- Traumatising content
The Mystic Turtle.
They stand with the Elder Dragons and the Spirit Dryads as creatures of legend. Timeless. Immortal. They live solitary lives, drawing power from their own soul. They are the hermits of the sea, their power unmatched in the ocean. Yet, this power is not attained easily, for as Thera will learn, the life of a baby Mystic Turtle is full of trials and tribulations...
She will scour ancient sunken ruins, face the dangers lurking in the depths of the sea, and, perhaps one day, grow to become a Mystic Turtle that surpasses even legend.
This is an edited version of Thera which addresses the main criticisms of the previous version.
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February Schedule: Amelia, Salvos, Violet, and Thera March Schedule: Amelia, Salvos, and Violet April Schedule: Amelia, Salvos, and Violet
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Thera is a captivating atlantic adventure. I didn't get the chance to read the previous version of Thera, but this was definitely worth checking out.
Melas did an amazing job on the prose (style), which is beautifully descriptive and evocative, making the novel a fluent and pleasant reading experience.
Very pog Melas, thanks for the cool read
0 - Context
We're back with a rewrite, eh? I'm more than happy to read it, considering how much I enjoyed the original version. I'll leave my old review here for now, and edit it depending on how differently things shake out.
1 - Thera
In typical MelasD fashion, this story is named after its protagonist. Thera, a Mystic Turtle with incredible potential, explores a vast ocean. This work is a competent synthesis of what the author has learned through his many stories, applied to a unique premise, and let loose upon the world. This story will hook you; it’s just that good.
2 - General Thoughts
A system governs this realm, empowering all living things, and forming dungeons. However, the actual LitRPG mechanics play a pretty light role, with levels simply corresponding to size and strength, with species-specific skills being unlocked at certain level milestones. It's a refreshing break from the deluge of statboxes that I've grown wary of.
I’m extremely excited that this story is from the perspective of a turtle, simply as it is one of few creatures who remain capable within water or on land. This uncommon versatility has already proved indispensable to combat, as well as making it possible for Thera to travel through dungeons, which is a huge boon for progression, assuming she survives.
Additionally, I’m delighted to explore a marine environment from the perspective of Thera, as the creatures and structures found differ vastly from the typical fantasy fare. Even setting-specific natural disasters are shown, specifically a hurricane, and the disastrous effects on a local aquatic ecosystem caused by one. The tranquil peace underwater is near illusory, in that it can be shattered in a blink of an eye, seemingly at random.
2.1 - Style
Through fluid perspective changes, MelasD fleshes out this world slowly but surely, a fitting pace for a story about a turtle. The third-person omniscient narration is a perfect choice for this story, as there is much happening around her that Thera cannot comprehend, at least not in the early phase of progression.
The tone is callously indifferent at times, which is reflective of the ruthless world Thera lives in, where Nature's most primal law reigns supreme : Kill, or be killed. However, hope springs eternal, and no situation is so bleak that Thera cannot find a silver lining.
2.2 - Story
From her humble beginning, one egg among hundreds, desperately fighting to reach the relative safety of the ocean, Thera has come a long way. However, there is no time to look back, as the way ahead is lined with danger at every turn, and complacency breeds stagnation, an ignominious fate for such a majestic beast.
As of yet, there is no particular overarching goal that is pushing the plot forward, besides day-to-day survival. Thera is still exploring and growing stronger, and she needs to establish herself before tackling any issue at scale.
2.3 - Technicals
Polished prose and grammar are on display throughout this story. Narration is consistent, and formatting is impeccable. I haven’t noticed any errors, and while some may slip through, they don’t impact the story being told in any meaningful way.
2.4 - Character
While Thera is clearly the main character, the accompanying cast is not left stranded in her wake. Attention to consistency and detail produces vivid characters who have a meaningful impact on the narrative.
Additionally, psychological characterization is developed magnificently in this story. The thought process of Thera is dynamic, and slowly evolves through the story. However, it’s done in a transparent way, making individual growth multifaceted. Not only do I have Thera rising in level to look forward to, but I also am excited by her developing psyche.
A form of dialogue has been introduced in the main storyline, a type of magic telepathy that allows creatures to talk with each other. As this premise expands, more and more creatures will eventually be capable of interacting with Thera, or at least understand her, instead of defaulting to fight or flight responses. This premise is effectively a guarantee that more side characters will be introduced, because the main barrier between the creatures is communication. Surely the creatures who flee Thera wouldn’t be scared of her if she could just tell them that she wouldn’t hurt them, right…?
3 - Conclusion
I could sing this story's praises ad nauseam, but I'll attempt to keep my applause succinct. Thera is a masterpiece of Monster Evolution GameLit, written by one of the most preeminent authors in the genre. I simply cannot recommend this story enough.
I’d like to thank MelasD for writing this amazing story, and answering the many questions I had while writing up this review.
Thank you for continuing the story. It was one of my favourite. I was waiting and keep looking for any update grading thera.
It was great story before. With non-humanoid mc. Different biome with defferent survival challange. Spacially when you have to either fight or use your wit to survive since the momment you were born. Great not since it's been editing couple of problems. Will be wait for chapter 2.09.
A really unique story, already loved the first draft and cant wait to get up to date with the second one. Keep up the good work! Good, intuitive system, a MC with the possibility for character development and with a logically sound starting point and a really nice beginning. I find the deep sea environment quite intriguing, i am looking forward to what the author has planned further on.
Context: I read this when it was first published, fell in love, and have been anxiously wsiting for it to return.
This is SO GOOD; level progression feels natural, there is none of the whole "Cut to 50 levels later, and we find out that they have an OP ability when its used" trope. I mean it works, as a story trope, but it is a bit to hand-wavey with the feeling of danger in my opinion...BACK TO THE POINT (Sorry, I ramble) You are with them every important step of the way. And this system in awesome, it grants you things as you do them- Kinda. Read the spoiler for a proper explination.
So for example, when Thera practices swiming, she gains a swimming skill; when she Resolves to do something, she gains a Skill for it, like [Indomitable Will].
Point being the power feels deserved, not given.
This story is pleasant to read, it makes sense, its consistent, and it has great feeling progression. Things seems to make sense, the danger is both expected and intensely not. When danger comes knocking, your surprised, but not "WTF where, what, why?" And also, the way they write Thera's growth, feels smooth, natural, and wonderful to read.
The story is as deep as the ocean we find ourselves in, but unlike thera, we are dropped off to sink or swim; But neither are we hand-held/spoon-fed the lore- It feels like eating soul warming food, it just feels good consuming it.
There is an error every now and then, like eupinay instead of epiphany, but nothing that makes it incomprihensable or unreadable.
They feel SO REAL, you won't believe it until you read it. Everything feels so real, its so good.
It's so good, there isnt much to say. it feels like I'm in the mind of a actual person, rather than reading a book.
The joy of exploration and wonder from Harry Potter's Hogwarts meets the underwater setting and progression fantasy genre.
We follow Thera, a newborn mythic turtle born into a world filled with novelty and danger in equal measure, as she navigates the stormy waters of the ocean and slowly learns to thrive. It is a story filled with emotional development, well-written character arcs, and believable plot progression.
Now, onto the individual categories.
This is one of the most expressive reads I've come across on Royalroad. When one looks at the writing style, some passages belong more so in modern classics and widely accredited literary works, not something you'd expect to find in a web novel due to its demanding publishing schedule. The author successfully makes me see the world from the main character's eye, to visualize and feel the wonder of the magical world.
The one thing that makes it a 4.5 star instead of a 5 star for me is that prose and verbosity sometimes take precedence over pacing and readability. It isn't a significant gripe and didn't impact my immersion in scenes more than a few times, but it does put it at a 4.5 star for me.
A very well-handled plot so far. There are only a dozen chapters released as I review this, but the setup this far has given and delivered on promises and fulfilled all set expectations. There are always hits of more, drops of worldbuilding, and dialogue throughout the story, which gives rise to anticipation for what will come next. Most swings in the story are either excellently foreshadowed or hit as surprises just in the way I want them to. The push and pull for my reader engagement is superb.
The 4.5 star comes from how I personally gave more importance to specific segments of the story and the main character's emotional progression. Minor spoiler:
There are a few minor time skips this far. They've been handled well and support the pacing. But as Thera is a newborn turtle at the start, the time skips combined with slightly differently shaded characterization before and after each left me feeling like I've missed a few scenes. It'd usually not be anything to worry about. Still, as the story places Thera's emotional development and the childlike exploration at the center of multiple scenes, I'd have liked to have seen these specific emotion beats not skipped over.
I noticed but a handful of mistakes in the writing. Those few mistakes did not impact my enjoyment of the story at all. The author probably has a Grammarly subscription and beta readers :)
This is the true heart of the story. While still early on, the characterization and character arcs are unequivocally expertly crafted. Thera and the side characters are likable and unique. One quickly grows to care for them as one reads, and I look forward to reading where the author takes their stories.
I wholeheartedly recommend this novel to any prospective reader. It is a gem.
I will admit, Thera is a story I dismissed at first, it didn’t really seem like my type of thing at all. However, I was wrong. So deeply wrong. And after the edits my thoughts still stand.
Thera is a lot of things, but if I had to pick a word to describe the story, it would be: Captivating. A captivating narrative, one that MelasDelta carefully wove with tidbits of incredible world building, one that starts off mythological and with an air of mystery, one that has vivid descriptions that make you feel the atmosphere, and more importantly, one that allows the journey to truly shine.
However, that really isn’t enough to call it captivating, it’s something that doesn’t quite let you go as you follow the protagonist. Thera. A baby turtle of extraordinary origins, but no matter how extraordinary, one must be ordinary first. She is a baby, one that explores and learns the world along with us, the reader. There is a recurring thing in the story and it is a simple fact.
The ocean is a dangerous place.
And yet, it is also Thera’s home. Where she belongs. A turtle with an extraordinary potential that must be ignited through ordinary experiences; hunting for food, sleeping, safety. All of these culminate in an extraordinary journey. One that is simply: Captivating.
Thera is a baby, one that knows nothing, no right or wrong. She hunts and scavenges, makes her own decisions and suffers from wins and losses. That is until she finds herself in peril — the ocean is dangerous after all — and that’s when the ordinary Thera becomes extraordinary.
Meeting Mors in the Brunnholl’s fleet, a dungeon. A fish, last of her kind. One that acts as a mentor, one that teaches Thera values and morals, one that acts as something special for her.
The small cast of characters is rich as it is diverse, from fishes, turtles to elves. All of them with unique personalities and goals, and all of them just as engaging. And some among them are truly unforgettable, just like they left their mark on Thera they too will leave a mark on you. I truly cannot stop thinking about it.
A captivating story. A story of life, with pain and happiness, with excitement and fear. Thera has it all, including possibly the best prose on the site. One that makes you feel like you’re exploring the depths of the ocean at the deepest and darkest of places. The style is simply absolute perfection.
The vocabulary, it’s just utterly amazing, the grammar is clean and smooth, the prose reads by itself. The narration voice is clear and engaging. It can be sharp as much as it can be relaxing.
An unforgettable story, one where MelasDelta clearly put his utmost effort into creating. One that leaves its mark on you, one that captivates you and absorbs you, one that is like no other. That is why Thera is simply:
I have read most of the story so far. If you are fan of the ocean and magic, then this is the series for you. On a side note this story employs a vast and rich vocabulary. Have your dictionary ready! I really need to read this authors other fictions now. I think it is time they find a publisher because this deserves a larger audience.
MelasD has finally returned to what I believe is his greatest work to date.
The last time I reviewed this story, I said: I feel like for the past year I've been watching this author leap and stumble and leap again through the countless stories he's started... and I feel like he's grown with them in the best way.
Well, looking at how his latest stuff has done, I feel like I'm completely justified in saying that I was right. With Amelia, Salvos, and the new and improved Thera, we might just be entering into a MelasDelta golden age.
With that being said, I don't think that Thera is for everyone. As I said in my last review, it's a little less commercial and a little more introspective than most RR chart-toppers, but that means that for those like me who vibe with that kind of stuff, it's absolutely marvelous.
In Thera, you can almost feel the lessons learned from each story, woven into a beautiful narrative that's somewhere in the vicinity of Shade Touched meets Cradle meets like... National Geographic? It has the lighthearted humor of Violet mixed with the darker moments of Melas and the hint of philosophical oomph from Tian, all wrapped in the dopamine-rushing, survival-instinct-triggering fight-or-die setting present at the beginning of Salvos. (And now, the wisdom gained from Amelia is added to the mix as well.)
And you can almost taste the vibe of this story in the writing. MelasD says he's prose-blind. I want everyone reading this to go into the first chapter and after finishing it tell him he's lying, because tonally the mystique and reverence transitioning to utter confusion and chaos is a big juxtaposition. And that sort of juxtaposition kind of represents the story as a whole — moments of fun levity immediately followed by intense action or deep, heart-touching moments. It's a giant mixed bag, in the absolute best way possible.
And pacing... guys, he finally learned how to pace! Jabs aside, Thera really did hit the nail on the head in this regard. It doesn't feel like you're rushing straight along or plodding at a snail's pace, but progressing forwards at just the right speed, jumping through the borings bits if need be but taking the time for the big impactful moments to sink in. Story elements are introduced at just the right time, even if they aren't when you'd expect them to be done.
Oh, and characters. Man, I love myself some cute initial protag evolving (character-wise I mean, but obviously this is also a monster evolution story) as they progress type stories. In this case it's even better because Thera (the character) starts out as a literal 0 year old baby, and with each level-up she grows a bit, not only in strength but also mentally. You get to see her animalistic nature gradually tempered (but never erased) by intelligence, and what I love about this story specifically is that the MC is affected by the shit she goes through, but never so much as to be a complete character change. She's still that cute baby turtle, just maybe a little more grown-up and a teensy bit more traumatized.
And yeah, about that trauma — Thera does touch on some heavier themes, man. Not in a grimdark murderhobo everyone-dies type of way, but in a bittersweet, somewhat hopeful tint. Take the first lines of the entire story (paraphrased): "Time: it is a terrible thing... but not to all of us." Between the big fight scenes and litRPG progression hype, Thera takes a moment to acknowledge the cruelty of mother nature, then smiles in the face of it.
The only scenes that I didn't feel completely entranced in were the short snippets of the elf sideplot that come at the beginning of some chapters, but now they've been trimmed even further and they ended up contributing to the story's themes in a way that made me 100% appreciate their inclusion.
Overall, Thera is an absolute rollercoaster of a story. It'll have you hyped as heck in one scene and then bawling in the next, and it all just works together in an absolutely brilliant way.
Please give Thera a try, because like I said this might be my favorite MelasD story ever. It isn't perfect, but it doesn't have to be to keep you reading long past the time you should have stopped. I'll see you guys (again) on rising.
Unfortunate that there's not more! this story is fantastic. It will get you hooked on the first chapter. MelasD strikes again. The main character is interesting, you'll fall in love with companions she meets along the way, and the enemies really get you to hate them. Can't wait for more.