Eyes of the Sign

Eyes of the Sign

by John Quinton

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Traumatising content

Set in Earth's near future, Eli is snatched away from his life and thrown into a magical world filled with cultists, bandits, demons, and gods. Lucky for him, he has a sometimes helpful piece of technology implanted in his head, a strange combination of powers, and a few friends he makes along the way. Eli faces battles, magic, and technology while trying to survive in a new universe built around personal strength and bloodlines. Join Eli as he discovers the secrets behind the Oververse, the Greater Infinite, and humanity’s place in it all.

*My release schedule is M/W around 9 am (PST). Here's a link to a simple map I made for Book 1 in case you'd like something to track the journey. I hope you enjoy the story!

Update on the writing:

Book 1 (Eyes of the Sign):  The total length is 44 chapters. There will be no breaks in publishing the rest on Royal Road. Don't be surprised if you see changes to older chapters since I'm writing new chapters for Book 2 while also going back and polishing/editing Book 1 (currently updated through chapter 17). 

Book 2 (Journey Into the Oververse): I'm currently writing through my first draft. I'll be posting these a week after Book 1 finishes, but this will be largely rough and unedited. 

Book 3 (TBD): Early development. I know how this first 3 book series ends, but I still need to fill in the gaps between here and there. I'll continue to develop.

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John Quinton

John Quinton

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Zsell
Overall

Overpower Protagonist In a Classic Fiction Novel

Reviewed at: Epilogue - A New Variable

Eyes Of The Sign is an excellent LITRPG/Fantasy novel formatted as multiple self contained books; not as a webnovel.

The novel has a unique "system" and magic setup that has quite a bit of mystery behind it. That mystery is my favorite aspect of this book; the main character has no information handed to him. Everything he learns is a result of his experimentation, both in regards to the magic and his placement in this new world.

Grammatically and stylistically, I could find no glaring errors or mistakes. It has minimal personal style, but is well written and concise with no long expositions or plot holes.

The world building in this novel is the strongest aspect of the story by far. The author has only begun to dive into the incredibly expansive world that the main character has found himself in, yet we already have confirmation that this is only one world of many that he may explore. It is clear that the author has put a significant amount of time and effort into planning the mythos of this story, and the world is better for it.

The characters are solid, neither exceptionally good or exceptionally bad. The main character has a dramatic backstory, which is interesting but can occasionally become over dramatic. The side characters have not had enough time I fully flesh out, but it is obvious that the author has no intention of keeping them as one dimensional.

Overall, an excellent addition to the LITRPG/progression landscape and a great afternoon read. Definitely check it out if you are looking for something new!

My constructive criticism about this story is slight, and impacts the future books rather than this one. The feedback is a spoiler for the ending of the book.

The main character is too powerful. This book kept that in check by having events happen too quickly for him to put much thought into his magic, but his personality as a researcher will lead him to immense power very quickly. His magic seems to have no limitations besides imagination and willpower, which will quickly make him invincible considering his personality as a researcher and gamer. He already killed an entity considered more powerful than the local gods within a week of gaining his magic, how much farther can he progress on this world?

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[Insert witty title here]

Reviewed at: 20 - Taking a Moment

Eli awakens in the presence of a powerful and mysterious being who shunts him off to a new world with a spatial bracelet full of goodies and a pat on the head.

From there our MC encounters cultists, a damsel in distress, highwaymen, assassins, a nefarious plot, and a world full of cultivation-style magic. Thankfully our MC has a game-style system to help him adapt and overcome these challenges. 

Unfortunately for the MC, and for those who prefer a faster paced story, there are lots of questions and very few answers to be found as Eli struggles to learn how magic and the world around him works.

For me personally, this is a great read because I prefer stories that are slower paced, with intrigue and world building taking precedence over multi-chapter battle scenes.

Stylistically, the author is minimalist. You'll find no paragraphs of prose describing the elegant brocade on a waistcoat. A scene is sketched and left to the reader to envision. 

The story is a progressive fantasy where the MC is tossed into a strange new world, ignorant of the customs and culture, and struggles to master his new powers while surrounded by dangerous plots and powerful beings.

The work is well-written or sufficiently edited so there are no massively offensive spelling or grammar issues

Character-wise, it probably wouldn't pass a strict Bechdel test, yet. At the time of the review, the MC is fleshed out and developing nicely. The distressed damsel he saved is not quite so three dimensional, although one can see efforts made as the story progresses. Further chapters will hopefully see her fully developed as well. 

Pineapple N' Onions
Overall

I wanted to like this story--really, I did--but much of the dialog and narration come off as cringey. And as written, the main character isn't terribly likeable. His internal thoughts are more often annoying than helpful, insightful or humorous with respect to explaining what he sees or is experiencing. To avoid this pitfall, I would simply narrate his feelings and thoughts, rather than explicitly have him think them. Filtered through the almighty Narrator, they may actually become readable.

My suggestion is to go back and reread the initial chapters of your story. Then ask yourself: "Was I hooked from the first paragraph?" "Would I honestly want to continue reading this?" "Is this truly enjoyable to read?" If the answer is an emphatic "yes," then disregard this review and carry on: We clearly have different tastes as to what constitutes enjoyable story telling.

If the answer is "no," or only "somewhat," then try to write down generalized concepts of what you felt was annoying, cringey or weak. Using those as a guideline of what not to do, try rewriting a chapter from scratch and wait a few days before comparing the two. Sometimes the mind needs to distance itself to gain an unbiased view of what it produced. If you find yourself enjoying the revised chapter--that specifically avoids what you thought was harmful to the original--then continue in that vein. You can't improve unless you accept you have weak points and try to address them.

The best way to learn what constitutes good writing is to read, but cinema and other story telling mediums (such as video games and songs; e.g., much of what Flight of the Choncords do) can help as well. Learn from other authors and think critically about how they write and how you might incorporate elements that you found insightful and enjoyable. Then weave those techniques and stylistic choices in to something uniquely your own.

Again, you cannot improve unless you accept that there is room to improve. And additionally--and most importantly--actively seek to disassemble your own and other's work through the lens of an author, rather than a simple reader. Passive absorption is not the same as active thoughts about why you liked something you or others did. (E.g., explaining a nuanced subject is much harder to do well than simply listening about it.)

I hope I didn't come off as too harsh, and I do hope you continue to write and have a desire to learn from your mistakes and let them make you stronger as an author. Each mistake we learn from, no matter how minor, is the next step towards our eventual success.

Rubenatya
Overall

The progression doesn't feel earned.

Reviewed at: 07 - Power With Intention

I love an op MC but only when he has to work for it.

From the start the author just gives Eli way too stong powers that start already way stronger than what is deserved. 

For example his time slowing or speeding up powers just manifest sponteausly. Or that he starts at twice the level of the lady companion(cant remember the name)