Sing the story, bard, of the Firebrand. He, the youth who saved Morcaster from ruin. He, the warrior who defeated an empire. He, the archmage who crossed the Netherworld...
The tale of Martel the mage, from his humble beginnings as a hapless novice at a magic school. Slow, character-focused and light-hearted progression fantasy. Updates Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
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It's a shame that I'm not enjoying this story since it falls neatly into one of my favorite genres. The main thing that bothers me is the way the characters, especially the MC, are lacking in dimension. The MC, Martel, is a peasant son of a blacksmith. He's gone through many hardships in life. This dude should be a survivor, resourceful, but none of this or any personality really comes through in the writing. Instead he's more of a meek, naive blank slate of a person who comes off as being half the age he's stated to be. He really reminds me of Rain from Delve. Then we have a dick professor and noble peer (Snape and Draco) who hate MC for no reason as well as female love interest numbers 1 and 2, who he always finds himself alone with even when it doesn't make sense because the plot needs it. He meets the first one by "saving" her from a group of people who are harassing her. That kind of thing doesn't happen in real life, friends and love interests shouldn't just fall into the MC's lap due to some chance encounter. As for the magic system- there is none. So far, all magic seems to work off imagination and you just have to think what you want to happen. This is not good in a story that has a heavy focus on magic. It makes you question the need for magic school to begin with, if all you have to do is be around the chosen element and imagine it moving. Finally there are some pretty big plot holes
The fact that Martel was supposed to be wearing armor during combat training, but none of his sparring partners noticed he didn't have it while hitting him, and he didn't notice they were wearing armor while sparring them.
The administrators of magic school mention many times how worried they are that something will set Martel off due to his status as a fire touched, but they make zero effort to ensure that his professors, students, and literally everyone else aren't fucking with him constantly leading to the very consequences that they are afraid of. Like seriously, they talk about dude like he's a bomb waiting to go off but they don't check up on him at all. On that topic, I don't see why they are so scared of Martel being fire touched in the first place. Martel has an innate understanding of fire but that doesn't necessarily mean he has any more power than the 1 month novice he is, they act like he's going to burn the whole damn country down.
Anyway, that's it. I think I've stated why this series irks me so much, I wish I liked it more.
To parse through what many others have said: Its no revolutionary idea, but its done fine. Grammar is excellent, prose are good, though I wish to touch on some elements others have not.
My main concern with this story is how the main character is written. A large story point is shown to be how he is meant to be a sixteen year old in a school surrounded by those before their teens or just reaching, and yet I can't see any discernible difference in the way they act and the way the main character acts.
Now perhaps you can chalk this up to schooling and difference in background, but this meek, supposed teenager's motivation seems to be based on other people's rhetoric of 'I said this, so go do this'. There is no pazazz, no endearing confidence, no teenage exuberance, nothing of any of the traits that one would find in the main characters of similar stories that helps the readers to associate with, enjoy and end up rooting for.
If all reference to the main character's greater age than other students was dropped, I would have told you he and the other students were exactly the same age. Is that going to ruin your ability to read this story? Well that is up to you. But in its current state this is by no means a five star book, and cannot be compared to stories like Mother of Learning or Harry Potter like some seem to think it can be.
Martel is a boy who enlists in a magic school, a bit later than he should have, with younger students and an frightening aptitude for fire.
A very simple premise. A main character in a magic school and hidden powers. A story like many others, a dime in a dozen. You can't throw a rock without hitting a story with a similar idea within it.
But not all stories are written equally, and the experience and talent of the author shows well in this one.
The thing with simple settings written well is when an author explores them in a manner that allows them to flesh out through the simplicity into complexity, and we see this happening here. The wide cast of characters interactions with one another, the simple plot that blooms out into multiple others, and the very likeable but similarly simple main character.
Everything from the increasing cast of characters to the lore and prose help carry such a simple story into a more interesting realm, in a slow paced relaxed manner -- in the time of this review, at least. The story carries itself through action and scenes well.
If you are looking for a powerful recommendation, you will never regret this being the one.
It's pretty good. Nice world and good plot.
However, like many of my other reviews, I focus moreso on characters.
My true qualm with this novel is the main character's mental development. As a 16 year old, he acts like a 9 year old. This is quite literally the opposite of "All the Skills," another new novel that has a 10 year old? (I believe, anyways something between 9-12) who schemes like a 16 year old. While I am all in for the MC in All the Skills, I cannot say the same for this novel.
Man cannot have a coherent thought. He lacks the simplest of reasonings and is awfully naive and stupid. The section that comes to my mind when addressing MC's failures is when
Shadi (girl friend) says that it was the day her mother died and she was born. Took him an entire conversation to realize it was her birthday.
When someone else buys him balm for his injuries, he somehow did not realize for days that the balm, in fact, cost money.
Dude is literally getting clowned on by 12 year olds physically, socially, and mentally. I guess there is the fact that he comes from a backwater town, but he KNOWS how to read and write. He should not be this dumb unless he accidentally ate a ringworm or a famine cut food supply to his brain.
Besides that it ain't so bad. I would give it a shot.
It is a nice story, a solid looking world building, kind of basic characters, very basic if not dull MC. With a writing style that left me disconnected from the characters with a loot of time skips.
Writing style: the author really does put a lot of time skips with the ~ symbol, it really didn't fit to my eyes but that’s not the main problem.
The main problem is that it didn't connect between me and the characters. it feels like the author tells us how the characters act and not showing us how they act.
Characters: they are all very cliche, from a spoiled noble son like Draco to a racist teacher bulling the MC like Snape from harry potter. The MC himself is very dull, instead of a 16 year old among 12 year old’s, he feels like a 12 year old himself, he came to the school to help his family, but he has no will or determination to do it.
furthermore, in the later chapters
he just helps street orphans and random strangers he finds even though he may die.
his possible girlfriend also feels very dull, yes, he saved her from thugs, but what more? besides that what more connects them, almost nothing but him being nice and showing magic tricks, like lifting water droplets.
Story: not bad, the world building looks solid, the author did change the names of the days making it a bit annoying.
he created an easy magic system without a lot of explanation, besides controlling magic with emotions and focus. It's not bad, it simply how it is, that why I called it am easy magic system and not a hard one.
All and all pretty basic
Overall I think this is a great start to something that could prove really interesting. I felt like it was fairly obvious to us as readers that the MC was not going to stick with his original plan of mundanity and instead become some kind of famed good mage; pretty standard stuff for a Magic Fantasy book. However, I did expect the MC to seem to care a bit more. He entertains ideas of other careers too often and seems to just fall into random situations that push him towards heroism. This isn't necessarily bad but they seem to fall seemingly out of nowhere into his lap.
e.g. helping Shadi with the thugs, finding the urchin children, meeting Regnar
The story is slow, but that was forewarned. The author does elect to use a lot of timeskips and brush over some things that I think including would help make the world feel full. The combination of the slow progress from chapter to chapter but the timeskips make the story have confusing pacing where I don't really know what's happening at any given moment or what the significance of any chapter is. Additionally there are is one mini-arc that I just completely skipped and there was absolutely no mention of it besides the immediate following chapter; MC should also have gotten far more consequences than a literal scratch. Otherwise I am absolutely enjoying the slow pace and attempt at pushing the reader into the world as a whole.
In terms of worldbuilding I think the story also suffers a bit. It casts a wide net showing the reader multiple locations, systems, and political affiliations, but unfortunately a lot of them feel shallow due to a lack of detail. It feels like oftentimes things are simply stated to be, with only a few places having some description. I think having more details and intricacies to the systems shown to us would help immerse us in the world.
Grammatically there are no real issues, but some really novel ideas. For example those of affluence do not use contractions, while those who grew up poorer use contractions.
The biggest issue of this story is the characters however. They tend to feel one dimensional and lacking any depth. There are examples in other reviews about the MC just blatantly not understanding things or acting like a 12 year old despite being 16 that do a better job at explaining than I could. The other characters share the same issues with there being a well-off meathead best friend, a Hermione-esque girl, and what I can only assume is meant to be a rags-to-riches characrer that follows the MC on his journey and supports him. They're all interesting as a base character, but they don't have much depth and should be built out more.
I will probably still follow the story as I see all of these issues being solvable and the foundations can lead to a really interesting plot.
While the story is well written, its pacing and overall plot are not for me.
We have a boy who is supposed to have a huge talent for fire magic. But because of political reasons he cant show it. So he is stuck.
We have very little growth in his magic. Mo learning new spells, bery little magic at all.
The only thing we get is teenage angst. Which is very boring. So i can't recommend. Unless you want a magic story with little magic.
The chapters are the narrative equivalent of finger-food. The high frequency of the updates gives the illusion of substance, but each update is skimmable with little informational loss. That may account for the seemingly slow maturity of the MC. Those who cannot abide reading 60+ chapters of naive protagonist syndrome, beware and keep a backlog.
The Story is great in terms of structure and grammar, but the pacing and content so far has been extremely lacking. 57 chapters in and nothing at all significant or even entertaining has occurred, the story is marked as slow paced, but this goes beyond the average slow pace of other succeful fictions. The contents of each chapter as well leave much to be desired, it wouldn't be wrong to say you could skip chapters at a time and you wouldn't have missed anything, it's basically over 50 chapters of filler with maybe 3 or 4 chapters of significance, but even they aren't much due to the snails pace this goes at.
If your looking for a fantasy RPG I would look elsewhere, as this fiction only seems to bore with its lack of substance.
Little to no grammatical errors. The world-building is adequate for the few chapters I read. The writing quality isn't awful.
Despite the technical writing ability being good, the ability to write compelling characters and a proper story is completely missing.
The MC is completely pathetic. I guess the author won't have to try very hard to write character growth since the MC is starting from the very bottom in every aspect. The story feels like a bad Chinese xianxia fiction with almost every character outside of the MC being a complete @sshole young master type that looks down on the MC.
On top of that, the author decided to do the completely unnecessary thing of changing all the names of the days to make the story seem more 'fantasy-ish'.
I stopped reading around chapter 5 or 6. Then I skimmed to around chapter 8 or 9 to see if it got any better. It didn't.