Mejiro

Mejiro

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Reviews
To The Land of Nyx

A slow start, but showing improvement

This is a quite-slow paced story - it's almost slice-of-life in terms of pace, with a load of fairly quiet conversations and relaxed scenes.  The writing does start a bit clunky but improves after the first half dozen or so chapters, and the characters get a bit firmer.  Don't expect a lot of action or magic systems, this is mostly a character study, with slow building towards an eventual plot. It's fairly brief, so if you want to relax with something, you could do worse!


Deviant's Masquerade

An interesting and very ambitious take on... well, several things, with a mix of supers, magic, and (later on) litRPG and portals.  It definitely isn’t small in scope, and makes some unusual choices in delivery.

The opening 'Jericho King' arc is fairly straight-forward standard action-badass stuff, but is a well-crafted piece of characterisation and world-building, giving enough broad strokes to pick up on without settling for lazy info-dumping or summaries (I suspect there's a very detailed world-document somewhere, or Arthicern is really good at pantsing it!)  The characters know about their world and communicate to each other fairly naturally about it, making the broad details obvious, while leaving a lot of murkiness and plothooks for the future.

The second arc is very different – it dips into the magical side of things, showing both the darkness and the light that happens when you start mingling with powers from beyond the grave.  The characterisation is great, although the second half is slightly saggy stat-dumping for spells and digging into the magical mechanics (full disclosure: I’m not really a fan of litRPG, so discussion of the difference between precise ranks of spells is not something I find engaging!).

The third arc (Raimundo Morales) is almost a halfway house between the two above – Raimundo is relatively balanced and in a decent place, with a family and an (almost) girlfriend, but has major secrets and blood on his hands.  There’s a bit more of a glimpse into how the world works, with the end exploding as everything rapidly goes south.  This feels very much like the start of the character’s story, rather than a story in itself – it’s good, but feels as though it’s getting everything in place for the start of the character’s development and arc. 

The fourth arc (Sol Grey) continues towards the more ‘slice of life’ side of the setting, with a single Dad to 4 super-powered kids, and how that works.  There’s quite a lot packed in here, with a load of setting info mingling in with family dynamics.  It manages to be sweet without being too saccharine, and highlights the sheer variety of powers present.  It does jump around a fair bit between the characters, although each section is labelled.  Again, there’s not much in the way of a plot, but it introduces a decent set of characters and their surrounding environment.

 

The writing and grammar is generally good – there’s a few typos I noticed (which the writer was kind enough to correct).  While there’s quite a lot of proper nouns floating around, the context they get introduced in makes the general meaning understandable, and further context is generally supplied in the text.  The main oddity is the use of bracketed and italicised (and sometimes bolded) text for internal dialog, which takes a bit of getting used to, but is at consistently used, so once you adjust to it reads quite smoothly.  As with the story itself, there are some ambitious attempts (one scene in the second arc is fantastic characterisation and development, and is generally delightful, but due to italics being used to indicate both lyrics and thoughts gets a bit confusing to read when trying to work out what’s what).  It’s definitely an ambitious project, that tries to do quite a lot, and may not always quite reach it’s mark, but does a lot of interesting things along the way.


Abnormal Days

Interestingly Chilled Horror(?) Mystery

This is a strangely relaxed modern-day, uh, horror-ish, sort of?  It's kinda like the ~gatari series, except with the frenetic teenage sexuality replaced with relaxed sunshine and the flow of water, and the fight scenes replaced by people talking things out.  It's not quite chilled enough to be properly slice-of-life, as there is stuff happening rather than days simply drifting past, but it's all quite relaxed and laid-back.


The grammar starts off a bit ropey but improves, the story is a bit meandering but would loose a lot of its charm if it was more direct, and the characters are all slightly off-kilter, but without being too intense, appropriate for something that's all quite chilled.  Even when a death god(?  I think, apologies if I missed the cultural context) shows up, it's more socially awkward (and used for a hilarious chase scene) than an existential threat.  The writer is in the process of editing the story, which does currently read like the key scenes of a story and missing some of the connective tissue, but it holds together well enough. 

The prose is up to the task, giving an overall sparseness - it gives the details needed, without much in the way of extraneous detail or excessive physical description.  If you want to know precisely what everyone looks like or the terrain actions are happening in, it might not be for you, but the vague, almost ethereal writing is appropriate for the story.


Luna: the Lunatic

Down and Gritty Action Thriller

Down and Gritty Action Thriller
A military thriller, so a genre under-represented on RR, if you want a change from the more common isekai, litRPG, harem and dungeon-core stuff.  It's fairly taut, with a lot of things happening quite fast (as you'd expect of an action-thriller) but the action scenes are typically clear enough it terms of what's going on and who's trying to kill whom with what.
The overall style is appropriately spartan - there's not a lot of words wasted on fairly empty exposition of how it's a messed-up quasi-police state, filled with morally ambiguous types.  If you've seen Black Lagoon, or pretty much any cold war thrillers, you know the drill enough not to need it massively expanded on.  The characters are fairly thinly sketched, but fit their purpose - there's hints of future development coming in, and a host of messy relationships and their ambiguous relationship to the law and the powers that be.
The grammar and syntax needs a decent going through - there's quite a few missing words, stray (or missing) commas and other oddities.  Not even to blur the meaning, but it can sometimes take a few reads of a sentence to work out the meaning, which does hurt the flow and delivery of the story. 
Each 'arc' is very short (just a few chapters, and probably would be a single chapter in a physical book) which makes them pretty easy to consume, you're not waiting ages for the end or struggling to remember what's going on.
If you want a break from the usual efforts found on RR, this might be a decent change - hopefully the grammar will get a going through and tidying up, as it does detract from the overall narration, but it's functional enough


Against the Heaven's Will

There's not much here yet (a prologue and chapter 1, at the time of writing) but it looks interesting, with a hero being set up to be born(?) amidst portents and spirits.  The writing is fairly grandiloquent in style (intentionally so, what with the birth of the universe and all), with several groups and factions being introduced in the notes, although not yet in the text.


The Abandoned City

A world of depth, hidden in the prose

There's an interesting world in here, with appropriate thought given to things like the existence of translators and cultural relationships, and a variety of characters.  It's unfortunately a bit hidden in rather a lot of omniscient narration and slightly dry info-dumping along with a lot of specialised terminology and specialised terms, which can be something of a barrier to easy reading. It is also paced closer to a novel than a webserial, so might be better binged than read an installation at a time.

The grammar and spelling is functional - it makes sense, but it could do with shakedown to tidy it up, and also tidy up and straighten out some of the messier bits of sentence structure.


The Path of Stone

An Interesting Start to a Fantasy Novel


As a starting point, this is paced as a novel rather than a serial, so it may be better to binge rather than read chapter by chapter.  It does have a definite narrative arc going on though, rather than being thrown together!
The world has an interesting magical set-up, with some established rules and guidelines, but also various built-in mysterious and areas of uncertainty.  The telling of this is unfortunately a little clunky, with numerous paragraphs of explanatory infodumping scattered amongst the narrative - ideally, these should be better integrated into the story itself.
The plot is just about (as of ch. 23) starting, although the varying individuals and factions have been introduced, as well as broad hints of what may be to come. 
The writing makes sense, but there are quite a few spelling and grammar slips throughout, that could do with a go-through just to catch and tidy.


Elena from Hell

A Light Novel-Style Action Story, with a Dash of Mystery

(Written as of the end of the first arc)

This is a fairly densely written, light-novel style story, with a powerful protaganist who has few bones about holding back, and will likely unveil more trump cards in arcs to come.  It's mostly a character piece, with the fights being largely for the sake of form, but done with a lot of flair and style.  There's some ongoing suggestions of worldbuilding and history slowly getting teased out and unveiled, and some rather wonderful overwrought and old-school fantasy names.  There's a decent amount of, uh, anime-ish fan service, for want of a better term (various powerful beings lounging around in lingerie, that sort of thing) which might not be to everyone's taste, but it's relatively unobtrusive as such things go. 

The grammar is functional - it could do with another go-through and tidying, but it's fairly readable and conveys what's going on OK.  (Personally, I'd say that 'hellbourne' should be capitallised to make it stand out more, but I tend to try and make things proper nouns fairly often, it makes things easier to read)


The night of rebirth.

Needs a go through for spelling, but manages to both be gloriously meta and almost hauntingly austere.  This would be great as either the prologue to something else, or, expanded out a bit (but honestly, probably not that much) as a short story about tropes, roles and cliches by itself.


Song of Helheim: Homecoming

Flintlock War Fantasy with a Character Driven Core


A fairly arresting, relatively dark fantasy of gritty war and the relationships of some of the people involved.  While some of the spelling, grammar and punctuation could do with another round of edits and checking, the core of the story is tight, with some interestingly detailed magic and quite a few neat individual tweaks and varients to a consistent underlying system.  The relationships are quite well done, with a variety of emotional connections between various people, all set amidst a vaguely Napoleonic (flintlocks and muskets) war, with new technology making it's presence felt.