by Baron Fulmen
This is a story about the newly-adult Calliope Smith having a terrible day that ends in her getting mysteriously teleported from Phoenix, Arizona to a fantasy world where her life is in constant danger. She considers this an upgrade. Someone evil is looking for her, and she doesn't know why. Someone who seems to know a lot about her has promised they'll help her, but she doesn't know who they are. All that matters to Callie is that magic is real and one way or another she's going to learn it.
The end of the world is coming up, sure, but Callie won't need to worry about that. In fact, by the time she even finds out about it one of the doomsday devices will already be destroyed, and the authorities will be well on the way to dealing with the other one. It's fine. Everything will be smooth sailing. Almost certainly. Probably.
Updating M/W/F, usually about 2500-3000 words per update. I'm taking my time, the main character won't start out with a clear purpose and won't get magic right away.
It's your standard portal fantasy / Isekai premise, but unlike some the main character's time on Earth and how she got pulled into another world will (eventually) be explored. Some slight GameLit-feeling stuff later, no menus or level-ups but there's something suspiciously like a skill tree when the magic system gets going. No number crunching, and while the main character will get to do some silly stuff she won't be a god like in some fics. Some reader interaction, ranging from adding to the worldbuilding to occasionally making big important decisions about skill progression.
Trigger Warnings: Foster care system references, crappy parenting. Some mental health adjacent stuff, specifically the main character has some issues where she experiences varying levels of empathy and emotional vulnerability depending on the day (it's complicated and not meant to portray any real-world conditions). Occasional violence including mention of death and grievous bodily harm, but no detailed descriptions of gore.
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Reviewed at chapter 10. 106 pages.
Calliope Smith had a bad childhood. A really bad childhood. She's a young lady with a penchant for pessimism and an attitude out of this world. Literally.
When a horrible day for her takes a turn for the weird, she awakens into a dangerous new world of monsters and magic. Thrust into politics she doesn't know, hunted for reasons she is unaware of, and poorly protected from great threats of violence, what will her journey entail?
There's only one way to find out!
Style Score: I found the Author's style to be refreshing. The story is written in first person POV, and the author has the main character's voice well developed. So well, it feels like you might know her.
Story Score: The story appears to be well plotted. I had difficulty with the first and third chapter where the narrative seemed longer than needed in some sections and felt that scene setting could be more detailed. Both those things were only personal preferences, though. Otherwise pacing is great, dialogue is phenomenal, and the story has a developing plot that appears to be well thought out at this point. Though, it's great now, I expect some really good things with the potential I've seen. Hopefully it won't let me down.
Grammar Score: in 106 pages, I found a single typo. No indication that other readers had already caught any in the comments. The grammar and spelling is well and truly above Royal Road average. I challenge anyone to find errors I missed, lol.
Character Score: This is a tough one for me to critique, because the author has done a fantastic job of developing the main character. The voice is likely exactly what the author wants. The main character has mental issues that give them a personality shift from extremely empathetic to extremely emotionless, and does so in a clear and really well done way. Given the character's backstory and their mental issues, it's understandable that their attitude is standoffish at times. Yet that very attitude made me sometimes reticent to sympathize. I wanted to give five stars here because of how well it's portrayed, but I'm hesitant, because if this standoffish-ness isn't something that changes via character development, it's a missed opportunity. I'll be continuing to read, and if it's updated, I'll update this review.
All in all, I found this story to be worthwhile to read and recommend you check it out, too!
I have very mixed opinions about this.
For most of the first several chapters, the protagonist seems decidedly not sympathetic. Rather, they seem rather pathetic. And it very much strikes me that they are not a hero and this is not a story of heroic adventure.
To be clear, the synopsis says there is "some mental health adjacent stuff." I'd actually say that the story is heavy into the mental health issues. A very large portion of the chapters so far are dedicated to the protagonist's introspection, especially regarding her unstable mental states.
And yet I'm not sure I can fault the story for doing that. Part of it is that I can't decide whether the mental health issues cause her to be unheroic, or whether she's simply unheroic and incidentally happens to have mental health issues. Causation vs. correlation.
By chapter 9 or so, there's a shift where the protagonist accepts the mantle of hero. This seems like it comes out of the blue. Not sure what to make of it and hopefully the context will clear up in a few chapters. Potentially though, there is character growth associated with the fights/conflicts in the preceding chapters and this is the extension of that. Though if so, it's either too subtle or I missed it.
On a related note, the synopsis describes this as a "standard portal fantasy / Isekai thing." I have to agree with the other reviewers that this is hardly standard. If anything, there's a realism that shows just how problematic actually getting transported to another world would be.
The grammar is well done. The style is also very good, especially on a micro scale, subject to one caveat. The story is first person POV, but there's a little bit of a self-awareness that they are telling a story, which is weird. This seems limited to the first few chapters though and seems to go away.
All in all, I'm giving it 4.5/5 because I think it'll all tie together in some way that works, though it could easily be a half-star lower.
Interesting premise. Flow is a little chopie but overall really good read. Relatable character. Original plot. I love this guy! Good story. Worth the read!
50 word salad.
The purpose was the constitution was not an official term that would make sense of interest rates and more money for it if we.
Unpredictable! If you are looking for a story that surprises you at every turn, try this one. As of chapter 8 I have no idea how the title applies to anything, lol, though the isekai and magic tags at least have shown up. This story should probably be tagged psychology and PTSD if those are tags on RR. I like the writing style, and find the grammar quality to be good.
The story is a little unbalanced but that is just a reflection of the Main Characters state of mind.
Being brought into a different dimension is probably hard enough if you are adaptable but this story is happening to someone that has not had a choice in life ever.
The MC's mood swings daily but life continues without any regard.
Fun story in an interesting world with just a little more twist than normal.
Really uncommonly nice writing, there's really nothing to fault in terms of technique or polish. Far above the average quality of writing on RR (even tho that's really be rising in the last couple years; lots of great stuff lately!).
The story is interesting, although a couple plot choices seemed a bit sketchy to me, but it's still early in the story so we'll see. MC did a couple really dumb things for little/no apparent reason (looks a little bit like forcing the narrative), and survived for no apparent reason (could become a clear case of plot armor if it continues? idk). It's not entirely clear due to both the nature of the MC and the small sample size at this pt.
MC is a mildly (in relative terms) dysfunctional homeless gal, and is uncommonly well characterized. Some readers have expressed difficulty empathizing with her, as (frankly) she's a little nuts (not "yeehaw!" gonzo character nuts, just actual craziness). I think she's really well done, although I can see it might not be ideal in terms of marketability for this sort of story.