When an accident causes the early death of two young women, one is chosen to become a hero, a saviour, and a servant of the God of Heroes!
This is not her story. This is the story of Valeria, whose soul clung to her friend’s, and who was dragged into a new world where her wandering spirit was claimed by the Goddess of Darkness.
And so, one who doesn’t belong grows to become the servant of the Dark Goddess, a servant—definitely not a daughter—who will usher in a new age of despair and disgust.
The only problem is, she’s really bad at the whole “evil” thing, not that she’s unwilling to do her best to please her adoptive mom, the Dark Goddess Luciana.
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I wouldn't call this a deep story, or overly amazing in any single characteristic. RavensDagger knows what they wanted out of this (a cute, wholesome, light story), and they deliver.
-interesting magic system. Pretty vague overall still, but it's an interesting marriage of standard elemental powers, and emotion-based powers. Stuff like Fire requiring anger is admittedly generic, but healers constantly being overwhelmed with grief? Storing up surprise to shock someone with electricity? Some interesting concepts even before you get into combining elements.
-really, really frequent updates. Ravensdagger put out over 100k of word over about a month for the first Volume, an only took a two week hiatus before beginning to publish the next. While writiing several other stories. They're insanely prolific.
-not a fanfiction. This is a rewrite of one of RavensDagger's previous works, Princess. I've read Worm and watched some of RWBY (the two fandoms the original was based on), and am happy to say Heart Of Dorkness stands on its own. I can see glimpses of what I believe is the original here and there (idea of an immortal queen of black tar monsters, and the magic awakening incantation from RWBY, concept of having effectively bugs fighting for you from Worm), but I think this has its own distinctive style, premise, and plot.
Can go either way:
-extremely cutesy. It feels like reading a Moe Anime at times. This supposedly ~14 year old protagonist says "tummy", "tippy-toes", and "oh shucks". Really. The naïveté of her and her equally cutesy friends is funny when juxtaposed against they "Goddess of Darkness" stuff, but it can kinda grate at times. The MC feels maybe ~8 years old in the flashback chapters, and seems to get no more mature in the present chapters.
-characters. Most seem good, albeit rather one-note personality-wise. Maybe character development will come in the second volume.
-occasionally some really jarring tonal shifts. The story will go from "cutesy slice of life adventure" to "oh sh** they're gonna die" really fast. I'm fine with some moral gray areas, or life-and-death struggles: it just gives me whiplash when it comes out of nowhere for a chapter or so, and then we're back to "cute girls doing cute things" by next chapter.
Sweet story without a whole lot of depth yet, but has a very fun premise, and toothrottingly cute character interactions. I liked it personally.
Is ok. Not complex, but fairly entertaining to follow. Characters are charismatic and holds good chemistry between them. If something, even though there are quite some difficult/serious moments of conflict, I can't really consider them serious at all. Author fails grandly on making them, but again, that shows the simplicity of the story telling, which make it a light read.
(as of chapter Terror 19, the 29th chapter)
Valeria died in our world and was reborn in a not-completely-human body in a fantasy world, where she is adopted by the Dark Goddess. Dark, but not really evil, that is, this story is SFW. I'm not totally sure about the direction the story will go, but so far Valeria is going out into the big world for the first time, more or less running an errant for her mom. An errant that turns into an adventure.
This is a cute story and most of that cuteness centers on Valeria. She's a teenager who is obsessed with books and considers all kinds of monsters "cute". Well, no wonder, you probably read the story's title so you shouldn't be surprised about her main trait. So far, Valeria often appears a bit naive; I don't have much experience with children, but at times she acts more like an 8-year-old instead of the 14 years mentioned at the time of the main storyline (12 in the flashbacks about her arrival). But that's just a minor thing. All the characters are a little bit strange and not too deeply characterized, which is okay for a light, non-serious story.
There are some LitRPG elements (mostly classes and titles and appraisal boxes which show those) and an unusual magic system which works with emotions. There has been a bit of interesting lore/world-building strewn in as well. The story is mostly told in first-person style by Valeria, with a few third-person scenes from other POVs. Word choice and grammar are good, with very few typos. That the story switches between different points in time was confusing for me in the beginning; I realized what was happening after a while and the chapters' titles indirectly indicate to which part they belong, but perhaps it could be made a bit clearer.
All in all, I'm not totally captivated by this story because I can't completely place it yet. But it is a nice, non-serious pass-time, you can't go wrong with giving it a try.
A good story, fun and light-hearted, as always.
However, there are two small problems for me that decrease my interest:
- the flashbacks chapters are interrupting the flow of the story, and without a good connection to the previous chapters. They feel abrupt and disjointed. I feel like reading two different stories, being interrupted regularly.
- this is a rewrite of "Princess", a fan fiction by Ravensdagger. I loved this novel, even if I didn't know the source. It was very fun and light-hearted. However, this means that I have a huge feeling of having already read this new story, even if Ravens removed the fanfiction elements, and promised a divergent story.
I guess I'll wait a little and hope the story will become different enough that I lose this feeling.
Meanwhile, it made me want to reread Princess !
A naive protagonist, this time with some training on the world she's in, on her first mission.
I'm interested in seeing where it goes. I usually don't rate stories this early. Well-written. Not fast-paced, but not dragging either so far. The magic system seems like it will be interesting, and I'm still waiting for the monsters to play a role.
Heart of Dorkness tells the story of the uttermost dorky Valeria, loving daughter of Lunaria, the Dark Goddess. The growing bond between mother and daughter is the emotional core of book one. Yet, the original idea—the, literal, magic of emotions—does not connect to that core at all. Replacing the system of magic with a standard one, would not change the story in any way.
Like everything Raven writes, it is cute in its own unique way, and charmingly stylized. In this case a wholesome story of mother and daughter, and a separated original idea.
The pointed story arc makes book one a perfectly digestible read. The flashback chapters, while sensible to the story, are executed poorly, though. They feel more like interruptions than additions to the main storyline.
Book two seems to be about friendship. And it is no worse, than the first one. I do, however, doubt I'll finish reading it.
There is no reason to write this story as a LitRPG. Such a system is mostly a crutch for malformed ideas. Here, that is certainly the case, as the novel would have worked just fine without it. And with just a tiny bit more work, the "Portal Fantasy/Isekai" take could be lost as well. After all, you spend quite a bit of effort forming the characters into something relatable.
DaggerRaven comes bearing gifts, Heart of Darkness is one such. This is a unique take on the cultivator system with interesting characters and superb and ambitious pacing. While this story is an isekai common pitfalls of the trope are sidestepped as the protagonist is an amnesiac(and not in a way that feels arbitrary). This also adds tension in the overarching narrative through her relationship with a prominent antagonist.
In summary, Heart of Darkness is an ironic feelsgood story with heaps of wholesome fluff and platonic lesbian romance intermixed with a dash of monster armies and magic battles.
Let me start by saying this is a way higher score than I ever thought I'd be giving any story with highly overused elements including cultivation, isekai and worst of all in my eyes: a class system built into the world. And apparently this work began its life as a fan-fiction, and has been revised with the derivative elements covered over--very thinly at times--with an original setting.
So just know that with a preamble like that, this story had some heavy lifting to do to win me over even the slightest bit. It is a clumsy, goofy, awkward little story that nevertheless has been written with great care and almost flawless execution.
Basically it incorporates all these elements that usually are a sure sign of a lazy author on a fast-track to bad habits, then proceeds to just not be lazy at all; things have depth and the skillful insinuation of complex interactions. Heck, for such a lighthearted fiction, this story manages to make a few, surprisingly genuine, serious moments: a good thing to have, if only for contrast. The characters stand on their own, for the most part. The story never leans on the crutch of begging the trope to do the work for it. It manages to avoid the literary sin of "tell, don’t show" for the most part.
The story manages to take these tropes I see as generally nothing but a burden to a good story and even manages to make them actually contribute to the narrative rather than dragging them along for no good reason. You could reasonably make the case that the story wouldn't be better off without them. That said, these things have stigma for a reason. And while the author has attempted to put them to work, they are still metaphorically unskilled labor that make a mess of things on occasion. But for a story called 'Heart of Dorkness' that's probably just fine. Realistically speaking: it's almost perfect as is.
So if there is anything in the story's summary that appeals to you, give this one a read. It's a rare gem in a genre saturated by, at best, mediocrity.
Edit: I had to bump this story's rating up a notch, or so I felt after giving a 3 to another story that is not in the same league as Dorkness. But while I'm updating things, I would like to add it feels like the pacing has slowed considerably in volume 2. Hopefully things pick up soon, but it sure seems like the 4 amigas are no closer to significantly advancing the plot after 6 months of updates.
I really like where this is going. The premise is a nice twist on the typical Isekai, and we are getting some solid world building and character work at the beginning. The LitRPG/magic system is gradually being revealed, and we already got introduced to both a current and future plot point.
There's some time changes, which can sometimes be confusing, but in this case it is done well and the chapter title indicates which time we will be in for that chapter. So far most of the story follows the main plot with a few chapters of how things started and one chapter from the future.
The main thing that makes this fun is the combination of the main character being both naive and unintentionally terrifying at the same time. My favorite part of the story so far is how she thinks traditionally scary things are cute, and I can't wait for more.
RavensDagger has got to be one of the most consistent writers on this platform, consistently cranking out work subverting genre tropes with some absolutely adorable characters. Felix, Val, Val's mom, side characters, they're all really well written, internally consistent, and each really has their own voices. Just real good stuff here.