Ondine

Ondine

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An Unwilling Monster

The characters, prose, and setting are all pretty shallow, but nothing jumps out as particularly bad.

Characters are paper-thin (especially the mc), but the plot plods along quickly enough that it's not boring per say. What you see in the first chapter is what you get. There aren't any surprising plot-twists and the story doesn't really develop so much as it gets longer, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

A pretty mediocre story that's enjoyable enough if you've got time to kill.


Planet-Eater Reincarnation (in Star Wars)

This is a fun, if fairly simple story about a reincarnated man buying tentacles, increasing his size, and eating everything that comes his way. Psychological concerns and potential questions are left by the wayside in favor of lighthearted exploration. If you're looking for something deep, this is not for you, but if you're open to a weak-to-strong romp (with boxes), I'd say give it a go.


Los

Weird but Enjoyable

This is a basic system leveling story. Logic is tossed out the window pretty early on in favor of massive cheats (there's absolutely going to be issues later with power creep). Also, the MC is a ridiculous crazy psychopath who doesn't realize she's a ridiculous crazy psychopath and it's like watching a (hilarious) trainwreck.

Unfortunately, the MC doesn't seem to exhibit much independant thought or drive and she mostly relies on the people around her to tell her a) things to do and b) how to do them. It's fun to read right now, but I seriously question the sustainability of this character. As a result of this issue, there's a pretty distinct lack of stakes. How can you create tension when the MC has no real goal beyond survival and the only consequence is death (which we know wouldn't really happen)?

Overall, a fun power-leveling story that dips into "so bad it's good" territory in the best of ways with limited long-term viability.


The Fallen World : A Dungeon's Story

The setting is cool and there's some fun ideas in the story. Unfortunately, they're ruined by characters who outright state their motivations and act nonsensically, confusing but ever-present exposition dumps, and poor pacing. It has potential, and I could see the writer growing better with practice, but at the moment I would reccommend this story only to people who really like fantasy and want something to pass the time.


Agenda of the Villainess

If you are at all interested in the premise of this story, I advise you to read it. 

The first chapters efficiently and compellingly introduce readers to the most important parts of a novel: the setting, the characters, and the conflict. 

Alicia lives in a Victorian era-esque steampunk magical world, and the resemblance is more than surface-deep. The author has done research about fashion, medicine, technological development, etiquette, and how all of this affects culture and societal outlook - most importantly in regards to the powerful class of gentry that Alicia belongs to. As such, classism and sexism are heavily ingrained in this world's culture. The clarity and strength with which ThaviaVax communicates the enviornment is both commendable and crucial to the story, as it intensifies the clash between Alicia's goals and the stifling surroundings she finds herself trapped in.

The characters explored so far have been treated with nuance, realism, and humanity. Each of them has their own goals and mindset: each has their own strengths and flaws. People are complex and contradictory creatures: this book is primed to explore that dichotomy. All characters have a clear and solid identity, and they are primed to both mesh and clash with each other in pursuit of their own agendas. At this point in time, it seems that character ineraction will be a driving force in the action of this world. The set-up reminds me strongly of a good palace intrigue novel, where everyone is at odds, everyone has their own agenda, and no one is sure who to trust.

This all brings us back to Alicia, whose new memories of another life make her abruptly and frighteningly aware of just how precarious her position is. She is reliant on the favor of people (mainly men) who thus far have little understanding of her desires, and little investment in her personal wellbeing. She is vulnerable. This story is about her search for agency in a world where culture(misogeny) and human actors will actively seek to dominate and diminish her.

By chapter nine, ThaviaVex has set the protagonist in the midst of a great conflict. Alicia, and her struggle to beat the odds is a story that I want to read, and one that I think others will want to read too.

I am have great hopes for this novel, but for the sake of fairness, I will say that the author sometimes states the character's characteristics and emotions when they might be better communicated through their actions. 'Show, don't tell' if you please. Regardless, I find it a relatively minor flaw in something I'm this excited for.

 

P.S. I advise anyone curious about this story to read till the end of chapter 9 in order to determine their level of interest. Any feelings you have about it will likely hold true to the rest of the book.