The Solar Towers: Telilro
In my youth, I found what I thought was a new source of power. A strain of energy, part of simple sunlight, that had been blocked by our ozone. I called it Sunsoul. The moment I discovered it, I knew I would change the world. Once I finally realized what it actually was...
...I already had.
— V. B. Fontaine, PhD
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(EDIT: crap. This review has drifted to the top, and now I'm afraid it could put people off this story. This review is about ONE aspect I didn't care for, not the whole thing. If you're not as nitpicky as me, give the story a try.)
A reader of fantasy has to exercise 'a willing suspension of disbelief' according the dude who wrote the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. You have to let go of reason and enjoy impossible stories. That's true, but there's also a limit to how much a person can disbelieve and how impossible a story an author can present.
When the impossibility is really out there, like warp drives or radioactive spiders giving superpowers, then our brains can will themselves to silence. That's crazy fantasy stuff. Magical pixie dust sprinkled over the real world. But it's altogether different when an author fudges basic physical reality.
The sun is so hot at noon that it can melt faces. That's really hot. Crazy hot. And to melt car tires would be like an oven. Yet somehow this extra heat only lasts through lunch and dissipates by evening. People are walking around in t shirts or whatever. Kids go to high school and do the sports like not much has changed.
Human civilization would be gone. The food web would collapse. Everything would be extinct in the tropic and temperate zones, even plants. Over a few centuries humans have raised the temp by like 3c, and it will be a global disaster. This is way worse and it happened over a weekend. Daily life could not be this normal. Sure there are places on earth now that get very hot, but this uniform over the whole globe. The whole planet is death valley.
There are some mistakes in a book that can be ignored, for example a 900 foot tall man made wall of ice, because they aren't really central to the story. If it's not a story about building gigantic walls out of impossible materials, it's about rich people stabbing each other, then no problem. But here, the sun heating up is the premise of the whole story. It can't be ignored or forgotten.
How do they grow crops? How can their electrical grid handle this? Who's alive to build or fix things? Where did all the refugees go? I can't focus on the story because of these questions. I lack the willpower to suspend that much disbelief.
It would have be fine if it were just magic green radiation from the sun doing miracles. I've never seen magic, so I could accept a new set of rules and wild results. But ignoring basic physics is so distracting I cant enjoy the rest of the story, which seems pretty decent otherwise.
Summarizing the 82 pages in short form, MC saves a girl from the scorching sun or she did. He hates his girlfriend bcoz he saw her bullying. He has nightmares. I believe other than that everything is a filler. 82 pages and this is all you get. I am not that patient to wait for the author to really get into the story and I believe this type of writing is suitable for the typical release of a novel as a whole book (personal opinion). Other than that, this story has a lot of potential. And the direction the story is going is still a mystery.
It's early in the story, but the author wanted reviews.
The world the author has built is fascinating, but as of yet not fleshed out.
The characters are going to need a while longer to feel real, but it seems like the story will be fine on that account.
The writing is generally good - grammar, spelling, length, etc.
Occasionally a sentence that makes me groan from the amount of effort required to read it shows up.
There are sentences that make no sense/ are just missing words.
Just the prologue, but the story description is vague so it's pretty much an extended story teaser at this point.
a weird supernatural (maybe?) discovery with sci-fi setting that seems to at least have space ships and artificial gravity. Still don't know what kind of supernatural, what main characters. It's probably be at least somehwta similar in writint to the author's other story, which a focus on character drama and maybe adventure.
Thus far it's still mysterious, but a very intriguing mysterious that makes me excited to wait for the rest.
Obviously you should read this. Materia blade is one heck of an author and even though we only have fifty or so pages of story, already it is positively tantalizing. The story starts slow, but the world and characters are heavy with unspoken concerns and mysteries. We have hints of magic, of ecological disaster, and of trauma, but we don't know anything yet. More importantly, the writing is good enough that Materia makes you WANT to know.
In my mind that's the line between a good story and a great one, and at least so far, this is a great one.
My only 'complaint' is that the story eases us into the world a bit slowly. This isn't actually a problem. It fits the heaviness and dread that underpins everything so far like a glove. The writing is good, the flow is good, and the pacing are good. An easy five stars.
I didn't notice any problems. There might be some, but if there are they're rare enough that I didn't spot them.
There's barely a story right now, just the foundation of one, but hoo boy what a foundation. From the aesthetic to the world, everything feels right.
So far we only have one real character, consumed by survivors guilt and lashing out at his friends but he's believeable and sympathetic. He's seen things and done things that he's struggling to process and the writing does him justice beautifully.
I don't review often, so if I do, something has really grabbed my attention as something special, and this, this right here, has got a lot going for it very early on. I'll start with the simplest thing. Don't get me wrong, I love my fellow writers newbs and vets alike... but a lot of those I've seen... need an editor, to put it charitably. This one? If I didn't know better I'd say it has a team of editors backing the writer, clearly this one has been polished to a shine. I LOOKED for things to knock points off in my head, because perfect should damn well mean perfect, and I found nothing. No clunky sentences, no absurd misspellings, no jumbled paragraphs, not a goddamn thing wrong.
Next, style scoring... This is a bit more subjective, but trying to be fair I recognize not everyone's tastes are the same, and with that in mind, I kind of adjust and ask how others might see this, would a 'different' audience rate it 5 stars. I don't know. But 'I' do. The flow and pacing got me in from the prologue. And I normally HATE prologues as excuses for infodumps. This one... isn't. It's properly used to provide some 'context' of what is to come, to grab reader interest, and damn if it doesn't do just that. Five stars.
Story Score... also subjective by nature, but you know, this is really solid, it's still early, only 3 chapters so far including the prologue. But damn. I got sucked in, the dynamics between the characters even with their 'ordinary' interactions, the clear picture of the world around me... fan...fucking...tastic. Speaking as a fanfic writer myself, lemme tell you, this is what happens when you cut your teeth on something with a built in audience, you find your way to constant improvement, and it shows here. Even with the unfamiliar terminology necessary within the context of that world, I quickly picked up on what the author intended, which is how we know they're doing something RIGHT. Five stars.
I kind of mentioned characters before, but what's a story without people? A textbook. Which brings me to this... this isn't a textbook, all tell no show... these characters are alive. We're 'shown' far more than we're told, and where telling is done, it's spot on in how it's applied. The little flaws that humanize them all like how Bran goes 'Ugh, don't call me that' when he hears the nickname 'Noonday' which he dislikes. The way he and his father relate to each other in that scene, you really feel like you're seeing a father/son dynamic at play, it's THAT kind of storytelling that I love to see, and it runs throughout these first chapters. Look, I'm not going to tell you that this will stay at this standard to the end, it's way too early to say. But it's good NOW, and that is good enough reason to start it. Five stars. Overall score, five well earned stars.
I've read Materia-Blade's fanfiction works on spacebattles for quite a while now and while they have always been a good author, this is their best work to date.
The characters have depth to them, the world is intriguing, there are questions to ask and mysteries to explore. The author has done a great job in the initial setup for this story, meshing multiple plot threads into the world building and character development. Unlike many royal road works, every paragraph adds to the story and isn't filled with junk that can be skipped without issue.
It is too early to say what the story will be about, but the story is set twenty years after the world has undergone a catastrophe. Researchers aboard the spaceship 'The Helios Array' had traveled to the sun in order to study the sun soul, an exotic energy found in sunlight. It is unclear what happened to the sun or the array, but the light coming from the sun has increased many fold. The noonday sun can now cook a person like an egg in a frying pan. The people of the world are trying to find a way to restore the world to the way it used to be. It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here.
I'm a little confused how the earth has anything living on it outside of protected shelters if it is so dangerous for humans to be outside. It seems that anything thirty degrees latitude off of the equator is unlivable. The further towards the poles and the more mild the sun and its environmental effects are. I'd like to see more about the ecology and biology of the world. The sun soul causes mutations so perhaps that is an explanation? I look forward to finding out.