- Traumatising content
For millennia the demon lords known as the Goetia enslaved the human race, until a group of mortals known as the Archons received divine blessings of power and overthrew them. Under their dominion mankind flourished, though the war in the shadows never ended. A thousand years later, sixteen-year-old Leones' family is executed for the crime of heresy. Burned to death for questioning whether the Archon of Flames is a divine being, and whether any of the Archons truly are.
After manifesting the power to control time, Leones survives and embarks on an uncertain journey for power and revenge. But if he is to overcome a god, he may need some help. Along the way he will discover the truth behind the demon lords, time, and reality itself, as he walks along the razor path.
Artwork is used with permission from the creator, @chinfongart.
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I don't quite know where to begin, and I do not know how to structure this well. This is my third attempt. This time I will cling to the scores in order to give myself a foundation.
Style: The author uses a first person perspective, which I usually find off-putting, due to eliminating distance between the character and the reader, going a step too far if you will. I can say that I did not have this feeling here. Narration of the first person is interspersed with shorter background information about the world and concepts, which is done expertly. At no point did I feel bothered by a lack of information about what was going on, nor did I feel suffocated under long bouts of exposition. The balance for both is as good as I have seen it done.
Story: I will separate this in plot and world building, because I feel both points deserve their time and praise.
Plot wise We follow Leones, a fugitive after his father was deemed a heretic for denouncing the holy order that structures the society they live in. He discovers a unique ability to manipulate time. From here the story follows his perspective as he grows his own strength in order to survive and one day claim vengeance for his family. So far, so good. Where the story shines is in the pacing. Stories focused on progression love to either rush through stages, or go hard in the other direction and and move at a glacial speed, both of which are detrimental to a general pacing.
This is not done here. The advancements of the protagonist are given weight, they are earned, they drive the plot along in meaningful ways as Leones uses his abilities for more than simply becoming a stronger fighter. And due to the nature of his powers, the speed at which he obtains it remains steady and believable, yes he is talented, and is advancing faster than someone not as gifted. This is tremendously well done. I will not go into spoilers here, but I want to mention stakes as well. They are kept and stuck to from the first to the latest chapter I have been able to read, 18. They grow, but with purpose, at an understandable pace and kept me nearly anxious to find out what happens next.
Secondly, the world building. The author mentioned that this story has been worked on for years, and this most certainly shows in the level of detail and thought that has gone into the world. Whether this be the history, the allusions tot far away places and people, the magic systems that are introduced, the cosmology. They give the experience of the journey of our protagonist being a voyage across an ocean with unknowable depths underneath, with fantastic phantasmals just underneath the surface, awe inspiring and terrible.
Every place visited, every organisation met, every great being mentioned has their history, their anchored place in the world, which is shown the reader to truly be a living, breathing thing rather than a changing set of backgrounds and objects. And as I already mentioned under style, this is woven into the actual writing with a great expertise, I cannot commend it enough.
Grammar: I always leave 3 stars for the grammar as an advanced review requires a score in this category. My own grammar is too lacklustre that I could talk about this topic without seeming like a total hack. In the entirety of the 18 chapters of over 50k words, I found a singular small typo I only saw because I read the sentence again after returning from getting a drink. Others may be able to delve deeper here, I found nothing in the mechanical structure that hampered my enjoyment of the story in the slightest.
Characters: It is of my belief that a story has excellent characters when there are none in the story, only people. This story has gone above and beyond to meet this. Leones himself as well as everyone he meets comes off as an individual, given an own story, a purpose, a set of beliefs. They come to their own conclusions about the world they are living in, which go beyond calling something evil, or another thing good. The relationships that form feel genuine, built upon shared experiences and events. Within the part I have read for this review, nobody has felt to be acting contrary to how they were established, not without good reason. Further details would of course mean spoilers, so I would ask you to take my word for this.
I like to round off reviews by giving the author suggestions, ideas or something in a broader or smaller picture. I truly struggle to do this here. I struggle to find something I would have done differently, or had wanted done differently. Everything feels on point, purposeful.
So all I can say is this: Continue just as you are. Someone more well read and experienced may be able to give much more profound insight, that I cannot offer. I can only say that I am thoroughly invested in reading on and finding out more about this awe-inspiring, dark world you have made.
Update: 8.05.2021: The review has been updated to reflect the grammar score being closer to the site´s actual average of 3.8 rather than 3.0. It should still not be considered in this review as I do not find myself capable of critique of someone elses grammar.
An authoritarian theocracy in a world of demons, this can only go well...
This is an incredible story, filled with three-dimensional (or more) characters with depth to them, intrigue and interrelationships, and unique, interesting abilities. The characters interact in human ways, and are actually affected by the world around them, rather than being the same cardboard cutouts regardless of the situation. Not only that, but the world around them reacts, too. There's much mystery afoot, and I cannot wait to see it all come together!
Note: People keep mentioning that this is a slow burn, but honestly, it's not even that slow. The story progresses with every chapter, and there's always something pulling you into the next one. It's just not fast-paced like most novels nowadays are, but that doesn't make it slow.
Randomly picked this from latest updates. I have no regrets. From what I've read this is easily good enough to be a published novel. It's one of the best things I've read on RR, and I'd rank it up there with Journey of black and red. Maybe even better. Stylistically it's different though, being darker and taking itself more seriously. There are no tongue in cheek moments. If anything it evokes the same kind of atmosphere as Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire series.
The writing is mature and well thought out, with beyond excellent world building.
Each character I've come across has been interesting. I initially wrote a bunch of them off as being of a typical trope, assuming they would follow a fairly predictable path within the story. Now that I've read more, those assumptions have pretty much all been subverted. The MC himself is no nonsense and do what it takes. I wouldn’t really class him as an antihero given his situation, but he's definitely not all sunshine and daisies. He'll happily murder someone if needed.
Grammar is nearly perfect, with no spelling mistakes and no misplaced or excessive punctuation. So far I've noticed a single mistake over 23 chapters, with an unintentional change in tense in the middle of a sentence.
The story itself is probably a little typical, but the setting and challenges leave nothing to be desired. The best thing is I cant be sure of where it's actually going in the long run. This is nothing like your typical web serial.
Easy 5 out of 5, and it's earned it.
Desolada is a fantastically thought-through piece of fantasy fiction. We are following the MC Leones who is ripped from his easy-going life as the son of a rich father and thrown into a maelstrom of mystery, action, intrigue and the development of his own fantastic powers as he tries to evade the murderers of his father and find a way to reverse the catastrophe.
Story: The biggest plus for me are the constant plot twists that came really unexpected - a lot of "wow" moments here. That kind of story needs awesome world-building of which we have plenty in Desolada. There is no boring moment even in the peaceful times meant to flesh out the characters - it gripped me from the start and never let up!
Characters: Not only the MC but also most side characters feel alive and authentic. Everyone has a role to play, there is no unnecessary character and I really like Leones and can relate to him.
Style: a few issues here and there, but they were fixed as soon as I pointed them out, leaving nothing I could complain about :-). Generally, the style is very well flowing - the last fighting scene was done excellently: quick and thrilling. I also love the setting and the author excels at creating that fantastic environment with few words which keep the pace fast enough.
Grammar: same as with style - anything I found was edited shortly afterwards and there was nothing that would really stick out, to begin with.
Overall I can recommend this fiction to everyone.
The story was solid, the dialog between character easy to understand and each chapter was long.
I like a story with long chapter because each one give something to the plot and each decision of the mc make sense so I enjoyed his journey to became strong. He also didn't had some heroic complex which annoying.
I recommend this story
This has got to be the one of best stories on royalroad. The world building is spectacular, the characters are distinct and the pacing is perfect. It's definitely got a grimdark and light lovecraftian vibe to it, which is done so incredibly well, the author constantly keeps you curious with tidbits of worldbuilding interspersed in character interactions. There's no long winded dialogue between characters joking back and forth, the relationship between characters is conveyed brilliantly through their actions and main characters ruminations about the present. So much is left unsaid, merely implied and it creates a very rewarding read.
That said, i'm worried this work won't get the attention it truly deserves on royalroad, simply because the readers here trend towards the light and positive as well as power fantasies.
Desolada starts off hard, showing us a bit of action. This start also serves to showcase Leones's powers and to set the overall tone of the story. After that, the story becomes a slow-burn, introducing us to the world and concepts and letting us get used to the characters. In addition, the main plot and several possible antagonists are referenced and introduced, allowing the reader to come up with several possible ways that the story could go.
The grammar was flawless. Nothing bad to say on that.
Leones is the main character of Desolada. He has the power to manipulate time in the form of time travel. Leones is methodic, intelligent, and logical. His goal is interesting- Killing one of the Archons from what I can understand are godlike beings. Despite having the power to control time, Leones mainly uses it for mundane things and has only used it once during a major event. In the beginning, after leaving his home, Leones is at first shellshocked by the change in his lifestyle but slowly eases into it.
The world is very interesting with the potential to grow into something amazing. The world is heavily fitted with themes relating to Abrahamic Demonology, Gnosticism, and Classical Philosophy. These concepts are woven and used well to complement each other such as the Archons being the ones who saved Mankind from the Goetia (Demons). The fanaticism of humans is believable, mimicking that of Dark Age Western Europe, and contributes to the dark and wintery setting of the story.
Anyone looking to read a fantasy set within a medievalesque setting should read this story.
Despite my proclivity to avoid fantasy novels/shows at all costs, I have to admit there are always parallels between fantasy-land and real life. This novel is well-written, has tense ethical scenarios that contribute to character development, and symbolism that reflects the inner-workings of our subconscious minds. Thanks for posting and I look forward to more from the author, fiction and non-fiction. From what I've read on here, this is by far the best.
The world is unique, the story is well written, and it is early enough in its lifecycle to warrant further attention for those reasons. It’s probably worth mentioning that the current pace (ch. <20) is of the story is a slow burn with a focus on world building, and that the main character is not overpowered. Given the main character’s introspection and aspiring philosopher title, this story could make a good case for itself as rational fiction, which is bonus points in my book.
Tl;dr Read the tags. Like what you see? Then you'll enjoy the story.
I don't want to say much besides, it's everything I hope for in a good story, plus more. I can see this becoming one of the top rated with at least quadruple the number of followers at the time of writing this review. I can't find a single thing I didn't like, and I eagerly check everyday for it's updates. The quality is already there, it's just that for some reason it hasn't taken off as much as it should.