Serpent's Herald

Serpent's Herald

by Blind Serpent

We begin with Arn, a young Ossarian man about to embark upon his first mission with an all-powerful government organization - The Inspectorate. 

A mission that should have been a matter of formality, a simple initiation, sets off an avalanche which no one escapes. 

Some Illustrations and Crafts For the Book:

Map of Nedreal - the land where the story takes place

Leather Travel Charm - this is a real life recreation of the travel charm from the book

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Blind Serpent

Blind Serpent

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Table of Contents
39 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
Chapter 1 : Shimmering Light ago
Chapter 2 : The Summons ago
Chapter 3 : Ossagar ago
Chapter 4 : Agent of The Inspectorate ago
Chapter 5 : The Attic ago
Chapter 6 : The Leopard ago
Chapter 7 : Rana ago
Chapter 8 : The Dream ago
Chapter 9 : Prisoner ago
Chapter 10 : Mind's Shadow ago
Chapter 11 : De'al ago
Chapter 12 : Freedom ago
Chapter 13 : Home Sweet Home ago
Chapter 14 : Charmcrafting ago
Chapter 15 : The Black Warden ago
Chapter 16 : Off to The Capital ago
Chapter 17 : The Snowy River ago
Chapter 18 : Mountainview Bridge ago
Chapter 19 : Attunement ago
Chapter 20 : The Old Fort ago
Chapter 21 : Our Mutual Friend ago
Chapter 22 : A Warning ago
Chapter 23 : The Ill Fated Pass ago
Chapter 24 : Foul Mood ago
Chapter 25 : A Pulsing Vein ago
Chapter 26 : An Old Anger ago
Chapter 27 : The Wolves Are Coming ago
Chapter 28 : DEKATH! ago
Chapter 29 : The Ranger ago
Chapter 30 : More Than Meets The Eye ago
Chapter 31 : Talking Trees ago
Chapter 32 : Second Time's The Charm ago
Chapter 33 : Ranger's Revenge ago
Chapter 34 : Tjoreal ago
Chapter 35 : Reunion ago
Chapter 36 : Cousin ago
Chapter 37 : Down River Arngosadar ago
Epilogue | De'al and Enloth ago
Histories of Nedreal : The Black Fort ago

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horizon108
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The lost art of worldbuilding a fantastic world!

Reviewed at: Chapter 13 : Home Sweet Home

Disclaimer: I have read till chapter 13 - Home Sweet Home, which is where I have reviewed this novel.

Overall Score: 4.5/5 - Fantastic world building, engaging dialogue, incredible lore, and grammatically almost perfect. I loved it.

Style score: 4.5/5 - The style was a welcome change, as it was wholly a traditional novel being played out in front of my eyes and in the depths of my mind as the world was constructed and Arn's life unfolded. It was quite good, but it takes a bit of time to get used to in the beginning.

Story score: 4/5 - So far, the foreshadowing hints, the clans and the clanless; they all are leading somewhere spectacular, but since the chapters are limited by time, I am unable to fully give this particular section a higher score without seeing how the rest of the plot unfolds. But so far, thoroughly enjoyed it.

Grammar score: 4.5/5 - I usually give a standard 4/5 rating if the grammar is up to acceptable standards, but this book went above and beyond my standards and the rating is definitely justified. I must have found barely a handful of errors in total.

Character score: 3.5/5 - There aren't many characters who get on scene time apart from Arn and Rana. Rana is just plain dislikable, and Arn on the other hand was going through shock and trauma, neither of which lend themselves to a character shining. 

Hence, I had to knock a few half stars off, but this is purely a personal choice and it shouldn't influence you.

Final Verdict: A really good book, and the author even has a map for the book! Check it out and you won't be disappointed.

Good luck to the author for the future, and I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did.

Razzmatazz
Overall
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Story
Grammar
Character

“Void & Flame,” is a fantasy story following the life of Arn, a young Ossarian man who essentially gets drafted to become a historian in the border town, far away from his home. The story has a very unique prose that lends itself well to descriptions of scenery and more importantly, the descriptions of characters.

This last part is a big factor, as the town that Arn gets sent to is very much ‘Innsmouthy’, if you’re familiar with the Cthulhu  mythos. Everything seems normal, but at the same time everyone is so dubiously suspicious that it was starting to make me paranoid while I was reading. Every side character, every interaction just always has that feeling that something isn’t quite right here. It’s like talking to someone who never blinks. There’s a creepiness to it that really adds up over every chapter.

As said before, the writing is fairly strong and stands well on its own. I found no noticeable grammar or spelling mistakes and the prose is fluid. Chapter one has a very strong hook in my opinion and it really caught me from the start.

The characters, as mentioned before, are all interesting to see. Even just the side-characters that only appear once, but a big part of this is because of how weird everyone is acting. They’re all just on the fringe of being overtly out of it. It’s like a whole town of fish-people pretending to be normal. This of course, offers a strong contrast to the confused village boy, Arn, who is very much out of place in a sense.

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed reading this story so far. If you’re looking for a low-combat, intrigue, fantasy story where something just isn’t right, then please give this one a fair shot! =)

Arthur-67
Overall
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Story
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Character

I did enjoy my reading of the story and have followed for further updates. I found it to be an interesting, well written and enjoyable story following the journey of Arn.- Here are my thoughts/ notes i made as i read the story

First, grammar, there was maybe the extremely rare grammar mistake, so few that it's not right taking any points off.

Although check for the double-spacing especially in the last chapter, unless that is some stylistic choice.

I saw the poll and in my opinion, the prologue is a nice touch, I enjoyed it and would recommend keeping it. It was a good strong start to the novel and introduction to everything. 

The style had a consistent third person pov and tense. It was quite nice and pleasant to read. Very easy to focus and get absorbed in. With some nice descriptions and imagery thrown in for flavour- ‘ five feet of virgin snow’, plumes of smoke and steam. I found it to be an enjoyable style.

The timeskips were very fluent and the use of details and locations in them made it seem very natural. Plus the use of italics for the dream was good- short and sweet.
‘Oh spirits’ instead of ‘oh damm is a nice touch. Some well extra would building that adds a touch of realism to the story.

I found all the characters to be quite well written and enjoyable, even the minor touches like De’al, and his singing. As we switched from them to Arn it definitely had my interest piqued in how they were interlinked.

Arn is definitely the most memorable as he does get the most screen time, he was an easy to route for MC. Nice use of Ossgar to give us world details, sort of a mentor relationship maybe.

There is some great world building thrown in, not to heavy ,not to light, just enough to add some immersion into this world. I like dit, especially some of the lore e.g. ancient homes of masons, caravaneers union etc. Ittrickled details instead of info dump e.g. inspectorate, no one disobeys etc gave just just enough to keep interest piqued.

Overall great work

 

 

trianman67
Overall
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Story
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Overall: Takes a while to get in, then when it goes, its goes. Sort of a fantasy, thriller mash-up (at least now, very light elements of each.) Could use a lot of extra details, but that's good because I want to be more involved.

Style: Style is basic. Not bad, just basic. I think it could use a lot more description. Where there's character description, I want more environments, and where there are more environments, I also want more character stuff. I think the best thing to say is that sometimes I get lost in the story while following through with everything. But it's definitely readable, and when it has a good balance of everything, which it definitely does in the later chapters, it's like being with an old, comfy friend, which is really great.

Grammar: Definitely could use some touching up, especially with a lot of the commas. It's not too often, but it's spaced out enough to where I notice it and it takes me out of the story. I think flow from description and dialogue could have some more love as well. Sometimes, it feels like dialogue is just thrown in, and it would soar ever higher if it was presented better.

Story: The story is interesting. This could overlap with the style, but to try not to spoil anything, I'd say it's a story that presents itself as a stereotypical "boy goes to magic school for the first time" trope and messes around with that in a way that may have been done before, but I thoroughly enjoyed its execution in a way that I wouldn't have in other stories. I await the next chapters.

Character: I think this is definitely something that needs more chapters to flesh out. In all honesty, when I first started, the characters felt flat, but then, later on, you start to see other sides of the characters that help add meat to the story. I wonder if the author can go back and make the characters feel more fleshed out before the later parts. Then again, that's probably part of the balancing act of having a sort of fantasy/thriller.

Congratulations: Even if the story feels basic at times, I still want to anticipate what happens next and am curious to see the story forward. I think things could definitely be ironed out to make the ride less bumpy.

Genuine55
Overall
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Character

A solid read - great atmosphere

Reviewed at: Chapter 13 : Home Sweet Home

I’m going to break my own rule and start with my nitpick, mostly because I only have the one: it bugs me that the author uses made-up words for established tropes. Why use the word ‘esoral’ when mana or magic works just fine? I know people are going to jump on me for this complaint, and I’m not dinging the review for it, but it’s still something I dislike.

 

Grammar is great. Dunno what the first reviewer is complaining about, I looked closely in the first few chapters and then just read. I didn't catch anything that began to distract me from the story.

 

Story is a slow atmospheric burn. Which is good - the whole thing feels like an actual novel more than a webserial. I do appreciate that the call to adventure isn't an action arc - the MC is called to be a scholar and historian.

 

The characters are great - lots of distinct side characters without any of them really fading into the background. Even the ones I hated I didn't mind when they took up space on the page.

 

As to style, maybe I'm reading too much into things but I feel like everything is a hint at something major that will be revealed later. It actually makes me feel a bit jumpy - I'm kinda reminded of early seasons of Lost where we get constant hints and mystery boxes that will never be opened. To put another way, we've got lots of guns on the mantel, I hope that Chekov will pull them down and fire them later.

Grigory
Overall
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Character

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Reviewed at: Chapter 1 : Unexpected Summons

No idea what the other guy is on about. Ironically, he missed a comma in the sentence suggesting the author learn to use commas better.

Language and flow are very good. I've read a few hundred books and stories so far. while not as experienced as many on here, I feel I have enough objective reference points to say that this writing is more polished than the general standard I've seen on these sites.

Don't get me wrong, there are typoes and grammar mistakes here and there. A bit of dialogue can use a little more work to feel more natural and organic. But, all in all, great job. Language and grammar are difficult to get just so, and honestly, there's always something to improve there.

The story is quite intriguing, prologue felt super polished and really draws the reader in. You immediately want to know whats happening and why. Im honestly a bit frustruated that I have to wait to see what happens with Enloth and De'al; they hook you in very well.

First chapter was a tad slow for me, at the same time there's good reason to take it slow and steady. The world is being built up gradually but well, I like the descriptions, I found it pretty easy to picture the scenes being painted for me. Author did a good job of balancing worldbuilding here and storytelling. Not much happens but the build up is palpable and on par with the kind of thing I learned to expect from much of the published books I read.

There's not much character building yet, but I like what I've seen so far. I am drawn into the story and Arny's family feel fulls of familiar characters.

Finally, to quote J.T.Wright's wise guide character: 'not all advice is good advice, sometimes you know yourself best', this applies to storytelling too.

Ill update as I read further.

Buller
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

I said this in a comment and I will say it again. I don't like Rana. I dont like Del'al or however you spell it either. There ways of talking, be that instantly or later on, utterly infuriates me. It's no fault of the story it itself, but due to my own gneereal hatred for such puzzling ways of speaking.

Rant over. Review begins.

The style of the story reminds me of the older books of the century, with a more long-drawn approach to the narrative. Not something normally seen in larger amounts on this platform, but I have nothing against it. 5/5

Grammar? I found one mispelling in one of the later chapters. (Suite yourself/suit yourself). Not a point that I will cry about. 5/5

Story? This one is very slow on the uptake. Even with the first ten chapters read, I still don't believe that the story really has started up. While the proluge does offer some promise of what will happen later on, I don't believe we have gotten to that point. Very nice. 4.5/5

Characthers? I dont like Rana. But, since that is due to extreme bias due to a personality trait, I dont feel that this assesment is fair. Because they do have personalities, and that is something that should be taken seriously-´. 5/5

Overall? 5/5

 

FGC_Checkmate
Overall

Strong imagery and a lot of potential

Reviewed at: Chapter 5 : The Attic

There is a lot of promise in this story. The imagery is strong and detailed (just check out the end of the prologue to see what I mean) and the dialogue is fluid and enjoyable to read. If you're into more tradtional fantasy stories, it couldn't hurt to check this one out. 

Update:

The author has rewritten the first eight chapters and tweaked some of the later ones. With the update comes improved dialogue and more vivid descriptions. The allusion to the Inspectorate that is hinted at early on gives just enough detail as to what they are but keeps them shrouded in mystery and makes the reader want to continue on. Still a 5 star rating for me. 

_Fowl_
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The prologue starts with quite a bit of mistery. The synopsis gives us a glimpse of what happened there, though. Still, we go from some horror-ific scene to a daily-routine narration, with a guy set to depart away from his family. This set-up is very common in standard novels, much less so in web novels. No good or bad points for the idea per se, but quite a few for good execution.
Flash forward a few chapters and our main character is now being sent to a town that apparently terrifies his parents. I'd say that a bit more detail or foreboding would have been better. Up to chapter 2, the narration is a bit stereotypical for the genre, lacking in innovation: you could switch up names with some other mainstream fantasy and no one would notice.
However, the upside is that the story is quite solid. Treading the most-followed path makes it so that the narration has less of the usual amateurish caveats that you would find around here. 
Chapter 3 is a bit of an infodump and not very entertaining. 
There is a stark difference in word counts among certain chapters; I don't really like it. Consistency is important when you write web novels. 
Later on, the chapters take on a darker shade; they lose their initial wholesomess in order to make space for a Lovecraftian scenario. I've already seen other reviewers notice this very fact and I agree. The change in scenery takes the narration up a notch and raises the overall quality. 
Chapter 7 is the tide-breaker for me, where the style really shines and creates and armonious narration. The first six chapters had me doubt a little, but now I'm sold.
I'd go as far as to say that the author is doing a great job with his writing - from chapter 7, at least. 
Let's get to it:
Style - Good. It confused me at first, because I thought it would be another boring fantasy. The author flips the table on you and makes a brilliant turn.
Story - Same argument for Style. A tad further and this would be truly able to contend with some of Lovecraft's stories. 
Characters - Not much to say, actually. We've not seen enough of the world at chapter 11. My rate will be on how real the MC feels, which is a 5/5
Grammar - Good. 

KoyukiMegumi
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

This author knows what they are doing. World-building is amazing and honestly, I wish I could be as good as you in that aspect.

Style:

It is from the third-person point of view. It feels slow to my liking, but I am a fast-paced girl. So, I like to have my stuff going on quickly rather than the slow buildup. But that is a personal preference. There are times I get lost in the dialogue, but that is because I like to see who is talking rather than trying to follow the flow of the dialogue, but that is me.

*Happens more when there is more than one character around.* Makes me go, uh, who is talking again? Again, personal preference. There are times were inner thoughts blend into the story and again that takes me out.

I mean, there is always room for improvement, and this applies to everyone.

Grammar:

It is one of the best I have seen... It feels a bit repetitive at times, but again, there is nothing wrong with the grammar per se. Just needs a bit of refining for better reading. This is in my opinion! I am no expert! But either way, it is one of the best grammar you will find out here.

Story:

It is a great world-building story. You mostly follow Arn as the book suggests. *It is in the title. * He is a young lad pushed into an adventure, basically. I never go into detail on this because I feel every story should be experienced firsthand. But there are twists and turns and even some frustrating ones. *The boy is a little too naive for my liking.* So, sit back and enjoy the ride. For me, especially my favorite chapters are where the things pick up a bit.

Though, I have to say the world-building and the details are superb. It elements that mash well as well as spooky ones in the later chapters. Eerie feelings though out. So, the plot is a good one. Kudos to you author!~

Characters:

In this world, we can see how they interact with one another, and we also see the reactions they have to one another. They seem alive and likable. Well, I will say it is a preference, but because that is a thing and people are individuals. I believe they are good characters. That is if you like it or not.

There are what I call cute moments between characters and they warm my heart!

Overall:

Great world-building, good characters that will rile you or make you sympathize with them. *I personally hated the naivete of the MC but loved the way other characters were.* Story base it is great and alluring, though a bit slow at times.

Great work! Keep it up!