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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.
Just the quick kind of read i like, short, nice & complete, good to read for some hours.
Some readers may know this author from their other works like A Lonely Dungeon & An Unbound Soul, this story is loosely set in the same universe as those, though that does not become clear until the very end, there are hints of this throughout the story, but nothing clear.
Just like his other stories, the chapters individually are shorter than a standard chapter, ranging around 1K words each, this does not impact the reading experience thankfully as the story was written with that chapter length in mind.
This is initially a dark story, as it deals with experimentation, mental changes & even mental entrapment, the latter of which i can assume quite some readers hate reading at all, this however only applies to the first half of the story, as the author originally intended to end the story much earlier & in a different way, making it a much darker story than this end result, but that didnt come in being, so we got this rather light ending, which contrasts somewhat with the darker beginning of the story as it was not planned.
No problems of any kind with the grammar in this story, completely smooth read all the way until the end.
So yeah, would recommend for a quick read, just beware the dark elements in the first half if you dont like that!
The premise of the story is exactly what it says on the tin, with the monster truly being unwilling. Unwilling to be, unwilling to eat, and completely unwilling to deal with what is going on while being forced to.
Not everyone will like this type of story, as it does incoporate gore, psychological horror, and in general rather dark settings, but these parts are integral to the flow and reason of the story. Cathfach also seems to enjoy weaving mulitversal settings into stories, though at light touches rather than direct walk from here to there as the main focus. The story is rather short, so it should be easy to binge read in a day or so, and can introduce you to not only Cathfach's earlier writing style, but also the method by which Cathfach engages with character's mentalities. This person dies, how does this other person react. That horrific event occurs, how does this group of people attempt to rationalize it or prevent a repeat. Multiple perspectives aid in this, giving the same event different feelings. If you enjoy the grimdark and minor gore, I think you'll enjoy this one.
Few gramatical mistakes with a little wordy for the plot that the author already mentioned due to word requierments.
It was a fun short story of what ifs? I especially enjoyed the exploration of the pyscological side. If you are looking for something short but wonderful story this is it. IT is very stark in not beating around the bush with disciptive horror, so if you don't want to read things that are truly explicit this might not be the story for you.
Looking forward to other writings!
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.