Dear Spellbook: A D&D Inspired Time Loop (Rewrite)

Dear Spellbook: A D&D Inspired Time Loop (Rewrite)

by TK523

Live. Study. Repeat.

Tal never saw himself as an adventurer, but the call to adventure never much cared for his opinion. Despite his best efforts, his search for answers on the murder of his parents ever draws him into danger. Accompanied by a group of seasoned warriors, thus far Tal has gotten by on his own meager magical talents, but when one day he wakes up to find himself back in his bed of the night before, he is faced with a challenge he must conquer alone.


What to expect:

This story was born of an attempt to create in world lore reasons for many of the mechanics and tropes of D&D, but you do not need to know of them to enjoy the story.

It's a single POV time loop story with slow paced progression fantasy elements. The story is not one of fast-paced power ups and non-stop action, but as it progresses, the action picks up. There is a lot of magic system exploration on a system built to unify the diverse magic of D&D into one cohesive magic system. The setting is an original world with familiar races and monsters but with new unique origins and motivations.

The average chapter will be 2-5k words long, most being around 3k but there are a few less than 1k, due to the nature of the story telling device I used.

New Chapters M-W-F until Book 1 is completed

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TK523

TK523

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Greeting my dear review observer!

Do not be surprised by the apparant early-ness of this advanced rev. This review is an update of my previous review on this book. I've read both versions of TK's "Dear Spellbook", the old and the new and I love all of the new content!

So, let us begin the digestion of the score:

This novel's lovely protagonist Tal is a sorcerer living in a world where sorcery has been outlawed and people who practice it are murdered and skinned alive, as is tradition.

To begin with, learning sorcery for the hero was a challenge, as it required his mom to place him into extremely dangerous, wilderness survival-type situations in which his talents and skills would emerge, but also he would be blessed with hypothermia and other ailments.

Secondly - our newly minted sorcerer must survive by pretending to be a wizard. Lucky he has a wizard's book on hand, which he mostly uses to draw caricatures of people he meets, pretending to be writing down spells.

Stylistically, this story has an interesting angle as it reads entirely from the point of view of Tal's wizard book, into which he logs daily journal entries. The book becomes bound to his soul, so the more he writes into it, the better he remembers events. The book's magic basically blesses him with eidetic memory.

Not mentioned in the description is the fact that Tal is trapped in a ground-hog day like situation in which he is repeating the same day. Slowly, over time the protagonist uses his book to understand the situation better and to also take advantage of it and of his perfect memory, by outsourcing event monitoring jobs - which is a creative and fun take on “the protagonist is stuck in a time loop idea” and is something that I’ve never seen in groundhog day type stories.

Spelling is pretty good, a lot of the old spelling errors that I had found in the previous version have been banished.

The world itself is full of rich detail and fun bits and feels deep as do the various characters that Tal interacts with from the comrade who is supposed to murder Tal for being a sorcerer to the kids whom Tal recruits for monitoring the loop events. Additional concepts such as - wizards who's daily, mundane job is to magically blow wind on ship sails to make boats go upriver make the world all the more believable.

The puns [such as trying to determine a name for yesterday-today] are creative and hilarious too, which is a plus.

Bearskin
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Story
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Character

This review is based on the whole of Book 1, being a loyal and faithful companion to Tal—not like that, a comrade in arms—he let me read that book he carrier around everywhere.

 

This story is not to my typical tastes but I enjoyed it, especially the parts I am in. There is action, but it is not the focus of the tale. Tal is smart and goes often goes down rabbit holes of explanations of magic, and history, which did not surprise me since he is always talking about those things in our travel

 

The book is written in Tal’s perspective as he recounts his adventures in his spellbook using the magically enhanced memory it grants to give him an accurate account of the events. I have not read a lot of books, Tal taught me to read, but this is definitely a unique take.

 

I could not give the story a 5, since I do not appear in all the chapters. You are not graced with my majestic presence for some time, and all the while Tal dangles my name before you, making you wonder. The other reason I have story a 4 and not a 5 is that I prefer more action-packed stories with content battle and conflict. This story is more slow-paced, and the conflicts are interspersed with studying and experiments, which I understand some people love but it is not my cup of tea. I think that is the expression, where I come from, we do not drink tea.

 

The gRammar is good, though I am not a good judge.

 

The characters in this story are fantastic. In the beginning, Tal writes mostly of Daulf and Trish, who I will admit are admirable warriors, even if their styles of combat differ from my own as much as their personalities do. Roland is fine, he is a valued companion in battle, but not one I wish to share my fire with. Tal seems to have a good understanding of himself as he journals in his book. He may call himself a scholar, or a wizard, or a sorcerer, or a “Theral” but he is a warrior at heart. I will make him a warrior in arms and legs someday if he keeps up his training. He is introspective and can see his faults, which is a key aspect of a true warrior.

 

I am also in the story, and I am a great warrior whos exploits will be sung for generations to come. I do not brag, I speak only the truth. Don’t take my word for it, take Tal’s.

 

Overall I give this story 5 stars. I chose not to penalize it for delaying my appearance.

Veritas97
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

"Good Story" says a Time Loop skeptic

Reviewed at: Chapter 8: The Goat

1/17/2022

I have previously read and reviewed the old version, this is the previous review with adjustments. Previous points still stand.

The story hooked me well enough with some humor in the earlier chapters. I may amend or add detail to the review as time progresses. I dislike time loops as a story concept, cardinal sin after Mother of Learning blew up I know, but I tried this story anyways and was not disappointed. Although I disliked Blessed Time, this story made me consider giving MoL another shot at some point in the future, even though initial chapters did not hook me. There's a decent amount of worldbuilding being done to distinguish the setting from a more generic medieval fantasy, which is always a plus. The eponymous (correct use of the word?) spellbook and the way our MC utilizes it keeps the story interesting as well. Even some of the functions which seem remarkably mundane to us readers really help Tal in the loops. The amount of exposition on both the magic system and the world's history are just about right, we're not left in the dark but not bombarded with info either.

Character and Story: 

The main character fits a heroic mold done well. In spite of him being the only character in focus for the most part, the author manages to make the events surrounding him interesting enough to keep me engaged. Although the MC is in a tricky situation, there is always some humor injected in to balance out the drama. Fortunately humor and musings of the main character do not obstruct the author from keeping the plot moving along, some popular RR authors can't or deliberately choose not to...

MCs party members seem to fit very established archetypes and the personalities associated with them, but that is not always a bad thing. People might critique this, but we will see how it goes. I'm fine with it so far.

Style:

The diary entries and first person narration really work in this case. I love the worldbuilding done in the interludes. When I read progression fantasy, I often prefer that it be more of a personal epic rather than it constantly having multiple points of view. Multi-POV can be good, and I do love some published and non-published stories with it, but it is not what I read Progression Fantasy for. The worldbuilding is fascinating, and it's very clear that the history of this world is something the author has spent a good time working on.

Grammar: 

Nothing more than a few typos here and there, but the writing flows, I'm sure someone with a more technical understanding could get in the weeds about why. Dialogue or narration of the story never feels awkward or stilted. 

WhimsicalDeity
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A somewhat denser, slower-paced fantasy

Reviewed at: Interlude 1: Histories by Dwarves

A solid fantasy piece which follows a sorcerer stuck in a time loop. I think this is a well-written story, with the caveat that it's likely not going to be everyone's cup of tea, even if you're big on fantasy.

Style:

The book is written from the perspective of the main character writing into his spellbook in a fashion somewhat akin to writing a diary. That in and of itself is perfectly good, but due to his personality and how the spellbook interacts with his memory, the writing tends to be very dense.

I believe this was a purposeful choice on the part of the writer, as this is set up to be a slower-paced, more heavily world-built piece, but I do feel like there are limits. Many of the paragraphs in this piece will be true behemoths that I never see in other works, because each is often laden with a host of smaller details and side-thoughts. Expect many sentences to use em-dashes and asides as the character transcribes their somewhat garbled recollection of things.

The paragraph length and the many asides, taken together with the level of detail makes the reading feel a bit like a slog at times.

That being said, save for these quirks, the style is quite good from a technical perspective. Sentence structure is varied enough, the flow, accounting for the density of the work, is good, and we certainly get the level of detail we need to have everything click in our heads. If you're a fan of denser, slower pieces, this may well be an ideal read for you.

Story:

The story starts off with our MC in a party as an adventurer, and we're quickly shoved into the time-loop, right as one would expect. It's hard to gauge too much how well the story progresses, as I haven't learned much yet about the plot. There's someone the MC is searching for, but I've yet to learn why exactly, and most of the plot currently centers around the time-loop element.

Normally, not knowing enough would mean that I should just keep reading, but in this case, it feels like a pacing issue. I got a good ~20-25k words into the story, and I opted to stop because more time is spent building the world and giving us minor details about meals and baths than it is advancing the story. Once again, I believe that's a concious choice on the writer's part, but it feels like it was taken a touch too far here, and I struggle to keep myself invested in the plot at the pace it's delivered.

Aside from pacing, however, it seems quite inventive, with plenty of odd side-quests that appear to be set up for the future, and a wide variety of magic abilities and blessings that should keep things interesting.

Character:

Largely, I think the characters are good. Daulf is probably the most fleshed out of these, and has a very identifiable set of personality traits. To a lesser extent, other characters do as well, such as Roland and his habit of disappearing.

They've yet to be fleshed out much, and this early on, there's not much of an emotional investment in any of them, but I imagine that's something to be built in time. I would say that perhaps we could use a beat or two more of dialogue, as a lot of their character building rests on us being told about how they are rather than us being able to hear their personality shine through in their speech.

The MC is fairly enjoyable, if a touch dry in his humor and bearing. This, however, is fitting for the introverted book-worm type that he's built up to be, although it does mean that he can ocassionaly register as a touch flat emotionally, and we don't get too much in the way of him freaking out or showing heightened emotions.

Grammar:

Largely good. The work has a few typos, comma splices, and misplaced commas, but it's very solid overall. For those who care a lot about grammar, this is not a piece that will turn you off.

Sum:

In sum, I think it's well-written and interesting. I think it ends up being not quite my cup of tea, and I would go one step further to say I think the pacing and density of the work will make many other feel the same.

Ultimately, I would just suggest that you know what you're getting yourself into: If you enjoy binging faster-paced pieces where significant characer power-growth has taken place by chapter 10, then this is likely not the story for you. On the flip side, if you're tired of speedy books which don't offer enough detail and would like to strap yourself in for something denser, you may be in the right place.

superlamapalooza
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

I wish I had this journal in college...

Reviewed at: Chapter 8: The Goat

Style - I personally loved the "direct-story telling" narrative style that it immediately introduces you to, although I can understand how some might not. The MC's personality, thoughts and sense of humor can be clearly derived from his journal (or spellbook) entries. I have personally always loved being able to know characters' thoughts and especially having glimpses to moments when they speak to themselves haha. It's almost as if we are the spellbook.....

Additionally, this one has an interesting take on loops as the MC is trying to recount the events BEFORE the loop while simultaneously recording the stuff that is CURRENTLY happening in the loop and his plan to make sense of it all. It almost feels like a Nolan film where the timeline jumps around but is not too difficult to follow. I like Nolan.

Story - I like loops too and this one is being done nicely. The world-building and magic system aspects are cool too. I got some DA: Origin vibes from it and was pleasantly surprised to see elements of it in this story (I know they're all D&D inspired, but I spent a lot more time on DA). I look forward to more of exposure to these details especially the spellform diagrams.

Grammar - I did not notice anything that hindered my experience reading this, but I could gather from the comments that quite a few adjustments were made to the chapters prior to my reading them. But I like how the writer is quick to accept grammar suggestions where appropriate.

Character - MC is likeable. He is analytical in his approach to figuring out his situation (not just the loop) and planning out next steps but not like some god-tier genius. Looking forward to more character development aspects. The writer also does well on expounding the supporting characters.

It's a great read with solid world-building elements and an interesting take on loop-related narratives.

DrBuller
Overall

Dear [Insert obscure reference]

Reviewed at: Chapter 6 - Clean at Last

Review from old story ahead. Most things fit fine though style has improved. Reads smoother than before. 

Now.

This story has a style that some might find off-putting, getting very close to what I would call a diary type of writing. Or, should I call that a spellbook style of writing? Is there any difference? I don't care. Maybe there is.

Anway, such a style doesn't encompass doesn't the whole story, readers still able to get a view outside of it in some fashion. It's still much more descriptive from my perspective but whatever. I like it and that's all that matters here.

Characthers should be experienced at one's own leisure. So... go read it. 5/5 from me.

Korr4K
Overall

I don't mean this review as anything particularly negative.

I think I may have liked the novel, it's well written and what has been introduced about the worldbuilding and plot seems to be interesting enough. But I simply couldn't read more, it was just too much tedious.

Have you ever met somebody that constantly digress when they talk? Well, this MC is exactly like that, and because the entire novel is based around the concept of him using his spellbook as a diary, nobody is there to stop those digressions. Simple things like "I took a bath and then went to the library" require multiple long paragraphs. Finally, because the MC wasn't able to move on I had to do it, the experience wasn't enjoyable anymore.

 

Disclaimer: had a brief exchange of messages with the author. We agreed apon my point of view but he also suggested that I should stack some chapters and see how the novel evolves. I'll update my review in the future.

 

PS: this is why RR reviews are for the most useless and scores are inflated. Fanboys giving 5 stars left and right, and downvoting constructive reviews. You do understand that without proper feedback the authors can't improve themselves?

Sparks2020
Overall

Very cool, looking forward to more

Reviewed at: Chapter 7 - Is This Dirt?

First off, I never read the original version of this story, I understand that this is a relaunch-rewrite. Well, I like it!

The perspective of Tal, a new(ish) sorcerer who survives in a world which is hostile to magic, is interesting. I particularly like the beginning, where 'if you're reading this, I'm dead' really captures your attention. 

Definitely going to be following this story, it's well crafted, with few it any grammar or spelling mistakes, and some great world-building.

Silicis
Overall

A lot of fun and very different.  A nice fresh take on the genre. I like the interactions amd characters as well as the character development. I look forward to the finished work and will be 100% following the author. Here is hoping to a long amazing career.  10 out of 10