Melody of Mana
- Sexual Content
- Traumatising content
Reborn into another world as Alana, the former resident of Earth must now try to make her way. While heroes fight great monsters and kings war the peasants suffer and die, unable to save themselves. What is a girl born into a poor family to do except learn and work as hard as she can to just make it through; and that's what she will do. Strive, strive all she can against an unfair and uncaring world of dark lords, dungeons, uncaring nobles, heroes, and magic. Come along as she uses magic and wit in a bid to survive.
- Overall Score
- Style Score
- Story Score
- Grammar Score
- Character Score
- Total Views :
- Average Views :
- Followers :
- Favorites :
- Ratings :
- Pages :
Leave a review
Oh, wow, I feel terrible now. I usually review after ten chapters, but I've been having such a grand ole' time it completely slipped by. And how has no one else left a review? Le sigh.
Overall: This is right up my ally. A young woman from Earth dies and is reincarnated as a mage in a fantasy world. The twist here is that she is a bard, i.e., a magic user whose voice bends magic to her will. What keeps me here though is that the author avoids a lot of the problems that come with young female mages on this site. I'd be more specific on what those problems are, but I'm blanking a little here.
Also, there's a lot of bread conjuring involved, which I find hilarious for some reason.
"Prove you're a bard!" --> "I can summon some bread if you want?" --> "Okay!"
Style: The style is fine. Nothing spectacular, but it gets the job done. We are in the author self-described early days where we get a time jump of a few months or a year every other chapter or so. This is good for building up the reincarnated protagonist's background and showing how she's been shaped by her new life.
Grammar: The grammar is periodically bad, but the author is receptive to comments.
Story: The story so far is as mentioned above: the early days where we get a time jump of a few months or a year every other chapter or so. Relatively standard stuff:
Born into a farmer family, but dad's a secret badass.
Discovers magic and self-studies.
Is discovered as mage and begins tutoring by wise old man.
Starts to help around the village and the nearby town.
Uses otherworldly knowledge to be kickass.
There's also some stuff you don't see very often at all:
Persons around the protagonist being conscripted into the army for a war.
Being on the losing end of a war.
Economic depression caused by loss of labor due to the war.
A mob of old men, young boys, and all the females (protagonist included (and why did the mage use a knfie!? sigh)) tearing apart the mayor and his guards. Squick.
Hunting animals being the prerogative of the nobility.
Not to mention that she's a bard.
Actually, having written that all out, I'm impressed by how much variety and "real" issues the author has addressed in relatively few pages.
Characters: Many of the side characters are fairly flat. Part of that is because of the rapid-pace through the years that we are proceeding. The other part is a matter of writing skill, but it's a first fiction for the author, so something to work on. That said, the most well-defined characters are the protagonist, mom, dad, and the village mage (and maybe the mayor and army captain, but they're soft antagonists, so not going to talk about them). The protagonist we of course understand the best (first person POV) and we do have a strong grasp of her personality and how she would react to various situations. This also extends to the village mage as well, though we don't have much of his background. Mom and dad are a bit flatter, again because we don't know much of their background and we have (mostly) only observed them in domestic or villager roles. And I will admit that I confuse the two brothers all the damn time.
EDIT: Bards magic is described as being instinctive.. So honestly it doesn't make sense to be punished for using magic that is literally instinctive.
Oh, and getting belted for making ice.. She has literally never made a mistake with her magic, other than when someone threw a damn insect at her face, before she knew anything about magic! Also the lack of any feeling is impossibly unrealistic.
Yes yes, I know you've spent the last month or more begging, spending money, and working to get that hive working, and I know you healed and paid your brother to take care of it every day, but we're taking your honey and giving it to the neighboor unless you complete what we coinsider an impossible task.
Like seriously? She earned money to get this built, worked to get it filled, begged to be able to get what she needed ordered, and then her parents decide that they should give it as a gift.
Seriously, thats just messed up. How would you feel if managed a part time job to put together a college fund, and once day you came home and your father demands that you give him everything you've saved up, unless you can somehow manage to get what he wants to spend the money on, and if you can't manage to get him that car then he'll be taking the money to buy a car. You'd be upset right? You'd at least have a a reaction right? You wouldn't just say challenge accepted and start searching for an abandoned car right?
But see, I can handle that, it's just part of the story right? It makes sense, I can see it. It might be them being bad parents, it might be their quirks, but what I can't stand and makes it impossible for me to keep reading this is that she's confronted with this Bulls**t and doesn't even acknowledge it, she doesn't shrug, she just moves on like someone assaulting you or stealing from you doesn't cause any physical or emotional pain.
The author shows much better storytelling instincts than I was expecting for a first work. Foreshadowing and pacing are excellent. Time-skips are strategically used to prevent the story from bogging down in the early years of reincarnation. The depiction of famine and serfs coping with hardship are topics actively explored in the early chapters in an interesting way that builds tension.
The style is quite good and with only a few niggles, such as using the dialog tag to restate the content of the dialog and generally lacking that bit of the "something extra" that would put it to 5-stars. But from a technical perspective, the author does a very good job of avoiding unnecessary or repetitive dialog tags, instead working in character actions and character emotes to indicate who is speaking and to keep the action flowing. The descriptions of combat were kept fresh and interesting by avoiding falling into patterns of 'A does this. B does that.' So, definitely a thumbs-up effort. 👍
The story is where this fiction shines. The author has clearly done research and planning and has a vision for where this journey is going. Early works often lead to wish-fulfillment type stories. This is not one of those. Thought has gone into the balance of the magic system and the struggles that the MC will have to overcome to grow stronger and more capable of affecting change. If the way the effects of war on the common people were portrayed and how that affected the plot are any indication, I'm eagerly looking forward to see where this story goes.
As for the characters, the MC is likable and the characters are believable, but I don't really love or hate them... yet. That may be due to the style or because of the time-skips and not really having any of the side-characters' hardships or triumphs made important to the MC in a way that would cause the reader to become invested in them. There's still room for this to change as the story has only just completed it's first arc at the time of writing this review.
Grammar has been much improved from the early drafts and other than some lingering minor punctuation issues the grammar is good. The author is responsive to feedback so I expect this score to continue improving.
To the author: Stick to your vision and don't let us 'back-seat writer' critics with our opinions discourage you from the path you've set. It's clearly working.
Probably one of my favorite stories on trending recently, I strongly recommend this to anyone who likes classic fantasy.
A special note on the isekai: the isekai is light with this one, basically just an explanation for why a tiny child acts like an adult, and why adults treat the child as if she's older than she is. I feel like there needs to be more explanation for why upper-class people would, basically, enslave a six-year-old just because they have magic, but I also suppose "it's war" makes sense.
Style: The style is eminently readable - frequent small timeskips as we work through the MC's younger years. Exposition makes sense since she is, after all, a small child being given instruction. It never gets dense enough to be off-putting, and the MC's interest is about on par with mine. Paragraphs are reasonably sized, chapters are mostly reasonably sized, and it all adds up to feel really nice.
Story: The story is about as bog-standard as it gets from traditional young-adult published fantasy novels, which is saying a lot for something on royal road. I can see this being a book I could check out from my local library. Now, it being bog-standard isn't a bad thing, considering that the story is still in its early stages, and I'm measuring it against something that Tor would publish. There's class politics, there's national politics, there are delightful hints at undercurrents and foreshadowing. There's enough going on that I'm happy to make conjectures about where the story is going, and what roles different characters will have. That's a good thing. Secondly, the "there's a war, so there's a draft, so there's famine, so there's rebellion" storyline is pretty well-done.
Grammar: Reasonably good. Excellent for a self-published, non-edited web novel. Some commas missing here and there with dialogue are probably the thing I've noticed most.
Characters: This is where the story really shines. The characters are understandable, unique, and interesting whether they're the MC's family, other villagers (I like Sandra), the mayor (put between a rock and a hard place, he picked the worse option), soldiers (Orin in particular), or nobles (the local noble, while clearly meant to be a shitbag, isn't a transparently-and-boringly evil villain). Almost nobody who has more than a line here and there is a boring character. I'm really interested in side-story characters, which is an incredible rarity for me.
Conclusion: I'd be satisfied if I'd bought a trade paperback of this, and would pre-order the hardbacks for future books in the series. Reminds me of Robin Hobb or Elizabeth Moon.
English is not my main language so my knowledge of grammar is condensed into feelings. Does it feel good or not? And in the first few chapters it felt really bad. Someone more knowledgeable might say something like tense jumping in sentences or errors in syntax or something like that, but to me it just felt wrong. But after maybe 3 chapters it started feeling really good and only improved as it got going.
Maybe the most surprising thing about this book is that the story is really good. It's a reincarnation story about a girl that gets reborn as a baby to a peasant family in a small village. It's so far mostly lighthearted story about hardships of a rural life but it is getting into harder topics. This is a world of magic and the MC is a Bard. Singing, dancing or playing music allows her to create a variety of magical effects, from controlling temperature, to creating water and food, healing and dealing damage. She is a jack of all but master of none.
The pacing so far has been great. There were enough time skips to just skip repetitive or boring activities and allow some more interesting moments to shine.
The worldbuilding has so far been kinda limited but the hints that we got so far show that there is a rich and well thought out world out there and we are slowly discovering with the MC the wider world.
MCs character is well fleshed out and some of the side characters while not as good as the MC, are good enough considering the amount of pages so far. But that will only improve with time.
All in all, this is a very enjoyable little story and the pace that the authors writing is improving it will only get better. If you feel put out by the beginning, know that it quickly improves.
I fully recommend giving this story a try.
By starting with a reincarnation and childhood the author directly shows their dedication towards realism. The writing in the early chapters realy gives the feel of a childs perspective. I was pulled into the story very quickly.
I realy want to praise the authors worldbuilding here, the world just feels allive. There are many elements of the world that are unexpected in a story like the food shortages, the treatment of commoners in a mediaeval setting and military that focuses on war only (not everything is about the main character for sure).
I quite like the childish perspective of the early chapters and slowly losing it due to life catching up feels like a real loss. Im most definitly invested in the main character now.
The story keeps quite a fast pace, just slow enough to get properly invested but fast enough to have a good chance to get out of the childhood phase and into the teenage years in a reasonable timeframe. Of course the world keeps moving and doesn't wait for our girl to grow up first.
I noticed nothing wrong in the backlog. The author looks at the comments and fixes the errors pointed out.
The characters are this story's weakest point. While they behave quite reasonably most characters introduced are quite simple people. Don't expect lots of witty banter here. Side characters don't realy have any quirks or unreasonable expectations or beliefs.
Overall this story got me hooked and I can't wait for more.
Wow, this was good, really good. Summary, a smart little bard tries to help her village but things keep getting worse. Overall this a great story and everyone should read it. Forget good for a first attempt, this is good at any level.
I am going to address my comments as suggestions as there is nothing that was actually bad. To be blunt, my only suggestions relove around giving some more emotions like doubt and fear to the character then have her push through them. (Discussion below)
However that is not to say they don't have any, you definately have a great start, it could just use some more to really tie us to the characters and make us empathize with them.
The story plot is unique and exciting. I really have no suggestions here, it is great.
The MC is strong, but not too strong... (Excellent job here). Maybe a tad too intelligent (she is smart which is good, but she probably should have been taught to hide it with all her training, discussion below).
World building is still semi-limited, but that makes sense since she is a small girl and shouldn't know much yet.
Style and grammar, great...
Now the specifics
The two suggestions emotion and hiding intelligence in order to manipulate.
Add a little emotion with doubt, fear and regret. She is a smart independent girl, and that is great to listen to, but we get attached when we see her struggle through things. Pushing through doubt to doing something great is more compelling than a confident person never doubting or pausing.
As an example of emotion, the nightmare was great. Her breaking down after not being able to save the Villiager was great. But you should really have her slowly push through struggling with everything currently happening.
Her brother is dead because of her and she knows it (yeah, it was his own choice in the end, but she gave him the push). This is an emotional response for both her and her brother. It was great, but she shouldn't brush it off too easily.
Having her working to keep her mind occupied, but still have nightmares or have building stress would be normal and make her seem human. While if she brushes it off quickly she will seem heartless.
I would have had her also get more emotional at the town meeting where they demanded more bread from her. Like telling them she wants to help but that there was litterally nothing more she can give with tears in her eyes.
Side note to deal with her intelligence, With all the instruction she has gotten it would not be surprising if she actually was told and practiced emotionally manipulating to get her point across. Acting too smart as a kid would bring trouble. I would have also had her think about her lessons about blending it when running away.
A few more mentions of how the mayor would start to threaten them or was taking more food from the town. Right now he just seems semi-incompetent and spineless and while he might deserve the hate for that, but levels of vitriol seems to come out from no where before the occupation (I am not talking about the end, they deserved a revolt for that)
Again, absolutely a great story. Keep up the awesome work.
An interesting magic system, a not as primitive society as in many other similar stories.
The character gets reincarnated as a child, and I guess is rather powerful for her age -at least in the beginning.
As of right now I feel like the MC is kind of falling behind in her level of individual power but we will see.
Melody of mana follows the story of an isekaid person reborn as a caster in a feudal world rife with conflict. Although I read nothing that I would consider truly original, the good pacing, believable world building and fluid style make this a pleasure to follow. Melody of mana is solid and well rounded. It is also better than some traditional books I've read in like bookshops so go for it.
In my opinion, it's a rather generic "reincarnation into a magic world" fic that seems loosely inspired by dnd magic, and suffers from some pacing issues.
However, when accounting that this is the author's first work, it is quite good and I do think it's worth a read.
It should probably has some more tags, like multiple pov's and grimdark. There are several pov changes, and it is difinitively a dystopian take on the genre.