- Traumatising content
In a world of sky islands orbiting around a core of mist, humanity is besieged with countless threats. When a young girl from the slums unwittingly becomes one of those threats, she finds herself capable of horrific things that she can’t help but learn to love...
Vigor Mortis is a lighthearted story about existential terror. Come for the horror, stay for the hope.
Enjoy the read!
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This fiction is close enough to grammatically flawless that I cannot think of a single mistake or even obviously questionable phrasing. The world building is also presented skillfully, obviously present and trackable, but not overly emphasized or unnaturally represented.
However, one of the qualities I appreciate the most is how the characters’ behavior and motivations are not overly emphasized or seemingly absent. In a shocking percentage of fiction containing themes like forbidden abilities, a lower class protagonist or a church or similar organization that persecutes the protagonist, the conflict is made over the top.
The upper class, in whatever form, will be unnaturally evil, behaving in a way no sane human being should as a way to instigate emotional reactions. Similarly, the protagonist and their allies will be shaped and motivated by this.
In my experience, that is a common and disappointing mistake, and is not present in this fiction. Instead, despite the injustice inherent in their environment, it is not presented unnaturally and is allowed to simply be seen as the nature of the world. The closes point to falling to the trope is her first kill, but it is not taken to a degree that feels out of place.
Overall, this is an excellent story that I would recommend reading, engaging, in depth and capable of pulling off themes that often trip up writers.
Since my first contact with the LitRPG genre in the form of Travis Bagwell's novels, or perhaps even before that as I played HOMM3 with my father at the tender age of 10, I've always had an appreciation for Necromancy and other ''evil'' magics.
Something about the way that a fireball could kill someone with a thought but isn't considered as evil as someone who brings another back to life has always tickled my hypocrisy bone.
More specifically though, I think its that storys about the 'evil' magics being wielded by an otherwise normal person always come with a bit of intrigue. Either way, I think that Thundamoo is doing a very good job with this story. I picked it up last night and was unable to put it down until my eyes actually closed themselves. The first time I've actually fallen asleep while reading in a long time, and only because I was exhausted before hand (I supposed my sleep schedule is thankful for that).
The MC is an orphan, but doesn't spend much time at all feeling the same sort of self-pity one would expect after the first chapter or so. Just enough for you to know that her life kind of just sucks.
Her power is likely illegal, which we know, but she doesn't hide it from her friends or try to become a secret super hero as many do. She is well aware that she is far over her head and seeks help from those close to her, which I appreciate. She doesn't even do the typical cliche of trying to hide her first zombie for some sort of forced sentimental reason, something that I've always found a bit cringy. There is even minimal reflection on the first kill, which is a big plus to me. (I've always hated the, 'my stomach turned and I could sleep and also vomit' or whatever that followed characters from universe to universe, from story to story, regardless of the circumstance of the kill or the underlying trauma that should make them numb to it.)
We are able to see her psyche warp in almost real time, or perhaps we mearly glimpse the trauma from a lifetime of abuse and starvation. Who knows, and who cares? It's fun either way.
The premise reminds me a lot of "Wizard's Alley" but luckily that is where the similarities end. It is so much better in every aspect!
Vita awakens to her necromancer powers that bring a whole slew of trouble with them that she has to deal with in addition to the daily struggles of being a street rat.
So far not every introduced character had a chance to get some 'page time?' of their own, but the once that have are wonderful and I am confident that Thundamoo is going to them justice in future chapters. The character interactions are just so fun to read and done in a way that they don't cause the pacing of the story to grind to a halt. Always a big plus!
One the topic of pacing and characters. Vita our main lead feels like real in the sense that she is a product of her past. She isn't out to smite an ancient evil (yet?) or to become powerful and form a harem of hunky men. All she aims for is to support those she holds dear. As for pacing? Well a lot has happened in those few chapters we have and I appreciate the small time skips when there would be down time.
I really hope this story is here to stay. Most fun reading I have had in a long time!
Summary: I highly recommend this story.
A poor orphan finds out that she has a dark power that is considered taboo by a significant part of society. She struggles with learning how to use her power and survive in a world where she needs to steal to obtain food for herself and the other children who live with her in a shack. In a world where death is commonplace in her neighbourhood, gangs control the slums and where literal monsters roam outside the city walls; she also has to hide the nature of her abilities from public view.
The main character is an interesting blend of seemingly contradictory aspects that somehow Thundamoo is able to make work. She is an adorable child with a sympathetic background willing to go the extra mile for those she cares about. She is also a pragmatist who is no stranger to death or crime and is more than willing to kill to not only defend herself but also grow stronger. The other characters are also well-written. Their actions and reactions add additional depth to their character without being inconsistent with the way they have been previously been portrayed. The story does not suddenly change characters’ personality and actions to suit the plot, but allows for more complex figures to provide more interesting detail to the story.
Style, Grammar and Closing Notes:
The writing style is clear and engaging. The narrative has a good pace and I was never tempted to skim over any paragraphs to get to the ‘good bits’. The spelling and grammar are also generally good (though there are a few minor errors).
The story is still relatively new and the chapter release rate is quite fast, so I will update my review as the story continues. Hope this helps.
Review initially written when Chapter 19 (Sticky-Souled Situation) was the latest chapter. Updated when Chapter 20 (Culture Shock) was the latest chapter, as it came out shortly after I finished this review.
The worldbuilding, magic system and the general plot are all very good. I especially like the worldbuilding, with the minor cosmic horror theme in the background being the main reason i'm still reading.
That said i really dislike how the main character is written and how the other characters react to her. Which is obviously a major downside from my point of view. Fundamentally the reason i don't like her, as a character, is because all her personality quirks are forced down your throat by the author on a frequent basis; as well as some of those quirks feeling somewhat mutually exclusive with each.
To give an example of the throat forcing, would be the whole adorable thing. Repeatedly throughout this story Vita does something cute, then the author emphasises how cute that action is by having Vita deny its cute, then some other character will say "wow that was so cute Vita" - which Vita will then deny. This will go on for another paragraph, just to emphasise how really cute Vita is
The constant over emphasization of how Vita is a starving orphan is another one. Multiple times now the author makes a side character that doesn't really like Vita come along to witness how poor she is, so that they can then change their mind and like her. Another example that constantly comes up, is when Vita doesn't understand some concept - because she's poor - and then another character will say "i can't believe you dont know this (thing)". Vita will then proceed to describe how poor she is in weird amounts of detail. Side character now loves Vita more, the reader feels more sympathy towards Vita and the whole world is now acutely aware of how utterly poor Vita is.
Alright i think i've given you the general gist, next point!
So Vita was raised on the streets by herself with no support - until very late on. Despite this, she is very kind hearted, caring and cutesy - thats all fine, seems unlikely those circumstances would cultivate those traits in anyway, but its possible. She is then also shown to be very steadfast, willing to kill and does well in stressful situations - doesn't really mesh well with the first few traits but okay. Then lastly she is shown to breakdown crying after someone was mean to her, becomes incredibly close and vulnerable to people she's only known for a few weeks. None of these traits are mutually exclusive per se, but they are an incredibly weird mishmash and seem to switch quickly depending on whether the author wants to elicit sympathy points or to show her as a badass. Just keep your character consistent and stop trying to make her both vulnerable and cutesy, as well as an independent badass.
Lastly, unrelated to Vita. The invisible mind control slimes, which most people arent aware of, can instantly take over people regardless of power level and can then make them kill themselves. How the hell have they not already taken over human civilisation or just the whole world by mind controlling everything? Hopefully theres a reason in text, but the fact these obviously insanely dangerous creatures are almost completely unknown is weird as hell.
Edit: May i just say i got a downvote on this about 5 seconds after i posted it. There is no way in hell anyone read it that quickly, so whoever you are, you suck big time.
The story reads like some of my favourite books in the entire fantasy genre while staying unique.
It's system of magic isn't the most unique one out there but it doesn't need to be, combined with the world building it becomes it's own original thing.
Speaking of the world building, that's my favourite part of the story yet. The world feels fresh, unique and intriguing with each new piece of information being fed to us in a way that feels natural and repeatedly flips my opinion on whether the world is hopeful or depressing.
The characters feel very human and fundamental disagreements are addressed properly instead of being handwaived away which I again appreciate a lot.
(minor spoilers for MC's personality)
The protagonist has some opinions and tendencies that differ from the norm and that disconnect is very apparent and well handled, with her finding common ground with people but the differences do affect her conversations and relationships and its all very enjoyable to see.
All in all, this has the makings of a true classic and I have high hopes but at the time of me making this review, we're very much in the beginning of the story and depending on its progression and end (or lack thereof) my opinions could change.
I have been reading this author's work for some time and she never fails to impress me with her fun characters and interesting magic systems. She has clearly put a lot of thought into how the world works. Already we have hints of the different factions at play in the setting, and I look forward to seeing how those factions will factor into later escapades. There is also quite a bit of mystery surrounding the main character and her strange power.
The prose is very enjoyable. There is quite a bit of light humor throughout, though it is handled deftly to add to rather than subtract from the narrative. At the same time, the author is fully capable of altering the tone to be serious or frightening when the moment demands.
There is little to complain about in regards to spelling and grammar. Of course all authors make the occasional mistake, but this author is very dutiful in correcting such errors when they are pointed out to her.
The story is just beginning, but already there is a lot of potential. I am particularly interested in the main character having opportunities to learn more about the world. She is also faced with difficult moral questions, as the result of being gifted a power which her society views as evil.
Speaking of characters, the supporting cast are also quite good. There has yet to be a proper antagonist, but almost all the supporting cast are fairly likeable. I will admit, I am not a fan of a particular short-lived bad guy, who seems to exist just to give the main character a threat to use her power on. He could have been handled with more nuance, I felt.
Overall, Vigor Mortis is a promising story, and I look forward to where the author takes it.
It is incredibly difficult to juggle things like pacing, worldbuilding, internal consistency and cosmology without being overtly formulaic and still keeping the reader's attention. Not only does this do all of those things insidiously subtly, it does it while also putting you squarely in the mind of an adorable if misbegotten protagonist. Somewhere in the absurd amount of lore being spun out into the ether is a compelling, genuine coming of age story, complete with crippling self doubt and panic attacks. The level of polish on the writing itself is what really grabs me though, it doesn't feel nearly as rough or unplanned as some of even the more popular titles I've read around here. If I had a critique, it's that the author is biting off one hell of a potentially long story with this.
And I'm here for the crunch. If this ends half as well as it's started I'll be happy.
Scrawny little girl protecting a bunch of fiery warriors, while considering it they would be tasty is the best image I have had on my head for a long, long time.
If you put a mirror to it , it would be a healer at the service of the Inquisition, making sure the prisioners do not die and can be kept in suffering day after day, all the while fantasicing about releasing them all
Liking it too much for my own good. To the follow list it goes!
So, another story that has just started, and I'm reviewing it very early. Note I only deal 5 stars towards the very best stories, mostly after completion. Four stars this early mean that I still liked the story a lot, and recommend. And now for the reasons:
Wonderful fantasy world-building! This story has a weird urban civilization where nearly everyone lives in a crater city in the widst of a jungle. It takes place in orbital flying islands instead of a boring planet with moons. Metal is incredily rare, so other materials are in use. Those are just some concepts, and they are woven into the story as basic facts because it couldn't be otherwise. That world-building is overall consistent and makes for a great story concept, earning five points deservedly. Again, wonderful!
Grammar is next best: There are lots of errors pointed out in reader comments, but author fixed them. Pronto. So when I read it today, it was already diligently fixed.
My gripe with the story that has earned it some style deductions, are the original style that is still apparent: It started as a vote-for-plot story. The choices and the outcomes have been reworked and wrapped up good, BUT there are still some weird mood swings resulting from that origin: Several times, Vita considers all her options like they are all equal, before then choosing a path almost arbitrarily.
And so we come to the character score: I like Vita, she has spunk and is a quirky, blasphemously funny character with a horribly sad backstory. But then, as I pointed out in the paragraph above: She has internal debates whether or not she will murder everyone she meets. That is full-blown psychopathic. Yes she has feelings, and develops friendships, but she remains a survivor-type gutter type, and is ultimately a monster as she admits even to herself. And something I found really odd: She grew up as an emaciated street-kid in a crapsack world. Not as the smart thieving queen from the streets (that is Lyn!) but as the henchgirl who always follows orders and doesn't know what is going on most of the time. The first five chapters are pretty good at that exposition. Yet, as the story develops, Vita leaves behind her background and becomes the smart, street-savy MC who is not only always vigilant, but also scarily good in her rhetorics: witty, sassy, practical and analytical, and most of all, educated with all the big words, leaving behind her street-wise talks and just switching into the role of her life, being a badass.
That development of sudden brilliance stretches my suspenders of disbelief to the point of snapping. Sure: she eats lotsa souls and now got a mental monster sidekick, but her attitude changed before those developments could cause it. I will ignore the glaring inconsistencies in her character development because the story/plot is just SOOO good, though.
Also, the other characters are working pretty great, so despite all the criticism, there are still three stars to have. Thanks for sharing the story!