RakhtaBhushan (Blood Ornament)
[participant in the Royal Road Writathon challenge]
Golden prince, Surya, kind and brave, bright as the Sun. But a darkness lurked in his dreams, eroding his soul, his fate "unforeseen by the gods, a path converged by the paths of the past, present, and future."
Vidyut, hardened by the cruelties of life, embraced the dark art of Tantra, for which he was both rejected and coveted by the people of the five kingdoms.
Would their love endure the wrath of forces, both good and evil?
Princes, Spells, Gods, Spirits, Heaven, Mythical creatures, Wars, and Reincarnation, and so much more. It is based on Indian mythology, specifically Hindu mythology. But it is an original fantasy and focus is character arcs.
It will have LGBT, specifically BL/Gay content in the future. The romance is a slow burn.
Cover Art Disclaimer: The cover art is using an image from Pinterest. The art has been kindly created by Ben Arisson. You can find the artist's profile here: https://www.royalroad.com/profile/181989
- Overall Score
- Style Score
- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
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Overall Score 5/5
I'm going to admit I didn't expect much coming into this story. Most of the stories on here I've read are either A) horrible, B) Great premise, bad execution ,C) absolutely wonderful, and D) should be published.
I feel like this story is a C, maybe one day it could be a D.
I highly reccomend this story to someone who wants fantasy, but not the run of the mill kind you can get anywhere. This story's chapters are long enough to keep me entertained, but not so long that I get bored. When reading this I felt like the author did their research.
Keep up the good work!
Style score 5/5
I didn't get bored while reading it. The author seems to have a voice while writing, and is very descriptive to help set the scene. I myself have dificulty describing scenes, or just fail to describe them at all. Good job.
Grammar score 5/5
I've seen no grammatical nor spelling errors, and the paragraphs were spaced out so I could read easily, but not so far out it was confusing.
Story Score 5/5
I am in love with this story and I know very little about Indian culture. That in of itself is this story's strongest point. A Western audience that knows little of Indian culture will hear mythological Indian names and see them as fantasy. The names sounds different, but not too different that one wouldn't be able to pronounce them.
The Indian background as well helps give the story a setting, it sets the tone, it was an overall great idea to base the story off of a culture that not many in the west know about.
Character Score 5/5
I have learned about the Prince, and I want to know more. It's wierd to say it this way, but thats a good thing. I feel like sometimes I know everything about a character too early, and I can easily predict what they will do, but not with Prince Surya.
I want to know more about Indra, and the evil scorcerer. The characters all seem to have their own thing going on, and their own personalities, instead of being slightly different versions of the main character. I cannot wait until I have some time to finish the rest of this book!
Fantasy authors tend to lack imagination but here, we have a whole new setting. It was a smart bet because it got me to dive in it.
The story is super-solid. Indian culture aside (which is clearly one of the big pluses here), Prince Surya is really interesting (and mysterious) and a lot of questions need to be answered. Everything seems always in turmoil as really weird stuffs happen (looking at you Bhanu). I was completely lost in this mystical land.
There was even a homebrew song. I love songs in novels; the time always seems to stop. It was a difficult and ballsy move perfectly executed.
The chapters are really short yet a lot is going on. You will be kept at the edge of your seat so I’ll say it works fine that way. They contain a good balance of action and description.
At the end of almost every chapter, a footnote will help understand the lore. Wait! A story with homework? Nonsense! Yes, it’s uncommon and hard to apprehend the first time. The prologues and character list are here to support you even more. Is it worth it? Well, it is so well done that it’s obviously worth it! The author put a lot of efforts into the mythology and its vulgarization. Bravo! However, it is clearly not for everybody.
I am no expert in the matter and English isn’t my first language but I’ve never encountered grammatical or spelling errors. It’s almost flawless and really easy to read. And that is an important point when it comes to short chapters and unpronounceable (I meant beautiful) Indian names.
I didn’t know what to expect but FantasyBliss30 does not disappoint.
As a fan of bollywood movies, I was really excited to see a story on Royal Road about an Indian hero. This story lives up to its genre, giving us a tale larger than life, featuring gods and demons, and princes with otherworldly abilities. I enjoy the celebration of culture this story presents, and though I miss the catchy beats of bollywood flicks, the story does feature songs. It is also much easier to digest in shorter blocks of time!
The author really hits this one out of the park. To a western reader some parts may seem strange or far-fetched, but this story carries the storytelling traditions of eastern culture well. It's well-presented and easy to read. The author offers background information and explanations on some details at the end of each chapter to ease the reader through. Well done.
I do enjoy the pacing of this tale as well - It starts off with an epic battle between gods, which is always a good sign in an epic like this. There is a lot of jumping between different characters and viewpoints, which is confusing at times, but needed to tell the story.
There are some mistakes with the grammar. Some spelling, punctuation, and word usage issues crop up throughout, but these do not impact readability too much. This is the only reason this story didn't earn a full 5-star review from me.
There are a lot of characters in this story! They are all well developed, though due to time and space constraints none are super fleshed out. That fits the style of the story well, however. In an epic, you don't have as much opportunity to get into the head of any one character, instead you're elevated to a more godly view as you see the story play out in all the realms. This approach is nicely executed throughout the story!
RakhtaBhushan is one hidden gem on RR you have to read! If you like stories inspired by mythology, read this. It will open your eyes and show you how awesome Hindu mythology is. Don't let the mediocre rating deter you. It deserves at least a 4.5+ as opposed to the ~4.2 stars (at the time of this review).
Style: The story is told in omniscient POV, which gives it a fairy-tale like feel. It flows smoothly and is very easy to read. The prose is elegant, but never too wordy. Sometimes the language/choice of words feels a bit antiquated, but this just adds to the charm of the story. The author transports you into the story's world with beautiful imagery and gripping suspense.
Where the author really shines is in the depiction of the fight scenes. They're epic and explosive! Super well-choreographed, filled sword and magic. Read chapters 1 and 2 if you don't believe me.
Grammar: Some very minor mistakes that don't impact enjoyment. The author knows what they are doing.
Story: It begins with a Prologue (yes, an actual prologue that is well done) that sets the stage for a story of epic proportions. RakhtaBhushan is told through multiple POVs, from gods to ghosts. We get glimpses from all angles, and they are all interesting to read. The downside to this is that the story has been lagging a tad bit. It's wonderful setup though. All the threads are there. As of Chapter 10, we finally see hints of the main plot.
Character: Another strength of the author. The characters are all beautifully written. As said, they range from gods to ghosts. Regardless of their role, every minor character gets their own screen time and even a backstory. And when they die (no spoilers!), you will feel the pain, even though you haven't met them for that long.
The MC, Prince Surya, is kind and courageous, certainly someone we can sympathize with. As one of the characters put it, he is the "source of all life, the burning Sun." That's a huge burden to carry! And Death is gonna try to lead him astray no doubt.
Anyways, read this story! Give it more love. It deserves your attention. You won't regret it, I promise!
Overall the story picks up and really pulls you in after a couple of chapters once you have familiarized yourself with the cast of characters. The author's descriptions and Hindu theme add to the worldbuilding in the sense that it makes you immersed right off the bat even if you don't quite understand everything as a reader.
There were a decent number of flow/pacing issues in the beginning chapters which made it difficult to visualize scenes properly but that completely changed after I believe chapter 16. I can see the author's improvement in their writing and it's always the best feeling to catch.
The beginnings are always tough and for your first original work, you've done amazing. Keep it up! I'm looking forward to several things but to avoid spoilers I shall say no more lol.
Enthralling story. Takes a few chapters to get into, but well worth it.
Characters are appropriately rounded and captivating for the genre, and the story promises to be interesting. The structure and pacing is a little unfocused, dragging in some places and skipping ahead too quickly in others, but the characters and developing plot keep the story interesting regardless. If you're looking for a dramatic Indian high fantasy, this is defintitely worth your time.
I've read many stories, most of them fantasy. And over the course of that, I've come into contact with many different Mythologies in countless different combinations and interpretations. But out of all these stories, this is the first one to focus solely on idian mythlogy.
The style of the story is very good and fits what the story tries to portay. Sadly, I have two issues with that.
One, the archaic speech of the characters appears a bit arkward at times. When the characters are in a formal environment, this isn't obvious, but when they are between friends they sound more formall then they should, not reflecting the closeness it should.
The second problem with the style are the "technical terms". It's partly a problem related to the fact that this mythology is little known, but even then, the author uses a lot of expressions he then needs to translate in an authors note. This makes it sometimes hard to understand what exactly is going on and in combination with the native names, it can make it hard to remember what means what.
I can't say a lot about the story. There have been some hints on future developments for the story, but until now there have been barely any hints about where the story might lead, nor how we might get there. At this point, there could still so much happen that it'S impossible to make any theories at all.
Until now, there have been quite a lot of charcters, and they all had to share screentime. Because of that, we know very little about any one of them. Especially the MC, we know a bit about his past, but we know very little about his believes and goals, making it hard to relate.
Grammar is almost impeccable. There is the occasional odd spelling mistake or "a" where it should "an", but thats all.
There is a great promise here, but right now the book does not live up to its potential.
This is probably the best part of the book. The author has an immense vocabulary, and they are not afraid to use it. They are especially good in descriptions and characterisations. The dialogues can be a little stiff sometimes, but overall the style is exceptional.
The problem here, is that the author wants too many things. They want every chapter to be suspenseful, end with a cliffhanger, and they introduce a lot of side-stories. At the same time we also have an interesting main plot in the background, and slice of life moments, and all this in a relatively short volume.
I would say, this is the case where fewer is better. I love picaresque novels, where the main characters go on weird tangents all the time (e. g. Cugel's Saga or Don Quixote), but even picaresque adventures need some time and space to build suspension and come to a satisfying conclusion.
Luckily, the author has also realised this, and they started to cut down on the number of tangents the heroes are going on.
Occasional typos, and some minor problems with the punctuation of dialogues. But aside of that I have not noticed any problem.
The same problem as with the plot: fewer would be better. There are a lot of side characters, and the author wants to flesh them out all in detail. I think with the short chapters and the picaresque adventures it would be better if all our main characters would be at the same place. And the side-characters do not need all their own chapters, it's okay if they stay in the background.
Overall I think the book is worth a read, and the author is visibly becoming better over time.
I love the notion of Indian mythology blending with fantasy. The way the author has co-opted hindu figures and myths, shaping them into something distinct, is fantastic. Unfortunately, the writing holds back the story from being truly great. Besides some minor grammar/syntax errors (not really a big issue), the language can be clunky at times. The shifts in POV are also a bit distracting.
If the author can keep improving their writing, I think the story has so, so much potential. I like the characters. I like the world. I like the epic scope of the story—it really does feel like you're inside a myth about gods and heroes. Keep up the great work!