Borne of Caution
An irritated Pokemon might tell you to stop what you're doing. An irritated animal will probably just attack you. Pokemon, for all their power, would be open books and a breeze to care for to any competent animal handler on Earth. After a fiery death, a professional zookeeper who never outgrew Pokemon games ends up in the world of Pokemon. The entire world is thrown onto its side.
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Forget fanfiction, this is a great story, period.
I'm a sucker for isekai, but man, this really ups the bar.
For once, the main character isn't cringe-inducing. He's actually a normal person! Can you believe that? An actual normal person from our Earth. I... It's beautiful.
Having a normal protagonist is important when you want to highlight the wonder and wackiness of something like the Pokémon world. And well, our boy Lee is just so likeable. He genuinely cares for his Pokémon, but he's not some hot headed idiot who dishes out impassioned speeches every five-fucking-minute.
No, our boy Lee is slick, cool, and pretty normal. NORMAL! And everyone else acts like real people, too! Even Ash, who, thankfully, is just a side character. I'm not a fan of most shounen protagonists, and Ash takes the cake with the list of traits that annoy me the most. So yeah, glad to see that I won't be seeing him much!
Then there's the Pokémon themselves.
They're amazing characters! That's right, characters. Each of of Lee's Pokémon have their own personalities, and it's fun to see those personalities clash from time to time.
Lee's companions are great, too. Though it's a bit weird to see Brendan, who I guess is 11, be so crass around Lee and Zinnia. Lee doesn't seem to care about not being a role model to the boy, though, so whatever.
Zinnia is great, though her character is only starting to show a bit of real progress as of chapter 13. But what she's shown so far is engaging.
Overall, this absolutely amazing and should hit the top of trending.
This is a great story that is a lot further along on Fanfiction.net and Spacebattles, so feel free to read ahead there. It is another example of a Pokemon fanfiction that brings more depth and realism to the world as the SI brings an outside perspective on Pokemon that allow him to make great leaps forward.
The writing style is smooth and engaging, and does not stray into the primary school level quality writing that many fanfictions/webnovels can.
I love the story, and the new creative exploration of the Pokemon world. The author explores past the statistic and 4-move pool nature of the games and has thoughtfully developed a more realistic and very interesting version of Pokemon. The importance of skill, physical strengthening and thoughtful training routines allow the SI to develop as a trainer in an entertaining way.
The SI is a thoughtful, three dimensional character. However, what makes this fic so great is the the pokemon are not two dimensional puppets, but rather have their own individual characterisation that develops and changes. Relationships between characters, as well as between the pokemon and their trainer are not boring and shallow, but develop as trust is something that must be earned (which is realistic). Also, vulpix best pokemon!
Not much to say... Grammar is good. No mistakes, and the writing isn't stunted or awkward.
GREAT FIC! Try it out here, and if u want more check it out on Fanfiction.net or Spacebattles
I'm not gonna lie, I'm biased against fanfics. Royal Road is my main reading site, and that shows in my tastes
Borne of Caution, however, blew me away with its thoughtful version of the world of Pokemon. The pokemon are thinking, feeling, individuals that behave and act according to their personalities. It acknowledges some of the more comical and childish parts of the show and videogames to bring to life the whimsical world we all fell in love with as a child. The theme of trauma and loss is also dealt with in a way that feels respectful and emotional, giving realness to the story.
Overall, a great addition to your bookshelf, and maybe even your favorites.
Please don’t give up on this. Please. You have gold here.
The characters are what makes this so engaging. They have believable dialogue, hopes and dreams, fears and simply put: Personality. It doesn’t stop at humans either, as some of the best scenes are with the Pokémon interacting with others.
I love his team and the way he handles them. Not just the Pokémon part, but also his human companions. Brendan’s mudkip is a wonderful little masochist, goomy is best and Zinnia is best girl, her reaction to Brook too good not to wake my neighbors with laughter. May´s reaction to Lee is also funny.
The fights are Ok, if not great, but I was much more drawn in by the idea of training the Pokémon.
Using the meta knowledge from the games to develop new moves and using real life work out routines to help in physical training was really engaging. The more esoteric parts were well thought out and give the story a depth that many simply lack. (Though I do question at times how no one else has thought of some of it.)
The Author also isn’t shy to work in traumatic scenes, using them not just to further the story, but to make your heart bleed as you read along. It is handled carefully and with respect. Well done!
What was a little disappointing were the Log chapters. It is mostly just giving out the same information we read in other chapters. I think a little more commentary from Prof. Birch would have elevated it beyond a simple collection into something much more meaningful, giving us insight on just how alien the MC´s thinking is compared to the natives.
Well, this dude didn’t need truck kun.
The way he got slapped into to new world was abrupt and unique. Read it and you will be drawn into the story just as much as I was.
We know very little about the earth he comes from, as he understandably tries to not think about it too much. The trauma is used to great effect and his dependance on vulpix is as cute as it is sad.
I just have two gripes with it:
The dude took a nuke to the face out of nowhere. Why was the USA attacked?
Also: The dude was engulfed in NUCLEAR FIRE. I don’t know about you, but I would avoid touching anything. Lingering radiation is not fun.
He needs to have a long decontaminating shower and a change of clothes. That would be the least I would do bevor crashing on someone’s couch. Fuck the medical bills. Go to a hospital.
And get psychologic help. Really loved it when the Prof gave him the number of a help hotline. That is so realistic, I can´t even…
I want to preface this by saying I really do enjoy the story presented here. Lee is an interesting protagonist, and as another review says it, feels like a real person. How he approaches new situations seems realistic, and puts a nice twist on what I know about pokemon. The utilization of flavor text to flesh out pokemon abilities is also a nice touch. I also love the depth that the log chapters give to Lee.
This is where my very personal nitpick comes into play, and it is ENTIRELY on me. This is based on minor spoilers, so ima use the tag.
When the story is focused it's characters, I have a BLAST, but I personally lose a lot of my enjoyment in moments when fanfic characters are worried about continuity. For example, Lee has a lot of moments worrying about how events based on the anime are going to turn out given that he caught the Treeko that Ash was originally going to. Now from a story perspective, and given Lee's character and knowledge, this makes TOTAL sense, but I honestly wish the problem was just sidestepped by not including Ash in the story at all, but oh well. This kind of thing happens in most fanfics I end up reading, and its a turn off most of the time. Feel free to ignore me if this seems like a nonissue.
Now, the author is writing the story he wants to write, and so far it's a dang good one which more than makes up for any pet peeves of mine. I hope that he continues to continue with the passion he has already displayed for this piece, and I look forward to reading more!
Thanks for posting this story!
Amazing story so far with the character and the plot. It has a good plot and characters and a good background for the main character. I am very interested in how you will keep this story going. Keep up the good work and I hope to see this story keep going.
Let me preface this with how I've lurked RR for some time now. I've never really felt the need to create an account or write a review until now, as my browser bookmarks work fine to keep track of stories and most of the places I would comment are all oldies where everything that needs to be said has already been said. Borne of Caution changed that.
This story is a breath of blessedly fresh air in a fandom full of trashy shipfics where the pokemon are just accessories or decorations. No one wants to read about Ash's friends betraying him in a laughably OOC fit or some grade school level romance story that has OCs with pokemon names slapped on them. They want things like this, a real story where the pokemon are just as complex as the humans around them. The fact that this is an OC focused isekai with such a level of expertise is just a cherry on top.
Fuggmann can make scenes come to life with just a few sentences, enough to set the stage and let the reader's mind fill in the details if he doesn't go into detail himself. I will admit that 3rd person limited in present tense took a chapter or two to get used to, but it helps make scenes and emotions more impactful as it imparts a sense of everything happening right at that moment.
Potential spoilers for the first few chapters here. The story revolves around Lee Henson, an accredited career zookeeper, who finds himself in the world of Pokemon following the annihilation of his home and all his animals in what should have been certain death for him. Unlike most other stories where our hero would shake off the event, Lee reacts in a very human way and is deeply traumatized, sometimes needing help from his friends to put the worst of his episodes behind him. With little else to do, he becomes a pokemon trainer, and puts his childhood knowledge of pokemon together with his earth-learned zoology education to raise his pokemon in a loving and splendid manner. The story is wholly original and executed wonderfully.
This is where I have to deduct a little bit. Borne of Caution does have minor writing imperfections sprinkled about. Most are so minor that most people won't notice unless they have a keen eye and education specifically tailored to English and writing, but they are there. Considering Fuggmann has admitted to having dyslexia on other sites, this is wholly forgivable considering how few and far between they are.
This is where I would give six stars if it were possible. Every character, be they main, minor, pokemon or human, all feel alive, and the best example is with our main trio and their pokemon. All of them behave in a organic and logical manner. Not to say that they'll all logical robots as some stories fall into, but they behave how a normal person might expect within the circumstances presented by the story, even Ash's short parts so far are how you might expect a 10-13 year old with his experiences to behave. The biggest pleasure is how the pokemon are just as three-dimensional as their trainers. All of them have distinct personalities and traits that they remain consistent to unless changed by personal growth. This is a fantastic showing of characterization that I wish I saw more often. I worry that some might be a little too static, but we're still early in the total story I think, and this is probably an unfounded fear.
Borne of Caution might be the best pokemon fanfiction there is. It's not 100% perfect, but it's so close that I can hear other fanfic writers biting their nails. I'll be following this story for certain. If Fuggmann ever writes an original work, I'll be there to see it take off.
If you are a fan of pokemon, then this is a series that you do not want to miss. This series is well written, and once you start will be hard pressed to stop again.
MC has good depth, and for a change isnt OP'd. With sufficent depth to really bring the story home.
The writing flows really well and few if any grammar mistakes that allow you to stay immersed into the story. This is one series that i look forward to reading when published.
Okay so let me preface this by saying that I NEVER read fanfictions. The concept of reading a story about someone's "OC" in an already established universe just seems to scream cringe on so many levels as to be kryptonite to me. I can honestly say I have absolutely no idea what made me even go beyond the story's front page. What I can say however, is I am very happy that I did.
So to start with we have our main character, Lee Henson. A normal Zookeeper who takes care of carnivorous cats. He is a bit of a fan with pokemon and I'll just leave it there. No need to go into details. Lee has some past trauma issues as well as recent ones that are explored pretty well in the story. No thouroughly, I mean well. As in Lee is behaving in a way he should with his circumstances. It adds to his character and just makes me want to cheer him on as he slowly pulls himself together as the story progresses. His pokemon companions are there to bring him from the brink of insanity. Meanwhile he's trying his best to keep the secrets of his origins from his traveling companions. The whole balance of conversations is fun. The battles are actually entertaining, and everyone just seems so much like normal people. Since this is an established universe with preexisting characters the author does their best to keep all established characters in line with their already existing personalities while still keeping it sensible, which I imagine is probably pretty hard to do on paper. Imagine the kind of conversation you would have with Ash Ketchum if you met him in the pokemon world. He's got a somewhat zanny personality when he isn't being serious, yet the author still manages to pull things together nicely. That's why I gave character score full marks. Keeping the exagerated personalities of anime and videogame characters dialed back but still THEM is very challenging.
I have no idea where this story is going but I honestly don't care because I'm having to much fun getting there. Lee Henson faces troubles with hesitance, but he still faces them. This story makes me want to go back and watch the pokemon shows. I kinda stopped watching them after a while and I'm sure the show has progressed to match the games in some way.
The only real place I can find that needs improvement is the author's grammar. In most cases it's actually pretty stellar. There is mistyped words here and there though. One example I can remember during my one day binge of this story is when (and I'm being vague for new readers but the author should know) the Marshtomp first shows up and maybe for up to a chapter or 2 later the author typed Marshtop instead a couple times. The only other consistant grammar issue that technically isn't really an error is the author's love of the word "sans". It is a preposition that means without. However in most cases when it's used it just... sticks out like a sore thumb. Every time I saw it, it made me double back and read over the sentence in my head more slowly to parse out what exactly the meaning was the author was trying to use it for. I ended up mentally substituting the word for a synonym in my head every time I stumbled into it just to make the sentence flow right in my head (I got a bit of OCD).
So to wrap everything up in a nice TLDR... This story is damn good. Don't look at this fanfiction tag and go *blech*. For once the fanfiction tag is actually a plus. I don't think this is a story that could pull off being this good if the author made up his own pokemon universe. Read the prologue and judge it's contents under it's own merits, not your assumptions.
A Pokémon fanfiction... That actually feels like a real story..... OMG- moar! I want MOAR! You have lit the fire within me and now I dEmAnD mOrE cHaPtErS tO cOnSuMe! But in all seriousness, this is a great story. One of the best I've read, it's shiny and I want more of it. The characters are multilayered and it's pretty realistic, loyal to the Pokémon lore. It's like a love letter to Pokémon wrapped up in that pretty Isekai bow we all know and love, I'll be waiting for more! I could go into more details.. But I'm lazy, and there's other reviews you can read for that.