- Traumatising content
Look a little closer. See the cracks growing deeper. See here, in Entithea, old dead things grow restless. Witness their release.
Beneath Within is a ghost story. It is a fantasy adventure with possessions aplenty, murders, and monsters. Slow-burn dark fantasy with 5 pov.
Hope you enjoy it!
Returning July 2022
Many thanks go to Mary Evans for the cover!
[This fiction will deal with topics of mental health, specifically emotional and physical abuse and trauma]
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The setting is a civilization deep underground in one city, but is divided by houses of speacilizations. We as readers, come in at a point were everything is well established and the corruption of an aging culture starts to spread. In a traditional young adult fashion, most of the characters are on the younger side as they try to find their place in the world. I'm unsure what the overall plot is yet, but I happy to see what the author has in store.
Style: It is quite well written, but there is defintely still some lessons being learn. I expect as the story goes on the author will get steadily better and more confident in their storytelling.
Grammar: it's pretty solid, but there is some prevalent awkwardsness to be found in sentences.
Story: It's great! They have done a wonderful job of weaving in exposition naturally in the course of the tale. It is clear the author did some solid world building before starting to write.
Character: The characters are all great vehicles to allow us a view of this new world. I look for to seeing their development as several need some growing up.
In conclusion, this is a fun story with a nice varity built into the world.
Kathy demonstrates a willingness and passion for her craft that isn't really rivaled.
The story is complex, and fun and honestly got me hooked. The character feel alive and are complex, the setting is dark enough to feel dreadful but not to dark where it would sound like a parody. It is really hard to talk about the story with out giving away any spoilers. So read Beneath Within you won't regret it.
Sincerely, T.K Paradox
Is something that this fiction uses. It's becoming more and more obvious that, while the uses are not like the usual, they are good enough to be noted down. I did have to understand that sometimes words would be in bold for greater effect. While it does have some faults with characters that I couldn't get behind, this mainly stems from personal bias and is not indicative of the actually. Therefore, I would say it is good enough to read. 5/5 from me
So! I'll be as brief as I can be while still offering as much insight as is necessary.
Firstly, it shows a huge amount of promise, and it's certainly got it's own interesting and unique aspects. A lot of backstory, a lot of intricacies to enjoy, more and more about the Families and the world itself are all things I hope to be able to enjoy as chapters progress. I'm a real sucker for psionics as well, so that was an added bonus to me - plus the way magic seems to be drawn from the strength of one's lineage, adoptive or no, is unique and interesting. Reminds me of certain other concepts, like Magical Circuits from a different to-remain-unnamed piece of fiction, but in a good way.
The style is enjoyable and reminds me a lot of something I would have devoured as a teenager. It's not hard to read and gives you a nice, easy time processing the information provided while still keeping things from becoming dull. I would say that it's toeing the line between YA and Adult literature, but not that that's a bad thing by any means - it's got something to offer for a wide variety of readers, and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.
The story itself needs a bit of work, but only just. Our first two chapters are very heavily 'set-up' chapters, it feels - introducing characters and laying some groundwork. Not much of a true story starts to emerge until Chapter Three, and then the 'Pow!' is delivered in Chapter Four. Not every book needs to be gripping in the first chapter, of course, but the first two still feel pretty slow to me in a way that can't be ignored. A real 'story' isn't exactly formed by Four, but of course, we've got story threads and plot hooks by then, which is more than enough to carve a path for a fledgeling work keen on blooming into a full story.
Grammar is decent by around Chapter Two, but Chapter One has some odd phrasing, weird sentences, and punctuation errors. A lot of commas are missing, or places where you should have just ended a sentence when you instead used a comma.
Characterization is light but not dissatisfying; personally I feel we could do with more of it, maybe more glimpses into their psyche or at least a bit more on their appearance or personality, but there's enough that you can find distinct differences and form a visual of them in your mind. One problem I did have, though, is that one of our main protags - Nadira - is the focal point of Chapter One but only gets described in any meaningful way in Chapter Three. It's just odd. Her friend, Daress, also gets pretty much no physical description as far as I remember - I get that they're wearing robes, but we, the readers, can still use a reference for height, physique, etcetera.
Overall very promising and shows great potential, plus it's a satisfying read without being too much of a process to get through. I'd love to learn more about the different Families, the magic system, the influence the Ancestors have on Family members, some elaboration on what a Pack entails... and so on, and so on. There's many story facets discussed that I would be absolutely enamored with if I could get some more info on them, but even without that it's a fun read.
Overall: I love fantasy stories with politics and diplomacy and general social manoeuvring, so this sort of thing is right up my street. Because this is that kind of story, I think a bit more on the Families would have been useful (particularly in the library chapter with the convenient banners hanging about to cover some of this information). I think most if not all of the ingredients are present, but the story might need to simmer a bit more for the flavour to really come through.
Style: This story is written in a very readable style. There are a few instances where word choice made sentences harder to process (I had to reread one three times to figure out what was meant), but overall the story flows easily and is very accessible.
Story: Over the first four chapters there are some hints as to what the larger story might be, but with the POV shifts most of what we get are hints, and bits of worldbuilding. I do enjoy the hints that are present, however, and the main conflict with two of the characters is very clear.
Grammar: Overall very good. There are a few formatting blips here and there (missing space between lines, that sort of thing) but those small errors are very much in the minority.
Character: I like the POV characters introduced so far, though readers should be prepared to move between POVs frequently. There is a nice diversity of viewpoints, though moving between 4-5 viewpoints over 4 chapters leaves less time to really get to know each individual character. The basic personality/nature of each really comes through, however, and it will be interesting to see how the characters develop or what depths they reveal as the story progresses.
There are some quite good lines so far! I'm putting the ones I particularly liked behind a spoiler tag:
Daress had read enough to imagine herself wise.
Leliana gave a smile like a wall
Overall: 4.5/5. In general the story is quite good in its beginning, although I feel there is a bit too much pov switching for my liking, which is of course something up to personal preference. Still it's an enjoyable story I feel you should try reading.
Style: I give it 4.5/5 for the sole reason that there are a couple of moments that feel a bit stiff to me, but they are so few that I feel they don't hurt the story much.
Grammar: As far as I could tell the grammar had practically no mistakes so I gave it a 5/5.
Story: Given how we're only four chapters in, combined with the fact that there's a lot of pov switching, I'll give it a 4/5 because while it does intrigue me to see how it will progress I feel like it's a bit premature to form a definitive opinion. The worldbuilding is also pretty decent, and I am interested as to the direction where the story is headed. In the future, after a few of the storylines are further developed, or even completed I'll be able to give what I think is a proper fair score.
Character: Another 4.5/5. This is mostly because a few characters I feel don't stand out as much as they could but they are still enjoyable to read.
Alright let me start with what went good. So right here this I believe is possibly the themed stated of this web serial. The themed stated refers to the character arc that a character must go through to get to the upside down world and emerge as a hero.
I think that the author may be allergic to dialogue tags. They are your friends! Use them when appropriate. Secondly you can use the characters method of speaking to distinguish making there be no reason for it. Style could be improved but it's clearly had an edit or two.
Grammar score. No major issues. I think that author could use some work on other areas. Use one of the apps that checks it, but yeah not a problem.
Story score: Not much has happened and that is fine! But I already know what ONE MC wants, not I as a reader want to know what the MC needs and why they can't get what they want.
Also switching POVs 3 times in 3 chapters? uh... hmmm. it's tough but I'm not getting a sense of the characters much if you do that and I could get confused. The scene where three people are introduced one by one? rough.
Character score: I love diplomats, and "The ugly America" is forever on my reading list, so sold there. I want some drama, social dialogue, all that. If you're talking diplomacy, perhaps some espionage as well?
First Five Chapter review.
A lot of the themes of this story fit my vibe. Dark, slow burn, murder, intrigue, magic. But the things that don't fit my vibe are boosted in such a way that I find myself enjoying them. This story will eventually lead to me looking for similar stories, comparing them, and finding myself wishing they were more like this one. Let's go through it.
Like I said earlier, and Kathy says in their blurb, this story is a slow burn. That being said, the burn doesn't even begin to falter, with the fire continuing a smooth pace as the world these characters live in become clearer. The reader is given a good idea of the events taking place without a pile of lore being thrown at their feet. Dialogue is smooth, description is smoother, and the formatting is top notch.
Not only does Kathy polish this story, but she timestamps them to tell you exactly what she did. There is no shame, only an open book policy of correcting. It's that kind of honesty that I can get behind.
This story is a good example of my theory that you can learn everything about a story that you need to in the first five chapters. Kathy successfully brings you into this world, introduces a diverse cast list, and allows you to follow along without much confusion. All the while, she weaves in a new plot that will have this reader coming back to find out what happens next.
I love me a character that wants to rebel against their upbrining. Tie in a character that is forced to be there while trying to relaim their name, a character who is content with the life, and another who represents the other half of the world, and you have a menagerie of ideals to pull from, lending a perspective some stories only dream of.
Overall, Beneath Within might be a slow burn, but as far as slow burns go it starts out with a bang. Stick with it and really let it bring you in and you won't leave disappointed.
Overall - Best described as a slow-paced fantasy with excellent world-building. The characters are distinctive and, while we don't learn by Chapter 9 how their stories intertwine, all of the POVs maintained my interest. The author has clearly put a lot of thought into creating this underground society and the environment, people, abilities, and monsters are all creatively impressive.
Style - It’s a multiple POV tale, so it’s a slow-burn process getting to know the cast, which is fairly large early on. I didn't have many issues keeping things straight, although there is a group that has an alternative form of communication that made it a bit tough to keep track of who was speaking. It's a cool idea but could use some refinement. 4.5/5
Grammar - I caught no substantial errors here. The author continues to make patch edits when needed. 5/5
Story - World-building is certainly the strongest point to me. The setting in the underground city is unique, the factions are well thought out, and everything is presented very organically. While the plot is relatively slow-moving the sheer creativity of the world more than makes up for it. Without getting into spoilers I have to say that the abilities of House Bheorse were really cool and a couple of action scenes with them were well done. 5/5
Character - I reviewed at Chapter 9 and, due to the multiple POV format, I don’t feel like I spent significant time with any of the characters yet. This is not really a criticism, just more of an acknowledgment that there’s a lot more to get to. They’re all sufficiently interesting and distinctive enough to this point and buoyed by the strong world-building. 5/5