[First Draft, Moved] Of Astral and Umbral
- Sexual Content
- Traumatising content
Yet the Elder Gods had other things in store for Nalithor. They needed someone to take up the mantle of “God of Balance” and he was the perfect tool for them to use. If the angered Elders had their way, Arianna and Nalithor would never discover each other again, let alone find out that the other was alive.
As a child, Arianna was heiress to the Devillian throne until one day the Elder Gods tore her away from her loved ones. Believing that Arianna had perished, her childhood friend Nalithor Vraelimir vowed that he would find a way to avenge her death. However, unbeknownst to the people of the Vorpmasian Empire, their princess was not dead.
Death would have been too easy for Arianna. The Elders had other things in store for someone that had angered them as she had.
Two hundred years later, in a world ruled by gods and plagued by monstrosities known as Chaos Beasts, the Vorpmasian Empire has allied with the fledgling Beshulthien Empire. Their desire is to protect the whole of their world, Avrirsa, from the Exiled Gods and their monstrous pets.
Nalithor, now an adult Incubus, has been given a heavy burden by the Elders he hates. He must now fulfill the role of God of Balance by maintaining the greater good and getting the Middle and Upper Gods under control. The Middle and Upper Gods, growing complacent in their duties, began seeking out mortal playthings instead of attending their Elders–given duties.
Will the Empires be able to maintain their shaky alliance? Will Nalithor be able to bring the deities under control? Or will the reemergence of a forgotten nation and a familiar face turn everything on its head?
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This is my review of ‘Of Astral and Umbral’ and I won’t, not be subjective. Since it is how I feel about this story, I will, of course, be subjective.
Story: An overarching plot that boggles your mind. Threads left throughout the story that tie up beautifully or lead to even more stories. A well-rounded plot that is truly unique in its treatment among the mass of half-cooked stories in RRL. The details are extensive and beautifully done. The characters feel alive and well thought out. However, what makes it also mars it. Sometimes, the details come in the way of the story-telling. Also, sometimes the story feels like a shoujo romance. Not sure how to feel about that, since it’s not bad but I don’t really like shoujo.
Style: It is like a beautifully drawn ukiyoe painting. Details, details and details have the story dance and come alive right in front of your eyes. The emotions and mental states are well sketched out. However, again, sometimes the scenes which don’t need a verbose treatment or would hit hard with rawness gets padded with details. Story flow suffers sometimes from the extreme details. Also, the author uses both show and tell. It does help but sometimes, gets a bit iffy. In closing, the chapters are fine for a novel. If, however, I look at it in a Web Novel context, especially on RRL, it might be too long for the attention span of most readers. Not a bad thing, but something the author might want to look at. People tend to forget stuff when too much information goes in at once. And here, this is text so, it will happen more. However, 2k word chapters are also not something I’d advice.
Grammar: Near perfect. Extreme precision and laudable vocabulary. But sometimes, there are missing words which are very rare and just a small oversight. Won’t worry too much about that. Sometimes the vocab choices are a bit oddball, though.
Characters: Detailed and something that I don’t often find here, layered. You can tell that the author has refined, reworked and created them again and again. This is the strongest section of the story, according to me. But there are some inconsistencies which might be because the story hasn’t proceeded that much, yet.
This is a story to catch if you are bored with the usual fare on RRL. Delve deep into a different world with a set of interesting characters and you just might fall in love with this fiction. Definite recommendation.
Although this is a 4 star review, I do plan to point out a few things I didn't particularly enjoy or thought could've been done better. Anyways, let's get on with it. As most RRL reviews, I won't hesitate to be subjective (Yes, that was a slight bash against some RRL reviews).
The style - I have a few problems here such as the lack of details given about the surroundings. Perhaps I may have accidentally missed them but I was often left without any solid foundation on which to base my imagination. Of course, the general feel of the story guided my image of the places somewhat but I would’ve preferred some more details.
Something that’s quite good, something that I have trouble with, was how the author always adds in a little something to the dialogue. Instead of talking heads,
“Hi” he said
“Hi” she said
The author never failed to add in a little more spice into those conversations.
Oh, and another thing about the conversations, they always felt like they had life in them. The cheeky characters, have cheeky dialogue. The annoying characters, say annoying things. Most of the text is talking so it’s a good thing it’s done well.
But, here come a few gripes from me again. I personally felt like many of the chapters were a tad too long. It was difficult to maintain focus on the chapter as I wondered about how long I had been scrolling. The chapters are basically all over 5k words from at least chapter 1 to 16, which is as far as I read. I will admit that I skimmed just a paragraph or two every once in awhile which could be the reason why I might not have gotten the details of the cities and stuff… A plus side to this, is of course that not a single chapter felt like it was deprived of content. Though, that doesn’t mean that things couldn’t have been cut out. Condensing earlier chapters could have helped the momentum of the story. My eyes and brain didn’t fail to notice how masculine the main male character was as I was reminded again and again throughout the female MC’s various thoughts about him… It’s not a big problem as it goes away later so nothing that bad. It was just a little repetitive, though I assume the problem wouldn’t have been so big if I read the fiction weekly rather than binging it.
Story - The world of Of Astral and Umbral, is great, it’s huge! The world isn’t explained all at once and neither are the traditions and workings of any single place, so I was left a little bit confused but I enjoyed it because it felt like an actual world. In usual fantasy settings, there’s usually a taboo here and there or something like that but in Of Astral and Umbral, it extends into traditions, culture, laws, etc. It really feels like the characters are living in an already established world. This, I give a thumbs up. But, of course, with a world this large, the early chapters were a bit hard to digest with the multiple levels of gods, monsters, talking dragons, types of mages, etc. The only problem I really have with this aspect is that we, the audience, have no real gauge of strength between characters. Is a demigod able to compete with a lower god? How strong is a Dux class beast really considering the amount of times we see them defeated without a problem? I can understand that they’re strong because other characters comment on it but I have yet to actually see its strength.
The main conflict isn’t entirely clear, as of chapter 16 ofc, but it often results in the two main characters constantly testing the waters. It’s a bit frustrating with the slow pace as they refuse to communicate but isn’t too bad since it makes sense with some of the established rules and the personalities of the characters. The actions of some of the gods being kept secret also leave a few interesting points to explore.
Grammar - The easiest part. It’s perfectly fine. Nicely done. Pat on the back.
Characters - Oh my favorite part!
Let’s start with the character we spend the most time with.
Arianna. She’s an interesting female protagonist. She’s strong, hotheaded, self confident, seclusive, but is overall a seemingly decent person, despite her constant threats to kill people. She’s family focused and would do anything to protect her brother despite how much he annoys her, and sometimes the audience. Her past is revealed early on, but a huge mystery surrounds her. Her personality is very different from what I’m used to seeing on RRL as she takes on the brooder role that often the males have but is also snarky and doesn’t back down from anything. Arianna also is lot more open to flirting. Considering it’s natural for people to enjoy flirting and such, I found it a bit jarring when reading about her interactions with the male protagonist. Her usual cool personality tends to feel a bit overshadowed by her constant blushing and admiration of the male protagonist’s features. I won’t deny that there are many valid reasons for her to be like that, one being that the male protagonist is a Incubus, but I still found it to be hurting her character more than it helped.
Darius. He’s the brother of Arianna and totally annoying but hilarious in a way. I never found myself wishing he’d stop acting as he did since I found it funny, since his attitude felt very much true to that of a sibling and that gives him a little boost. He’s extremely childish but those traits give me lots of hope for him in the future. His potential to grow is ridiculous.
Nalithor. The male protagonist who is an Incubus and a god. I very much prefer to see the story through the eyes of Nalithor, not because Arianna is uninteresting but because whenever he interacts with Arianna, he’s always flirting. I’m not to the part where I can say that there is only one true main character, so I still hold onto the belief that both of their perspectives are equal, just that one is used more than the other.
I think that when the characters get past the flirting bits are when they are at their best. I was enjoying the writing of the story and that’s what kept me going until chapter 16. Although my focus in stories is usually the characters and they’re what keep me reading, I never really felt a connection until the revelations of chapter 16. After reading that chapter, something just clicked. The chapter had a strong feeling and kept that atmosphere throughout the chapter. When I finished, I just thought, “Wow. Now that’s a payoff.” Looking back on it, I feel like that’s when the story really started to hit its stride. I read a bit of the next chapter, and all the characters just felt different to me. The things revealed in chapter 16 just lent a whole load of depth to the characters and I was shaking a bit after reading it.
I guess I just really admire it when an author is able to bring a character to life.
Overall, although I found it hard to get through some parts of the story as the beginning was a bit slow and it relies heavily on conversations to pull the story through, it’s truly unlike anything I’ve read on RRL. Chapter 10 is when the fiction starts to feel a bit different and chapter 16 just brings it home.
If you’re looking for a romance where both parties are equal in the relationship and it doesn’t feel like one is the “alpha” or a large world with tons of things happening or great banter, writing, flow, secrets, characters that are interesting, I’d recommend this.
I honestly didn’t know if I liked it that much in the middle of 1-16 but, as I have said before, I enjoyed it in the end (chapter 16).
I LOVE THIS STORY
Style: It keeps me guessing and wanting more within the first few chapters you get introduced to all kinds of different creatures. The way things are described allows you to paint your own picture yet guides you through it. Emotions are also clearly shown in body language. Its also clear that research has been done. (something i always look for.)
Story: Interesting I was not bored for a second. In a previous review it was stated that there are sudden info dumps which make you confused. To me the writer is setting up the framework of her story before she starts to fill it in for us. I believe after a prologue and during the rest of the book readers should be asking questions. I certainly am.
Grammar: English is not my best language so maybe thats why, but I could not find anything wrong with it. She also has two editors which is a major plus, since it only improves the story. Well done to the writer and editors. Good Job.
Characters: Are interesting and well filled out. Like I mentioned before you keep wanting to know more which I think is good sign that you are enjoying the story.
Great book Luci, keep up the good work.
If I may start with this, this story is underrated (4/5) when I make this review whilst if you do not like a story which keeps you in delicious fog of mistery teasing the readers up by giving up bits of the truth every then and now then you might have a problem to read this. If anything, the only real 'fault' I can find in Of Astral and Umbral is its written to be a book or so I feel.
If you feel like giving a shot to OAU(which I invite you to do for more than 2 chapters!) you should be ready for quite a bit of teasing!
Some may be willing reproach you to overuse dialogue, but I feel it's fine (Damn it's great!). The flow of the story is incredibly smooth, I enjoyed every second of my read oscilating between frustration and pleasure! The way you choosed to unravel the plot in mist of the story made me always thirsting for more while inviting me to try and imagine things to fill my hunger for more.
Great? I don't really know how to judge it at this point, I've got this hunch you are only getting started and the best as yet to come!
Up to chapter 23: The pace is good, clearly indicating it would be the '
travel and meet allies' part of the story. I love it up to now, maybe to much since I can't really put it into word so I'll stop here. Sorry for not being able to point anything... but I can't think anything to point out.
English not being my native language I do not want to judge or seem rude but I don't remember finding mistakes big enough to catch my attention during my read, it doesn't mean there is known; but if mistakes you made I'm not one to find them soz!
Characters: I love Ari and Nali, with that said I'll obviously be a bad judge here!
The characters are well defined with their twirk and all, which helps the story a lot! But there is one thing that costed 0.5in this rubric: at the begining of the story, first few chapters, it appears you forgot some inconsistencies about Arianna memories (I think it was her) and what she appears to know.
To begin with there is just the nightmare whith the elder taking her away... the "only memory" until she mentioned of her time in "a place I forgot the name and I don't want to spoil" from where she was saved by a certain incubus. If it was not done on purpose you might to lightly change her 'thoughts' after her first nightmare and try to hint it differently to avoid confusion. If you did it on purpose... I'm confused damn it!
I love it, I would give your story about 4.9/4.8 out of 5, but I cannot, add to this the fact that with so little visible reviews your story has only 4stars (which is well below the reviews average mark I guess some lurkers downvoted you because from the shadows... So let's round it up at 5 as I would have anyway :)
Big thanks to you, I hope you'll keep enjoying writting it so We can be regaled by more of your wonders.
Big thanks to your editors as well!
Well! I'm reading this at 3:42 AM, so I'm probably not getting the best experience; some things just don't even register, but the parts that I have managed to hold on to mentally I enjoyed. I will most likely come back later and re-read, but so far, I think you've done a very good job.
Astral and Umbral is well written and obviously has a lot of depth. The author has done a ton of world building and succeeds in bringing her story to life. The characters are also very interesting. The plot has a lot of romantic undertone but is also more than a little creepy. A lot of very NSFW stuff is hinted at, so all in all it’s an intriguing mix.
That said, it is very confusing to read. There’s so much depth here and it’s dumped on you right away with next to no explanation. You have multi-levels of gods, angels, mages, empires, history, magic shapeshifting talking dragon-things, creepy Mist, politics, and characters with lost memories.
You’re left wondering how much everyone remembers, or ever knew, a lot of the time. It’s also confusing since some characters seem to remember stuff in one scene but then act as if they’re completely ignorant in others. The thought processes of the characters are also really hard to follow. They make choices that don’t appear to make much sense given what we know. This is probably because there’s a lot about the world we don’t know yet, but it’s still super annoying. I frequently wanted to start yelling at them, “Stop being so stupidly secretive and just talk to each other!”
This was really my main problem with the story. It felt like the entire central conflict could be resolved with a single conversation in the first chapter. That fact that things keep dragging on starts to come across as very contrived.
Grammar is top notch, although in some of the early chapters sentences can be a little complex and hard to follow.
I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys complex fantasy works with both romantic and very dark undertones.
Style is good, flows really nice from one part to the next
Story was easy to follow has a great plot and really makes me want to read more
Aside from very few things here and there the grammar is great
Characters feel very unique and personally i can relate to them all easily
Great story..... All i will say is FIVE STAR FOR YOU GLENN COCO....
It is a novel that progresses at a good speed. not instantly, and not years later they realize their love for each other. They grow closer and closer to the point that you start wondering why they haven't taken the next step. And they wonder why they haven't as well.
I definitely recommend this for those who are looking for a different style of writing and a good romance between two characters.
The writing is very well done, with an interesting plot and unique world.
The main character is female, but we frequently view the hero's pov as well, so the story sort of has two MC's.