- 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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'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.
Disclaimer: Reviewed at the start of Chapter 7:
First off, this book has a dark aesthetic and aura which envelops you right from the beginning chapter. If you are used to reading fast, then there is an adjustment period that you will have to undergo as you slow down, immerse yourself within the world that the author is building, and appreciate the grandeur of the weaving of his words.
Overall score: 4.5/5 - It's a solid 4 stars everywhere and an additional .5 stars because this author has two incredible points to his credit,
1. He takes comments, reviews, criticisms very seriously as long as they benefit the reader. Ergo anything that improves the story means that it is taken seriously.
2. As for improvement, the story has no doubt changed in the successive drafts as the author has improved on various areas and in the sectors where his weakness lies, he has stated that he will reach out for external aids such as professional editing which will increase the quality by a notch yet again.
Style score: 4/5 - The opening scene itself is dark and eerie. The rest of the book till where I read leaves a taste of hunger and bitterness in my mind's tongue. I usually play music to set the mood while I read, but for this book, I had no need as the atmosphere and the pacing of the author's voice came through from the very beginning.
Story Score: 4/5 - As a reader, I'm thrust into a scene of tragedy right from the beginning. The intrigue as has been pointed out has been laid at the start and pulls me in - making me want to turn the pages and find out why the things that are happening are the way they are.
Grammar score: 4/5 - I'm not an expert at grammar and this is a standard 4 which would've been 3.5 had the author not explicitly stated that this was going to the editors and grammar was not his focus of choice. I quite agree with him and the grammar does nothing to detract from the book's readability.
Character score: 4/5 - So far, Astral's hunger, frustration, wariness, and fear have been communicated quite well. Mathias also feels like a mortal and not someone inhuman. The people in the start are shown with their own fears, worries, and humanity (inhumanity?). All in all, 4/5.
It's a promising read and apart from a few places - the narrative is strong, the emotions vivid, the scenes descriptive, and the length perfect (if not a little too perfect*)
*The chapter lengths could do with some variation and careful chapter breaks for RR format.
Overall I enjoyed it and best of luck to the author and happy reading to you - the reader.
Overall: This story is a good read. It can be tough at times to read through the heavy details and world-building but that's mostly just my tastes. Even the spots that are heavy in detail, they build a great visual world. This read is a good one if you enjoy world-building and plots that are so well paced, you have to keep reading more (which I am!). The POV switches are well done and fleshed out nicely, keeping the perspectives tight while developing and world building through each characters eyes.
Style: The style is good with an easy reading flow. Again, the details are my style but the writer requests feedback for each chapter and tells us what's being revised in the future drafts so I'm excited to read those and see how she's developed the style more.
Grammar: Good and easy. Any typos don't stop the flow of reading.
Story: Story line is vast in a good way. It's clear their are both big and small world struggles but the reader sticks close to the small world storyline with hints and glimpses into the big world story. It's interesting and intriguing and again, I think the future renditions will do this more justice.
Character: Characters are strong and well-developed. Dialogue reflects them well and so do their actions and gestures. The POV switched really amp up the characterizations and add to what the writer has already cultivated.
Overall: The story is a great read, and although I took a few breaks in between, every time I returned, it was like I was completely drenched, immersed in the story once again. There are some minor errors, but as the quality before and after edits were quite clearly improved, I trust that the author will constantly improve the writing and create an ever-interesting tale for the readers to follow.
Style: 4.5 stars. There were times when narration seemed to go on a little too long, but mostly, it was written with great care and balance between dialogue and description. The flow was natural, with a slow but noticeable buildup (will expand in story section). Although by the later chapters the quality dipped a little, it was by no means a big problem and it didn't break the immersion by one bit.
Story: 5 stars. From the initial catastrophe of the razing of Clearwater, the story immediately hooks the reader in with a bang. Using subtle hints as well as well-woven worldbuilding, the story felt very real, the scenes easily recreated in my mind. There was always some suspense waiting to be uncovered in future chapters, as well as many questions, some of which readers have pointed out nicely in the comments. If this continues, a very rich plot with interweaving arcs will be crafted from the world it is built upon.
Grammar: 3.5 stars. The first half or so had near-perfect grammar, thanks to the extensive edits from the author. However, by the latter half, there were several rather obvious grammatical mistakes. It wasn't enough to break the flow, of course, but it was a little bit annoying.
Character: 4.5 stars. Each character was highly distinct and different from each other, and to be honest, the 0.5 less was due to a personal dislike of one of the characters, William, to the point where I skimmed parts where it was in his perspective, despite also being very clearly and beautifully written. Perhaps the author did too good of a job of introducing him as an unlikable character?
Awakening: Prodigy is a dark fantasy with impressive world-building. The prose is beautiful and makes the imagery vivid. There is a lot of intrigue and mystery, which leads to a lot of things to uncover. No fiction on RR has made me want to create deep theories before this one. The characters are complex, have challenges and plenty of flaws that make them interesting to read. Would highly recommend it to everyone.
Wonderfully written prose that makes the world come alive. Even smaller interactions like a character visiting a shop to buy some flowers are described well in detail. This is not done in info dumps that are just a pain to read, rather these are shown to the reader using small details. A lot of things can be pieced together and this makes it a very fun experience. Sometimes it does feel too much description, but this is rare. In summary, you will love it if you love details sprinkled in and want to be able to see the world.
Usually, I don’t do this but the worldbuilding of Awakening: Prodigy is so good that I thought I should write a separate section for the setting/ worldbuilding (5*) and the plot (4*).
The setting is easily a 5*, one of the best I’ve read. It has demons, magic and fun technology. All of this with a dystopian government and a fun school setting. It’s also accompanied by beautiful prose that makes you want to keep learning about this world, especially since many details are for you to discover and not directly spoon-fed. This matches and makes the suspense of the actual plot even more intriguing.
Now, coming on the plot, I would say it’s a 4*. It’s full of suspense like I said, and there are a lot of things that I have yet to uncover and that makes me excited. There are some issues that do stop me from giving it a 5* though. For example, right after the exciting first chapter, we go to a slower-paced worldbuilding chapter that sets up for some demon killing. Every story has fast and slow-paced scenes, but in Awakening: Prodigy some of them come at awkward timings or without much transition to ease the reader in the slower setting right after the fast-paced one. Another issue is that sometimes the story feels too convoluted for the sake of being convoluted. Thankfully the author is aware of this issue and it’s not a common thing. I’d say 90% of the story is a joy to read, and 10% feels unnecessary or at awkward pacing so... that’s a 4* for the plot.
Nothing majorly bad stood out to me. There might be a few minor errors but they’re rare and overall the grammar of this book is on the level of published books I’ve read.
What I like about the characters in Awakening: Prodigy is that they are complex and flawed. Not only does it make them relatable and interesting to read, but it also gives them a lot of room for character development. There are three main characters (up to the point I’ve read, end of chapter 6) and they all are all well defined with their own fears and challenges that they need to overcome. Even the side characters are nicely fleshed out, with their own quirks.
Heck, even a bodyguard (Phillip) has a nicely developed personality that I really enjoyed reading and he barely appears in the story. There are also characters that we do not directly see characters interact with, but their personalities show from how they control the plot or other characters (Astral’s grandfather, for example). All in all, I really enjoy the characters in Awakening: Prodigy (even the characters that I do not love, like William) so definitely a 5*. Along with worldbuilding, this is the best part of this fiction for me.
Would definitely would highly recommend this fiction to everyone. One of my favourites on RR.
I'm writing this review after finishing chapter 3.6.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, I want to provide an overall opinion on my experience with Awakening: Prodigy.
This book is incredibly reminiscent of Enemy's Glory and Hecate's Glory by Karen Michelson. One of my most favourite books of all time, and a core inspiration piece that moulded me as a writer myself.
The story is told in a long-form prose fashion, and the author does an incredible job at bringing out a truly impressive visual aspect in their writing. Whilst this method does come with some pitfalls, such as making the prose quite heavy, the payoff is a beautifully crafted dark fantasy aesthetic that is hard not to enjoy.
However, there are some key elements of the story that require some work. I have not taken off significant score because of them, as I believe all of these problems are surface level. Let's dive in to a more in-depth look.
As I've already mentioned, the style is long-form prose. I won't rehash what I've already said, but let's focus on where this approach trips over itself a little.
Many of the sentences in Awakening: Prodigy are long. This causes the book to, at times, feel draining to read. I feel, as from a writer's point of view, that the book could be vastly improved with a melody pass (Making the sentences bounce more) and a slight restructure.
I don't think the overall style itself, nor the content of the story, needs to be rewritten. Simply reworked to fit an easy-to-read format.
Basically perfect. I can tell the author has spent a significant amount of time learning, and cleaning up, their grammar.
The only reason this doesn't get a perfect score is due to the sentence issue discussed above. It is part of grammar, and if improved, would significantly improve the piece.
The story won't be for everyone, especially for RR readers that are used to a faster paced narrative structure. However, I personally loved the slow-burn approach.
There has been a clear effort to carefully craft the progression of the narrative, and tie that progression into characterization that makes me, as a reader, excited for what might comes next.
Everyone from Astral to William is enjoyable to read. I wish I had more to offer here, but I simply can't see any issues with the characterization.
Final Note: Awakening: Prodigy is a new dark fantasy epic that I could absolutely see improving, and seeing great success, in the wider story market. I think the true target audience of this piece isn't completely on this platform, but I'm happy to see that it has grown a decent audience for itself.
Okay I just have this to say. This is probably the first story I read on the sight that has the best chances to become a real, physical release that becomes popular. I read all the way through chapter 3.6 so my review will reflect that, so take my review with a grain of salt.
Style: The prose is just remarkable to read. Detail and time was put in to make sure that the readers can understand not only what is going on within the scene, but also what the characters think and do. There are moments that doesn't really make it 5 stars, however. Sometimes, in somewhat important moments, the prose and detail just leaves the scene. For instance the game that William and the others were watching really wasn't explained to well, making the game feel kind of weightless and meaningless in the long run. Other than that, style is an easy 5-star.
Grammar: There are some misspelled words and punctuation, but its not really noticeable. I don't really have a right to speak on grammar either since I'm even worse when it come to grammar, so I just gave it a simple 4-star.
Story: There isn't much thats happening currently. As of right where I've read, the only thing thats happened was, Astral ate a demon, and William acts like an asshole, but otherwise its mostly just focused on worldbuilding which I enjoy. I'm a big fan of well crafted worlds, and there was a lot of thought put into the worldbuilding and how the characters react to it. It's also not one giant block of exposition, rather spliting each piece of worldbuilding among the chapters which is the most effective way to worldbuild in my opinion. The world is built only when the characters interact with said piece of their world, giving a nice flow of information and story progression. It would be 5- star, but I'm under the camp of nothing is 5-satrs unless it changes some aspect of how I view the world, and this is just standard, good story-telling, which is all a story needs to achieve to be seen as worthwhile. Not every story needs to be the next Game of Thrones.
Character: I only really want to talk about four characters. Mathias, William, Astral, and Kendra. Mathias, although I like his character, I have to admit he can be rather annoying. He treats William like crap and only gives Astral special attention, and although the readers know why, its still really annoying to me.
William is just as annoying, however. Instead of trying to understand Astral and his father, he just has stupid childish outbursts. However, my favorite characters in fiction usually tend to start out like that, as childish people that learns to harden up and mature through the cruel nature of their world. Considering what world these characters are living in, I have no doubt William will follow some route of that type, and I'll enjoy seeing him grow up and become a better person.
Then Astral, and I don't really know what to say about her. She seems kind of too strong at the start of the story, able to take on a threat that even Mathias, who is a master hunter, had trouble taking down. Yeah she has her core, which I could guess is the reason behind her strength, but when thats not active I would rather see her with novice, or at the most, intermediate skill. She seems to be the mystery protaganist, or more akin to the wildcard, especially in William's perspective. Overall, I don't have too much to say.
And finally for Kendra, who is a sweet buttercup that should be protected. I'd say out of all the characters that had more screentime than one or two lines, she is probably the most sympathetic out of them. William and Mathias can kind of be annoying, and Astral has almost no agency, so I just stuck onto Kendra as soon as she came onto the screen. Also I felt bad for her when she went through war flashbacks because William has no clue how to read a room, and blames the war vet for ruining the game when she begins to recount about the time when she saw all her friends die. At least Astral tried to comfort her.
Overall: I really enjoyed this and I have high hopes for where the author takes the series. I'm really into character driven stories that follow an epic tale of grim and harrowing sacrifice, and this might just be the story that saciates my thirst. I highly recommend for people to read the story, but if you're reading my review I assume you already have.
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.
'Awakening: Prodigy' is quite peculiar in so many ways. It is incredibly dark when it needs to yet it knows when to pull back and let its world flourish. The world is so beautifully and carefully constructed that you can't help be admire it despite the dark undertones and the somewhat Lovecraftian nature of the darkness that creeps within.
If you want a dystopian fantasy works in its own mysterious ways and according to its pre-established rules? Then you have found just the novel!
If you want a novel with multiple lead characters that offer a variety of different perspectives and personalities? Then this is it!
The writing and style of the novel are well done for the world it is trying to offer.
From the moment you start the first chapter, you get a clear picture of how well the world of the novel had been created and laid out for you to read to simply read. The novel's opening is just perfect enough to introduce you to the world and tell you what comes next and what to expect from this novel.
Although you feel as if you have been thrust into the world almost immediately, there are a few simple "flaws" sort to speak sprinkled throughout the first few chapters. But it doesn't take long before the story picks up speed and you get used to the world's structure.
The world's intricate and carefully crafted that even the world-building is introduced nicely and smoothly through the flow of the story.
The grammar structure is mostly fine. There are the few common mistakes that any author could have overlooked here and there, so it's nothing that breaks the flow of the reading experience.
With a fantastic, terrifying opening and a rough start a bit after, the story is still a great experience and ultimately one of the greatest elements that hold the novel together. Like mentioned before, it offers a great fantasy world mixed in with the types of worlds from other various genres and it still manages to create its own unique world.
The story is nice. The magical element of the world takes some getting used to with the spiritual powers and demons and all but it's quite fun and interesting to read. On the opposite side of that fantasy is a surprisingly well-made world of politics and hierarchy that makes it extra believable to the readers (unless of course, you want to detach yourself completely into a pure world of fantasy.)
Each chapter makes you want to move on to the next and want to know what will happen or if the theories in your mind are true (and they're not easily answered for this is a story for the patient and observative).
On the mention of chapters, however, there are a few moments where chapters will end abruptly or on an awkward note that makes a bit odd for the flow of the story. For example, a conversation can be cut off in one chapter and be continued in the next almost immediately. This might not be a problem if you're reading in one go, but if it happens in a new chapter with no way to continue right away, it might be a problem and detach you from reading a bit. But luckily the author seems to have caught onto it in the later chapters and hopefully, it won't be much of a problem for what comes next.
Now, although there is not much dialogue as there is narration, the characters are very well the best element in the novel. It might be due to the different perspectives. It might be due to the interactions between different characters. It might be their reaction to the world that's been built. It might be due to several other things.
Point is, the characters are well crafted that even though the narration you can understand how a certain character thinks and feels without making the writing be too off from the normal narration. It's quite a feat that the author manages to achieve that through the third-person narrative as well.
Astral. William. Seth. Even the side characters and one-note characters are memorable enough to garner attention and make the story shine in ways it couldn't have otherwise.
Overall, the novel is a great read. I recommend that everyone that reads this take a look at it and give it a chance when they can. Even with the minor flaws, there is something great here in the making.
Grammer- I maybe spotted a few mistakes, ones so small that any author could have made, especially people familiar with their own work that mistakes can slip by. So in this aspect you've done well.
Style- The story is well written and maintains a fairly consistent pov and tense. There are a few pov switches but these are done well and fit with the author's words about chopping up large chapters for webserials.
There were one or two lines which I don't think i quite understood- ‘Approving nods with a mix of disdain replaced the hate of the residence of older, well behaved, well-controlled, children.’- don’t know if its just me but this doesn’t quite make sense, mostly the residence of older. Might just be not understanding the phrase of something.
I do love how the style maintains the ark gloomy Lovecraftian feel, some of the imagery and description are used to masterful effect in this area.- Its very easy to imagine the scene playing in my head- 'Daddy's not coming.' The child stood up, her loyal teddy bear in her grip. Breath held, she moved through the refugees toward the shower of broken glass. No one dared stop her.= Great work
There was a little repetitiveness e.g. on chapter 2.3 a paragraph has three sentences in a row start with she. It was something that I've had pointed out to me a lot.
Story- Definitely darker than I expected ‘Children fought against their parent’s smothering love. Too weak to make any significant impact, their bodies slumped in their parents hold.’ Took me a moment to absorb what that line meant. Definitely not a story for those who want something lighthearted.
Still, the story has some fantastic lore and whilst I try to avoid spoilers it had everything you might need from fantasy, magic to demons and politics. Definitely worth a read for fans of the genre.
Characters- Over the story, we do meet quite a cast of characters from Astral to Seth. In m opinion, I found them all to be quite interesting, believable and well-written characters. Even if the story is a bit light on dialogue at times