The Kelras Chronicles
Striving for the stars is a trope-tastic, coming of age space opera, for young adults and the young at heart.
Aristeia has always dreamed of one day leaving the desolate planet she calls home. The daughter of a single father who works as a recycling centre engineer. She spends her days salvaging in the scrap yards, hoping to save enough credits to fund a move to a more populated planet.
After uncovering an old flight simulator among the scrap, Aristeia finds herself with a new goal. To become a pilot and claim the stars for her own.
When her estranged mother, an admiral in the United Astrum Federations space fleet, presents her with the opportunity to achieve the one thing she wants most. Aristeia jumps at the chance to take the entrance exams for the fleet's most elite academy. Only if she passes her exams and basic training can she hope to join the pilot training program and one day reach the stars.
Check out my website, OutBackQuill for news on upcoming books.
My new Patreon is live, I am still in the process of adding content and tiers, but for now I have one tier with access to one chapter ahead of RR release.
Book one, Striving for the stars Chapters 1-32 Fully edited version of Book one available on Amazon, 21/5/21. Was going to do Kindle unlimited, but decided not to tie myself to the Zon. In time, I will be publishing wide, on apple, kobo, playbooks. Also coming soon, book one in audio - Narrating begins soon.
Book two, Seeking the stars chapter 32-ongoing
The Kelras Chronicles is currently planned for eight books, though my MC is claiming she should have more so it may continue.
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So I'm not good with words, so I'll be direct and to the point.
First is that the story itself in the first book doesn't have a big up or down. I don't see any climax or low point by the end of book 1. It feels like the entire book is a build up. In my opinion, good series should have every book be able to stand alone.
Second, the main character doesn't feel real transitioning from the scared girl stepping into the universe for the first time to the first day of basic training where she knows everything and is able handle everything thrown at her, to the point that she is better than actual military brats.
Lastly, this is just a minor irritant on my part when reading, but is the time system here built with 100 seconds per minute and 100 minutes per hour instead of the 60/60?
So, apparently I didn't make the 200 word mark. Let me explain the scores above then.
Style: Very well done, I agree with jacob73 on his review.
Story: So, the story seems like a slice of life story more than an adventure story, so I was expecting more emotional events and as I said above, the whole story didn't have any major ups or downs.
Grammar: Very well done on the grammar, I saw only a few gramatical errors.
Character: So a few characters don't make sense to me, but the main issue was during that transition on the first day of basic, she went from ordinary smart girl to military brat in what felt like an instant.
Anyways, hope this helps.
We follow the step of a young woman wanting to escape her trashcan of a planet. She is recommanded by her mother, a fleet admiral, to enter the officer academy. Travel and surprises follows.
The plot is quite cliché, but the story and characters are well done. It is a good story for a military academy thus far. There is some grammar errors (at least two 'your' instead of "you're") but the writing style is nice for the reader. The dialogs and characters emotions are quite on point.
The main thing missing is maybe that the caracter escape very quickly her home planet, and that the reader has almost no hint about the political situation (is the gouvernement an empire, a federation, a democraty ????, which planet/system/station is the capital ???, etc). We only know of the existance of the fleet and of traders. I feel that the author has created a complexe universe, but is waiting to show its complexity. The problem is that the main caracter is already aware of this complexity, due to her very good academic background.
I personnaly like the fleet academy based novels, and i very much like what i read thus far.
TL;DR: Has some flaws, especially with sparse descriptions and display of world-building, but it is really fun.
This is super long, so bear with me.
Now, I've lurked enough in this site to have a basic grasp on the inherent culture it has when it comes to writing. I've read numerous wish-fulfillment stories which usually dabble on a premise that can be surmised into "introvert-becomes-powerful," the ones clearly influenced by eastern media; and to an extent, I have no problem with them. However, when it comes to printed novels, I tend to give a more critical eye to their writing. Though The Kelras Chronicles is host to notable flaws (as of Book One), I have reason to believe that it is an interesting book that would pique the interest of most.
Style Score - 3.5/5.0
For the style of writing, I would provide 3.5 stars due to the fact that it doesn't quite pop. The story is written in a first-person perspective which is quite unconventional in RoyalRoad narratives, but it isn't enough to make the story stand out. The author, Outback Quill, does not seem to boast a style that is distinguishable from other authors, often going into the meat of a particular scenario instead of providing sufficient descriptions. Though I can understand how that leaves much to the reader's imaginations (as others have stated), it often leaves too much. I've seen authors provide over-the-top descriptions of an area to never be discussed later on in their series, but this is the first time that I've experienced the insufficiency of descriptions.
The benefit to this is that, as I've mentioned, the author goes straight to the subject at hand; though some descriptions sprinkled intermittently, besides the bare-minimum adjectives, would be preferable.
Grammar Score - 4.5/5.0
The grammar is well enough that it doesn't distract me from reading, though others may say otherwise seeing that I would see consistent comments on the punctuation marks and some typos here and there (this being the reason as to why I couldn't bring myself to give that perfect five star). But from the looks of it, the author had patched them up nicely. Hopefully, such issues would be entirely fixed before the main release.
Story Score - 4.0/5.0
This story is truly fascinating. Book One is more of a prologue that sets up the entirety of the series rather than being an installation capable of standing on its own. However, the author has done enough to make it intriguing. The author sprinkles the world-building aspects of the story, opting to avoid the common decision of most authors to forcibly pull the reader into blobs of history and techno-babble that are, more often than not, horribly executed info dumps.
However, just like with my first critique on insufficient descriptions, there is also a problem with insufficient world-building being displayed. From what can be seen, the author has created an expansive history but decided to only trickle in the bare minimum. Some settings, such as the classroom sections of their training, could have been properly utilized in order to do so. I'm assuming that because this Book merely covers Basic training that the knowledge shouldn't be elaborated just yet.
The progression of the story feels just right thanks to the natural pacing of the author. The interactions between characters, their motives, and their past contributed so much to the story, but, the disparity between such well-developed characters and those that sit on the side is pretty evident.
Character Score - 3.5/5.0
As I've mentioned before, the characters provide so much more to the story. The ones that are well-developed (examples of note would be Admiral Harra and Recruit Harris) feel right and are fleshed out enough so that they don't stand as caricatures of who they are supposed to be. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that all of the characters are provided with such attention. I'm personally not fond of how the three women at the start of their training exaggeratedly existed just to show that they weren't fit for the military--only there to act as an annoyance to the main character, Aristeria.
Onto the main character herself, she is unlike most protagonists I've read so far. She isn't like the chaotic or extremely outgoing protagonists of most, but she's also far from the introverted self-inserts a good chunk of authors here would write about. She's a fresh character that lies between, an extrovert confident enough to stand her ground. One that is capable of keeping her personal life from her occupation as a soldier. Though her family, being of the military, does intervene from time to time, such actions aren't hers. She's still a capable individual that is diligent enough not to require the direct involvement of her family to help her.
Yes, I acknowledge that her family did provide her the opportunity to go down this path, but the decisions she made and the actions she performed were a result of her own capabilities. You don't get consistent top marks if you don't make the effort and leave it all to your family.
Anyways, my only gripe with Aristeria is that she is very, very capable. So much so that it seeps into the realm of wish-fulfillment. I will go in-depth with it, so I would discuss some spoilers for Book One:
The part where she just brought up a solution to the thousands of obsolete Fizmo skins out of the fly really brought me out of my immersion. I'm also not a fan of how she transitioned from a scrap dealer to a strict squad leader; the idea behind is explained with the prefatory training she had with her military family, but the execution could do some work. Other than that, her skills in machinery are to be expected due to her history of working in scrapyards and tinkering with common discarded technology.
The story is interesting. Though I did point out some flaws, I did so with the intent that I may, at the very least, contribute towards what I think is for its betterment (take this with a grain of salt since only the author would know what's better for their story in the long run). I was thoroughly entertained throughout my read. It's been a while since I've last read a military space opera, and this one was one to behold. It was truly a fresh story to the loads of similarly-written stories I've been reading as of yet. I truly hope to read more of its installments in the future!
First up I enjoyed this so far and would like to give it 5 stars but it is, in my opinion, lacking a couple of things.
The most notable thing, to me, is the lack of worldbuilding. There is barely any effort put into this area of the story. The nation Ris belongs to could be just about any Human-based setting. There is no history apart from a mention of a rebellion of some kind. There is obviously a navy but apart from pirates, there is no actual threat that I can identify so why is the navy so necessary and so strong (there are 1000s of pilots therefore 1000s of ships)?
The other part of the story that is lacking is any real conflict apart from very low-level issues so that by chapter 32 (with 33 being the end) I didn't feel that much had actually happened. As the academy part of this story is only 8 weeks long it also impacts the feeling of not much happening. I feel that this would be better as a prequel story with longer stories for subsequent years.
All in all worth reading if you like academy style stories with a heroine who wins due to hard work not cheat abilities.
This excellent read seems to be on the path of the life of young girl, Aristeia. The author has stated that they plan on having 8 books so I expect at the current pace the author has mapped out story arcs over the life of our clearly OP main character.
Overall I have greatly enjoyed the story up to this point, Chapter 27. Binged read it one session which goes to show how enjoyable and flowing the story is so far.
However, I believe that some readers may be irritated by the obviously OP build of Aristeia. This is why I did not give full marks for the style score or the character score. I can only assume the author has made the conscious decision to write the story of a character that has been handed the best of everything, ignoring the small setback of being ignored for the first 18 or so years of her life.
If I had to make any sugggestion, it would be to have the MC struggle a little bit to get their items instead of a series of fortunate encounters. In addition, every thing the MC has received so far as upgrades show it to be either the best in class, or even pre production models and that tends to take away from the realism.
Grammar is spot on and I only saw a few mistakes, so the editing is very well done. I think I saw only one your/you're mistake, for example. And one comma out of place.
The story itself is fast paced and this is the type of story I enjoy the most. I literally can't stand it when an author goes into exposition just to get the word count up. Outback Quill has done a good job of having a tight edit and keeps the story on track and engaging without boring internal soliloquies.
I wish the author good luck, and I hope to see them publish this series as I believe it will be well received by the target audience.
Edited to add:
I was constantly waiting for the MC to be punished or suffer consequences from her lack of support of her weakest squadmates. While I've never been in the military, it has always been my impression that leaders are judged not only by how well their best members perform, but also how well they enable the weakest members too. The MC's almost deliberate sabotage of her squadmates without repercussions was pretty jarring and not something I would have expected.
I am enjoying reading this story, even though it is geared towards the young adult age bracket. The author has done a good job of creating a well written MC that you want to follow and see how she succeeds.
Story flow and pacing are great. I have zero issues with progression and content. I am enjoying the slow but steady reveal of the world/greater universe in the story, including some historical references. The MC already knows this stuff, so it is nice to learn of it when the situation in the story requires it, and not before it would make sense in the story via an info-dump. Info-dumps break a story for me, so I am glad they are not present here.
My one gripe would be the over-the-top character tropes that several of the interactions our MC has with classmates fall in to. Their actions are simply too unbelievable, and did ruin the story-immersion for me at that point in my reading.
That gripe though is a very minor issue that did not ruin my overall enjoyment of this story.
Regarding grammatical errors, there are several that are repeated regularly, but the story is being sent to an editor for review. I would expect these minor issues to be fixed after that.
Good story, give it a shot.
TLDR: The author lays out a strong foundation for a wide and complex universe, providing hints and teasing future plot lines and mysteries to be unraveled. Book one starts a bit slow, but starts to get better with the MC coming into her own after chapter 9. She is strong-willed but emotionally worn, rational and quick-witted. Grammar could use some work, but it is not nearly as bad as other works on the site, and the author said she is submitting it to an editor soon.
TLTLDR: Read through chapter 11 before you decide to drop IMO. Thats the turning point.
What, you want my in-depth thoughts? How do you begin reviews? I've never been good at this.
This story unfolds through the eyes of our protagonist, Aristeia, a late-teen who has only known the wastes and hardships of a scrap planet her entire life. Her life begins to change when she discovers a pilot sim, things happen, summary of the initial plot, etc.
My highest rating on the story because I think the author has a strong understanding of "show, don't tell", and knows not treat readers like they are stupid.
She leaves things that aren't immediately important for the reader to understand to the imagination, instead of dropping a paragraph of background every time something unfamiliar is discussed. The author knows I don't immediately need to understand how Dad saved another guy's life in the past, so long as I understand why it is important now and that it will be explained later. Similarly, I dont need to know what a Grignar is the first time it is mentioned. It's clear from the dialogue that it is a large, ferocious beast, and the author assumes you can understand that. Things like this save the reader from paragraphs of info dumps on unimportant things that will get revealed when they matter.
The beginning is fairly slow. That's not to say nothing happens, but more so that everything seems to happen to Aristeia rather than her doing things. The first 10 chapters are mostly her obtaining some advantage or another, which is not inherently a bad thing, but feels bad when so many of them seem to fall from the sky through sheer coincidence. Even bad things in the first 10 chapters only end up helping her. She just so happened to show up at this time, ran into these people, obtained this object, etc. It can be ok since she does start from a disadvantaged background, but it did sap some of my motivation to keep reading when it felt like she took almost no actions of her own to obtain things at first.
After chapter 10, it has alleviated that problem for the most part, and I am much more invested in reading. At least now, Ris' advantages don't just fall from the sky, but through a mix of determination and good old nepotism. The author has also done a fine job dropping hints about some of the deeper plots and mysteries that will doubtlessly be used in later books, which is a good sign that she is thinking ahead and planning for the future.
Additionally, the structure of this universe feels well established and detailed. How would galactic recycling work? Wealth disparity across different systems? How does the government provide standardized education? The author seems to have the answers to questions like these pretty well thought out when they matter.
This is weird. Usually in RR, the grammatical errors that plague authors are mispellings and a complete lack of puncuation. Here, it seems to mostly consist of misusing and swapping commas, periods, apostrophes, etc. It's a bit annoying, but in some ways makes it easier to still read than the grammatical errors on other stories. The author seems to have done a good job following the edits posted on earlier chapters, and she said the story is being sent to an editor on April 20th. Hopefully, that will resolve these issues. I would not let it discourage anyone from reading though.
At times the strongest part of the story, and at times it lags behind. The author has revised some of the earlier interactions between Ris and her mother to provide a somewhat clearer picture of the MC's emotions. At times in the early chapters, it still feels as though we are simply given facts about their relationship that are already implied, while not seeing the emotional consequences.
This, like the rest of the story, improves after chapter 10. The author does a great job at times showcasing the emotional difficulties Ari's past has inflicted, as well as the reactions someone who grew up poor with no friends on a recycling planet would have to things everyone else considers simple. Ari (Ris, whatever I prefer Ari), is stubborn, determined, and rational. She has clear goals, and later on takes unwavering steps to achieve them. At the same time, she is an 18 year old girl, and shows some of the lack of emotional control you would expect. Sometimes she snaps at people she shouldn't, sometimes she holds back tears when she is stressed, and this is all normal and good. She works through real emotions.
The supporting cast is generally well done so far, displaying real emotions and understandable motivations. Most of them don't have super fleshed out backgrounds, like her father, but for many of them it seems like a purposeful decision to leave mysteries for now. Characters act in ways that the reader can understand considering the circumstances they are in, and that is good...
Except for when it isn't. The worst characters in the first 23 chapters are the couple of temporary antagonist introduced to cause problems for the MC. They are obviously not meant to be "the big bad", but their motivations and actions don't seem to make much sense.
Minor "antagonist" spoilers up to 22:
I can't even comprehend the end goal of the pilot of the stargazer. How does ditching the station early and leaving the MC, thus violating your contract, help anyone? They are obviously scared of her mom, so why try to go against her in the first place? And they shouldn't have gotten paid upfront for the transport, so leaving early just means ditching free money???
The Harris kid thinks he's hot cause his brother gave him tips, but his brother wouldn't have warned him they are always being watched? Even then, the actions he takes seemingly targetting the MC are blatant and irrational. His vendetta against her seems too strong for no reason.
Finally, the "blonde girls". It's hard to believe that people with such blatant ignorance and disrespect for authority would be able to pass these super rigorous and selective exams at this top military academy. It doesn't make any sense. How did they get here behaving like that? The motivations are flimsy at best.
It's good, and will be better when the author gets some editing and does some more fleshing out of the early story. I would encourage you to read through chapter 11 before dropping, as I think it is the real turning point of the story.
This scratches quite a few itches in a fun way, like most stories of this style everything either goes all her way or the world starts to explode as she walks past.
This is one of my favourite style of stories, female OP space fleet commanders
The only problem I have is the character has everything go her way currently in the story for numerous chapters.
I prefer the OP bits come from putting in the time not getting twinked up with over levelled gear straight away.
That tends to make characters that are not very good with mere mortals as their underlings.
Only a quibble though, a personal preference, not a suggestion to the author as golden age Thomas Swift adventures are fun too.
So as my title say's, this is a bit of a Farytale in space.
No! Nothing fantastic about it, its a solid SiFi setting without the often seen Quasi-Magic-Additions (at least not to where i could read).
The Fairytale im talking about is the kind of nostalgig Children stories, who, you should remember, dont have to be childish. Its just... nice, a little touch of disney if you'd like (not quite the quality, but it sets the same mood).
In part it reminded me of 'The little Lord Faunleroy' (if there is still someone who remembers that particular story ^^) in a Military setting regarding her Family. Overall, it feels like a very wharm hearted story.
If i should sum it up: Its a lighthearted coming of age story - in space - a nice read without making the reader develop bad fealings (expect if you expect something else).
So far for the good parts. The not so good part id say is that its a lot tell but no show. Events are quick to be over with a kind of story teller way of going through it all. It makes it 'fast paced', but id wish the author had given those events a bit more love.
But to his credit, he focuses more on the interpersonal dialogs with family/friends + her own inner workings. That dosnt excuse the whole glossing over all the other happenings. As i wrote, tell, but no show.
'She sat at the table with the officeres, had some arkward conversation' - The End.
Here, as an example, what i mean with glossing over everything that is not deemed worthy of a better description.
All in all, it has its clear faults, but i still kinda fell in love with it because, while i would squash it in any other kind of story, this one kinda wormed itselfe in my 'nostalgig mood drawer' and reminded me so much of a Futuristic Fairytale, that i can only give it a clear Tumbs Up. :)
the title says it all, this is a very competently written, ubelievably bland and generic, painfully formulaic and boring wish fulfillment story with an MC so absurdly OP and generally beloved by the universe that i honestly expected to see the opening pages of "my immortal" go past my eyes as i scrolled past the first few chapters.
Style: there is none. that's a fucking shame. god does this universe need some goddamn details. do we know what any of the ships the MC plans to pilot look like?? any of the stations she visits?? the shapes of the parts and tools she utilizes in her role as a scavenger/mechanic/engineer?? a proper description of the hoverboars she so loves?? literally the only thing given more that a single adjective in the entire story is her Ai Drone's knock-off ferby skin. unbelievaly subpar
Grammar: the story is grammatically correct and understandable, i've seen few typos and syntax is fine as well.
Story: in the first 7 chapters future Pilot Mary Sue solves the case of an inter-planetary smuggling ring, corruption in the military industrial complex, faulty AI coding in a mass market drone worked on by a team of unbelievably talented experts over years intended to be sold in the billions by a interstellar mega-corporation, fixes design issues missed by said mega-corp's head designer and gets handed royalties in perpituity ensuring she'll be fabulously wealthy, becomes instantly beloved by everyone she meets....you get the picture.
Also it's made abundantly clear her father has contacts all over the galaxy in incredibly high places, yet chooses to work 16 hour days 7 days a week in a metal reclamation plant on a garbage planet for almost no money, and dooms his daughter to a life of absurdly dangerous work scavenging in freshly dumped space trash for scraps..... basically the author somehow didn't realize that the emotionally distant borderline abusive admiral mother who views her daughter as a potential resource and mostly an unwelcome distraction is actually the much better parent of the two, but doesn't ever adress it in any meaningful way.
Character: well...... the MC is an annoying sociopathic automaton programmed to be utterly incapable of anything but the most optimal solution to any situation she finds herself in, every other character has a single character trait and nothing else, except for the uber rich playboy mechanic love interest she hopes to serve under, who posesses a grand total of 2 character traits, mechanically inclined...and* hot. truly who could ask for more /s
also, the man character's name is aristeia..... fucking seriously?? It's like naming your character "Jesus Christ" or "chad thundercock", because for those who don't know and won't google, it translates to "moment of excellence" except the story can't have just one moment of excellence, the MC's entire life is unending perfection and glory, so in the end it's just bland forgettable background noise.