Wander West, in Shadow

Wander West, in Shadow

by CloverCloverClover

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

A young wizard journeys west, through dark forests and dangerous lands, searching for something. Accompanied by a wild witch who has secrets of her own, they come across terrible creatures, hauntings, cursed villages, and memories from their past. Who else will they meet along their journey, and to find what he is looking for, how far will the wizard have to wander west?

NOTE: The above synopsis is intentionally written to be as spoiler-free as possible. If you would like a more in-detail synopsis, one that contains minor spoilers, please check out the "Synopsis" chapter at the beginning of this fiction. 

If you read and enjoy, please leave a rating or review!

FORMERLY TITLED: THE GLIMMERLING

This story was formerly titled "The Glimmerling", because the first part was a short story of that title; it has since been expanded upon, thus the title change.

Chapters 1-8 (30k words) are the first 'arc', if you want to get a feel for the story. 

To give some context on the setting:

Magic is a bit weaker in this story than you might be used to, and we start off following some relatively new magic users. For some perspective, being able to light a campfire with magic is considered relatively advanced for someone who is the age of the main character. Magic can become very powerful - and there are some examples of powerful wizards within this story - but it's not where the main characters are yet. Part of the story is about following them as they learn more about magic. Enemies are also very dangerous, and running, hiding, or trying to talk their way out of a dangerous situation is often a better choice than fighting for the characters.

While I have added tags for traumatizing content, sexuality, violence, swearing, etc. I try to avoid super-explicit descriptions of these things. But they are part of the story. 

  • Overall Score
  • Style Score
  • Story Score
  • Grammar Score
  • Character Score
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CloverCloverClover

CloverCloverClover

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Synopsis ago
The Glimmerling: Chapter One ago
The Glimmerling: Chapter Two ago
The Glimmerling: Chapter Three ago
The Glimmerling: Chapter Four ago
The Glimmerling: Chapter Five ago
The Glimmerling: Chapter Six ago
The Glimmerling: Chapter Seven ago
The Glimmerling: Epilogue ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter One ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Two ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Three ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Four ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Five ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Six ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Seven ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Eight ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Nine ago
The Bogge-rider: Chapter Ten ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Eleven ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Twelve ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Thirteen ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Fourteen ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Fifteen ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Sixteen ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Seventeen ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Eighteen ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Nineteen ago
The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Twenty ago
The Bogge-Rider: Epilogue ago
Hadley: Chapter One ago
Hadley: Chapter Two ago
Hadley: Chapter Three ago
Hadley: Chapter Four ago
Hadley: Chapter Five ago
Hadley: Chapter Six ago
Hadley: Chapter Seven ago
Hadley: Chapter Eight ago
Hadley: Chapter Nine ago
Hadley: Chapter Ten ago
Hadley: Chapter Eleven ago
Hadley: Chapter Twelve ago
Hadley: Chapter Thirteen ago
Hadley: Chapter Fourteen ago
Hadley: Chapter Fifteen ago
Hadley: Chapter Sixteen ago
Hadley: Chapter Seventeen ago
Hadley: Chapter Eighteen ago
Hadley: Chapter Nineteen ago
Hadley: Chapter Twenty ago
Hadley: Chapter Twenty One ago
Hadley: Chapter Twenty Two ago
Hadley: Chapter Twenty Three ago
Hadley: Chapter Twenty Four ago
Hadley: Chapter Twenty Five ago
Hadley: Chapter Twenty Six ago
Hadley: Chapter Twenty Seven ago
Hadley: Chapter Twenty Eight ago
Hadley: Chapter Twenty Nine ago
Hadley: Chapter Thirty ago
Hadley: Chapter Thirty One ago
Hadley: Chapter Thirty Two ago
Hadley: Chapter Thirty Three ago

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sebymycubby
Overall

This is honestly one of the best pieces of fictions Ive ever read. The whole thing regarding the magic and the creatures feels so antural and real,and it makes the fantasy elements of the story so much more believable. The characters are also wonderful and super fun to follow, while still being able to hit you on an emotional level in the serious moments. 10/10 please read it. The only slight complaint i have is that the audience only knows as much as the characters do, making a lot of events and knowledge seem random and confusing, seemingly with no answer. However, if this is explained later in the story as we follow the characters, then i redact this criticism.

David F. Weisman
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

This is the story of a witch and a wizard on a mysterious journey. Their deadly adventures are a large part of the story, but each of them has important secrets that they are keeping from each other and the reader, and the gradual unravelling of these may be an even bigger part of the story as it goes on. 

In the very beginning we know so little about the wizard Martimaos that we are not even sure if he is good or evil, if we should cheer him on or hope for him to fail. Soon we develope empathy for him, and shortly after that we find he is a good person who wants to help others even at the risk of his own life, whatever his mysterious purpose may be.

He is attracted to the witch who insists on accompanying him, but does not trust her. Nevertheless, he decides it would be safer to travel with her than have her follow him in secret.

Soon they come to a village where the apocathary insists on hiding them, saying the people hate mages because they believe one has stolen their children. Indeed, a mage has carelessly travelled between universes, and reinserted himself into this one just slightly wrong, but wrong enough that he might harm or kill without meaning to. Unfortunately there is no way to fix this without fighting him, and he is much more experience than the young witch and wizard who must confront him. Maybe they can take advantage of the fact that his perceptions are sort of off - unless indeed some dark creature comes to his aid.

Elecham
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Wander West, in Shadow is the best thing I've read on RR. It's early still, I haven't been here long, but I'm not sure I'm going to find anything this good any time soon.

So far, I've only read arc 1, The Glimmerling. It's a dark tale of two souls that are joined together by a chance (or maybe not so chance) encounter, set in a world that drips and bubbles and bleeds gothic, misty, and serene. Monsters peek from every shadow and there are always ghosts just behind you, but don't come expecting goblins and orcs, elves and dwarves. If these ever appear, I'm sure Clover will have wrapped them so tightly in his prose that they'll seem like something else entirely. But instead of them, you'll be treated to the author's own creations, which seem so new and yet so familiar. The Glimmerling, specifically, was an amazing slice of the world. 


STYLE
Clover's prose is carefully wrought and intensely descriptive. While I enjoy his mood-setting, I think his action scenes need a little work, and his paragraphs could be less dense (if this would result in a better story, I am powerless to say).

GRAMMAR
Impeccable. Nothing to point out. Editing would serve to get rid of repeated words at best.

CHARACTERS
Every single one a breathing item and inserted into a living world not-haphazardly but with planning and care. Webnovels tend to suffer from blank protagonist syndrome -- not the case here. Martim is a complete person, Elyse the same. The secondary characters that pop into the story, friends and foes alike, are distinctive, with their own wants, their own lacks, never a vehicle to get the heroes from point A to B.

STORY
I've been saving the best for last. Here is where WWiS goes from a nicely-done narrative to something I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see traditionally published. Clover seems to draw from classics. I couldn't tell you which ones, but his world reminds me of stories like The Witcher, The Black Company, and, in general, makes me think of finding an amazing new universe to lose myself in. It's a feeling I hadn't felt in a while, so dark and serious, but so inviting, and I sincerely want to thank the author. I'm definitely going to keep reading this one.

TwelveGreatApes
Overall

I am writing this at the end of the first act, although I certainly intend to read further.

The pacing is very good, with a looming sense of threat that slowly builds towards the culmination of the first act. The general atmosphere of the setting is a vivid blend of fantasy and horror, the details of which come to light in a steady and believable manner that is notable for being entirely unobtrusive. At no point was I lost for lack of context, nor was I ever consciously aware of my absorption of Wander West's world. The background is consistent and makes sense in and of itself.

The prose is pleasantly well written -evocative and practically poetic at times. The world is populated by believable characters. The dialogue between them is rich and rarely stilted, and the interactions between them are consistent, coming from a place of understanding the characters, rather than plot necessity. The budding relationship between the two main characters is especially well done.

The first act is intriguing and well told, slowly introducing details that set the reader up for the larger bulk of the story with minimum expenditure of effort.

My only issue with the story so far would be the small amount of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes that keep it just shy of being professional quality. However for this site the quality is excellent, and nothing a little editing would not fix.

I very much look forward to reading further!

David Talon
Overall

Old School Fairytale in the best way

Reviewed at: The Bogge-Rider: Chapter One

Reviewed to Chapter 8

One of the best fantasies I've read on RR, a classic fairytale with two young magic users working together to lift a curse... and hiding secrets from the other.

The level of detail was just right; I could easily see with my mind's eye what was happening, without being bogged down. The first chapter grabbed me, then relaxed enough to get a good feel for the characters before ratcheting up the tension once more. The worldbuilding was fresh, yet had that timeless taste of fairytales I remember from growing up. Those didn't pull their punches and neither does this story.

The grammar was excellent, with no errors noticed, and the main characters characters felt like people. I wish there had been more time taken to know the villagers better; a little more fleshing out of that part I believe would have added to the feeling of dread, especially the woman wearing the burlap hood (what if she had taken an interest in them without revealing herself...)

All in all, an excellent story I'm now following.

Kirbyisgreen
Overall

I would recommend purely on the first eight chapters, which can be seen as a short but complete story arc. A lot happens eight chapters which is actually quite surprising. 

Introduction to interesting male lead and equally intriging female love interest. 

Some world building, not too much, just enough to keep the story going. 

Decent character development and interactions in a short space. 

The writing quality is good. 

The plot is intriging enough for me to keep reading. 

Luxmes
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A classic refreshing fairytale

Reviewed at: The Glimmerling: Chapter Four

Sub-title: Written by a modern author.

- Style:

Besides one problem, words repetition, the description-heavy style is mastered to a good level, creating environment and characters that are vivid, if slow to be presented. Some styles are quick, this one is a slow wave rolling over the sand, covering it thoroughly.

The mastery of the pacing through sentences is a true pleasure, as I haven’t spotted even one comma out of place. It’s still a non-professional book but it’s better than most.

In term of dialogues, nothing special. It’s smooth and sticks to the style of story written here.

4.5 out of 5

 

- Grammar:

Some minor errors hinder slightly the reading.

4.5 out of 5

 

- Story:

The story has very fairytale-heavy feel (as in, a true fairytale, not the manga/anime) which is refreshing in a place where Isekai Litrpg are kings and mild smut stories queens.

5 out of 5

 

- Characters:

The characters are classical takes of the fairytale style, both humans and symbols, be it the MC, the adjuvant or the enemies.

The dynamics between the main duo is interesting to follow, as they exchange knowledge and impression in a very genuine way.

The lack of originality may bother some, but it’s not bad per se, as it’s very well inscribed in the general theme.

4.5 out of 5

 

- Overall:

A very pure, in the true sense of the term, fairytale that somewhat grabs you and pulls you in for a refreshing experience. The prose support well the intent of the story and, if some tiny problems exist here and there, it is, overall, a very good experience. I recommend.

4.5 out of 5

 

- Stray thoughts :

This isn’t fantasy, this is “Merveilleux”, a specific style closer from Arthurians’ myths and old folks tales than from the Modern Fantasy kind.

I mean, this is so classical you can feel which trope is coming next, but it’s by no mean bad. It’s good, even.

The story put a smile on my face more than once. It’s a good sign ^w^

Tomato In The Street
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Style - Your style is amazing! Your pacing for the first arc is not that fast but not really slow. What the author says about his own novel being really awkward at stopping suddenly is actually true lmao. The cliffhangers don't really leave any impression at me at If they are, just briefly. But after reading the first arc, It suddenly made you curious what the hell's going to happen next even though the end of first arc actually somewhat says that "This is the end"

Story Score -Well, guess what? True Fantasy are actually alive and LitRPGS still haven't conquered the whole audience, to my surprise. Joking aside, this story has a fresh of breath air since It has true Fantasy setting and the vivid descriptions of the story supported It as a whole, resulting for a compelling fantasy story

Grammar - Sorry, I won't judge you here because my grammar sucks. I can't criticize someone to fix their grammar when I can't even fix my own so sorry hahaha

Characters - Typical duo MC's but with the vivid description, they were polished more, good job!

Overall: This story doesn't really have the freedom that It has unlike when I'm reading other stories. I feel like they will only go to a fantasy story and anymore of that would destroy the rhythm, flow and anything put together to create this piece but It's fine. It doesn't mean that It doesn't have Freedom, It's not good. Take a look at Bleach, yes, It doesn't have any freedom because It became repeatingly tedious but who wouldn't agree that the first two arcs are amazing! Flesh out everything that you can flesh out, develop It, and cover every mystery that needs to be covered then end It nicely and naturally. Because like I said, I really felt like this story won't have any freedom to go just to wherever like One Piece. So avoid dragging out this story. That's all, keep up the good work

 

 

 

 

Sii
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Self-contained, interconnected grimdark

Reviewed at: The Bogge-Rider: Chapter One

Overall:

Despite some clunkiness, I thoroughly enjoyed what is being served. It's been a really long time since I read a story that reads so classically that it was a bit of a shock to my system. The story is thick and familiar while also being fresh enough to not be boring. And the contents, boy do I enjoy dark stuff and this has that in spades. If you read only the first chapter, you'll be in for thinking that you're reading an old school fairytale. These expectations will be subverted but also fulfilled, there is an air of whimsy that's reminiscent of the original Brother's Grimm fairytales. There is a darkness that permeates the writing that really drew me in. 

Story & Character:

By and far the two strongest points of this story. I really enjoyed the return to form in bringing fairytales back to their cautionary, deeply disturbing roots. The name of the first tale, The Glimmerling, sounds incredibly whimsical. Like a name that a child came up with. Yet, we're thrown into a world that's very dark and brooding and I enjoyed that. Personally, I'm not the biggest fan of whimsical tales. I find them too saccharine for my tastes. This story strikes the right balance of sweet whimsy and cautionary darkness. Martim and Elyse are very interesting characters in their own rights. We learn enough about them to make them interesting but the author keeps some secrets in reserve to string us along. The big reveal, and the tenuous tether that binds the initial story to, what I assume and was stated as, a larger world, is well handled and avoids the usual pitfall of "exposition drop, let me explain why this person is doing what they're doing."

I, personally, like Elyse a bit more. She's smart, sassy, and incredibly naive while also having secrets of her own that will be wonderful points for the author to expand on later. I guess I'm just a sucker for a good, smart female lead who can do things on their own. She's worryingly oblivious to how the world works and I hope that doesn't get her in trouble down the line.

Style & Grammar:

These two points go hand in hand and are the weakest points. As I said in my summary, this story reads like a classic. The language used and the mannerisms of the writer make it feel old. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes this bogs down the reading experience. My biggest gripe was the constant use of commas. Way too many commas for my liking. A few times per chapter I couldn't help but notice how long-winded some of the sentences were. And while this adds to the whimsy and the classical feel, it also makes it hard for the reader. I had to reread a couple of passages a few times just to understand what was being communicated. But, that's just a personal gripe and I feel it can easily be remedied with some editing passes and collaboration with a willing critique partner or editor who can help suggest and brainstorm ways to cut things down. 

I did notice a few grammatical and syntax errors, nothing too immersion breaking but still noticeable. Again, these can be cleaned up with quick and easy editing passes and fresh eyes helping to look for these things.

Conclusion:

What we have here is something completely out of the norm for RR. Classically styled fairytales that read and feel like classic fantasy are few and far between on this site. In fact, I think this Is the first time I've even read something like this on here. I think the author has the beginnings of something very special and unique. With some edits and some cleaning up, I can see this being much much more enjoyable of a read that draws on the nostalgia of childhood fairytales. The story is strong and draws on well-trodden paths while also finding its own feet. The characters are unique enough to stand on their own while being familiar enough that we can relate to them through recognizing some old favorites. I think this would appeal to any reader who is willing to use their imagination, connecting dots and opening themselves up to twists and turns. Also, its dark so that's a plus.

precinctomega
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Masterful Fantasy Horror (needs a little work)

Reviewed at: The Bogge-Rider: Chapter Three

This is quality fantasy horror that evokes a fully-realized piece of complex world-building in a few linked short stories.  If say it was as if John Brunner had written Warhammer Fantasy.  And I mean that as highest praise.  If you like your magic to feel like it's a dangerous enterprise, undertaken by incautious fools, and your fantasy worlds to feel as if they are occupied by dark and forbidding horrors, then The Glimmerling will be time well spent.

That said, there are a few passages - particularly towards the start - that could benefit from a re-visiting as they sit somewhat at odds with the flow of the rest of the narrative.

Style

This is confident, competent prose with a deft hand for evoking a spine chilling and creepy setting.

The characterization is sightly inconsistent, and the logic occasionally wobbly.  But you'll barely notice.

Story

I love the approach of telling a much larger, more expansive tale through a series of self-contained short stories.  Few writers do this well, but it's well-fitted to the narrative of The Glimmering and executed with expertise.

A second pass to sort out the handful of logical inconsistencies (imo) would rate this a five.

Grammar

The author has clearly got an expert grasp of grammar.  However, the text does have a light dusting of spelling and grammar errors - just what one would expect from a first draft and which will all be swept up in a second pass, I'm certain.

Character

Martin and Elyse are an appealing pair of heroes with well imagined histories and adequate motivations, but there are some consistency issues.  They both seem to waver between sightly contradictory versions of themselves.  I think it may take until the whole fiction is finished before this can be cleared up and the author can determine what the definite truth of each of them.

Summary

I am definitely following this fiction.  I've not seen anything else quite like it on RR and it's a welcome break from yet another LitRPG (says the person writing a LitRPG).  I could definitely see The Glimmering finding a future in mainstream publication through someone like Tor Books or Angry Robot.