An Unwilling Monster
- Traumatising content
In the city of Kholakel, the highlight of the year for the upper classes is the annual monster pacification of the misty woods. Ostensibly it's a culling of the monster population to prevent them encroaching on urban areas, but it's an open secret that it's actually treated as more of a blood sport, the participants competing to score the most kills. After all, why else would the politicians and elites of the city bother to attend personally?
Given the intense competition and high-tech weapons and gear in use, one might wonder how the forest has not yet been completely depopulated. As this year's culling approaches, a group of unfortunate children are about to discover the answer first-hand, but thanks to an unexpected twist of fate, one of them will score the chance to play the role of the hunter instead of the prey.
This was an attempt at writing something darker than my usual fare. The story I actually ended up with isn't as mean to the MC as I'd originally planned out, to the point that I'm not sure the story deserves the horror/grimdark tags anymore, but this is still an unfair world with unambiguously evil antagonists. Chapters are short to start with, but get longer once the first act is over.
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This is a well written story, but it has a Horror tag, so not everyone will enjoy it. However, the author says they have made the story less horrific than they originally intended, and the chapter entitled "Identity", which I read before writing this review, actually suggested that the MC just might have a happy ending. On the other hand, the subsequent 3 chapters, written from alternate viewpoints, were quite depressing, so readers who dislike psychological horror stories should be cautious.
Some readers may be interested in this story because it may be happening at roughly the same time in the same multiverse as the author's main story, An Unbound Soul. While Cathfach may not have any current plans to link the two settings together, it is something I could easily imagine them deciding to do in the future. This story's world is nasty enough to provide Erryn and her people with a possible adversary, especially since a significant historical event occured centuries ago that could lead them to believe that Erryn was their enemy. They are very close to uniting a capacity for mechanised warfare with the ability to create armies of intelligent magical monsters.
After reading the first chapter I personally was instantly hooked and from then on it just gets more interesting every chapter. I couldn't find a single grammar mistake as well. So check it out ;) Character development is also very good, you can immerse yourself in the character and understand why she does what she does.
Not a lot of stories on royal road tick both the boxes of a) being enjoyable to read and sucking you in for more; and b) actually having an arc with a satisfying conclusion.
while a large portion of the story follows cliche character plots and easy outs, it keeps true to the story in a sense. All characters aside from the protagonist follow a flat line development plot. Anti-hero good, evil bad guys bad, true good people don't exist. It almost feels like monsters dwell in men.
If the story aphid dragged on, or failed to consistently advance the plot, or even just didn't end it would have ended up a solid 3 for score instead. Sometimes knowing when to end makes all the difference.
A tidy little short story, that is succinct and to the point. There are a lot of stories out there that write up the start of a long project and then die 20 chaps in. This is not that. Short and sweet anti hero lead with a monster genre twist.
I did not expect where this was going, but I enjoyed it a lot. A complete work, good grammar & style, interesting characters are usual qualities of Cathfachs writings.
Very nice character developement for the main character. Very unusual and psychological at times, and pretty gruesome even. But it is very well written, allowing the reader to undersrand and sympathize. While the side characters don't get much screen time (Ha Haa! We can use screen time for e-books now because we read it on a screen!) and are often times slightly insane, they are varied and have clearly different qualities and motivations. They don't really get as much depth as the main character, but in my opinion that doesn't matter to the story. I like that the main character doesn't abandon her past and that the people of her previous life still play a part in the story.
The world or rather the main character view of the world ist pretty dark, but this is understandable considering what happened to her. The setting has similarities to our own reality, but with the addition of a pretty catastrophic event in the past. There are still cities, schools etc, but science has taken some turns in response to the monsters of the past. At first I almost got "The village" vibes.
But while it is dark and very cruel at times, it also has very funny moments. I loved the interaction between the main character and various random strangers. I mean, what would you do if you went to the supermarket and saw
a Harpy buying a cellphone? "Cool Cosplay!" is a pretty accurate reaction I think.
Anyway, it's not a long story, so give it a try and enjoy!
Very good story.
I love novels non-human protagonist + female protagonist tags and it was unique.
As an anti- social I am not good with words but I really want to say I like watching our murderous ball of fluff and I want to see more of it, even if it will be comedic ball of fluff.
I know the main story and even epilogue is done but daily life of our harpy girl after epilogue is enough for us.
Before I get into the explanation of my review I would like to remind any fellow readers that reading a novel in a genre you don't enjoy will generally be a poor experience. Thus, I try to judge my rating off of how well it executes upon its own premise, rather than whether I enjoy that premise.
To explain my rating without spoilers:
While the MC is not portrayed in a neurotypical manner (i.e. she responds to situations in a way different than the perceived average human), she still comes across as consistent and believable.
Sufficient body horror is involved to portray discomfort, but it is not so egregious to the point that it eclipses the rest of the story.
The Inciting incident is eventually addressed, but with both enough specificity and vagueness to leave room for speculation without just being confusing.
Satisfactory spectacle moments are included.
There was no bloat that I could detect and I applaud the author for having the courage to trust themselves and end the story where they did. (while I think that the author has a large enough and interesting enough world written here to squeeze out at least a dozen more chapters, I am satisfied and delighted with the wealth of chapters that have been crafted)
P.S. apologies if the review seems pretentious, but reviews that I have previously written were mostly down voted and thus I wish to be thorough with this one.
I read all the other stories on my follows, and decided to give this one a try. Finished it in one sitting.
What do I think?
Spoilers: the scene where I commented sums it up pretty nicely. Where she's eating this Mook limb by limb a talking to him. I felt empathy for her while she was eating a Mook. It's like in breaking bad where you can sympathize with the main character even though he's doing awful things. It helps that the MC is a monster, so as readers, we somewhat give her a pass on normal morality.
Anyways I love a story where I can laugh at dark humor, without feeling awful and gross, and ashamed of myself and humanity.
so first, this story ends. it does not go on and on til the author or readers lose interest.
That being said, the plot is not bad, not as dark as intended i guess, but not sunshine and roses either.
the gramer is good enough that i did not notice errors, not to say they are not there, just that i did not see them.
the characters have some deapth but not tons, feels like normal books that i use to get at bookstore as appose to the other web novels that either have no character depth or entire chapters devoted to backstories of side characters that might only appear once and tons of chapters used to explain every little thing and reason, normally through what the author thinks is great reasoning, why this or that is like this or that. (I have kind of come to hate the whole under rating of mc stuff, like necromancers or blacksmiths or healer needing to 'suck' so mc can be badass with a 'crap' thing/class/profession that is acually good....but only mc know and or can pull it off.)
So to sum up does not have terrible grammer, has okay wold building, there is a plot, and has and end.
i recommend at least giving it a try.
I'm not very good with ratings, tend to give out 5 stars. I do think though that this story is well written and short, a good (part of an) afternoon's read and the better for it.
The author wrote it for the writeathon challenge, and acknowledges that it would have been shorter and more concise were it not trying to meet a word-count target.
For what it is worth, I still enjoyed it enough to take the time to write a review of it.