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!


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. 

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  • Grammar Score
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2nd Anniversary
Top List #200
40 Review Upvotes
Word Count (14)
15 Reviews
Table of Contents
67 Chapters
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
Hadley, the Bogge-King ago
Hadley: Chapter Thirty Five ago
Epilogue ago
Glossary ago

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Great read with a slower pace

Reviewed at: Hadley: Chapter Twenty One

After catching up with the current chapters of "Wander West, in Shadow", I found it to be so enjoyable that I thought it a shame that the story wasn't more well known. 

To being with, it's a story set in a high fantasy world without any connection to the modern world (no isekai, reincarnation, etc...). The initial synopsis provides a good introduction to the premise, though it should be said that the plot starts small in scale (very personal and character focused) and seems to be slowly expanding.

Furthermore, it should be said that while the story is very engaging, it has a much slower pace than a lot of the more popular stories on Royal Road. It's not a slice of life, but the author spends a good chunk of time focusing on character interactions and details. Instead, tension is built up over time with layers of details, allowing for moments of highs and lows, with brief moments of respite in between. This results in a story that's not as easy to read and action packed (though there's still plenty of action) as many of the most popular novels on the site. I find this to be fine, but I know many other readers may not have the same tastes.

Worldbuilding is also very well done and well executed. Rather than large infodumps that are chores to read, the author generally provides the readers with information on the world through character interactions. There are no LitRpg elements or anything of the sort. Rather, magic is not super well defined or structured, but I'm fine with this as it retains some of that mystery element. The MC's feel very much mortal (especially in the face of the things they meet) and thus need to use their wits and eachother to survive/progress.

The story is very well written with excellent grammar, and more importantly it felt pleasant to read. I don't remember any point in time where I had to reread a sentence or paragraph because the structure didn't flow well.

I really enjoyed how the author put a heavy emphasis on characters, resulting in the main cast having very interesting personalities. In addition, I like how the characters each have their own secrets, allowing for additional tension and making character development and interactions much more engaging.

Overall, I truly think that this story deserves more exposure, as it is definitively in the upper echelons of quality stories on RR.


Hidden Gem? More Like Hidden Crown Jewel

Reviewed at: Hadley: Chapter Nineteen

This is one of the best books I've ever had the pleasure of reading, period. It's up there on my big list next to The Prince of Thorns, The Emperor's Blades, and Dawn of Wonder. Everything I could ever want in a fantasy novel, it provides: romance, worldbuilding, a sense of progression, and a wondrous magic system that leans just soft enough to really feel magical without dissapointment of a reflavored deus ex machina.

The style aligns perfectly with the story, meandering along with the characters as they progress through their journey. Even the dialogue (which is very proper) lends itself to the serious and grand tone of the adventures.

I love the story and characters. There is no dearth of compelling mystery and dramatic motivations keeping me anticipating each word with baited breath.

The grammar is almost perfect, too. I find the occasional spelling error and somewhat-unclear sentence, but that's about it.

Man, it's going to be hard going back to some of my usual RR fare, lol.

Omg, how many words is 200. I really like the novel, ok? How many times do I need to say it before I can post a review, lol?

Apparently 200 words is this many :/


Self-contained, interconnected grimdark

Reviewed at: The Bogge-Rider: Chapter One


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.


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.


The story primarily details the travels of two aspiring students of magic as they deal with the dangerous creatures of the world. Its a story of small scale, personal, and filled with tension and a creeping dread.

Style: The style can primarily I think be represented with its two largest components. First heavy description, of both characters and their world, to really drag the reader in so that they might feel as the characters do. Second, slowly layering details of the encounters with the monsters that are the focus of their adventures. Slowly building dread, with brief periods of calm, a welcome respite from the tension. Both are effectively used, and are good choices considering the genre.


Story: As I mentioned, the scale is very close to the characters, which I think is a major strong point. The monsters which are the focal point of the story, are done very well, and appear adequately dangerous. That said, even taking the nature of the story as being one of horror, I think it takes a bit too long. The first arc I think being much better paced of the two. Its very hard to maintain effective tension for too long.

Grammar: Its very good. A few very minor errors blemishing what would otherwise be a perfect score. There is some repetition in the diction, but its a nit-pick.

Characters: While grounded well in archetypes, and well balanced between the two central characters, have enough added dimensions to avoid cliché. They’re interesting, and their differentiation shows up effectively in their worldview, and interestingly in how they perform their art. The side characters despite many not having that much page time, becoming endearing enough in good time to work quite well. Dialog is a bit repetitive, recycling the same rhythms.


I truly, genuinely, recommend this book. Give it a try, you will like it.

Style: Very well written, not too long, not to short, the descriptions were apropriate length wise. And I warn you, do not skim this book. You will get lost.
At some point, some.. Accenting starts, which is quite annoying to say the least, especially to non native speakers. But, with a bit of re reading, you will figure it out.

Grammar: No problems I noticed, no overly complicated or medieval words are used, they speak in a modern way which is easy to understand. No typing errors that my eyes have detected, although admitably I am very good at ignoring them.

Story: Now this is where it shines
The story, is really, really, well made. Not very predictable, and highly enjoyable, tensions are high when they ought to be, and calm when they shouldn't.
This world isn't all lilies and roses, be aware, but it's not some sort of horror show.

All characters are very well made. Likeable & unique. They are well made, with detailed history which will be explored.
Absolutely wonderful.

Overall 5/5

Truly, a great, wonderful book. I rarely give high praise to books, but this earned it.


This is a story that deserves at least two more books. What a masterfully devised world the author drops you in. I was completely shocked at the twists and turns this story takes, along with the colorful characters and what happens to them. It's truly a rare story that grabs me like, especially since I am a voracious reader who has been devouring books for 15 years now. 

Clovercloverclover has written a magical, strange, and unexplainable world that taunts you with mystery and secrets as you discover it alongside Martimeos and Elyse. What a grand masterpiece. The only frustrating part is that so many secrets still elude us at the end of the first book, and there is no way (as of now) to continue discovering. We must wait for book 2.

The chapters can get slow, especially in the middle, with some paragraphs being able to be skipped. This is a common factor I've found in many online novels, especially in Wuxia novels which this is very reminescent of in terms of world-building and savagery. But it definitely helps in setting a mood, and I'm not sure if its something I would change.

This is a story where I hope to see the characters grow more in strength in the future. Upping the stakes, as it would be. The desire for power was a large aspect, but not much actual growth in terms of their magic, or at least their display of their magic seemed to occur.

Besides that though, a wonderful story that I intend to advertise to my other reader friends. So good that I had to make an account here just to review it.

The forest was dark and my steps unsure, as I found myself following in the steps of a wizard and witch. Their adventure, it seemed, unknown to me. But as I continued deeper, and the lights of the Fae began to filter through the trees with whispers and quiet laughter, I knew that I had made a good decision to enter. Now that I come to where the witch and wizard have made camp, I invite all you readers to come along on their journey, and discover what lurks on the wild side.


A great adventure story

Reviewed at: Glossary

Wander west, in Shadow is a great read. We follow the main character on his journey to find someone dear to him. The mystery of who and what Martim is searching for unravels slowly, as we learn more about his goals and history. In this sense the story is clear in terms of what the goal of the story is, and though the arcs are self-contained adventures the overarching goal continues to be clear.

There is progression, but not in the bluebox or realm sense that is the typical fix for stories here on royalroad, power in this world is more fluid, which makes for an exciting and curious setting. Our main characters are sometimes out of their depths, but they improve and find solutions to their problems. The progression in other words is subtle but definitely there.

I very much enjoy the style of the author and his descriptions of the world and characters bring it to life. This brings me on to his characterization which I also find to be impressive. The characters are mysterious, we do in no way know everything about them, even at the end of book 1. This continuous exploration of their motives and background is engaging, and the story is better for it. The interactions between characters are fluid and reflect the speaking character. Meaning you won't find any dry or monotone dialogue, though the characters speak in accents and some in quite heavy ones. I personally felt this added to the story, but there seems to be divisive opinions on it.

Grammatically there are few to no issues in terms of tense and syntax, but there are some spelling errors, which is unfortunate as it detracts from the story. I believe the author is editing through the story, but currently they still remain. Please note that these errors in no way make the story unreadable, like for example many tense and syntax errors would, but it is a smidge on an otherwise amazing tale.

Despite this last point I would very much recommend the story, it's a blast with great characters and an engaging storyline.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Great start: worldbuilding, mystery and suspense

Reviewed at: Hadley: Chapter One

I have read the first arc (the glimmering) and look forward to reading more.

What stood out to me: The author takes time to build their world. That makes the world seem very lived in. When the plot kicks in this really pays off. The small scale. There are no large scale enemies or mysteries. This helps focusing on the two lead characters.

Hope this story continues for a long time!



Good slow burn romance in a dark fantasy warhammer like world. The magic is a good balance between soft and hard. It isn't a completely unknowable monkey paw but it still retains a good bit of mystery. The Characters are well fleshed out and the Writing is compitent. Some grammar errors here and there but nothing too glaring.

Good stuff/10