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- Traumatising content
Do you dare visit Sangraal?
Death was supposed to be the end for Rigel. Unfortunately, he caught the interest of a vile god. Ripped away from his world and all that he held dear, Rigel is thrust into the ruthless world of Sangraal, where gods walk amongst mortals.
Rigel must gather all his wits and dirty tricks to survive this brutal and unforgiving world. Meanwhile, his inner darkness threatens to twist him into something he doesn’t want to be. To navigate the quagmires of lies and betrayal, Rigel needs power.
But power comes at a price. For Rigel, that price might be too high.
Rated 'D' for Dark!
( Cover Art: Sleeping Soul In The Sky)
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At first, I thought I was not the target audience for this story. (Review based on first 13 chapters)
In the first ten chapters, the author uses anime tropes, Japanese LN references, and the likes of 'oba-san', 'yandere', 'her body was like a fine katana' to the point that I wanted to poke my eyes out(all of the above belong in my long list of pet peeves). However, I request future readers not to judge the entirety of the story on my last sentence. It takes a real turn after chapter 8. It is as if someone slapped Durrendal in the face and pointed him in the right direction and he ran with it.
The above paragraph explains why I give him a 4.5 in style. Perhaps the later chapters will change my style. We'll have to wait and see. I'm not sure if he edits the prose himself or has an editor but his grammar is exemplary and daym his vocabulary is good. 5/5 for Grammar.
What I like about the author's storytelling style is that he is not only quick to form emotional and intellectual bonds between his characters but also pull readers into their mindset. I want the protagonist to git gud enough to kick the gods' asses as well. I like how he makes the story dark and gritty, it's not all sunshine and rainbows with the protagonist growing in power immediately. Life is tough. He doesn't just run off a broken rib but takes the time to nurse himself back to health.
I have already voiced my opinion to the author, he needs to edit his earlier chapters to match up to the quality of the latter ones.
To the Author: You always amaze me with your ability to construct the most realistic scenes I have ever read. Not only on royalroadl but anywhere. It's like I'm inside "Inkheart" and as I slowly read trough the pages of your masterpiece it comes alive word for word sentence by sentence. It's... breathtaking, honestly. You know, people say that reading is like having TV in your head, but this is more like having another world, and I love it.
To my fellow readers: If you think that I'm over exaggerating because this and that... I'm not.
I'm the guy that didn't even blink while watching ''Clannad" let alone cry and as far as I know that's saying something... mainly that I don't have a soul. Thing is, you can rarely get a reaction, emotional or otherwise, from me. Of course I can fake one but. Eh, not my thing. Something that was able to get a reaction out of me was "Don't Fear the Reaper" and I think you know where that is now. Well, this guy was able to do it! Good for him! Huh.
So, style. I think I wrote something about "Inkheart"... eh, I don't remember, never mind then.
Story. At first I thought that it was something done thousands of times before, another generic "mc in another world", one of many. I was right and damn was I pleasantly surprised. While the concept is far from 'first of its kind' the way it is written makes is stand out. Also, to elaborate on the 18+ a little. While I don't know anything about twists and turns, be it in the plot or the "plot", I can say this much: The "Mature" tag is not the beware-12-year-olds-there-be-boobies-ahead, instead it's more like MC's-soul-is-like-a-improved-version-of-hell-and-it's-contagious, so that's a thing. Hop right in, the baby tears are fiiiine!
Grammar: Dude has an editor so that's not a problem right? Weeell, yeah, it's not. At most I've found one or two small ones a chapter and please do note that the chapters are fairly long.
Characters: I don't know if this story is perfect or falls flat at the extreme amounts of weeaboos... oh who am I kidding, no weebs here and it's like 97.2% awesome and 2.8% stumbles Very slightly because of my own personal taste. VERY slightly.
So, lets see... Author (as far as I know) carefully researches thesis papers on psychology with scary-ass-long names for every chapter! to the point that characters seem, oddly enough, too human at times. What do I mean? Chill, I'll tell you. The good thing about this is that the characters that Durrendal chooses to focus on become well defined individuals with mysteries about them to spare. The bad thing... is the complete opposite as everyone else gets barely enough(read "just enough"). Don't get me wrong, what 'little' information we get about them, for all intents and purposes, is more than enough to get a good feel for the character. It's just that, that information seems to have been dwarfed by the info we get about the MCs. And that's perfectly fine, it should be like that.
Next, remember what I said about the MCs being "too human"? Me neither. Well, let's put it this way: We, as readers, in most cases, have read so many bland and/or generic stories that we have come to expect certain behavioral patterns in a certain main character and his not-so-friendly elf friend. Rage ensues when we’re not ‘fed’ properly. In essence we have grown accustomed to these ways to behave, to think and to feel that we think of it as a rule rather that as one option out of many. Examples include:
1. A - Why isn't the mc O-O-O-OP Breaker level yet!
B - Real world doesn't work that way. *rage ensues
2. A - Why hasn't he f*cked everyone right in the P*ssy!
B - It doesn't work that way. *rage ensues
3. A - How come the romance progressed so fast? That's not how things work!
B - I beg to differ. *rage ensues
Do note that these examples are taken from a VERY small minority of readers and that they inhabit a small and very extreme end of the scale. I just used them to… make a point? Yeah, let’s go with that.
Well, now I'm happy! Are you?
How To Survive A Summoning 101 is one of the few stories on this site that really brings out the emotions of the characters, Durrendal does an excellent job in developing them. You can feel the fear, the love, the despair, the raw emotion of every moment in this story. In the chapters just before the first time skip, you'd certainly be hard pressed not to cry, to shake with tension, to shiver in anticipation, as the story progresses. My only gripe with this fiction is that the time skip could have been dealt with better, the reader is left confused for several chapters afterwards, since not many explanations are given right away. The grammar and style of writing can also leave the reader confused at some points in the story, though it doesn't take away from it as a whole.
Durrendal's style of writing is unique for sure, an interesting blend consisting mostly of modern dialogue and character development and classical scene descriptions. His method of character development is somewhat common among some modern published novels, but he pulls it off so well that you can't help but be drawn in, to fall in love with each and every one of his unique characters. Suri's clumsy seductiveness, Arin's gentleness, Karro's hotheadedness, every character is exceptionally well done. Durrendal has made them not just into characters, but people. His writing brings you into the story, throwing you into battles won and lost, relationships made, and dark deeds done.
In general, How To Survive A Summoning 101 is fairly generic. Guy get's killed. Meets a dick god. Gets thrown into other world for divine entertainment. Vows to kill god. Yadda yadda. Durrendal manages to somehow make this overused setting unique though. His dark twists and turns, graphic descriptions, exciting fight scenes and corny romance all come together to make this a story worth reading. Unlike many other stories of this setting, however, his MC does not go adventuring on his very merry way willingly. He is forced to move, to keep fighting, desperately trying to keep ahead of his pursuers. In fact, I get the feeling Rigel would happily stay in one little town for the rest of his life had the you-know-what event not happened. While it could have been done a little better overall, the unique nuances make this generic story setting not quite as generic as you might think.
As stated above, Durrendal's grammar is quite good, but could be done a little better overall. At several points, I was left slightly confused as to what exactly was happening, the order of events blurring together in a big mess. Unlike many stories on here, however, the slight confusion does not make you stop altogether and re-read entire sentences. By just continuing to read on, you are able to grasp what is going on easily. All in all, with some moderate editing, this story would be very pleasant to read on a depressing rainy afternoon.
The characters in How To Survive A Summoning 101 are this story's defining points. At every step of the way, you can feel what the characters are feeling, the raw emotions washing over you like a usually very depressing blanket. Durrendal's side characters each have unique personalities, each character is as much a person as someone you might meet on the street. He tends to stay away from archetypes like the plague, which I commend him for, they are the plague. Strangely, the character I feel I can relate to the least is his main character, Rigel. It may be the way the story has been playing out, the structure of the events messing with my view of the characters, but Rigel's thoughts and mannerisms can be confusing sometimes. At some points, his actions contrast somewhat with the view I've developed of him completely. Rigel also tends to follow a path like an iron rod, his personality and opinions unwavering, completely unlike a real person. The only times he has changed at all are during life changing, heart shattering events, and only in completely obvious ways. His actions are terribly predictable in accordance with his iron set personality, which results in a rather drab, boring character. Again, with some editing, maybe some dialogue changing, this issue can be easily done away with, as long as Durrendal puts a little thought into it.
This review is part of a review swap.
So it’s time for yet another problematic review. What to do when the beginning is an utter mess stylistically, but the story is, oh so good? Especially as the work abruptly gets a lot better stylistically a rather long read into the story.
The review is valid as of chapter 18. Note that the average chapter is long. My guess would be in the region of 5K words long.
For rating purposes this is sometimes two very different stories. The style and grammar rating, and for that reason, the overall rating, suffer from this. Story and character stay consistent throughout.
This is your standard reincarnation story told from a first person point of view. In fact the first eight or so chapters make an effort to be your standard reinc-story, albeit slightly twisted with an unholy crapton of meta-references, which in turn is just what you would expect from a Japanese reincarnation Light Novel.
Everything is there. Joe Random schmuck (named Rigel in this story) gets killed, gets abused by a god (and almost killed), gets reincarnated and abused by a monster (and almost killed), gets taught the basics of a new world (and almost killed) and eventually gets familiar with the darker sides of this new world, and, you guessed it, almost killed.
It even comes with keigo. It’s a common disease in Japanese anime with a pseudo-European setting. People throw japanese honorifics around all over the place in a failed attempt at making it sound natural. Well, the narrator in this story is no better.
The story this far is split into three arcs, with a one year timeskip between arc one and two.
I’ll highlight arc one for two reasons: It’s a mess. Shaky grammar, even though I’ve read a lot worse here on RRL, non-existent use of character background (making the reincarnation aspect absolutely pointless), and very, very shaky stylistically.
The main problem is lack of internal consistency. It’s not that one type of grammar errors pop up — there’s correct syntax and word-order in one sentence and incorrect in a similar one half a page later. Dialogue-tags are used correctly here and incorrectly there. Pacing is all over the place; sometimes with a total lack of cohesion between scenes.
Arc one also comes shock full with a wonderful, dry, humour. It’s full of awareness of itself, blatantly breaking the fourth wall during meta conversations with the reader. The narrator reflects upon how the new world adheres to some literary stereotypes of dubious quality, and then he’s shocked that it’s different in other aspects.
It even comes with a cute love story.
Basically arc one is a hard read, but the story is great, and as a reader you just have to trudge through it, because from arc two and onwards it’s simply fantastic.
From arc two and onwards almost all the wry humour gets thrown out the window and the story turns grim and dark. I won’t say much more than that this is where the real payoff for the reader begins.
That said, it’s time for the ratings.
Overall a near perfect 4.5 stars. With over a third of the chapters a stylistic mess I can’t give the overall experience a perfect five.
Style is an OK 3.5 stars. Basically I’m merging a two star utter mess with an almost perfect execution from just prior to when arc two starts and onwards.
Story, well you read this one for the story. A perfect five star rating.
Grammar is overall very good, but never close to perfect. Normally I’d rate it as a solid four stars, but, as usual on RRL, I feel the need to compensate for people clicking randomly at the grammar ratings scale, making it obvious they need a thesarus to understand the term ‘grammar’. So grammar gets a near perfect 4.5 stars.
Character should have been given a near perfect 4.5 stars. Our narrator grows darker and darker, and there’s a consequent progression (or in his case regression). Side characters are well fleshed out as archetypes, but as usual with a first person narrator it’s hard to get to understand them well.
The bad guys are hamhandedly depicted, which drags the overall expression down a bit, and then my personal pet peeve — don’t reincarnate adult persons if they don’t base everything they experience in a new world on their adult understanding of the old one. I just can’t accept when someone just tags along with having live fiction on the Internet replaced by eyeball 1.0 without even batting an eye.
So character gets half a star shaved off for that and ends at a solid 4 stars.
Now, if you’ve read this review; off you go and read the story as well. It’s well worth it — unless you’re after this cuddly, warm and cozy feeling in your stomach.
Then I suggest you stay as far away from this one as possible, because I can only offer daggers, acid and maggots crawling in your stomach.
Overall this is one of the better dark fantasies I’ve read on the internet. The MC has believable character development and everything has a pretty solid internal logic to it.
I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of anti-heroes and mature content.
The downside to this story is that it uses the transported to another world trope. So if you’re not a fan of those types of stories this probably isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you like those stories you’ll probably love this.
Author could use someone to proofread but overall the grammar and writing style are well above average for this site.
Read up to chapter 16, it started out fairly interesting until the insanity themes kicked in. I don't know about others, but reading about meaningless temper tantrums, bursts of negative emotions and voices in heads isn't my idea of a good story. The depiction of insanity in and of itself is reasonably realistic and everything, it's just that I hate the theme. This is why I dropped the story.
It starts off with a bad mix of dark fantasy and silly humor (by silly I mean bad, really damn bad), the two things mix like water and oil (i.e. they don't mix at all) there were a few ok characters built up in the beginning, like 3 of em maybe.
Then after a forced plot point that felt no better executed than one of those silly jokes the adventure (read: tragedy) starts. all the jokes die down, everything is bleak, everyone needs to die.
For what it is, the story is pretty well written, acceptable grammar (not professionally acceptable, but close enough) and pretty decent narration, pacing is also acceptable, if I were to sum up the writers writing skills I'd say 'half-decent' but still a few steps away from being 'good' (e.g. he's better than the majority of writers on this site). At least until the whole insanity theme kicked in where every chapter becomes bloated with 'kill them' 'rip them apart' and 'break them' lines as the protagonist is slowly losing his sanity and with it his own personality becoming nothing more than the human shaped animals he's been killling up till this point.
He's on a journey to kill gods as was a given from the very first chapter. He's looking for weapons that can kill gods too. It's just that in the grand scheme of things he's a complete weakling, he's certainly not gonna be killing any gods within his lifetime at the rate he's growing, sure he's a bit stronger than the average human, but apparently the average elf is a bit much to ask of him still, after 2 years of more or less constant training/fighting. 2 years that were mostly time skipped.
And I don't know... if he kills the gods but becomes just like them in the process, he loses, if he fails to kill the gods, he loses, there's no victory scenario anywhere in sight, and the more he loses his sanity, the more boring it becomes to read for me.
I guess you could say it's just not my cup of tea. Personally I think the author could do better if he had fewer forced plot points (personally when the tragedy struck, I barely cared, it felt so forced, so... pointless somehow, it was like the entire plot point was set up just to get the protagonist out of 'starting village' and give him another reasons to 'hate gods', and so it all happened, reasons be damned), and allowed his protagonist to be a deeper person than 'me hate gods and me go insane now, i will hit god with stiks sumdai'. A protagonist that started out as an incredibly low IQ moron, has now devolved into a character about as shallow as that emo kid from naruto that said revenge in every other sentence, and hated everything and everyone, especially those that never did a thing to him. This doesn't make for an engaging protagonist to follow.
Overall I'd say the story is a bit overhyped in the reviews. I mean if you don't mind the overdone insanity themes you'll probably love this stuff, but if you do, there doesn't seem to be much here worth reading.
It's not bad at first. I like the MC and humor. (Though couldn't get some jokes) But it reached to a point where I don't understand what I'm reading. I don't see what's the point of hiding his real identity(from earth) anymore. If I had to say it's a poorer version of Berserk.
Don't get me wrong, I very much like how MC is against gods and all that. It was a good idea. But the cheats aren't very good asides from the Knowledge one. I think there are a lot of points that needed to be cleared up first. The MC is very naive and keeps making the same mistake. Bringing danger to those who save him or around him. Anyways, this Review is just something short and don't want to expand to much.
The village arc was the best arc
Big words,but that's how I feel after most chapters. This story goes deep in humans' emotions: joy,warmth,passion but,alas,even pain,sorrow,sins (yeah,I know it's not an emotion),hate...you'll find aplenty in here. So,if you can stand a couple jabs to your deepest core, you'll find this a really good read and you'll probably immediatly become addicted to it. If you can't...well,just give it a go,worst that can happen is you'll curse the author a good number of times -I know I did XD-
This story contain a regular dose of despair that needed to sustain my meaningless life. This story have a blissful hope and bitter despair that can make someone with a weak heart cry and somone like me trembling in delight.
But sometimes the storyflow are a bit hard to decrypt, so i need to read it twice or thrice.
Still, i love this story! And i can say proudly that:
'I'M YOUR FAN!'
The story doesnt send you to fit of laughters. This one, makes you see the world in grey, makes you depressed, maybe makes you chuckle a bit in a sad manner, makes you feel sad about the fate of the characters, makes you think about emotions and how hard it can be to feel. Seriously, you might want to be a worm in a hole so you wont feel anything at all. Hopefully.
There are not a lot of characters. And believe me, you wouldnt want anymore anyways, since the author would make them go mad, get them killed or tortured AND killed, get cursed and a bunch of more things. Oh you are tough? You ain't gonna cry? No you wont motherfucker, this author doesnt give you half assed, no personality stupid characters . You are going to get nightmares about them. Nine out of ten fucking times the characters will be someone you KNEW about. Not backstory wise, emotional I mean. You will see . You will get to know them like brothers and share their pain.
Style is dark as hell. Don't know if that makes sense. Can't think straight after the damn thing. You are not going to get some backstory of a character and will be told to like him/her by KNOWING theır past. The author won't give you information clumps. You will know characters as they do things, understanding why they do that and how much of a weigh it puts on their backs. You too will feel that weight. You will know characters as they feel things, why they feel that and how much it hurts. It will hurt for you too. You will be like "They would do this in that situation", knowing them like real friends. No "he felt sad", "he killed the monster with a mighty slash". It will be "He felt his sins crawling on your back", "The ones he killed screamed in his dreams of how they will get them" and those wont be just there to add cool to the sotry. His bones will be crushed with the weight of the mountain he carries on his back. They will get him. Make him do things he will regret.
Grammar is grammar. Some mistakes here and there. Not bad though, its reall good. But like in every other story, it can be improved.
First reviw, so go easy on me. Also not a native speaker.
And, dear author, if you are reading this,
You made me unable to get a decent sleep for 3 days straight. I am expecting the continuation of your success. And if you even dare to drop this, I will find you for real.