to someone you wish was real so you could befriend or just chat with them, they are a necessary part in making character feel less like puppets following the authors demands and more of creatures who make their own decisions. The problem comes when the flaws are so many or so big that they overshadow everything else that the character is suppose to be, to the point one can only see the flaws in them. Another problem is when the flaws are directly opposed to the characters background and story.
Let me give you an example, someone in this world elite military unit has just gotten a direct order from their captain to protect another member of their team, this other member is extremely weak and has just spent the day healing people and by doing so essentially become a target for any slavers who could sell them at a high price or any other person desperate enough to try rob/kidnapp them. Now what should this elite member do?
A: protect the healer and escort them back to the rest of the team or any other safe spot like a guard station, and then go out in town to play around.
B: Ask some guards(or someone they can trust) to guide the healer to a safe spot, and after doing this go out to play around.
C: Abandon their duty to play around and let the healer walk home by themselves in the middle of the night while knowing full well that some people can hide from their perception skills.
I will give you a hint in what they choose to do. Let just say that the person in question does not seem to have had any sort of training to suppress their desires.
That was just a example of flaws but the most infuriating person is actually the protagonist who no matter what happens does not seem to grow up. When I made this review I had just read chapter 60. 60 chapters of very little real character growth for the protagonist does not make the future look bright for them.
I will now tell of two major problems that I have with the protagonist, other than that she never grows up.
First problem is in how she acts to counter herself. She dreams of becoming a healer and after an unfortunate accident she vows to never hurt anyone and help everyone she can. This gives her a unique skill which makes her healing much better compared to others her level. But remember this is a dangerous world where she does not only have to protect herself from monster but people too, well I'm sure you see where the problem shows up. Not only does this limit it also hinders her teammates because she might need to heal their enemies, suddenly she is a very real hinderance in human fights. But she loves her freedom meaning she does not want to be restricted and she also wants to travel with them, so not only is she hindering herself she is also a huge liability to her teammates but she never questions if she should throw away the skill. As a side not, it's kinda hilarious how she wants to be completely free but she can't because of her skills restrictions.
The other problem comes into focus when she gains the chance to get another class. Instead of choosing something that compliments her healing making it more powerful or choosing something that negates her incredible weak self-defense. Because of her childishness she forces the system to give her a class that will be able to give her two abilities in the future even after being warned that it's not a suitable class for her. Ability one, the ability to fly. Ability two, the ability to throw fireballs (remember, she is sworn to do no harm). This puts into focus her childishness and her inability to grow up, as a note, this is after she has been put in danger many times already and she has lamented her own weakness.
I have already dragged out this review so my final sentence will be the following. With the exception of the baseless sexism, the setting and the authors ability to potrey it is amazing but it is unfortunately wasted on the character to the point of making me incredible sad after almost every chapter.
This is obviously a first story and it shows in the writing. The MC is empty-headed a lot of the time for moments that she deems boring or uninteresting. Which, unfortunately, means that she misses out on important information.
But all is not lost! The author's writing is improving and the MC growing out of being a whiny child mentally (she's taking her sweet time, though).
Grammar is good with only a minimal amount of errors that I've seen the author fix.
Overall, I'm excited to see the story progress and I can't wait for the MC to mature.
Beneath the Dragoneye Moons is a story that I really really want to like, but that I am finding harder and harder to do as it goes along. This is for one reason: the main character.
She frequently acts like a moron and seems incapable of learning from her previous mistakes. There seems to be little if any character growth; she demonstrates the same lack of wisdom as a late teenager as she does as a preteen. The author states that the MC has ADHD and feels/acts appropriate to the disorder; I believe that - it doesn't make the MC any more likeable. At least for me. She is socially inept on a scale that makes my own social difficulties look like a water drop in the ocean. Any one of these things wouldn't be a bother, but the combination of her character traits create at irritation level that far exceeds what the individual ones alone would. She reminds me of having a sharp stone in one's shoe; that sharp nagging pain that never goes away and gradually grinds away your resistance against it.
Other than that, the writing is excellent. There are few if any grammer/spelling errors, the magic/gamer system has some interesting unique elements, the setting feels well fleshed out with interesting characters. It is a story well worth reading... as long as you can get past the MC. I'm not sure if I can.
This story is... alright, I guess. Solidly average, from what I've read. I'm just not sure I can take it seriously.
It doesn't help that so far, everyone introduced is fairly dislikable. That's a pretty subjective fault, though. Maybe others will tolerate the characters better.
The thing that really gets me is how melodramatic the first arc is. I just finished it, and when the 'chekov's sniper rifle' (author's words) hit, I just burst out laughing. Then the after-chapter note compared it to Game of Thrones and I nearly rolled my eyes out of my head.
Killing characters doesn't make a story better, or more dramatic, or 'darker'. Only killing characters people care about can do that. Redshirts don't count. I honestly didn't give a fig about the best friend. We'd gotten two-ish chapters, I think, with her in them, and her relationship with the MC was almost painfully one-sided. G.R.R.M. gets reactions because he writes complex, charismatic, interesting characters who are put in difficult situations where, in most fiction, that investment would demand they survive - and then they don't.
Incidental tragic backstory in fantasy fiction, though? Bog-standard. 'Killing the happy ones' is the way to get a character out on an adventure. Not that it's neccesarily bad (it's good enough for Batman, Luke Skywalker, and Eragon) but, if selling the tragedy is important, - instead of just using it for backstory - then introducing the character as more than a convenient plot device is important, too. There was just no weight there, so the way it was treated as a twist, some sort of defining character moment, just... entirely failed to land with me.
It would have been better if the author notes weren't so dead-set on explaining it. Or didn't do as much explaining in general. There's a slim chance I'd have been surprised by the 'twist' without the blatant exposition after the chapters. More than that, I'm not interested in reading the author's recap on what just happened. If important content isn't clearly in the chapter, the chapter should be re-written to include it. If it is in the chapter, then why repeat it in the afterwards? Only put unimportant things in the afterwards; don't write the chapter, then write an explanation later. It just weakens the narrative.
I dunno. On the whole, this story is fairly decent for a first stab at writing fiction. There's a lot to like here, as well as a lot to dislike, but at least it's not bland. Ridiculous is still better than boring. If I liked the MC a bit more I'd probably keep reading... as-is, there's a pretty good chance I'll get annoyed and stop pushing forwards.
If I do read on, and the story improves dramatically, I may return to update this review.
Heavy info dumps in the first few chapters and the transition from arc 1 to arc 2 was a little rough due to having a bunch of status changes that are implied but not explained until the later.
Very solid everywhere else. Grammar and spelling in particular are praise worthy compared to the vast majority of web serials.
In a genre dominated by male protagonists, this is one of the rare examples of a competent female lead. Like in most LitRPGs, Elaine experiences a serious spike in power shortly after embarking on her own. Fortunately, it's not due to a rare class or a magic item, but a decision she made early on in the story that turned out to have far reaching consequences: a magical oath.
Her oath is her greatest strength, but also her greatest weakness. She struggles to work with and around it, lending additional tension to conflicts she could otherwise resolve with a thought. She is physically weak with a niche power set, and her restrictions serve to prevent the power creep that so much of the genre suffers from.
Now for the negatives. Elaine can be annoying. Her total age across two lifetimes is 38 at the time of this review, but she still acts like and has the internal voice of a teenager. She's flightly and naive, and seems determined to remain that way no matter her bounding advancements in other areas.
Some of the other characters don't have a unique voice. They are distinctive enough in appearance and personality to stand out from each other, but the speaking lines themselves are muddled, especially when they're packed close together. For example (and I'm paraphrasing), a wizened old man might say "My endeavors have been most worthwhile.", but then two lines later say "Yeah, that kinda makes sense."
Elaine doesn't have a clear goal aside from being a healer. The conflicts that spurred her journey in the first place have all been resolved, and there aren't yet any new ones to take their place. She's just existing in the world and reacting to challenges as they come. One of them needs to go somewhere fast before the story drifts too much further.
Lastly, this is not a critique of the story itself, but a message to the author (who I hope is going to read this). Spoilers within.
You presented the Republic as an inherently sexist society, where women have few to no rights that aren't granted by proxy of their fathers or husbands. Elaine has mostly been spared from this with the exception of a few rude remarks and constant marriage proposals, which you play for laughs.
Your biggest opportunity to make that sexism a major part of your story was the Ranger Academy arc. She was the only girl in an all male class, under consideration to become a Sentinel. I was expecting her to have a horrible time, especially when she started doing Sparring Overwatch instead of Sparring itself (yes, there was a reason, but all the other students can see is that the pretty girl doesn't have to fight). That arc was ripe for abuse not only from her peers, but her instructors.
I think you've forgotten, in your efforts to make these characters likeable, that Elaine is the only character in this book who was raised in a society where women had individual rights. In Remus, that idea is criminal. That's the entire reason she got offered the Revolutionary class, right?
You've done a good job normalizing slavery. Elaine is the only person who thinks it's wrong. The same should be true for the sexism. Elaine should have to prove herself at turn. She should have to earn the respect of characters who would respect her by virtue of her powers alone if she were a man. She should be running into walls such as, for example, not becoming a Sentinel because she would be expected to travel the realm alone, and perish the thought of a woman travelling alone.
So here's my advice. It's too late to change the way everyone has treated her up until now, but she can still hit that wall. Have some Senators challenge her right to be a Sentinel. Give that challenge a lot of support. Have even her allies struggle to reconcile what they know about Elaine with their deeply ingrained prejudices about women. Have someone she trusts tell her she's the exception, not the rule, and have her blow up in their face.
Obviouslty, you don't have to do any of those specific things, but the point is, you need to do something. You can't have this vague sexism sitting in the background until suddenly everything works out because Elaine is such an inspiration. That's insulting to your readers and to women in general. If you do that, I will dramatically throw my phone into the ocean and burn your house down*.
*(I will not actually burn your house down, but I will be thinking about it.)
Litrpg that's lots of fun. I'm a sucker for the type of class the MC picks, so that gets bonus points from me.
The beginning is just okay. The "reincarnated as a baby but retaining all my memories" trope is nearly impossible to pull off well. Thankfully the author doesn't drag it out forever and uses some judicious time-skips to establish some character and world building while still getting us to the meat of the story relatively quickly. Once that gets going, the quality continues to improve with each subsequent chapter.
Style is good. First person POV of the MC. The System is logical and makes sense while having it's own unique twists over the standard litrpg system. I like it a lot.
Story starts off 'fine' and has made it to 'really good'. Like I said earlier, early childhood stuff is hard to do well, but the author does a good job of getting through it while still making it impactful to the MCs development and decisions. Nothing in the plot is revolutionary, but it's all handled well.
Grammar is great, no issues there.
Characters are pretty good. The MC can be easily distracted and impulsive, which can get a tad annoying sometimes, but that just makes her feel more real. Supporting characters are fleshed out more or less depending on how important they are to the MC
All in all, an enjoyable read that just keeps getting better. I definitely recommend.
First of all the story itself is quite solid, but there are some issues with the charecters.
Shortly to the story: I find the concept of a Girl who is trying to overcome a sexist society generally nice. The problem is, that there are from the MCs view two major issues in this world slavery and sexism. Slavery is as far as I am simply never mentioned again after some time which I found a bit disappointing and Sexism is the part where I find some issues with the cast. So to put it simple everyone importent as far as I have seen is in some form against sexism, and it simply exist to further the war. But whenever someone is sexist, that personapparently can´t be otherwise a niche fellow he always has to be a giant ass. I personally would have liked to see there more komplex charecters but otherwise the story is quite solid.
This is an overall really good story. There are sometimes minor mistakes or unclear passages or parts of the world and the readers might think the characters actions are questionable, but that is only one of the aspects that make it so very believable and engaging that coupled with the Lead Character being a healer, I find it somewhat reminiscent of Azarinth Healer just without the Overpowered Lone Wolf Archetype.
If you haven't read this yet you really should otherwise you are just missing out.