Awakening: Prodigy

Awakening: Prodigy

by A V Dalcourt

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Traumatising content

The Awakening changed the face of reality itself. A cataclysm of dimensional proportions, the event unleashed all manner of demonic beasts upon the world of man and left humanity's scattered survivors trapped in an endless battle for survival.

That's a battle Council Academy all-star Seth Wright learned the hard way, barely surviving his first encounter with demonic entities. Now aware of the peril mankind faces, he's desperate to learn what he must to defeat them - but the only person willing to help him is veteran demon hunter Astral Daamon, and only so she can pursue her own investigation into corruption within the walls of the Council Academy.

But what they uncover together is far more terrifying than mere conspiracy - challenging everything Seth thought he knew about fighting demons. Beneath the foundations of the academy itself, an ancient and malevolent evil is stirring from its slumber - and unless Seth is willing to sacrifice what he believes could protect humanity  from annihilation, this demon will rise and devour everyone he cares about.

Seth is being forced to weigh the lives of his classmates against the fate of humanity. When the moment comes, will he make the right decision?

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  • Story Score
  • Grammar Score
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A V Dalcourt

A V Dalcourt

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1: Razing of Clearwater ago
Chapter 2.1: Memorial ago
Chapter 2.2: Memorial ago
Chapter 2.3: Memorial ago
Chapter 2.4: Memorial ago
Chapter 2.5: Memorial ago
Chapter 3.1: Clearwater ago
Chapter 3.2: Clearwater ago
Chapter 3.3: Clearwater ago
Chapter 3.4: Clearwater ago
Chapter 3.5: Clearwater ago
Chapter 3.6: Clearwater ago
Chapter 4.1: Seth Wright ago
Chapter 4.2: Seth Wright ago
Chapter 4.3: Seth Wright ago
Chapter 4.4: Seth Wright ago
Chapter 4.5: Seth Wright ago
Chapter 5.1: Astral Alexandria Daamon ago
Chapter 5.2: Astral Alexandria Daamon ago
Chapter 5.3: Astral Alexandria Daamon ago
Chapter 5.4: Astral Alexandria Daamon ago
Chapter 5.5: Astral Alexandria Daamon ago
Chapter 6.1: Ghost in the Machine ago
Chapter 6.2: Ghost in the Machine ago
Chapter 6.3: Ghost in the Machine ago
Chapter 6.4: Ghost in the Machine ago
Chapter 6.5: Ghost in the Machine ago
Chapter 7.1: Challenge Accepted ago
Chapter 7.2 Challenge Accepted ago
Chapter 7.3: Challenge Accepted ago
Chapter 7.4: Challenge Accepted ago
Chapter 7.5: Challenge Accepted ago
Chapter 7.6: Challenge Accepted ago
Chapter 7.7: Challenge Accepted ago
Chapter 8.1: The Politics of an Undercover Hunter ago
Chapter 8.2: The Politics of an Undercover Hunter ago
Chapter 8.3: The Politics of an Undercover Hunter ago
Chapter 9.1: Hunter Games ago
Chapter 9.2: Hunter Games ago
Chapter 9.3: Hunter Games ago

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Waurpel
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A good setting but with some setbacks

Reviewed at: Chapter 3.3: Clearwater

The story has a very interesting lore and I think the author has a good concept on his hands, but there are several issues that make reading this story especially difficult.

Story

The story begins with a bang and honestly, the first chapter remains the best part by a long shot from the rest of the chapters. It establishes a sense of dread, of the way the people live in this universe and it gives just enough information to keep the reader reading and as an air of mystery. The action, although not very intense, is well depicted and it draws the reader in. When I read into the background of the boom, it stipulated a Lovecraftian-like story and it had me sold in the first chapter.

It unfortunately starts to falter the next chapter. The lovecraftian influence seemingly put aside. The intense dread is gone, instead replaced with a seemingly slowpaced lifestyle that only alludes to a darker nature.

The mystery is gone. The information is now spoonfed to us in such quantity that it becomes hard to digest all at once. It also causes the story to slow down to a crawl (which I will discuss in more details in the style rating). 

Although timing is important, this bait and switch in pacing is not the best. Also the information being questionned by the MC are probably very important later on in the story, but this spoon-fed exposition is a bit too much. 

My last point on this subject is a bit biased, but I have a pet peeve against awkwardly blended cultures in a fantasy world. In the early part of the story, the architecture is refered as Victorian in style, but then the spirit related things have a very japanese influence (such as tori gates, rice rope etc). It wouldn't be quite as bad if the author simply described these object as opposed to name them as such, but if I'm told to imagine a Victorian city and then told to imagine tori gates in proximity... It's just a bit awkward.

Character

The characters relationship is a bit hard to believe. Astral's relationship with Mathias is especially confusing for example. I understand that the author is trying to make the main character appear like a prodigee of sort, but that makes the interactions all the more confusing as Mathias seems to both be aware and unaware off this fact. Their discussion regarding different spirit hunting facts feel as if they're just reading off the same book and reading a paragraph each at a time. Not a very convincing tutor-student relationship, but this appears to be an issue in most dialogue (I will discuss this more in style).

I would also point out that it takes a bit too much time to establish "what" the main character is. Without spoiling things too much, in the first chapter it is alluded that she gets possessed, but the impact of this fact is very confusing. Did the spirit take over? Did it take a passenger seat? Her above average intelligence above the spirits would allude that she was fully taken over.... But at othet time she seems completely clueless, despite this supposed spirits having lived many times over. Considering how important the information is, it takes too long to be brought up and when it is, it is vague at best.

Grammar

The grammar is not bad per say, but its spotty at times with mishandled synonyms and awkward sentence structure.

Style

Style is probably the biggest issue with this story and impacts many other aspects.

The biggest issue is the flow of the text. It's very blocky with spoken lines hidden within paragraphs. Although it may be a stylistic choice, in my experience creating a new line at the begining of each spoken line makes it much easier to digest.

Unfortunately there's another issue with the spoken lines; they feel tremendously stiff as if the characters are simply reading off of a script and even straight of encyclopedia.s at times Almost all the interactions are affected by this issue.

The chapters also feel very long and filled with long descriptions. There's a concept in writting that says you should only give enough information to your reader that they can understand what's going on and should leave the rest to their imagination. This is not the case in this story and we are constantly bombarded by heavy handed (and sometime repetitive) descriptions that slow down the pace and makes it harder to keep focused.

This is doubly awkward when these long descriptions are (again) used to spoom feed heavy handed exposition.

This exposition is not necessary at the begining of the story, and I wish it was more slowly introduced.

My final point would be that generally, the structure of making chapters "2.1, 2.2, 2.3" etc is a bit inconvenient. I understand that the author is planning on publishing this story as a book, but for a webnovel, this is less than ideal.

Overall a good concept, but the delivery is a bit off. Some adjustments such as spacing the paragraphs and trimming the fat in descriptions could go a looooong way. A full review of the dialogues would also help to make it more believable.

Good luck!

 

fknmz
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character
Louis Althusser, one of the cleverest frauds of all time, noted in Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses two vectors in which a state subjugates its citizens. On the one hand, it uses repression - soldiers, military, force. This is the famous "monopoly of violence" adage. Here, repression gives the state its power and form.
 
The second, and more insidious, is the ideological state apparatus. Here, it's a subtle stream of subjugation; people become subjects of the state through normative action and teaching. They are forced and reinforced into roles that serve the state's demands and self-preservation. The latter, he says, is clearest in the churches, in families, and most strikingly, schools.
 
To Althusser, the school is where students learn to become adults but not to grow up. Adulthood, after all, is an agreed-upon set of practices and beliefs which preserve a state apparatus. What makes someone an adult changes by the culture - look no further than different drinking ages or enlistment.
 
It's notable, then, that AV Dalcourt's Awakening: Prodigy concerns children. After all, it focuses on growing up in the midst of fire, blood, and memory.
 
One of our main characters, Astral, is learning how to hunt demons, strange beasts lingering on the edges of human civilization. Here, they're a sort of Weberian wild, like inky black borders in a children's book. Sometimes they come alive, and they bring death with them. Thus, in Awakening, demons swirl like oil, undulating, seeping. In a tragic confrontation, Astral survived, but she was scarred. Yet despite Astral's role in the Clearwater, she never really 'grows up.' She keeps the company of stuffed animals, even up to the most recent chapter. Her entry into the school isn't a moment in which she casts aside her naivete and immaturity, but she wields it like a ward, a bulwark that partly defines who she is.
 
And on some levels, you might trip into this comfort zone, thinking Astral's behaviour odd. She feels stunted and slow as if she was putting on an act. Her whispers to her toys are in stark contrast to how she seems to speak telepathically with Kendra (who's older than her). Astral feels like a girl who's collapsed all these years of her life into a sort of simulacrum, an effigy.
 
But then you remember the setting; humanity is, for all intents and purposes, at war. Of course, Astral's personality feels like it's a girl whose years have been smashed together - that's who she became.
 
Awakening: Prodigy does something quite fascinating with its characters: it's aware of the cost of war, but it drapes it as scars and half-truths. Astral is a young girl and a woman beyond her years all at once, juggling identities without a lineage. Seth faces similar challenges: he has strange visions, dreams too real to be dreams, a growing obsession with a girl who tugs at him at the back of his mind. Seth's memories, like a trace, are also nightmarish. Here, darkly prophetic concerns like PTSD given a new kind of miserable life.
 
In fact, it's William whose the most normal. At the same time, William is also the least rounded. He's an impetuous brat who, at first, acts exactly like a punk. He's mouthy and presumptuous, he expresses glee at the misfortunes of others, and he fantasizes about hearing girls serving him based on his name alone. But he's also someone with clear dreams and aspirations, wrapped up in the world's military-industrial complex, wowed by its spectacle. In this situation, William is closer to an everyman than Astral or Seth, children with baggage.
 
And again: they're children. The idea of children fighting to save the world isn't a new thing, nor is it unique: young protagonists finding themselves needing to save the world is a staple in fiction, schools of warfare are rife in anime and manga. Yet Awakening stresses a concept of lineage - not of blood, but duty. The children inherit the world from their parents, who've bred them to fight for their glory. It seems, in this sense, what they've inherited along with the world is its violence.
 
This is clear at one moment, where Astral expresses her concern at how adults gain prestige at their childrens' expense:
 
"...In theory, the parents gain through their child's advancement." He looked to the sky for the words he sought. "Sort of like a proxy or an extension of themselves. For example, you're here because Dezmond can't be, neither can I. You are acting as our proxy."
 
"Seems selfish," Astral concluded.
 
Mathias fires back with how it needs to be done, that someone needs to defend the people. But are children not afforded their own liberties and freedoms? Is parenthood simply another extension of state violence, both as a weapon and as a force to be meted out?
 
Anyone who reads my reviews knows that I'm not a fan of the SSGC breakdown, so I'll give my brief thoughts.
 
Style: I think the style works. It's quite clear what's happening, though the pacing is a bit slow at times when I'm not sure it needs to be. It feels rock-solid, but perhaps a bit more edge might be nice. Of course, this is really a subjective thing, and it might work for many people. It might just not work for me.
 
Story: The story starts very strong, and then it somewhat lulls a bit to build on some of its characters, but it's starting to pick up again. I was hoping there'd be a bit more excitement, but I understand that this build-up is necessary. Seth's sections are nice, and they break the flow of the others.
 
Grammar: There are quite a few basic errors (bear versus bare, an and a, etc.), but they're all minor. Those can be fixed in a snap, so there's no point in docking points.
 
Character: I think I'd need to get a better grasp on William's character before I can say anything. I know what he likes and how he generally acts. Still, I find that characters tend to reveal themselves more when they're pushed to their limits, either morally, ideologically, or physically. There are implications (such as his staunch defence of the spectacle of warfare that is the whole situation), but it's very silent as of now.
 
Favourite Quote:
 
I didn't mention this, but there's a phenomenal implication of economic class at play that adds another dimension:
 

'Social pariah.' What did it matter if some rich fourteen-year-old girl had an opinion about the school program? She wasn't the average student. She would never have to study hard for the dream of getting a good job; she would have one handed to her when she was ready to take control. She would never have to work a side job while studying hoping to improve her meal plan; she would never have to endure the stale taste of a food cube linger in the back of her throat. She would never have to worry about stepping foot on the war fields. No, at best, her only worry would be if her marriage contract was air tight in her favor.

She had choices. He could only survive.

 
scost
Overall

Awakening: Prodigy review

Reviewed at: Chapter 6

This story has a very strong writing style with a wonderful sense of aesthetics in how otherworldly entities manifest in reality. It opens with a fast paced and horrifying opening that layers on intrigue. The followup continues with well considered setting details that paint an evocative image of the world in a very natural way.

Overall, this story is able to play with a strong narrative style and is directed by solid characterisation and setting development.

Poached_Egg
Overall

Challenging, but potentially rewarding

Reviewed at: Chapter 2.4: Memorial

This is the kind of story that throws the reader into the deep end, and then they either sink or swim. Right off the bat, a lot of brand new concepts and ideas unique to the world are given to the reader, and explanation is limited. If you can go with the flow, I'm sure it eventually gets a proper explanation, but for me, personally, I found myself left behind in a lot of ways.

I can't say I'd reccomend this story to everyone, but from what I've seen the concepts and ideas are interesting enough that someone who is able to "swim" in the deep end could find a very interesting and worthwile story in there. The writing is mechanically sound for the most part, so I would say that if it looks interesting to you, give it a try.

TwelveGreatApes
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Style

Clean and clear. It's generally a good mix of being easy to read without being overly complex. The quality of the writing is good, and it usually conveys the point well. Occasionally you'll find one of those sharp, well-put remarks in the narration which reveal the author's talent.

I'd say the only issue here is in the flow of the text, which can feel a bit uneven. Some sections of the story are really overly exposited, providing the reader with large amounts of information. While not necessarily a bad thing, this usually falls during more quiet moments, drawing out the sedate parts of the story longer than is probably necessary. Paradoxically the more exciting moments -and especially the action scenes- feel overly rushed. Here it would actually be better to space things out a little and give the audience time to absorb what is happening. Readers usually picture a scene at the same pace they read it at, so sometimes you need some extra padding to build the tension,

Story

The story starts off very strong, with a dark and atmospheric first chapter. It definitely caught my attention straight away. However after this the pacing does drop off, and as mentioned, the next fight goes by in a flash. Now I'm not someone who needs constant action to keep myself entertained, and I appreciate a dip in the story if it's building to something bigger. But these parts of the story stretch on for (I feel) too long, and some ruthless cutting in a future draft would help keep the sense of tension and threat.

The world-building seems really interesting so far, and you catch these little glimpses of depth that hint to a bigger world. The 'magic' system and the workings of the demon are well thought out and a joy to read. I only wish the exposition was spaced out over a longer period of time, as it can be a little much at times.

Grammar

Generally fine. Some mistakes, but nothing you wouldn't expect from a well drafted work that hasn't gone through an editor yet. My only real issue is that often dialogue is buried within a paragraph of text, where a new line would make it far clearer and easy to read.

Character

The strongest part of the book, in my opinion. They all feel genuinely real, and you can tell by reading that the author is a keen observer of people. The narration offers some good insights into the characters, often through little, evocative details that add to the bigger picture. It's also telling that the narration shifts slightly around the perspective of the point of view character -this is a hard thing to achieve, and really impressive to see.

Overall

I'd definitely recommend it, especially if you're a fan of the genre.

At the time of the review the story seems to be heading into a battle academy sort of direction, and I fully expect the blood and horror to keep on coming!

Seersucker
Overall

If you enjoy vivid imagery with a dark aesthetic then this is the story for you.

The magic in the setting is described in a layered way that relies on both the tangible and intangible blending together in a unique coniguration which I thoroughly enjoyed descriptions of.

The protagonist is a welcome departure from the norm. She's mean, knows her power, and is a bit selfish in a way that I personally found refreshing.

Overall this is a well written work with an original setting, strong worldbuilding, and interesting characters.

Alkareel
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Written beautifully, but maybe a bit overwhelming 

Reviewed at: Chapter 3.3: Clearwater

For the style:

Right at the beginning you get into marvelously crafted prose, which ties in well with the events of the first chapter. However, it gets slightly tiring to read as the author is extremely meticulous with her writing. Hence the 4/5. Depending on the type of reader you are, this could be taken entirely as a plus. It might just be my personal preference.

A single scene can span 2 or maybe more chapters worth due to the amount of detail and prose you have to get through, making this story a bit slower-paced. Some paragraphs can get quite thick as well.

It's not all fluff writing mind you. You get an extremely detailed picture of what is going on in the scene, and also small pieces of worldbuilding to savor. Although it does get a bit difficult to digest all at once, the beautifully written prose can be something that pushes you through the story's slow pace.

Grammar: 

A scant amount of errors. Pre-edit the chapters through google docs + grammarly(don’t 100% rely on it) and you'll be fine.

Character:

Characters have been portrayed well with use of the author's writing style. When I said you could see fine details within a scene, that includes each character’s emotions and traits.

Story:

I haven't seen much of what would happen still. As I've said, the story is quite slow-paced. But you can tell from the earlier chapters that meticulous planning has been enacted. If you're more of the gourmet type of reader—opting for a full course meal—then this might be for you.

Ellen Taylor
Overall

I had a great time with this one. The first chapter was a great introduction that really caught my attention. The world building was beautifully weaved with the tension of what was going on. I was completely caught up in the world building of it all.

And as sometimes happens, a time jump is made for the next chapter. I didn't mind it too much as a reader, because it was still an interesting world, just at a slower pace from the beginning. Sometimes these time jumps annoy me, but the author was able to keep my attention well enough as a reader that I didn't mind the slower pace. As a plus, I didn't have to wait too long for the action to pick back up again. 

It's a very interesting world that seems to have been crated with much care. For people who love deamons and excellent world building, this is a must!

MalevolenceMau
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Awakening: Amazing Story

Reviewed at: Chapter 12

A story that contains within it an amazing written introduction to a dark world full of death and demons. The use of a wide variety of descriptive text paints the world in such a colourful if dreary way that pulls the reader into it incredibly well.

Style: Third person perspective that changes every so often between the main characters, also features a time skip or two. It feels like the time skipping or movement between scenes could be handled a bit better, though this may be because the author has seemingly written the story and then split it up into chapters to release regularly rather than write with a chapter in mind. Chapters also contain a wide array of lengths from what reads like 3,000 words to 1,000 words at times. Making the change between chapters smoother, or having some additional reminder text could go a long way into making this a better binge reading experience.

Story: While the writing beautifully immerses you into the dark demonic story beginnings, the explanations of themes and rules can come off a bit rough as we're introduced to how the world works. Hunters slaying demons, non-hunters sticking back. Regardless of any issues, the sheer quality of writing makes this a wonderful read all the way through.

Grammar: I noticed a few issues with quotation marks, punctuation in dialogue, or capital letters and misuse of "its" and "it's". The errors aren't constant, fading into the background for those without eagle eyes for errors.

Character: The characters on offer have a good amount of depth to their setups and developments, with Astral having a fair few edges to her form. Her emotions are described well and contrast well enough with Mathias and the other survivors of the dark days.

DrBuller
Overall

Don't get the chapter scheme

Reviewed at: Chapter 2.4: Memorial

Listen, I know this isn't extremely related to the actual content of the story, but titling has to have some kind of importance, right? That's why I just had to mention how little I liked the way that the chapter count is dealt with. There are currently 20 entries, yet the chapter number is still at 5. Does this make sense? I don't personally think it does. Not that the author needs to change that aspect in any way, since he is the one making the final decision. This is purely my personal opinion and, seeing as I only amount to one person, my criticism shouldn't be taken as anything close to holy.

Looking past that way too long rant, I don't have too much negative to say about this. The story has strong pressure on the world-building and visual descriptions. It helps give the reader a good idea about what is happening while still not being overly forceful about it. Combined with strong grammar and characterisation, I don't have anything against this. 5/5