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Lily Arvensdaughter is a teenager with a lot of problems. The only commoner in an academy normally reserved for royalty and nobility, she's spent six months being tormented by student and staff alike. When despair drives her to make a foolish decision, her life is saved by Rine, a mysterious entity who offers to teach her how to be a powerful wizard, in exchange for signing a familiar contract with the promise of helping him escape from the prison that holds him.
Rine quickly proves to be a generous friend and an effective tutor, being as knowledgable as he claims and providing training that rapidly provides incredible results. However, as time passes, it quickly becomes clear that he is far more powerful than she imagined possible, even imprisoned. As his power and influence increase with each step they take towards his liberation, Lily learns that Rine has far greater designs than simply regaining his freedom. Meanwhile, dark and dangerous forces strike from the shadows, attempting to topple the kingdom and imperil everyone that Lily loves.
Can Lily afford to trust Rine, especially once she learns what he truly is? Can she afford not to as she becomes the focus of events that could doom thousands, if not millions, of lives without his aid?
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I like where the story is going. It's got a good plot, interesting characters, smart magic system. While the characters seem to have not been particularly well defined at the beginning, they've grown into their chops. There's a lot happening in the background, and while the story has pacing that tends to vary in it's speed, it's generally keeping a good pace.
I say this story is frustrating though because of the weird withholding of information and the constant filler chapters. There's nothing wrong with having those chapters to flesh out the story or provide a different perspective, but it feels more like I'm being ripped out of the book and getting shoved into a different one, sometimes for only a very short amount of time, before being yanked back to the main story, with very little connective tissue between.
The withholding of information is also so odd. It's like a cut-away during a TV show where they all huddle and talk about a plan, but you can't hear it as the camera pans out. It can be used effectively sometimes when used properly, but here it feels like there is no plan for the story. So we just hear something like "She was told the plan and thought it was brilliant!" or "My god! How come nobody has thought to do this amazing wonderful magic thing sooner!" without explaining what the plan is, or what the magic thing is. If the characters were a bit more mysterious and we weren't reading from their perspective I could MAYBE see this working to an extent. But as it is it just feels OFF.
Overall I'd say this is a solid story with some weird quirks that can make it difficult to read. I'd describe it like eating a perfect medium-rare well seasoned steak and it's so good and it melts in your mouth, except randomly you're getting weird bits of gristle stuck in your teeth. It's still great, but damn you wish that gristle wasn't there, or at least in a place that's easy to cutoff and ignore.
Its not bad, but its not good either.
The author does really weird stuff that feels extremely lazy very early in the story. The characters "discuss a plan" in front of us, but we don't get to hear it. This doesnt just happen once either, it keeps happening and I didn't even get very far. Its like when you are playing DnD and a player says "I say something inspirational" and rolls a charisma check. Sorry, thats a failure.
The other thing that bothered me is the short time frame of things and how its explained by "everyone in the most advanced magic school in the country is stupid". Nobody figured out this basic shit? People do random stuff all the time, my 6th grade class would probably figure that out while they were eating pencils. Incompetence makes a poor villian.
There have been a few side chapters that I've really enjoyed. Some of them give a wonderful extra perspective with a very pleasant break from the main story, while remaining relevant to what is happening (or going to happen) in the story.
If only they had happened every 10 chapters rather than after every. Single. Chapter.
It just gets annoying. Extremely annoying. Every chapter that you read, you invariably get yanked out of the story into something that is, more often than not, something that you don't really care about.
I'd really love to rate this higher than 3 stars. I'd love to be able to give it 5 - I have no issues with the grammar or characters at all, and while there are a lot of walls of text, the writing is decent enough that you can get absorbed anyway. But it's just far too frustrating to read.
The writing is decent, but I'm not really interested in this story. There are many one off side character chapters, which I dislike, as those characters don't actually matter that much. The main character seems to have everything going their way. Sure they got bullied in the beginning, but that seemed to get solved without much effort. The side character chapters show that things will likely get bad, but with the way things have been going, I doubt it.
Man, I've been enjoying this story, but a few things about it reallllly bug me.
Your descriptions and dialogue are generally good, but you tend to go a bit overboard on the infodumps at times, edging into 'as you know, Bob', territory, where the characters begin expositing simply for the sake of the audience. It's not the worst, but it's noticeable.
Secondly, you have some of the weirdest foreshadowing I've ever read. It's almost silly. This line (from chapter eight) stuck out to me as particularly egregious:
Once the knowledge of how even the most powerful elemental magic spells could be negated with one simple trick, it would radically change how magical combat worked forever.
WIZARDS HATE HER!1!!!1! THIS ONE SIMPLE TRICK WILL CHANGE YOUR SPELLCASTING FOREVER!1!!1 CLICK NOW, LIMITED TIME OFFER!111!
Seriously. It's like bad clickbait. It's not quite as bad as 'little did she know! DUN DUN DUN!!!!' but it's killing my desire to read on in much the same way. I guarantee that even if I am surprised by her 'one simple trick', it won't be worth the immersion-breaking annoyance that came from how the characters dance around the issue in such an awkward, unusual way, especially when they're normally more than happy to launch into lengthy explanations at the drop of a hat, seemingly out of a pure desire to explain things to me.
I mean, it's technically foreshadowing in that it suggests something will happen in the future of the story. But instead of making the plot more interesting by suggesting new possiblities, or drawing me into the characters by revealing previously unseen motivations, or doing any number of useful things foreshadowing can do, it's... teasing a reveal on her killer move? Just, weird.
So.. yeah. You have a strange mix of oversharing and undersharing in your descriptions.
The rest of the story is pretty good. I've been enjoying it so far; it's solidly above average for the site, and I find myself liking most of the characters, which is a definite plus.
Just, some bits are weird.
The main story is a well-composed, appropriately paced fantasy school drama from an underdog perspective. Perhaps a little cliche, but hey tropes are tools and it works well.
The characters are well-written with appropriate motives, they feel very real. The Protagonist is a fish out of water, down on her luck from bullying. The Antagonist is a frustrated, spoiled youth taking out his woes on someone who cannot fight back. The Mage is a mystery, a being unfathomably ancient who seems friendly but clearly has his own agenda too. It's very well done.
My main frustration, as other reviewers have said, is with the author withholding information from the reader; e.g. 'She then explained the plan she'd hatched...'
While absolutely fine for the purposes of keeping some things for later impact, this story does so several times and often in the middle of a scene with characters then reacting to the withheld information. It's really annoying, almost like the readers are being deliberately held out of a conversation.
There's also a lot of side-chapters; I've enjoyed them as worldbuilding and the adventures of Mister Skull, myself, but if they're not to your taste you might find them a bit annoying.
Criticisms aside, however, it's still a fantastic story and I strongly recommend it.
Style: Core writing is excellent, let down by annoying practices including withholding information from the reader. Still well written and engaging.
Story: Well written, a well-paced story taking place at the most interesting part of the greater narrative. Some side chapters seem superfluous, but generally extremely competently written.
Grammar: No glaring mistakes or writing choices that distract from the content, very competently written.
Characters: Engaging, flawed, emotionally-driven characters with decent personal motives. Very well done.
The main character thus far has stumbled into some interesting situations. She is a commoner with a legal background who has recently come upon the means to buy her way into nobility. Her way of coping with that status change and the politics has the potential to be facinating. On the other hand the mentor may be overpowered relative to the setting and that needs to be handled delicately lest it cause all sorts of issues.
A King has realized his kingdom is sitting at the brink of an abyss and tries to prevent the revolution by improving the situation of commoners. The protagonist is one of the commoners affected by the King's decrees, now studying magic at an instiution previously reserved for the nobility.
Well, most of the nobles hate her. That's where the story begins. Most of the story so far has been about the protagonist discovering more about magic and interacting with her "un"familiar mentor. The rest has been interludes, showing several conspiracies going on in the background.
I think as of the current chapter we've got five going on and maybe a sixth one developing. Every other chapter of this story is an interlude and while this does seem like an odd decision, it's probably necessary considering all the shit going on in the background. I suspect I would call bullshit otherwise once they all attempt to come to fruition during the climax.
Nonetheless it slows the pacing of this story something fierce. We're now in chapter 27 and only three days have elapsed. That said it's more unusual than bad.
Overall a pretty good story.
It's a nice read so far. Decent story, intriguing plot. Nothing to write home about, but definitely worth your time.
My main issue with the story would be about the structure. The author seems to not know the universal law of no one likes wall of texts. And there's a couple in there.
Something could also be said about the way some characters communicate and differentiating them with the use of * or #. Especially when the dialogue is built into a paragraph. Surely there's a better way to go at it.
In short, the content is good but there's improvement to be done on the structure.
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