Adrift: Raven's Wail
- Traumatising content
William was trying to fix his past mistakes when suddenly everything came to an end. Given a second chance, he now strives to figure out his place in the fantastical world of his favorite game, but not everything is peachy in the beginning, for together with him is the young duchess Lucrezia Sommer Wulfgrem, the first major villainess of the game, and former owner of the body William now inhabits.
Follow them on their shared struggle to uncover a dangerous conspiracy that will engulf all of the duchy of Wulfgrem.
An honest shake at the Otome villainess genre, where I’ll try to the best of my limited abilities to write something that many other novels in the genre tend to gloss over.
English is not my first language;
All criticism is welcome!
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[Winner of the Royal Road Writathon challenge]
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Wow, this story is all over the place. Parts of it are genius, but that is within a framework and pacing that is a mess.
I will give a clear summary here. The story feels origonal and exciting. The emotions of the characters seem fleshed out. The world feels deep. I think I have been more caught up in this story than most on RR.
HOWEVER, the pacing is a disaster. The world building is chaotic. The timeline doesn't make sense. The levels of magic also inconsistent. The gods are also inconsistent.
.... So yeah, it is something alright....
To the author, the bigest issue you have is pacing. Specific issues below in spoiler, but there are 3 chapters before his death (which is fine if you are going for a slow burn, but your pace after their joining is frantic to say the least... And those 3 don't seem to have mattered at all and were boring and confusing).
If you gave backgrounds slowly to each of these character she meets and built them up, this would be a great arc for each one but they are all rushed. Basically Will's background should have been 1/2 chapter at most and Lu's should have been 1 chapter... Then each arc for the elves, dwarves, plauge, planing to decieve the priest, should have been like 5-10 chapters each... Not 1/2 -1 each
Again unique and interesting story in bit if a mess
Style is there
Grammar is good
Story pacing is a mess as I said, but interesting
Characters feel like they have emotional depth, but other than the 2 MCs we are too rushed to build up to any others.
Seriously, the first 3 chapters were a slow and because of the intro we know they don't matter
The next 3 are more on point, but really should be streamlined. Slowly build up who is who, there is WAY too many people we don't know about and it is hard to follow.
This building up characters is basically the bigest flaw as I said above. If you give a characters back story as a lore dump before we meet each one it is amateurish at best. You are better than that.
The timeline in the game is confusing to say the least. She apparently leaves for 2 ish years while people starve and the curses are thrown around but it doean't go anywhere until the protagonist comes back?
Elements of the world go back and forth between legend and common place. First it seems like the elves and dwarves are myths, then we find they rule other countries openly. The dragon is to be feared, then she is a open guest with dragon kin running around everywhere. The gods are apparently all powerful, then basically do nothing and just send a priest. A ward destroys the entire harbor, but apparently a pistol is better than her magic that can rip a guard's brest plate apart from distance? Is magic super powerful or a joke?
Their bond is interesting and being explored slowly, but he doesn't go back to the monument like ever.
There is more to complain about, but basically it comes down to needing to slow down and build up the interesting story to let the gems of unique story actually be apriciated.
Ok, so... not the best at expressing myself here. (The fact English is not my first language not helping)
I'll start from the premise: never seen something where the villain of the otome game (if it can be called like that) and the one from our world are still both there. Reading both prologues it can be glimpsed how the 2 MC will work together... they're kinda similar while (from what we could read) having strengths and weaknesses complementing each other well.
From the prologues we can see astory well written, with a good overview of the mess they will find themselves in and the world around them.
I couldn't find grammar mistakes but if they aren't simple things or frequent enough I don't know how accurate I can be...
Waiting to see how the story will go.
(I found pretty interesting the way gods and goddesses were portrayed...)
Just to get it out of the way, I'm a friend of the author, as noted in the review title.
That being said, in fairness the story suffers a lot from pacing issues, often going breakneck speed only to slow down for one chapter, before resuming. This leads to many details and relationships being short changed, and a lot seems to be done with hand wavium.
On the plus side though, The characters that do have sufficient time are well fleshed, and the world is extremely interesting. Grammar is for the most part quite good, with any bad mistakes getting fixed once a pass over is given by the audience. Plot is also good, with plenty of things happening in the world to make it feel full as well, so you won't be disappointed on that side.
Author has already said they intend to do a large editing pass to fix the pacing once they get into a good spot to do so as well, so look forward to that
First of all the story has decent grammar (afaik as non native speaker) and the prosa flow's well enough.
We have an interesting world with glimpses of an interesting magic system.
The characters are interesting and clear goals. So far so good.
Tge story has here or there some elements that seem a bit strange but that's ok.
The main problem is at this point pacing at some points it seems to fast at others to slow and at some points both.
And all that while half the story is prologue.
The prologue is split in two halves, one for our isekai guy and one for the body he inhabits.
The isekai prologue had me, while starting off slowly, hooked. But at the point we're things got interesting our guy got isekaied and I was left with questions. Especially the question why the author spent so much text outlining a setting that doesn't matter in the end.
Thd second prologue feels less engaging as there are so many things happening (a whole mystery novel worth of content is going on in the background). There are so many events and reveals happening that it becomes quite confusing.
Good captain got removed but no, he rebelled and was evil, there is evidence, but then the other guards are evil too and then they only listen to evil captain the second, who supports obviously evil guy, but there is evidence he only researches spell to end famine, but earlier we learned food magic is forbidden, but then isekaibody finds out he is doing other evil things and has the guards under his command to block isekaibody from leaving, but suddenly the guards only listen to isekaibody, and the apprentice of the evil mage finds evidence about the spell Bering evil, and then everybody wants to leave but then the harbor gets nuked.....
As you see it's kinda a mess
And finally after six chapters prologue we get the isekai guy into the isekaibody.
Anyway. I found the story to varying degrees engaging, but I add a lot of potential in it.
TL;DR half the story is prologue of questionable importance but it has potential
Like stated in the synopsis, the story is about a guy who gets the old transmigrated (whatever the official term is) into the body of a villianess, the first villainess from this otome game that he really loved back on Earth. The story starts out by giving prologues to both the villainess, and Will, the protaganist. Personally, the prologue for Will, at least for me, was kind of a miss, but that might have just been a personal preference, but regardless I didn't really care for it. It basically gave background that this is an alternate history future version of Earth, and sets up a backdrop for what I assume is going to be some story plotpoints later on. The villainess gets a introduction showing whats happening to her, which basically leads up to when Will gets transmigrated into her. It was more enjoyable than Will's prologue, but wasn't anything really notable so to speak.
Beyond there is when Will basically takes control of her body, and she takes a ride as the backseat driver. Here the story, like others have said, mainly flucuates in its pacing and spends the rest of the chapters up to where I have ended going through the fixing of the villainess's current home circumstances (being real vague here).
The main issue with everything so fair is that the world is kind of vague. Yes, we have been getting lore bits and tids and knowledge, like the gods, the powers that people use, countries, etc etc, but it's not really that memorable? Personally, I would enjoy some side chapter, or index, that one can use to look over to get a good overview of the actual world setting itself. Thankfully, the author has stated he plans on fleshing out the world in the next arc, so I'm hoping to get better info dumps to get a firm grasp of the world itself when that happens.
Overall, the story has been a 3 and a half stars for me.
Next is the style. Nothing I have really to say, it's the general style of writing you see with fantasy novels on RR, mainly from the perspective of Will, with a couple of side POVS on occasion. One thing that sort of sticks out is the bit of world lore/text/quotes that's posted at the start of every chapter. Overall, nothing really memorable, but it's not bad. 4 stars.
The characters are also decent, I've seen stories in which the characters feel like cutouts, and thankfully that's not really a problem here. There is some tropey characters, but overall they feel like somewhat 3d people, so it doesn't feel gamey. 4 stars.
The grammar is probably the worst part of this novel. In my binge of it, I noticed pretty much everything, run-on sentences, missing words, wrong words, capitization issues, punctuation errors. It sometimes feels like someone sat down, typed out the chapter in one quick sitting, and then just posted it without going through and fixing any errors. It's not unreadable by any means, but it noticably detracts from the story when it happens. I would highly recommend the author to spend some time and go through and fix up the errors in the chapters, since it's a relatively easy thing to do now before you get too deep into the story. 3 stars.
Overall, I would put this story around a 3 and a half as of its current state. It's not my goto/favorite, but it's not a bad story by any means. As of now, it could get up to 4 stars by simply fixing the grammar issues. But overall, this would be the kind of story that I would wait for a bunch of chapters to pile up, and then binge it, and not the type of one that I eat up each chapter as it releases.
Ten chapters of prologue is a bit much. Would be better if that was all cut and the needed bits inserted into later chapters as needed.
Minor grammar mistakes.
But the story and characters etc are so engaging that you'll forgive all of that. Overall a great read.
Using "that's what this person ended up doing in the game" your thoughts as character introductions is a particularly nice touch.
This ticks all of the boxes I wanted to.
If you've read any otome-isekia kind of stuff, this takes the idea from a fresh angle.
There is a nuch greater emphasis on drama, and general awfulness. Making for a situation where the protagonist deeply out of there element.
There is great excellence the world building aswell. Not to mention the character interactions are rather entertaining.