For Irision - Book One Complete!
- Sexual Content
- Traumatising content
Labeled as both traitors and heroes, Aries and her Space Corps trainee crew try to reestablish their lives after being imprisoned by the Council after disregarding their orders and trying to rescue the inhabitants of a doomed planet.
Winner of the Royal Road Writathon challenge
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Someone recommended this book to me. So far I am really loving it. I'm a big fan of first person narration. The trade off can lead to not enough descriptions but it isn't a problem here for me. I find the author was able to establish a good balance. The exchanges between the characters really help set the tone. Through the dialogues, we get a good grasp of the different characters' personality.
The story is easy to follow and moves at a good pace.
This story is interesting enough to please most Sci-fi fans. The chapters move along at a good tense, and the progression of events are stellar.
There are a few grammatical errors, such as punctuation errors and sentence fragments. As some have pointed out, there needs to be a bit more description to make the world and the characters more vibrant. For example, it would be nice to know about the different serv-bots. The settings also need a bit more. I would have liked to have known, for instance, about the building they were in, and why they were eating in the kitchen instead of in a mess-hall, since it seemed as though they were on a military base of some sort.
That aside, the story and the characters are gripping enough to overcome this flaw. I enjoyed reading it.
For Irision is a wonderful story filled with well thought out details and emotions which make the world and characters feel so real. The way the author weaves all this so seamlessly into the story makes it a joy to read.
Style: The story is written in first person POV which surprisingly works very well here. Often in first person POV you get to know a great deal about the narrator, but little about the other characters. That isn't the case with For Isirion. Through conversations, events, and back story we gain an intimate understanding of the other dominant characters. The only real issue I have with the story is an initial lack of description. This does improve over the course of the story however.
Grammar: The gammar is uniformly good. Only found a few instances where the work choice was a little odd.
Story: The story begins in the aftermath of events which have made the members of Crew 761 traitors and they try to reestablish their lives. The actual events are slowly revealed over the course of the story providing a strong sense of mystery and character development as we see how each member of the crew deals with the ramifications of their actions. The book is represented as a means of telling their side of the story and revealing the lies told about them. There are time jumps within the story which might at first seem jarring, but they end up making perfect sense and are consistent with the book's purpose.
Character: This is where For Irision really shines. Through conversation and events the backstory and personalities of each character are revealed. In the process, we also learn about the world which shaped them. The five members of the crew are represented as unique individuals and the interaction between them rings true to their individual personalities. It's these interactions that reveal the emotional consequences of their actions and how their lives have changed.
Overall: Although I did give Style only 4 stars, my overall rating for this story is 5 stars. I think the exceptional performance in the other three categories more than makes up for the lower mark in Style. If you're looking for a unique sci-fi story with a wonderfuly detailed world and characters, then read For Irision.
Honestly there isn't much I can say beyond what was already said, I would encourage anyone to read it as it is really good.
Grammar: Was good and even if there were mistakes here and there, they never really detracted from the experience and were quite rare.
Style: I'm not really a fan of first person POV's as they are quite hard to write. However, when done well, like in For Irision, you really feel like you are experiencing the world together with the POV character. The only negative I can say is that I did get lost when multiple people were speaking at once and had to re-read some parts. This problem was solved later on and only the dialogue in the first few chapters through me off.
Story: The story starts as the main characters are branded traitors, technically true even if it was morally the correct decision, and have to try to find their way in the world again. I liked the story mainly due to the mystery and more importantly the character development. The worldbuilding itself is also great and there is a lot of 'show, don't tell' where the reader has to piece parts of the world themselves.
Characters: Each character is slowly build upon and expanded but more importantly, they felt realistic and their struggles were really well presented. I was impressed with how well the interactions between the 5 characters were juggled and the fact that each on was more or less their own person. The way they deal with PTSD and so on really highlight that the sould of this story is the characters.
Overall: I would solely recommend it for the scifi parts, as there is a lack of good scifi stories on RR but the additional amazing characters and gripping mystery are just the cherry on top. I definitely recommend the story but do keep in mind that you will be depressed while reading it.
Underpromise, overdeliver. That is my motto, including but not limited to when I write a review for swaps. But sometimes, there are instances that I couldn’t do just that, and here is one of them.
For Irision is a story of Aries and her space corps team. It’s captivating, teasing, and punched me in the stomach with thousand butterflies just by the half of its opening. The author know how PTSD work. Know know.
It haunt your dream, it color your perception, it made even moment of levity, of fun that should be spent with friend, with families in joy, in happiness, and in content, filled and filled with dread. And you couldn’t help but notice a question repeating in your head ‘what bad thing would happen next?’(see chapter 5)
Reading the story made me remember my bad days, not that because the story isn’t written well, opposite of it, because it’s so well written, it trapped you inside with its immersion. It told and reflects in all honesty how those dark depressing days passed for us who had the misfortune to experience it. Which is apt since the main character and her team were involved in a planet-scale calamity. And instead being rewarded for saving who could be saved, for exhausting all available avenues that consent oneself to conscience, they were forgiven instead. As if the row and row of saved souls, innocent and begging, worth less than a sliver passage of unflexible law.
The characters, the style. For the main characters there are no question about it. The author thrice triggered me when reading it, The only reason I managed to finish until chapter 7 is because I read it in three sitting and for the last sitting, I just woke up. And the bad emotion in my mind still being kept checked by after sleep glow.
For other characters though, I found it a bit difficult to parse. Mostly because the author introduced several speaking characters at once with minimum description. Since until the end of first arc (2 weeks after) we mostly given perspective of the MC inner thought, the fragment of personalities that could help identifies one character from another felt a bit short.
The story. What I love the most about the story are the details. The bits and bobs that shown little by little to give shape to the world. Like the intake days, the ‘Draft vs Volunteers’. It didn’t feel forced and showed the author’s control of show don’t tell. The only nitpick I have for the story aspect is the pacing, and that really stretching it. However, in my opinion, while the first chapter is nice for setting the mood, the second one seems to me just a tad bit extending the inner turmoil too long.
Grammar as always not my specialty. I noticed one, two typo or missing conjunction, however it’s nothing major and just need a fresh eye for proofreading.
To summarize, the story is gripping in the right way and of course recommended. Just word of caution, warning tags exist for a reason.
Disclaimer: This review was created as part of the swap with the reviewer story — Tales of Unlikely Wizard in accordance with the Royalroad Rules regarding Review Swap. Reader discretion is advised.
[Spoiler-free! Foreword: I agreed to do an advanced review with the author in advance, but this does not affect my scores in any way :) ]
This is a very interesting story, and extremely impressive especially considering the short timespan in which so much was produced (for the Writathon challenge)! One thing I can say for sure: stick with the book. It has a slightly clunky start (totally understandable), but gets its footing fast, and keeps building and getting stronger. With a large cast of characters and an entirely different universe in-place, this books takes time. I’m definitely going to read on; it’s a rewarding read that isn’t immediate gratification, isn’t immediate on the worldbuilding—it focuses on character at its core, which differentiates it from hardline sci-fi, though this is more YA sci-fi. It’s a promising story that will only get stronger and stronger; I highly recommend if you’re a fan of YA sci-fi! (Or the general YA genre!) If you like books like “Ender’s Game” (Orson Scott Card), “Zodiac” (Romina Russel), “Cinder” (Marissa Meyer), and/or “Illuminae” (Time Kauffman/Jay Kristoff), check this one out. Or just see if you like it! It's a lot of fun.
Best part right here! Love the characters <3 The more time you spend with them, the better you understand them. They each are dynamic and varied, with strong personalities and voices! It’s a challenge to differentiate them all at first because we see them all at once, but as we learn more about them, we realize their backgrounds. (Penny in particular has my heart). Flashbacks help readers see the evolution of the characters and give a lot of depth. They’re realistic, mature, and strong—characters that you want to root for. They’re the core of the story and are such a wonderful team with even better chemistry—if you want to see how a group is written well, check this out, and keep reading.
Light on the sci-fi elements. It’s very entertaining and not bogged down with worldbuilding or exposition; it is a slow build (which I prefer). Many questions at the start, but no sudden hook or pull. It works to the story’s benefit, though—it primes readers to get ready and strap in. There are a ton of story elements that will definitely come into play: main plot, subplots; a lot of opportunities here. It has an interesting hook and a story beneath that hints at revolution. I’m curious and excited to see where it goes!
Good! A few errors here and there, some repeated. It was mostly superficial though; it didn’t entirely hinder my reading, but there were enough for me to notice. For a casual reader, it’s hardly noticeable though! Sentence structure is varied and speeds/slows when needed.
I’ll be honest—this is probably the weakest of the general classifications to grade upon on strict writing style alone. However, as a draft (and keeping in-line with this being for YA), it’s still strong. My biggest issue is that the story did a lot of telling, not a lot of showing. (This can be a personally subjective point, but) readers can generally infer and gather clues rather than being told explicitly how Arie felt. I’d love a little more individuality and style; if this is a space story, maybe more flair in the descriptors all connecting back to stars, steel, space, etc. Or more personality from Aries’s own perspective interjected into the descriptors. Dialogue flows very easily, and characters have great chemistry. POV was perfect choice—see below.
POV (under style): 1st-person limited, extremely fitting and smooth. I didn’t even notice that I was reading it from a 1st-person perspective until I double-checked, ha! It works to the story’s benefit, centralizing Aries and her experiences. She’s the anchor in which we view the world, and she’s a very strong character; a good one to centralize. POV is the perfect pick for the story and definitely bumps up the style score :D
Minimalist, but just enough to be understood. Part of the fun of having a wholly new environment/universe(s) is the chance to build everything from the ground-up. So far there seems to be amazing groundwork to grow from, so I’m excited to learn more! It’s harrowing and sad, but the characters aren’t broken from it. It only makes them stronger.
The cover’s extremely well-done! :D I adore the text with the Alexa Lee on the bottom with the cuts; that’s super cool. I’d maybe make the ‘For Irison’ a little bit of a lighter shade of gray, but it’s a gorgeous cover!
Highly recommend; check this one out :)
IT'S NOT EVERY DAY that you see stories on Royal Road with as much life and attention as the likes of dreams, or perhaps farfetched fantasies we all wish we could slip our tiny banana fingers around. Alexa Lee's For Irision is the closest I've come to see of these spectacular dream-esque worlds. The world Lee creates hosts the more imaginative concepts of literature and sprays them out in a jumble of colourful supernovas. By the beginning, this setting is borne into existence through the process of characterisation, a minimalistic writing style, and a connection between the future and the past. It's a diverse, sprawling dystopia, and rich with life beyond reality's reach.
I can't help but recognise the tropes of anime and pop culture when reading this story; it is an exaggerated version of the world we've come to know, with certain controls that limit the characters. With this in mind, the issues encountered were notable but not without connection to the intended purpose of the prose (as far I recognised).
STYLE - 4/5
There was that sense of minimalism permeating the prose. Lee sacrifices bulky description and/or psychological passages for a quick beige narrative. This style starts off great; it has flavour, it places everything in an order of interest, it develops the main character's foresight, as well as her attention to little details which may or may not foreshadow future events. And it is this same piece of foreshadowing that conjures that level of suspense one looks for when diving into Science Fantasy, and perhaps most other genres, as well. Something I could compare the style to is Karen Rose: bullet-fast, astute attention to small details, and a focus on themes. The themes of suffering, friendship, and perseverance are no doubt a large part of the style and shape it into something more powerful in the long run.
Later on, I couldn't help but feel that it lost that sense of suspense, and this could be for multiple reasons. I think that some chapters are too heavily dominated by dialogue to grip the readers' attention and steer them in a solid direction. Of course, this isn't so much a problem earlier on, but in a way, the later chapters feel rushed and without purpose, as though they were written to bridge the gap between two important events. This process does not dwindle as the narrative goes on, which in my opinion, is a direct result of speed-writing. Now, the author is editing the chapters one by one from what I can see, so it's not something I feel needs to be turned into a massive issue. Nonetheless, there are moments where the pace loses its composure: each description (paragraph) is composed of mostly two extremely long lines, a lot of the time including "and/but/yet" etc. At times I want the author to slow down, take each process step by step as though it were cinematic. This would not only make the prose more composed, but it would greatly improve the overall readability and pacing. Likewise, words like "as" (I think that once an author removes "as" from their vocabulary, they become 10 times better) could be substituted for more exact descriptions. Paragraphs could be made into multiple lines to slow some areas down, and for the areas that need that extra speed, they could have lengthened sentences. A lot more chapters could be prose dominated instead of dialogue dominated; it can become tiresome to have the teenagers take the spotlight all the time. It eventually takes away from their overall attractiveness.
The style of dialogue is mostly just a mistake. At times I don't know who's talking because there are no dialogue tags. Sometimes I can guess by basing it off of who spoke last, but there are times where the response doesn't match said character, which made me believe it was someone else, and that made everything a puzzle to unravel. I recommend adding tags in most instances or descriptions. They don't necessarily all have to follow the same layout, but it is important to clear things up and make things as easy to read as possible.
An aspect that I loved about the style was its ability to run like a dream. The scenes that I could imagine felt like something I would experience in sleep, a resplendent aura of images. They segue from one to another in an indirect fashion, which helps in that feeling. It reminds me of one of the older stories I wrote, where the stars and sky held a sort of poetic essence; and wouldn't you believe it, that came from a dream.
I suppose what the style lacks, in general, are descriptive adjectives. Throw in a couple of fancy words; no one will complain, and it may just contribute to the dream aesthetic.
GRAMMAR - 4/5
It should not be a surprise that a quickly written story has many typos. There's not as much at the start, but there are a lot later on. Most of which are the same mistakes, or a different strain of the same mistake: misplaced dialogue tags, run-on sentences (ones that could be split into multiple [Check Style]), occasional spelling error, incorrect placement of dialogue (they tend to have no speakers sometimes [Check Style]), and strange sentences. The strange sentences I let slide because sometimes that's the natural shape English takes. I'm not sure some sentences meant what they conveyed, and sort of just assumed that they were trying to say something else because the initial idea didn't register with me. I think I've pointed most of these out in the comments section. I don't think there were any misused words apart from "laid", but my memory isn't always accurate, so I wouldn't quote it.
As a recommendation: seek editing help from writing Discord/Guilded servers (I know one with traditionally published authors if Lee would like to join). I don't recommend Grammarly since it can mess up writing quite easily, and Hemmingway doesn't even correct anything, just points things out that aren't necessarily mistakes at all. A set of human eyes will be best, but of course take everything with a grain of salt, since there are pedantic eyes among them.
This would be a strong recommendation since there is only so much one author can do with their own work. They might even help with stylistic issues if you ask, but grammar should be a priority.
Another recommendation is to continue what you've already been doing: re-read. Something I used to do is print work out on a Google doc since it's much easier to spot errors on paper than on a screen.
And if you do all that, it'll be divine. Not right away, but eventually.
STORY - 5/5
The story itself has some nice tropes. As I said it's like a dream. There is a clear air of Science Fantasy billowing across the pages. The beginning especially holds a special place in my heart: a group of believable teenagers, a distant dystopia, a world where great advancements in technology had been made. It truly takes a while for the main juice to come, which is fine. I don't mind a slow burn in science fiction.
The events that follow seem to cut from one to another like a movie or TV series. The only hiccup this brought about was Aries' early nightmare, which didn't seem to fit or have its intended effect.
I think the story's sequence of ideas could be sped up quite a bit; I don't see a need for some scenes to happen, at the very least they could be summarised in a paragraph, and then some of the more interesting ones can arrive faster. And that should be something Lee thinks about: how can I bring this interesting idea quicker? Sometimes, we have to kill the soft moments for the sharper ones, because pieces of dialogue (in this case large amounts of) will eventually run out of steam. You can achieve the same effect of characterisation by cutting back and adding more prose. You can add a summary paragraph at the start of a chapter and include dialogue from there onward. There are so many different ways to skin the cat. Choose what works best for you, but have that level of diversity that people look for when reading.
This is more of a personal take, but I think a prologue would be very powerful. A short (emphasis on the short; do not make it too long) prologue to hint at a powerful event. Some books like to start with a dialogue piece from the ending, some the middle, or some just quarter-way through. I think the prologue would not only make the beginning more gripping but it would complement the following chapter very well. You would show the threat, and then show the threatened. Just my opinion.
CHARACTERS - 4.5/5
I was torn between 4.5 and 5 stars for this one. While each character is clearly interesting, vivacious (apart from Aries), and down-to-earth, there's nothing to really separate them except for some tropes I never really expected any of them to have to begin with. Mannerisms are your friend in this case: they should be used in every character interaction. One might scratch their head when nervous, one might laugh at every awkward statement, one might bloody well bite their nails. Whatever it is, it should be used as a magic weapon. You could even weave character descriptions into the interactions to emphasise their differences; it will help make the scene more imaginable and believable, and when coupled with the suggestion of adding dialogue tags/descriptors, will make them smooth as butter. I didn't like how all the characters seemed to talk the same way, but that could be because they each had similar backgrounds and education; nonetheless, I strongly believe mannerisms need to be put in place.
I enjoyed the mechanic of the group being able to communicate with one another through telepathy, even though it caused a great deal of confusion at the start. I eventually began to love its effect. It can most definitely act as a solid plot device.
Although I'll probably not be continuing the story for dyslexia reasons (I can only finish books that have a polish of mastery as from the likes of best-selling authors, which nowadays seems to be rare on writing sites), I can see it going places with guidance. How long that will take, I have no clue. It entirely depends upon Lee's willingness to make it the best it can be.
OVERALL - 5/5
As I said, while I'm dropping it for personal reasons, I can only recommend it to fans of Science Fiction. The story is solid, and with polish, can metamorphosise into something spectacular. The writing style helps greatly in adding that spice of dream to its bones, establishing a sense of wonder within the readers, and the possibility of what might be.
For fans of the stars, of space, of open skies with tremendous flying objects, this is a must-read again and again. You will love the lifelike personalities of the characters, the verisimilitude of the prose, the story that seems to write itself. It's a wonder for those that look to the future as a means of escape.
This novel is written in the first person perspective of Captain Aries, a sixteen year old girl who is the main leader of her team and friends. Based on the name of the chapters the story has a certain time frame between the past and the present time. There are a lot of characters, and we get to know them as the plot goes on.
The novel does an excellent job portraying the main character's feelings and thoughts. Not just her, but all of them: Gem, Cass, Peggy, Cory. Each person in the group has their own distinct voice, and this is shown through the mind dialogue that they share with each other. We can immediately tell what kind of personality each character has by the way that they interact with each other.
Aries, in general, is a very responsible but traumatized character due to her past experiences. I like how the author incorporated this into her personality and, based on the first chapter, Aries tells a child who is a fan or admirer of what she and her crew did was not as heroic as the young boy pictures it. It's a fanboy moment, but one that goes very dark and serious. She snaps at him, wanting him to not glamorize something that she knows is far from pretty. It was interesting how he appeared shocked for a moment, and then smiled. And it is through Aries' reaction alone we know that she is angry at the system that she is in.
What's brilliant about this scene, is that you can see how these experiences had hardened her and given her a more mature outlook on life, despite the fact that she herself is still so young at the age of sixteen. This does show, in this world, and in the real world too, children are put in horrible situations where they are forced to grow up quickly.
A major issue I had was that I had to reread the first chapter to try and understand things in context. I wasn't sure who was who, or what the Council was in the beginning, or why the characters were in the situation. The author does continue to improve with this issue by the second chapter , but I would recommend going back and re editing the first one.
I would also suggest adding medium sized paragraphs in the work, and finding an equal balance between exposition and dialogue. There are a lot of conversations in each chapter , but I suggest perhaps writing a scene without dialogue, and then include a conversation in the next scene. We could see Aries' inner thoughts, vivid descriptions of the area or place that they are at, etc.
Grammar is excellent, only a few typos were there.
I'm also curious towards how they are able to read each other minds, but since I'm really early in the story I plan to keep reading to find out.
The author is talented. Her dialogue is some of the best I've seen on the site, which leads to an emotional connection with the characters. The love that the group shares for each other is really strong, and you can tell that they are all fighters. Although it is heartbreaking what Aries has gone through, I'm getting an idea that her not seeking treatment immediately after such a traumatic event would lead to something far more dangerous. However, I think the author could use this as an advantage, along with all other sorts of mysterious things going on. I'm also curious about what the Council is, since I'm assuming it's some sort of power or system that went horribly corrupt and is causing our main characters to suffer.
Read from chapter 28-33
If you like sci-fi, you will like this. If you like the genre at all, you will like this. It is very well written, with sparse issues. As the
The style has two issues- 1: wordiness-very slight and rare, though it could be improved. 2: The dialogue can be a little difficult to follow- there are a little too many paragraph breaks, but nothing too distracting.
The grammar is generally fine and doesn't impede the reading experience.
The story is a little slow-paced and doesn't have one big hook, but it is well written and interesting. From the little I read, I think it could use more cohesive themes. I think the imagery could be better, such as how we don't get a good image of Irision as it explodes. I think its biggest flaw could be its pacing since it takes 33 chapters for the inciting incident to really kick off the story, turning the main characters into fugitives, but the chapters aren't really that long, anyway.
Character: The characters seem good all around, with unique personalities and believable pasts, though the weaker of the two is their personalities. I think they are slated to grow exponentially after they become fugitives, however.
Overall, a really good story that shouldn't be underestimated.
Read the first six chapters. Intriguing start with a solid introduction into a lively group of characters. The writing and dialogue hooks you quickly from one chapter to the next.
Story: The culture and societal system is developing as the chapters progress. Intriguing opening for Captain Ares with good hooks as we learn a little about their previous history. The awards and the positioning as tutors puts them in a good position for me to learn from side characters.
Style: Internal dialogue is good. I have a clear sense of the company and some of the surroundings. The audio and thought dialogue is solid. Pacing keeps steady.
Grammar: I'm not skilled enough to identify the actual issues. There did seem to be places that would work better grammatically.
Characters: Captain Arie has been developing clearly especially during moments of . The characters seem young, so the flaws and assets are simple and I’ve yet to see any direction in their arcs which is normal at this stage of the narrative. Gem, Cas, Peggy, Cory I’m learning a little about as we go, I would not be able to discern them without dialogue tags yet.
Overall, a good read that I'd suggest. The society I look forward to learning more. The few chapters I've read have left a solid interest in the team.