On a rainy night, a young woman is transported to the enchanting world of Sol'h'meyr. Thrilled to be freed from the shackles of monetary survival and societal expectations on Earth, she embraces her newfound existence and magical powers bestowed. But the rose-tinted fantasy life she always dreamed of turns out to be a stark reality that poses to kill her if she doesn't adapt and let go of her past.
Essairyn battles both cripping nostalgia and imminent danger in her journey from the Spirit and Demon Forest to the human realm of As'pyze. Disillusionment leading to anger has erupted into violence across the deceptively peaceful land. New friends and allies gather by her side, but tragedy and betrayal lurk closer than she realizes. Hiraeth is the idyllic beginning tainted with dark shadows in the epic fantasy series, Singularity Cycle.
[ – Now Completed with upcoming minor revisions before second book – ]
+ complex character relationships and growth + realistic quirky magic system + unique mythical creatures + deeply developed world lore + evocative writing style + cute sassy fox sidekick
- Original Book Cover Art by Chryiss
Rewritten final version of formerly named Canaan series and first book, My World to Live. After a long wait and major changes, the first book in the series is retitled Hiraeth: Promise of the World.
Thank you to all readers that joined me since I began posting this story two years ago. Your support is what motivated me to never give up my dreams. <3
[ Major Tags: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery, Psychological, Romance, Tragedy, Female Lead, Grimdark, High Fantasy, Magic, Mythos, Portal Fantasy, Isekai, Progression, Reincarnation, Secret Identity, Strong Lead, Epic Fantasy, Spirits, Demons, Monsters, Fairies, Dragons, Kingdom, Parallel Dimension, Mage, Knight, Royalty, Philosophy, Friendship, Slow Burn, Mythical.
+ Major Tags not in Book 1 but later in Series: Supernatual, Science Fiction, Ruling Class, School Life, Time Travel, War and Military, Vampires, Dimensional Travel.
Minor Tags: Comedy, Horror, Artificial Intelligence, Cyberpunk, Dungeon, Dystopia, Loop, Steampunk, Virtual Reality, Villainous Lead. ]
Additional Notes: The series, Singularity Cycle, is a passion project dating back to 2016. The original version of the first book was published on RR in 2019 and has since seen multiple revisions based on reader feedback with this one as the final and official fourth version before the second book. While the entire series story has undergone major changes in the last year, all books have been planned since the beginning of writing. It is also my second wish to eventually make this story into a webcomic, either by myself or with a team if possible. Thank you for taking this journey with me, and enjoy reading!
( You can alternatively read books in the series as standalone fictions, but they connect to one another though a running theme and mystery that evolves and progresses with the main character. )
Alternate Blurb for the Singularity Cycle series:
Essairyn had never felt truly alive on Earth. It felt like something was missing ever since she was born, but even after nearly 20 years of mundane living, she could never pinpoint what this or the emptiness in her heart was.
Suddenly, she awakens in a grandiose, primordial forest and encounters mythical creatures beyond her restless imagination in a parallel world called Sol'h'meyr. She befriends, in particular, a sassy fox-spirit named Akari who reincarnated after three millennia.
Essairyn is gifted with abnormal magic, and Akari is being chased by those of her dark past. Together, they set out on an adventure in a world more dangerous than its beautiful facade could hide.
Finding new friends along a path riddled with tragedy, Essairyn must learn who to trust as deceit and betrayal lie behind kindly faces. Life in this deceptively promising world slowly spirals down a path of no return.
This is not a game, but cruel reality. Her simple adventure became the modest beginnings in a chain of disruptions that tore even the dimensional fabric of time and space. No one, not even Essairyn, was who she thought they were. And not even the fickle gods could change the time-worn destiny of the universes...
A single promise shook eternity’s existence.
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Ok, right off the bat: grammar is fine. Nothing more to say.
Let me start out with my one and only real nitpick - the pacing of the story. I don't mind slow, really I don't. But the writing is strangely even. Constantly having the same sized short paragraphs make it difficult to not start skimming. The sentence lengths don't seem to vary much either. I get that this is an incredibly specific nitpick, but it's still off.
Now, on to the better parts of this work - the story and characters. First off, as a rule when I notice something about a story that I like, I'm going to always assume the author is a genius who did it intentionally, at least until I get strong evidence otherwise. If something is just an accident then you can't really go anywhere with the idea.
There are some odd characterizations, and points where character knowledge seems a bit inconsistent. While this could be an author mistake, It's way more interesting to see this as an unreliable narrator. Our dropped-into-fantasy protagonist has no idea what's going on, but she's faking it and pretending with the best of them, which in turn is opening up the story to some great character development and moving tragedy.
This works even better because in this isekai story our protagonist actually has a backstory. She isn't a cliche angsty, cynical amnesiac sent back to own the magic rubes. Instead she has an actual personality and goals that go beyond just reacting to her environment.
So I'm looking forward to seeing where this all goes.
YEAH, I bet you weren't expecting that title. The heart-racing usually precedes it. Though that's likely due to seeing the pop-up of a new review, and from someone that enjoyed it, no less.
This story, for me, is a classic guide on how to build a beautiful world. I do believe, without a doubt, that there are areas in which it could improve. But it is the creativity that ultimately blotches most of the weaknesses that fascinates me most, that intrigues me the hardest, that leaves me wanting more. For the most part, that is.
It is clear that this work is in its latest draft (which contradicts a lot with myself. I upload nonsense as it goes haha), and for that reason, there is little to be tweaked, story-wise.
On a personal level, I was impressed in all aspects, from the characters to the atmosphere to the iridescent style representing emotion; something about the way the lines work together to convey a singular image is absolutely electric, and gratifying to the highest degree.
I know exactly why this story has a "low" rating, and it has nothing to do with the book. If the author is willing, I will DM them the answer.
Nevertheless, this is a story that deserves a high place; it's crafty, it's edited, it's fun. What more could you want?
STYLE - 5/5
Let's begin with perhaps the most intriguing of all the components, and that is without question the unique iridescence of the prose. The author loves fancy words, and sort of expels them like a summoner reading from a magic thesaurus, casting jackstraws of wonderful colours that coalesce into an opalescent image. And it would seem, as the story progresses and the character(s) (particularly the main character, Essairyn [pronounce ESS-AIR-IN, thank me later]) become more defined within the world, that the resplendence increases. It even goes so far as to bend the rules of words to fit hard-to-imagine imagery.
This style is a very double-edged one, where it can come across to the reader that the author is trying to flex their vocabulary and, in a way, try to sound intelligent. Now, while this is a genuine belief amongst even published authors, I would disagree here; the writing gives you respect. Maybe it's because I already knew the meaning of all the words, because when they're already swimming in mind, the image packs a harder punch. For casual readers, this would perhaps be something better stayed away from. If the author wanted, they could remove a lot of the esoteric words that seem to be fancy for the sake of being fancy, especially when a more ubiquitous word would do. "Ebullient." What on Earth is this wizardry? Don't ask me, it's just in there; look out for it.
The pacing is as stubborn as a child who swears they said UNO first. It proceeds at a steady, ground-eating speed that leaves the images flowing into the mind, perhaps for too long. In the first two chapters this style was magnificent, but come chapter three I was trudging through heavy waters. I'm not necessarily against the idea of high-octane fights being dragged out, but in this novel, they push the limit of what I'd assume the average person would be heavily against. And that, in my opinion, is what would constitute as the "put down" of the story. But there is hope! A lot of the pacing can be fixed by simply killing the author's darlings, as the old saying goes. Shaving down the text like how I should be shaving down this review will work wonders.
The inflexibility of the stylistic approach can leave the reader bored. That's the easiest way to put it. Personally, I see nothing wrong with taking a step back and making scenes more teen-fictiony. As in, sharp, easy to follow, changing of pace and language. There's nothing wrong with that, and in fact, it will only strengthen the story. And having that character emotion swimming in the writing will do great justice. Right now, its tone is the same the whole way through the first quadrant, and perhaps beyond that. This is a major red flag in fiction.
That said, the consistency between what is shown and what is told is a bit pell-mell. In some cases we are both shown and told the same thing at once; nothing wrong with that, for me personally, but for a genre of this calibre it probably is best to steer away from that. In a way, the show and tell are reversed; the author shows the progression and tells the emotion as opposed to telling the progression and showing the emotion. What do I mean by this? Well, the reason for the slow pacing is indirectly connected: there is no real bridge of time over which the character jumps. It's a straight walk from point A to point B. I've done this plenty of times, but that's in science fiction, this is more fantasy GameLit. So, just food for thought there.
There are a lot of adverbs. A lot. But, honestly, the road to heaven is paved with adverbs in this case. Although, try not to use them so close together.
To conclude here, it is a "tell, don't show" alternation, with amazing flowery prose. The creativity is something I admire tremendously.
GRAMMAR - 5/5
There are plenty of minor mistakes. But I'm the sort of person who rates by how well the author understands grammar as opposed to how well they clean up every little pinch of salt on the story. Hell, I've read published books with more typos. Some lines could be reworded, the use of "as" could most definitely be toned down, same for "while", and a lot of the sentences could be shortened. Because a lot of time I feel like the author is a little ashamed of having snappy lines, maybe because they want to convey everything extravagantly, and that's okay. There's nothing wrong with that, but a nice diversity of sentence length would work wonders for increasing pace. You don't need to squeeze every image into one line. When you do this, things get clunky.
A note to the author: I did see a lot of the same issues pop up, particularly with dialogue tags and action tags, but refrained from pointing them out at the risk of sounding redundant.
The author also has very strange punctuation at times. (~~~, — No!", etc.) I have never seen "~" used in dialogue. Ever. I have seen capitalisation after an em dash but for no particular reason, I can recall. In my eyes, it shouldn't be capitalised. Maybe there's a difference in regions.
There were no spelling errors (I don't think. Can't remember), no issues with the flow or anything of that nature. So yeah, thumbs up. (That one scene where Essa lifted her thumbs was the cutest image I swear to Go—)
CHARACTERS - 5/5
Moving on, the characters are very well done. Essairyn is a snide, sarcastic goofball. Her sense of danger is very limited and is mostly developed through irreverences in the story, such as thoughts or dialogue. She has my interest, of course; the sarcasm might just be a hyperbole, but then again, aren't all characters? That's what makes them realistically fictional. She doesn't have the world of characterisation just yet, but I definitely haven't read enough to give my opinion on that. (Honestly, the only way to get a good measure of the characters is to read to the whole damn thing).
While it isn't clear why Essa is the way she is, it does a good favour for the story, leading to hilariously convenient moments.
The other characters are very well-drawn, each varying in tone, with similar mannerisms. Hm, yes, similar mannerisms. That seems to be the upshot of every story. Still, I ignored that since nobody can come up with mannerisms all the time.
I love the subtle backstory shown in the prologue; that was totally tubular dude man.
STORY - 5/5
I honestly enjoyed the start. But . . . I'd be lying if I said the issues with the pacing didn't stop me from reading. They seem to act as this wall over which I cannot jump.
Plot holes? Not really. Contrivances? You bet your ass there are! And I don't even care.
The beginning with the all-of-a-sudden healing ability, the plot inconsistency with how Essa is clearly weakened from a terrible fall but is then able to sprint as if it never happened, then feels immense pain from a wolf-bite. I really don't care about all of that because a GameLit is technically able to allow those things. So while not desirable, there is nothing wrong with them.
She doesn't really drive the conflict through her decisions, rather the conflict is thrust upon her, which is fine too. Some people don't like that though.
OVERALL - 5/5
While not for me, it is definitely something worth reading. If all things mentioned are addressed (if the author wants to, of course. My word isn't law) then it'll be superb, for me at least. I know you're wondering, if it has all these issues, why give it a 5? Because I feel it should be 5 stars. Simple as that. I also don't expect such high quality stories. Most of the time I'm reviewing first drafts.
Word to the author: Your strengths lie within the writing itself and the story progression. Weaknesses are found where you need to step out of your comfort zone and experiment with language. You have mastered the art of one style, and now it is time to bend it into others.
It is what I see as the stereotypical action fantasy. This might be a very wrong assumption to have, seeing as I don't normally read either action or fantasy. Can't get my head behind the longer descriptions of combat, if you get what I mean.
Or it might just be the style in this one that had me in the back of my chair. Never really felt that shrill of anticipation like a few other action novels have achieved. Maybe it's due to the relative shortness of my reading or maybe it's due to something else. Nobody can truly know for sure. I just know that I'll leave it at that and give this fiction a solid 4.5/5
In many respects, this is a fairly standard isekai. Young disillusioned woman from earth gets dropped into a forest on a fantasy world and makes her way to civilization (and magic academy), picking up a spirit beast companion and another isekai'd boy-knight figure in the process. And, by and large, this is a fairly standard execution of that, with what is apparently rather broad and deep worldbuilding that is not a standard western fantasy.
If that's your thing, take a swing at it.
A few nits that might turn off more discerning readers. First, some of the action scenes seem to violate principles of continuity or, at least, everything is far more spaced out and happens strangely slowly. They're kind of weird to read. Second, there does seem to be some information leakage between the author and the characters, or between characters. Sometimes they just know something they shouldn't and other times they make some tremendous Sherlock Holmesian deduction that is completely unrealistic. This especially seems to be a problem as our little traveling group meets new people. Third, the protagonist seems oddly self-confident and certain innumerable times. Maybe it's a coping mechanism for uncertainty (fake it till you make it?), but that's not really clear and instead she comes across as an wise and experienced beyond what she actually is.
But, those are minor points.