A Journey in Darkness
by Mr. White
- Traumatising content
A Journey in Darkness is the story of a human girl who finds herself displaced far, far away from home, in a new world filled with wonders to discover and perils to overcome in her very own way.
Waking up in a cave in her pajamas will only be the start of her problems.
Will she find a way out? Maybe. Will she get eaten while searching for it? Probably.
Is she going to be quite unhappy with the menu offered? Absolutely.
Hello! I’m Mr. White and this is my first story. I hope you will like it!
In this tale you won’t find a powerful main character conquering the new evil world with only the power of his tortured soul. What you will find is a normal person growing and finding her way despite the hardships she encounters in a world that is not so black and white.
I will be posting every Tuesday and Friday and I’ll try to keep as large a backlog as possible.
English is not my first language so I hope you will inform me if you find any mistake in the chapters.
Royal Road Writathon challenge Winner!
Photo by Alexander Jawfox on Unsplash
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I read first 15 chapters and I feel pretty good about this novel. (Some minor spoilers ahead). The system is well made and pretty straight forward, there is no oversimplifying or overcomplicating it's very smooth from what I've seen so far. MC feels real and there is no anoying cliches with panicking for no reason every 5 minutes (she vomits a lot tho, can't blame her i would too), she also doesn't overcome every danger with sheer power of will and determination, she actually uses her brain. The abbilities that MC recives and/or acquires are interesting and while not being op they are useful and have potential.
If things go as well as they do now this novel is gonna be great.
Intersting idea with an original setting, first time I read something that has an underground cave as a setting, I wonder if she will ever find her way out. The writing stile and grammar are on point and give a nice reading experience, don't take my word for the grammar since I'm not a native speaker but it looks good to me
The system and magic system are fairly simple in design but and leave a lot of room for a creative application of power, a lot more interesting then the classic system here skills generally only do one thing. Having a biomancer as a protagonist is also something you don't see a lot, the implementation of how the power works is really detailed.
Now a minor spoiler since I'm a patron so don't read if you don't want spoilers till chapter 27. I'm a bit ambivalent on the spider colony, on one hand is bit cliche, it open a lot of possibilities for future interaction with all sort of possible creature but it's difficult to make a credible animal/monster character that dosn't end up acting like a human, I feel that having Alice go through the cave system completely alone could have been really interesting even if extremely hard to pull of in an entertaining way
There's no "horror" tag, but it wouldn't have been out of place.
There's permanent darkness, caves, tight crawlspaces, insects of all kinds AND sizes, which in a fantasy world always means ... more.
There are also spiders, trippy mushrooms and raw "food".
It's interesting, but sometimes I get the feeling that I'm waiting more to see what happens if/when she escapes the caves.
It ticks all of the boxes I like in a character to start a story like this with, a strong willed female in harsh situation overcoming her horrifically dangerous scenario.
On top of this the chosen setting of starting far from any normal humans so we can adjust to this reality before eventually meeting them on her own terms appeals (though the potential for many other types of 'first contact' remain all of which having just as much potential), and I love the minimalistic system type alongside the updates in sleep stopping it from interfering in the immersion of her deadly survival story and the immediate but still extremely open explanation of the system/power she has simultaneously leaving lots of obvious room for growth without hinting at how she will truly grow within her archetype.
finally I love the chosen archetype of biomancer because let's face it biomancers are cool, with their adaption, regeneration and lack of easy power - any power she gains is a result of modify herself for it which gives it a layer of separation from her just gaining this power which makes all the difference to the reader.
so overall I love it and want more as soon as possible (though the quality retained so far is an important factor to your website style as I have experience it so take that request as the grumbling of a reader finding a new good story without enough already out to satiate their hunger - in other words ignore me and do you!!!)
I thought I should give a review since I noticed no one else has and the story has had a promising start.
The style of the story so far is good. It reads slightly comedic but in a darker sense (think Azarinth healer's style for reference) and also flows well.
So far, the story hasn't had enough chapters to be properly uncovered however the start has an interesting premise.
I haven't noticed any spelling errors or grammer errors so far.
We have only been introduced to the main character so far, however, she seem likeable and thought out, and, most importantly, real.
Overall, I think the story has an interesting premise and, so long as it keeps a consistent, semi-frequent upload schedule, it could turn out to be a great story :)
Dr. Cavescience or: How I Learned to Stop Bleeding and Love the Spider.
The review title I wanted to use was hit with the character limit...
Enjoying this one enough to write a review instead of just leaving a rating. Does that count as enough of an endorsement, considering that I read many many stories but only bother to go beyond the rating and actually write a review for very few of them?
SCIENCE! Not a lot of science but still a nice microdosing of more or less legit science bits makes fiction so much more delicious.
Also, the science methods available while trapped in a cave system tend to be scary and dirty and probably really stinky, but cave science should not be confused with animal cruelty. Mother Nature is a bloodthirsty biatch and it is nice to see stories that don't try to do the "care and fairness values" dance around that simple fact.
I also like spiders, so that helps...
Is it perfect, nope, but it is definitely worth a read. The story basically follows the random world transporter mc model. The mc has until now made both nice and rational decisions, and ones obviously influenced by the her personality, that do not seem rational.
Meaning that the mc definitely feels human, who is smart but also has her stupid moments. So very human, if a bit quick to adapt to her new reality. Nevertheless she is enjoyable to follow, as she is not arrogant, sociopathic, dumb or the "all life is sacred" type...
The storytelling is good, and I think the author settled a bit as the story progresses. Meaning that recent chapters follow a more similar style, which is an advantage for the story imo.
Progression is also good, and while we do not have other humans to compare our mc to, it seems fairly quick but not stupid. Meaning that she to some degree has to earn her abilities, but she is still awarded her main skill from a god-like entity. Though nothing truly unfair or op, so good times basically.
Gramatically there are a few weird sentences here and there, but nothing disruptive to the reading experience.
Wilderness survival? Unique setting? Interesting magic? Grounded yet fantastic creatures? Yes, please.
Style - Overall good, my one complaint is that you over-rely on using Earth equivalent fauna names when describing your creatures. It allowed me to form an effective mental image of your creature and understand what it was, but people tend to not actually think about what we see when we mentally put it in the ordinary box. Even if your creature is just a very big millipede, a millipede when described is TERRIFYING, using both a description of at least their most unnerving features as well as their Earth equivalent creates a much more visceral and terrifying creature while still allowing us to understand what you are describing. 4.5 Stars.
Story - Not much story inherently in the sub-genre you are doing, hard to have an overarching plot when the character is just trying to survive. You do start one later in the story though when you introduce the sapients. 5 Stars.
Grammar - I've been reading Royalroad long enough that I have become mildly grammar blind. I haven't noticed any grammar issues, so at least above average. 5 Stars.
Character - This is where we encounter some bumps, the main character has personality and a distinct voice, but we are over 300 pages in and the literal only thing we know about her is that she is Italian. I'm assuming she is a young adult, that's how she reads anyway, but is she a college student? If so studying what? Does she have a job? Does she have friends? We know nothing about her from before she was transported. You don't need to do a flashback, but even something as minor as a craving for a favorite food, or a frustrated mental rant about what she is supposed to be doing would be major here considering how little we know about her. At this point it is either intentional for a later reveal, or it's a problem. 4 Stars.
World Building - Not a supported category, but I'm gonna talk about it anyway. Big fan of your world building, you managed to capture the primitiveness of the sapients society and its' youth perfectly and in a realistic manner without denigrating their intelligence in the doing. Your creatures are grounded in reality yet manage to be fantastic at the same time. If this was a category it would be 5 Stars.
Misc - You seem to pay a lot of attention to the detail work so here are some details that I notice felt off.
The use of bone throwing daggers/spikes felt off. The reason metal throwing knives work is they are sufficiently heavy to pierce when they hit, I don't think bone is heavy enough for them to work very well. I feel like this would work better if you mention the density of the salamander bones when she is first making them. After all, something that big should have dense bones.
Another one is the use of removed stingers, stingers don't actually contain the venom, venom sacks do. They have to be controlled by the creature. The only way you should be envenomed by a removed stinger is through remnants. I don't know if you were aware of this when you wrote the stinger scenes and the wasp and spider venom is just a lot more potent then I give them credit for.
The final thing is that Alice remarks that she is not malnourished because of all the meat she eats in the latest chapter(34). I'm fairly sure that's not how it works. Malnutrition doesn't just mean lack of calories, it also means lack of variety in nutrients. Someone who only eats white bread, even if they eat a lot, are malnourished. I imagine she would be feeling a lot of minor aches and pains due to lack of variety in nutrients. She would almost certainly feel sluggish due to complete lack of carbs in her diet, especially coming from a modern diet which overuse carbs. She would also likely be facing digestive problems due to eating only meat and a complete lack of fiber, though I imagine you wouldn't want to get into that. Look up carnivore diets if you want to get specifics, human ones, not animal ones.
Overall, this is definitely a story that I both love and have followed. Can't wait for more.
A rather pleasant read, about an Italian Girl named Alice who has awoken in Horrorland. The Horror tag is not merely for show, but I must warn others that the Horror is not the kind you would typically expect or read to get a fright. It's more of a disgust-type horror that you would get from:
Anyways, the beginning was rough, but I quite like the Progression and by chapter 30, I felt fully drawn into the story's world. Let's just say that if I had ten dollars to spare, Mr. White would be getting it for those ten extra chapters up on his patreon.
This story hits all the great notes of an isekai litRPG for me. No incredibly invasive/omnipresent [System] throwing up statpages that chew up page space. Character is rational but not some weird hyper-rational genre-aware person. The risks/decisions are sensible and the consequences also play out in a believable fashion.
My only complaint, is a couple of the latest (as of ch36) feel a bit stretched out/fillery. More specifically,
She agreed to go with the spiders, they show up...and then she just faffs for a few days/a week? And the spiders are okay with that? I know she does some healing/experimentation, but it just seemed like a strained time to do so. Maybe if the communication barrier wasn't so thick that dialogue could happen it would be easier to believe as far as justifying not immediately going to Mother Spider, but it felt like the spiders were weirdly subservient/understanding to her. Rather than getting fed up with her delaying/reneging on the deal and just wrapping her up to drag her to Mother.
Also, and this isn't really a complaint, but I think it would have been a neat detail for her to have tried to bury/funeral rites of some kind with Band-Aid. Even though the spiders may not have that kind of concept and they would think her weird...I dunno. It just felt like a 'missing scene' after the whole Siege arc and with the valiant spiderling allies falling.
The other one that comes to mind is the journey to Mother, I would have liked a more 'viginette' snippets of places but instead it seemed to zoom to one, then spend a lot of time with the jellyfish things, and then zoom from there to the Arachnid Arcopolis.