The Hallowed War
X-Com meets Final Fantasy VII meets Left 4 Dead
“The good news? I just got superpowers. The bad news? I have to fight cannibal lunatics or I’ll turn into one."
Additional Content Warnings:
Blasphemy, underage drinking, non-ironic use of anime tropes, petty theft, destruction of city property, unsafe use of a ventilation shaft, non-recreational drug use, inappropriate ogling of a superior officer, teenagers tasked with military engagements, breaking and entering, dead or absent parents, ludicrously overpowered weaponry, mixed gender military squads, hormones, inappropriate restroom behavior, overuse of melee weapons in combat simply because they are cool, high kicks, unauthorized discharge of portable tank weaponry, unauthorized discharge of weapons-grade sarcasm, expedited training, human mutations that are neither scientifically nor fictionally plausible, one flagrantly disrespectful nut shot, use of non-regulation hair dye, fraternization, references to tabletop RPGs, cannibalism, train rides, poor sportsmanship, battery (physical), batteries (electrical), dismemberment, incorrect attribution of a doctoral degree, vandalism, multiple dress code violations, unauthorized decapitation, authorized decapitation, oversized storm drains, attempted vivisection in a non-medical setting, arson, unwarranted cremation, violence involving a police animal, brooding, and unresolved sexual tension.
5 chapters a week (M-F)
Average Chapter Length:
Explosions, followed by segments of character building and interpersonal relationships, followed by more explosions. Not every chapter will be about combat missions, but I'll try to keep the non-combat chapters relevant to character growth.
Video Game Homages:
My world and setting are heavily inspired by Final Fantasy VII, with a large corporation of questionable morals and a big round city which is simultaneously futuristic and old-fashioned. Hallowed, my super soldiers, are similar to SOLDIERS from Final Fantasy VII as well, right down to their superhuman strength and softly glowing eyes.
The primary antagonists, Mutes, are similar to the "fast" zombies and tanks you fight in Left 4 Dead, though there's definitely some necromorph (Dead Space) inspiration as well, and a fighting style reminiscent of genestealers (40k).
My battle scenes are usually squad-based battles against scattered groups of Mutes in urban environments, similar to the normal missions in X-Com: Enemy Unknown. I've also added casualty reports after each mission for my own entertainment.
Finally, you'll likely stumble across some Easter Eggs. I apologize in advance.
I don't have my own Discord and will likely not be creating one (mainly due to sheer laziness) but if you'd like to hit me up on the Aethon Author discord, you can find me (and many other authors!) hanging out there.
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I love finding diamonds in the rough and this book is one such example. This takes a much appreciated look at an underused setting, a practical dystopia with some obvious, and openly stated, inspirations that still manages to feel original without getting drowned in lore. While it could perhaps benefit from a slight increase in action I feel it has been handled excellently and can only continue to hope that the author continues to write such excellent character driven scenes which are often far to infrequent in other novels. I honestly have no critiques, as long as the releases continue I'd say this is the best novel I've discovered in far too long.
yep, the sumary is pretty on point.
X-COM: Small units composed of elite soldiers fighting a yet uncomprehended treat.
Final Fantasy VII: A big self sustaiuned futuristic megalopolis.
Left 4 Dead: Hords of not very clever enemies.
Review at chapter 27.
Besides that, i am liking the characters development. The combat is also fun.
One thing that i liked a lot is that the cursing, sexual inuendos, etc, apear in a expected dose and is not the focus of the story. It is there not to make it cool, but to contruct and refine the characters.
There's a lot of cool stuff going on here. It kind of reminds me of a YA version of the novel Armor, and I mean that in a pretty positive way. The author's description of their writing style as "explosions, then feelings" is pretty apt, but the feelings they're writing feel lived in and grounded, which I find very cool.
Also, even if they hadn't announced their inspirations for this story, I think I could have puzzled them out at least a little bit. Giant swords and scenes that make me relive XCOM cutscenes in my head are all over the place. And none of it feels out of place or overly silly; it all flows together really well.
I look forward to seeing where this goes. I'm not sure yet if it'll be a long term favorite of mine, but I do know that I've had fun reading it so far.
I have to admit, it wasn't until I finished reading the additional content warnings that I decided to actually check out the story. For all that the author humbly states that this story is a mashup of Final Fantasy, Left 4 Dead, and X-COM, it reads as a surprisingly well rounded sci-fi action set in a semi-dystopian future. The relationship to the aforementioned games is clear, but more in terms of similar flavor than any sort of outright fanfiction. The characters feel consistent and real, the unironic anime tropes don't result in an arrogant edgelord MC, and the action flows well in a fully fleshed out world.
Style: I never have much to say here. It's told from a first-person perspective without getting bogged down in the main character's own thoughts. Action is clear and understandable, while descriptions are neither overwhelming nor too sparse.
Grammar: Nothing jumped out at me as far as inaccurate or improper. I might have missed things, but it's an easy read regardless.
Story: Surprisingly well built given the humble synopsis description. The world is currently constrained to the floating island of Dio, divided into districts and compartmentalized. The origin of the MC as a street-rat feels real and more importantly influences their interactions after they're recruited from the slums. The powers are consistent with the world, as are the monsters. And the organization they work for is just sketchy enough that you can comfortably dislike and distrust them, but not so sketchy (yet) that it'd make you wonder why they're not contemplating escape. Even the big fuck-off weapons make sense given what they're fighting, and are suitably disastrous to the surrounding environment. Overall, the foundation of the story is solid and meshes smoothly with the more fantastical elements.
Characters: Given the content warning of "unironic use of anime tropes," I really didn't expect much from the characters. That said, they're all well written. Each has distinct personalities that come through even when given relatively little time to shine, and they remain consistent as the story progresses. This includes growth, as more prominent aspects of their portrayal fade as they settle in, allowing them to develop without feeling like they've just had a character overhaul. They're almost all likeable, and the ones that aren't are definitely intended to be that way. Even more impressive are the ones that are likeable despite being in a perfect position to be portrayed as a minor antagonist. Ortiz is a hardass, and remains in that zone of respectable authority without needing a "You're alright, kid" moment. He does his job, shoots you every now and then, and still comes off as a perfectly reasonable guy, even if he's the minion of a probably evil corporation.
Overall, this makes for a smooth and enjoyable read that serves up action while letting the dystopian elements simmer in the background. Ten chapters in will give you a good idea of whether you'll enjoy the world, though I'd give it a bit more to really see the characters shine.
This story has a good mix of a lot of story types. Dystopian, post apocalypse, and maybe current apocalypse occurring around the characters. Mystery as they try to figure out what is going on. Sci-Fi mutism super power hero freaks!
Back story is compelling enough to want to hear it but not overpowering of the current interplays. Characters that feel real and emotions that make sense.
Good progress and discovery of the world the author is creating with no dragging down in the weeds of the minutia of the world.
Sexual tension and flirting make it fun without making it weird.
All in all a good read with a main character that is kind of a jerk but a likeable jerk.
The first few chapters are a bit of a slog, and the raw unkillable godmonster nature of the enemies that the MC faces breaks my suspension of disbelief on occasion, but other than that, very solid.
The main character is and acts like a 16 year old street kid given way more power and responsibility than anyone that age should be given, and the other characters are well written.
Reading a description that says "X-com meets Final Fantasy meets Left 4 Dead" can be a bit confusing especially trying to see how those three concepts could possibly work together. But I think SummaryInferno was able to wonderfully meld the concepts of said worlds beautifully.
The characters are interesting, Riven the main character acts and thinks logically given his background. His interactions with his squadmates are also quirky and funny. The fights are fun to read and the plot leaves enough intrigue for you to want to know more about the enemies. This story is one of the creative and interesting stories I wish would get more attention on royal road. and I highly recommend everyone give it a read.
I don't give out five stars easily so 4.5 star means this story is really good.
Style:The usual first person style with no glaring mistakes. Everyting is clear and understable. Nothing eye catchy but it is good and proper with clean style.
Story:I actually never expected something like this. While reading synopsis I expected something more cliche and a lot worse. I had nothing to read so i decided to give it a try. I enjoyed the final fantasy vibes mixed with dystopia. Character's backgrounds feel real and they are written well. Every fight is dangerous and author portrays it well. I loved the dark and realistic atmosphere mixed fantasy settings of the story.
Grammer:I am a foreigner so i might have missed somethings but i did not spot any glaring mistakes.
Character:I loved the MC. His story as a street rat felt real. You could see effects of his upbringing or lack of it on him. Every character has a distinct personality. They are written well but I would like to see backstory of side characters and how they changed more. This doesn't change the fact and they feel real and they are written well.They all act reasonable and within their characters.
Overall: A nice, diamond in rough story. Give it a try.