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Valor and Violence is a series of short stories following different, yet all equally colourful, characters set in the same world.
Birth of a Legend, the first short, follows Captain Erskine Erwell, a newly promoted Captain in the Calandorian Royal Navy, charged with protecting his people from all who would do them harm. Great news for the Calandorian citizens, bad news for the Skjar reavers that ravage the shores in search of slaves. But when a small reaver fleet slips the net and escapes to the southern jungles of Marduk, Erwell must fight a war on two fronts; one against the raiders, and a far more difficult war against the hostile landscape. If he can't find allies in this strange land, he may end up being the one in need of saving.
The Calling follows Ferez Ahud, an aspiring young battlemage charged with the unsavoury job of 'terminating' a rogue member of his college. But how this nobody of a mage became a fugitive remains a mystery, and when the answer is discovered, the tables are turned and the hunter becomes the prey.
A Family Dissassemblance follows a young woman named Elizabeth. She's a simple young gal; sweet, charming, and with a heart of gold. She loves her family, she loves fun, and she loves making things and people explode!
Blood Reparations picks up Levi's story a little while after he and Erskine parted ways at the end of Birth of a Legend. Read along as Levi struggles to find a solution for his village's woes, battling the attitudes of obnoxious foreign snobs, drakes (again!), and something altogether far more sinister, lurking deep underground...
A Vow of Wind takes us back to the dynamic trio of Ferez, Ingrid, and affable idiot, Leo! This time, the happy couple's comfortable lives of hiring their services out as battlemages is interrupted when Leo asks to tag along on a job. Things escalate quickly in a life or death race from Aderath all the way to the frozen north.
For King and Country is currently in the process of being uploaded. It follows Captain Erskine Erwell as he escorts a servant of the Crown attempting to piece together the truth of a Royal Army unit's disappearance within Calandor's borders. What starts out as a routine hunt to purge corruption and treason escalates as the captain uncovers signs something sinister is happening in the mountains.
BONUS STORY - 'TIS THE SEASON. This has nothing to do with the other stories in the anthology, its just a fun little Christmas story that popped into my head one day that I decided to jot down and throw up for your (hopeful) enjoyment. It follows a young mercenary standing guard over demonic badlands on Christmas Eve. Things start off bad and get rapidly worse as he faces off against threats mere humans were never meant to face. But as the bloody night continues and the body count rises, salvation may come from an unexpected corner...
Content Guidelines: course language and violence.
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All the effing stars. All of em.
I'm not sure if this is an anthology, or a multi character story or what, but my god it's fun. And expertly written. There's only 6 chapters spanning two story arcs, but I cannot wait to read more.
Part 1 - Marines, Jungles, river dragons, battles. Part 2 battle mages, ice magic, fire magic.
Forget the summary, just read it.
Grammar: Impeccable, though I was so engrossed that even if the author had dared to slip a mistake in, I doubt I'd have been able to notice.
Story Score: As I mentioned it's hard to know what exactly the over-all story is...the second story recalls some places from the first, and the author note suggests that characters will be coming back, but it doesn't matter. What there is here is so brilliantly crafted and downright enjoyable. And isn't that what a story is to be?
Character Score: Full friggin marks here too. I didn't do a word count, but maybe 20k words posted so far, and the economy of the author to pack so much into such a short period of time is to be commended. You genuinely like the characters. They are believable despite the fantastical nature of their surroundings. They are the kind of characters that if you saw in a movie you'd stand up and cheer at the end. Ironman 1, Rocky, Forrest Gump.
Style: 11/5 stars here. The author has a brilliant wit and they show it off with such skill. I'm not sure I've ever truly laughed out loud reading something, but I did with Valor and Violence. Several times. It's funny, but in a perfectly acceptable way. Like it's not trying to be funny, it just is really funny. Add to that wonderfully fluid and readable prose and this piece feels like a the beginning of a the new hot hip novel that's going to be the talk of book clubs for a season.
Two thumbs, all 25 stars, 10/10, would buy if able to, etc etc. The superlatives are warranted. This story is an absolute delight to read.
What the title says. My words will not do this tale justice. You have no need to read this review, merely click chapter one and be sucked into another world.
But if you wish to continue, I will give the reasons I adored this tale.
This is one of the better written fictions on RR. It ranks right up there with my favorite authors, and I do not say this lightly. It is just that good. I laughed out loud, had cold chills during the climax, and felt the fear, failure, and triumphs of these characters.
Hence why I rate it so high. There is no perfect story in my eyes. Everything will be perfectly imperfect, which is what makes life so beautiful. But those who are gifted to entice me to feel with the characters and grant me a time to forget about my real-world problems? That is the sign of an epic author.
We begin by following the MC as he chases pirates into the depths of the jungle. The imagery was vivid. I felt the sweat on my brow and heard the ringing cacophony of the creatures within the leaves. All this without realizing I was reading descriptions.
No info dumps, and yet I knew exactly where I was and who I was with as these characters wormed their way into my mind and my heart. This is an easy read with a flow that will take you on an adventure from the first sentence.
The action scenes will have you on the age of your seat, crying and cheering all at once. (Looking at you, Chapter Three.)
This tale was deep. It explored the honor of warriors in life and death. It showed slavery and the horrors of man and beast.
Yet it also explored the good. The beauty in those who choose to do what's right and have the courage to stand, even in the middle of a jungle that is just as likely to kill them as their enemy. It shows the hard choices and those willing to make them. It shows the relationship between those who fought, friends new and old who stick together in the thick and the thin. And with humor sprinkled throughout that will have you laughing. Promise.
The characters are... let's just say they'd frighten the heck out of me to meet them, and yet, I could see myself passing them on the street. They bring the definition of 3D to bear.
Typos were nearly non-existent.
Jam-packed with action and (maybe spoiler?)
a soul-warming ending
, that will have you begging for more.
This is a hidden gem. If you've truly read so many words of a glowing review just to make it to this point, please do yourself the favor of reading this. You're welcome.
Valor and Violence is an anthology series, with short stories all set in the same world. It's high fantasy, with magic and mayhem and fun characters doing cool things. It is absolutely worth your time.
STYLE: The series has excellent prose and a well balanced mix of action, dialogue, and description. The descriptions are effective, the dialogue is sharp, and the fight scenes are vividly choreographed.
STORY: The stories are light hearted adventure romps, with a tone that kind of reminds me of old blockbuster movies. The good ones. Maybe starring Brendan Fraser. There's plenty of danger, killer one liners, and cool fights, but you always get the sense that things will work out alright. Since these are short stories, there isn't a ton of character development, but there doesn't really need to be, and the author has a way of portraying characters in a fun and sympathetic way that makes you root for them. Even the crazy mass murdering assassin. Did I mention these stories are fun?
CHARACTER: JEPayne has a real flair for characters. Each one is distinct, colorful, and fun to be around, and the banter and interplay are skillfull enough to remind you of a particularly good pulpy action show. Something like Burn Notice, or maybe Chuck. You tend to miss them a little once there story is done, and get excited when you see them again in a different arc.
GRAMMAR: No mistakes as far as I could see.
OVERALL: If you want magic, swordplay, and witty banter, you can't do much better than this. It's not particularly deep or philosophical, but it's not supposed to be. It's good, clean, violent fun, and you won't regret picking it up.
A great story that reminds you of classic action-packed episodic storytelling!
I got reminded of when I watched episodes of the A-team as a kid. Fun characters in an interesting environment, working together to finish their business and improve the world where they can.
Style: The main improvement I could mention is that there are some spacing issues in the story. Long paragraphs would do better to be split up since multiple different 'actions' take place in them. The story would definitely breathe and flow better. However, the story is captivating enough to overlook this aspect.
Grammar: I noticed no grammar issues, full marks there!
Story: Now we get into the meat of this review! The story is excellent, just straight-up fun, from the interactions to the action everything reminds me of a classic serialized action series! Incredibly enjoyable and the short stories also benefit a lot from this quality, I have read 2 and the changing cast does not bother me one bit!
Character: Since they're short stories you notice the writer pays a lot of attention to make them as interesting as possible as quickly as possible. And the story just oozes personality due to this. My main issue however was that characters often mention each other by name in dialogue, which sometimes does feel unnatural. But their personalities are excellent!
Overall: If you like short stories and adventures filled with action then this is definitely up your lane!
Episodic novels tend to be very difficult to market on RR, on Amazon or any publishing state of matter. Yet, it is always refreshing to see some of them poiting the tipr of their (crocodile) noise from time to time. Because, surprisingly, they are always very good (glances at The Future That Never Was).
ANYWAY, Valor and Violence counts so far 2 beautifully written short stories Birth of a Legend and The Calling. Both are A-MA-ZING. The incredible worldbuilding is quickly introduced, as we dives into action-driven novels giving us a pretty wild ride. The Australian wild land really welcomes us.
The style is really flesh out, with a well-thought prose. The good balance between dialogues and descriptions carries us with efficience. The two short stories are binge read worthy. While not being particulary funny, the writting style allows a good humored atmosphere. It just feels nice.
Completing the tremedous worlbuilding, the plots are solid. You don't know much where this is going, but some kind of extended-universe is being drawn between the lines. More is coming, and I can't wait for it!
Finally, regarding the characters... a difficult aspect of any short story. Well, that's a bingo! They're all vivid and explosive. They are here. With you. And despite the masterfully used 3rd POV. Crazy.
As the synopsis explains, this is not a single work, but a collection of short stories and you should stop and read them all RIGHT NOW. There is incredible storytelling, clever plot devices, and every chapter is packed with edge-of-your-seat action.
Before I jump into the nitty-gritty, I think it’s worth mentioning that despite the name, short stories are incredibly challenging to write because the author has a limited amount of words to win over the audience before wrapping everything up with a satisfying ending. JEPayne has this down to an artform.
The style is fast, gripping, and the world building is descriptive without bogging you down with detail. The action sequences alone are praise-worthy. I was fully immersed into the world by chapter one and couldn’t hit the ‘next chapter’ button faster.
Each short story so far has a clear plot and what’s even better, the storylines are night and day from each other. You’re not reading more of the same. You get new characters, different environments, conflicting motives, and it’s all done so, so well.
I was so immersed in the stories I didn’t notice any errors. There probably weren’t any either, because everything is very well polished.
The characters are the best part, which is saying something, because every part of this collection has been darn near perfect so far. Like the stories, you get a wide range of cast, each with their own unique personality and voice. My only issue is that, due to the nature of short stories, I don’t get to spend more time with them. *On this note, the author has promised to bring back the original cast for more adventures, so my issue is a matter of impatience and not oversight.
Highly recommend you give Valor and Violence a read. It lives up to its name in every way.
This is essentially professional writing, and will definitely rank among the best stories on rr. Stop reading reviews and just jump in, then tell your friends about the new hidden gem you just found.
Up to date, we have four novellas with colorful characters, a rich worldbuilding that is not afraid of originality, and snappy dialogues and descriptions. Each novella showcases a fraction of a larger, vibrant world.
Style- and grammar-wise, I can hardly stress it enough, but JEPayne knows what they are doing. There are stories where the style does not get in the way. This is a story where the style helps.
The characters have substance. They are not the typical, transparent fantasy protagonist; they do not need the crutch of endless flow-of-consciousness narration to be relatable. Instead, they are characterized in a memorable way. This stands out even more given the length of each story.
Pace is fast and tension is managed skillfully.
Worldbuilding now. Expect death, gore, and violence (it’s in the title). At the same time, despite all the blood and grit (and violence) and semi-manic (and violent) characters, when you are done reading you will enjoy the good, satisfied feeling of a light-hearted story. Probably the highest feel-good-vibe over body-count-ratio out there.
Overall: why are you reading this, start the story already!
This review is purely for Birth of a Legend, the first story in this series.
First off, there were no flaws in prose or grammar. That's damn important, considering the mistakes I often see. The style was also gold. Instead of a LitRPG or isekai or anything like that, this is just an old-fashioned fantasy story about some soldiers fighting through a jungle. The plot is dead simple, yet with wonderful worldbuilding woven throughout. The main character is clear, but there's a fake-out that works well halfway through. We learn just enough about the various cultures to feel that they are real, without feeling overwhelmed by exposition.
The character work was likewise simple but had a strong impact. The gruff lead soldier, the even more taciturn sergeant, the kind of an asshole but for a good reason native guide. All of these are common archetypes, but they are played to perfection. I hope at least a few of them are recurring for later stories, though I still don't know exactly how this series is going to work in that regard. Still, either way, the author has earned enough confidence from me to continue.
Overall, this is a nice, simple short story, and I am looking forward to reading more. Actually, I'm looking forward to an audiobook.
Well, the first thing I have to say is loved it.
The second thing is, I can't wait for more.
Overall - It is simple. Short stories about different characters, different settings, and different styles of violence.
Style - 3ed PoV is the style used and it works wonderfully. Every story has its own internal previews of the world the characters live in. Every character has his own style of combat. Best of all is that it just fits so well together.
Grammar - Perfect. Everything written is easy to read. The story just flows into your mind.
Story - This is a bit harder to review as there are multiple stories. The world-building for the stories is kept relatively simple in the context of the story. Yet, at the same time, it provides enough info to make the story engaging and leave you wanting more. The best part is that every story is different, in terms of executed Valor and Violence. It is those nuances that make it so interesting, however, can't say too much, or I will spoil it.
Characters - For short stories, they have remarkable good character templates. Their actions and reasoning are very well thought out. And remarkably enough, there is character development, although it is hidden if you don't know where to look.
There simply is nothing for me to complain about in the story.
Now as the author and I exchanged a few words, it has come to my attention that all these short stories are a setup for the main story in the future.
Will be following and adding the story to my library.
Yours truly, Akten Dreams.
I try my best NOT to give five stars. Not out of pettyness, no, but because I always feel like there's something you can improve. A detail to refine, some prose here and there, maybe characters to flesh out.
Not here. No sir.
I have only finished the first story and I am already hooked, this world hides interesting secrets and political brushes between old nations, and it bloody shows!
Style - An odd mix of first and third person, I guess we could call it a Second Person narration? It kept me gripped and interested, my eyes didn't gloss over the story in any moment.
Story - The premise of this first story is as simple as they come, at least in the surface. But it quickly becomes something more gripping, inspiring, interesting. You GOT me with that twist, and in other circumstances I'd call it cheap, but not here. I wouldn't dare, because of ->
Characters - Motherfucking Erskine. I love the characters you have made, they feel interesting, cohesive to their own natures and personalities, and they just make me want to see MORE! I am in love, and I will follow Erskine to Hell and back.
Grammar - Not much to say here. I couldn't catch any mistakes that took me out of the story or anything, so, it defaults to five stars.
All and all, I am really glad I got to read this. I will start reading the next story when I get back out of work. Great job!