Completed Review: Cliche? by Zahramiik
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Cliche is a story that strives to comes across as both semi-serious and poking fun at itself. The main character rapidly exits one life, only to be reborn into a body that is overpowered in both ability and perception that everything happening to him is cliche. This belief centered around all ongoing actions being cliche borders between humorous and annoying depend on how serious the work is perceived.
Setting - This story branches across a lot of different genres. In some ways, it can feel confusing as a reincarnation fiction turns into a “summoning to another world” story, then turns into an interdimensional space battle against these pathetic creatures called dogs. Wait, that’s backwards; it’s space dogs against etheric sissy gods.
In some ways, doing a cross-genre fiction story provides a lot of possibilities. Most of the potential of this setting is muted by the lack of descriptions. A ton of information could be painted about the world or people they’re in, but it’s just glossed over, leaving a mess of people walking around a colorless landscape. We have the actors, but they’re on the stage with no clothing or set designs.
Characters - Due to the constant changes in point of view (See Organization later) we do get an introduction to many characters. However, the main character almost feels like a supporting member of the story aside from a ‘eh, this is kind of dull’ vibe he seems to approach the storyline with.
Cliche has a large cast, but the characters barely make it off the page. It’s easily possible to lose track of what anyone actually looks like or wears regularly. The only lasting facts are that one girl had three sizes listed right off and there was a demon king who thought of everything as ‘his’. Then there’s this guy Dillon who has a comically bad sense of direction. These supporting members have the beginnings of life and interest but there are a lot of detail problems and actions that could be described to flesh them out further.
Solution / Resolution – Problems come up and are tackled. The main character runs into challenges then passes right on through them with the ease of an overpowered Level 999 [Ice Berg] taking down a Level 1 [Titanic]. The one time he is challenged it turns out to be all some sort of plot to mess with the main character’s head. A lack of competition makes this seem like One Punch Man’s Saitama - reincarnated from an alternate dimension and now including dog ears.
The beauty of One Punch Mans brokenly overpowered character lies not in the main persona we follow, but in the supporting casts perception. See the ‘characters’ section above for a bit on this.
There is a solid attempt made to clearly outline a larger picture, but as of this review the overplot mostly doesn’t matter. It’s like the main character is told to go fight a fire but he’s still stomping out matchs on the sidewalk in a rainstorm while girls cheer behind him with pompoms. (Rah Rah)
Creativity - There is a certain amount of charm to stories that try to poke fun at themselves. Self-deprecating humor can result in a laugh or two when done in proper doses. Cliche comes close to overstepping that line a few times with the main character's belief that everything is cliche. Nevermind that he woke up in an alternate world as what seems to be a frost dog beast. That’s clearly been done before.
This being said, some of the lines pulled out because of this are fun. They also seem like incidental items thrown in for flavor but never meant to be remotely serious. Actual quote: “ Last time she crashed, it was into a space-faring insectoid hive, and they were certainly less than happy about a hole being punched through their ship. “
This line implies a comical side story that I, as a reader, wanted to see more about. Part of me honestly tried to figure out if the space she-wolf from another dimension, who is also betrothed to the main character, crashed into a Zerg or Tyranid space ship.
Organization - The story itself does start at the beginning and move forward from there. No poorly done flashbacks are present. There are clear steps taken to improve the quality of material being presented in the layout. Overall size is easy to digest at roughly one thousand words per chapter. This also means the chapter total is deceptive for those expecting a longer read.
The first few chapters switch point of view rapidly. An author's note during one of the chapters shows reader feedback is effective and the writer is willing to grow / change things to help. At first we’re presented with a few layout items like - Formatting of text is broken into regular narrative, (Snark filled quips from the author's thoughts), and [Direct lines from the MC's general dislike]. This goes away as the story finds a vague sort of groove.
Back and forward buttons can be removed to reduce any reader confusion at the end of each chapter. Chapters are typically short and the early works show clear signs of growth. The author quickly turns for rapid point of view changes to one solid stream that rarely changes.
Conventions - Most actual errors that plague common stories are absent. The typos exist but don’t overwhelm the story. There are a few technical fouls in terms of writing methods. The primary example is frequent uses of numbers in text which is typically bad form. As with many fictions, a pass through Grammarly or other editing tools can help greatly to reduce sentence confusion, inappropriate comma usage, and improve readability.
Repetition does occur in more than a few spots. The initial paragraph lines up such that we see the main character's name three times in a row. Other sentences in need of reworking include “Smiling at his magnificence which he wished to one day obtain copies of in the form of art, he straightens his robe one last time and leaves the treasure room that is his.” and “As he lay in the increasing puddle of mud at the center of his self-created crater, he lamented.”
Between these two examples (repetition and numbers in text) some readers may find it hard to keep coming back for updates. This is subject to each person's level of tolerance.
Other notes and things, or - “Tags successfully earned”
Harem - Though they do not get along. One happily tries to murder the others. This is a break from the norm and very entertaining.
Over Powered- The main character feels this is a cliche of course, and it is. His parents are even worse, but he quickly rises through the ranks of stompgasims upon his enemies.
Self Insert - Plus points for an overwhelmingly obvious self insert. As if kicking the main character's ass from behind a wall of words wasn’t enough, this story takes it to another level by actually putting the writer into the story under the guise of a somewhat crazy god. And then it gets worse.
- Clearly OP main character
- Vaguely Original
- Clear growth in writer skills
- Painful self-insert
- Side characters need depth
- Editing pass needed
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