One of the things that makes the first person narrative good is that it lets you get inside the character's head. One of the things that makes it bad is that it becaomes easy to get trapped in there.
This story is very much trapped in the MC's head.
The complete and utter lack of any real scene descriptions made it hard for me to get immersed.
We get told she's reading a book, but not what the book is about. We're told that a scene takes place in "the largest inn in town" and nothing else. We're told that the enterance to the dungeon "curves out of sight", but even after she's reached the core, that's still all we know about what the place looks like.
At first it felt like it added to the "bookish scholor who doesn't notice the world around her" thing, but it quickly ended up feeling like I was watching a stage play without any props, costumes, or background. Or even a stage.
This is a fun story in by all standards.
Normally, I try to avoid fictions that center themselves around the LitRPG tag. I'm not typically a fan of the subgenre, and I've gone on numerous rants about how it affects the writing of a story.
Artificual Jelly works though. The author knows how to use the trope as a tool rather than simply writing it in because it's a popular cliche. Not only do the LitRPG aspects have a purpose (something that other athors ignore or gloss over) they don't interfere with the prose or writing quality.
The style is basically flawless.
The prose is descriptive, yet easy to read. Every scene is detailed enough to feed your imagination, without become long and drawn out. When I read a chapter, I feel like I can picture exactly what is happening at any moment.
I am fully engaged.
The author has yet to delve deeply into the worldbuilding, but at the same time, they've given enough that everything feels consistent and logical. It's vague enough to adapt to any small changes the author might make going forward, but it's concrete enough to let me know that the setting has some logic to it.
One of my main problems with LitRPGs is that the author either overdevelops the system, only to have to retcon a reason for why their logic is flawed later on, or pay no attention to it and use [Skills] as buzzwords, relying on the rule of cool.
Artificial Jelly manages to hit that sweet spot where we can insinuate enough of the rules for us to understand the background logic, while also not setting them in stone so hard that plot holes become black holes.
It's also well written in the there are no, "the wizard cast [Fireball] and everything burned," sentences. LitRPG writing can easily become a crutch for the author, and I'm happy to see that this one hasn't fallen victim to that.
Also also, Gell hasn't spent an entire chapter fretting over how to spend her skill points or which ability scores need raising! Damn that's refreshing.
I have yet to spot a single typo.
The paragraghs are also neatly arranged, and easy to read on both my laptop and phone.
Wonderful. Just wonderful.
The author has done a great job of making the characters feel real. Even the background nameless nobodies like "the priest," or, "the party's mage," feel like sentient thinking people.
Nobody feels one dimensional.
Even the people that only show up for a single chapter are written to act like they could become a supporting MC at anymoment.
I reviewed this fiction as of chapter 34, since I consider thirty chapters to be far enough in to get a good idea of where the story is going, while aslo early enough that an author can still fix some issues if given constructive criticism.
For this one, I have no criticism to give.
It's just too well written to find fault with.
It's too early in the plot to tell where it's going, but you can tell it's going somewhere.
Gell is an adorable mix of cinical nievety. And everyone she talks to feels like a whole person.
The worldbuilding has yet to be expanded upon, but it all works realistically.
Artificial Jelly is a fun and well written story, and I can't wait to see how it turns out.
Normally, when I see a story rise to the top so quickly, I just assume that it's an error in RRs ranking algorithm that will soon be corrected.
That's what I expected when this story first caught my attention. I thought it was going be to be a fast riser that soon fall to the wayside.
But then it not only maintained it's position in the rankings, but improved upon them.
"How could this get a higher ranked then my own fiction and in half the time?" I wondered.
Then I read it, and realized, "Oh. It's because it's well written and has a unique premise that it actually delivers upon. Damn! Why didn't I think of that?!"
Well played, Author. Well played indeed.
The prose has been a delight to read from beginnging to, uh... I'm only at chapter 17 so far, so I can't say "end," but everything I've seen so far has been absolutely marvelous.
I'm not a fan of LitRPGs. On the RR forums I'm often one of their biggest detractors. But this... this is a story that makes me eat so many of my own words. This is a fiction that has found that perfect balance between "the system" and "real life." The author has done an amazing job of knowing how much to tell, how much to keep vague, how much to show, and when to reveal things. I often complain that LitRPGs use "the system" as a trope as opposed to a tool, but Captaink-19 clearly knows a literary tool when they see it.
The pacing so far has been phenomenal. Every chapter so far has felt like it advances the plot, without beeing a single word longer or shorter than it needed to be. I binge read all of what was was posted, and not once did I stop to look at how much was left of any chapter. I'm a critic at heart, but as both a RR reader and author, I can say with certainty that it this is a rare feat. It is very hard to get anyone so wrapped up in the plot that they forget to stop and look at what page/chapter they're on. Once again, I must congratulate the author.
The synopsis was vague, yet just enough to leave us intrigued. The first few chapters were direct, but still left us wondering what would happen next. There was enough foreshadowing to let us know that something might happen, but never enough to let us spoil ourselves. It took 15+ chapters for the readers to even begin to recognize the actual direction of the story, but we weren't left hanging in a perpetual limbo of not knowing where the plot was actually headed.
There's no other word for it but impressive.
Like the sailors of the Wind Runner, we knew our direction, but never our destination.
And that is a rare feat indeed.
The story is familliar, but never predicatable.
Sometimes I wonder why this is even a rating option. It's either good, or it's crap. There's no in between. I try to fix typos quickly when it comes to my own writing, but there's no saving something that's badly written from the start.
Seaborn has good grammar, and I haven't noticed any typos. If there were any spelling mistakes, they go fixed before I read the chapter, and that alone is a mark in favor of the author.
Dominic has the right amount of personality that anyone can relate to him in some way, while still maintaining his status as a unique character. He often thinks like an audience stand in, but acts like an individual.
We can understand him, but he never feel like he's supposed to represent us.
Kudos to Captaink-19.
Fuck you for writing something better than I have.
And thank you for writing something that I have enjoyed so much.
I look forward to further chapters.
You're now on RR's top 5, but don't let the pressure get to you. You've obviously been doing something right, or you wouldn't have made it this far in the first place.
I'm not sure why some people are calling this "sweet" or "cozy." Quite a bit of it is pretty damn dark.
It's great slice of life though.
Good prose, and clear descriptions of every scene. The author does a great job of keeping tension up, without relying on action. There's almost always something happening, and it's interesting to read about.
Very entertaining, but the pacing is really off. It probably works well when reading each update as they come, but when reading it all at once, everything felt very rushed. Or strangely slow. After 60+ chapters, less than a week has actually passed. It feels like too many events are being crammed into a short amount of time.
Good. Great. Wonderful. Zero problems there.
For a story about Alyssa and her snake friend, Jasmyn often feels more like a plot device rather than a character.
Since we see the story from Alyssa's POV, she feels like a fleshed out character, even within the few days that the plot covers.
Jasmyn on the other hand is simply handed a sad backstory, and has little to no affect on the plot beyond the first few chapters. So far, if she were replaced by a stray dog, the overall story wouldn't actually change that much.
Again, this is a pacing problem. It's only been a few days plotwise, but 60 chapters can't be considered "a few." Giving some chapters from her POV and letting her do something important would be a big help in fixing her lack of "characterness."
It's interesting, and I enjoyed reading it, but the pacing needs work, and Jasmyn is a severely underutilized character.
I'm still fairly new to the xianxia genre, but hopefully I'll be able to keep this review fairly unbiased.
I will start with my complaint, since there is only one, and that is that I have no idea where this story is actually going.
After reading up to the most recent chapter, the fiction feels very much like a slice of life novel, well balanced with a couple chapters of action here and there. None of the plot points get dragged out longer than they need to be, and everything progresses at a reasonable pace.
That said, I have no idea which direction the plot is headed. The story frequntly reminds us that Ling Qi, the MC, is destined for nearly a decade of military service. But at the same time, the story goes at such a leasurely pace that it might be several years before we actually see any of that.
Is this an action series with a slow buildup, or kung fu Harry Potter without a Voldemort? I can't tell, and that bothers me. From the title of the fiction and name of the prologue arc, I expected this to be about blacksmithing, and it's not, so I have no idea what to think anymore.
That is, really, my only problem.
The pacing isn't rushed. Most of the characters get some time for development. The worldbuilding is good, and the author doesn't resort to unnecessary exposition to help us understand how the setting works.
There is almost nothing that I can point to and say, "This was done wrong." It is, overall, a good story. I just wish I knew what the story was supposed to be about.
Well I certainly got hooked fast.
Excelent. The prose is wonderful, and I absolutely love the wording for a lot of this. Everything is presented in a way that makes you want to read it, just so you can see the words.
Fairly standard first chapter, but there are some great hints to larger worldbuilding being sprinkled around already. I'm predicting a lot of tropey developments being well-handled in novel ways.
I saw no spelling errors. The grammar is great, and the sentences are well constructed.
As with most isekai, the MC seems almost entirely unbothered by the fact that they just got sent to a different world. She seems fun though, so I have no complaints other than that.
I read the first chapter on a whim. While drunk.
Then I came back the next day to binge read the rest while sober.
Now I'm tapping my foot as I wait for the next chapter to come out.
It's not without it's flaws, but it shows a lot of potential, and the author is clearly putting the time in to help it reach that point.
For every fault I've found, there is something else that makes that fault work properly.
Some of the dialogue can be kinda vague about who is talking, but the author is excelent with speech patterns, and you can usually tell by sentence stucture alone who it is that's speaking. Really. As a fellow RR author, I can't even begin to describe how dificult recognizable speech patterns are to maintain. They're fucking hard! And this guy does it well!
The POV switches around more than it needs to, but this review is being written only ten chapters in, and I can already tell that these random people are going to be built up into a solid supporting cast. There's like... three characters I care about so far, but I expect that number to increase as the story progresses.
Character development has been sparce, but again, this is only ten chapters in, and I can say that the character building has been solid. From the first chapter or two that a character shows up, you've got a good idea of who they are, their motivations, and what they may become. So far, the characer development has only scratched the surface, and I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone grows.
The plot is simple. Very simple. Instead of "OP hero failing to live the slow life" it's "OP demon lord failing to live the slow life with her slightly less OP hero potential boyfriend." That still sounds cliche, but it's handled well, and that's what's important. The plot itself is already layered enough that I can tell it won't fall into reliance on archtypes. It's nice to see an author that uses tropes as a tool rather than a checklist.
It's apropriately grimdark, and the author does not shy away from that. You've been warned! There is rape and violence but it never reaches the point of gratuitousness, and is used for a purpose. It's not gore porn, and I shouldn't have to point that out twice.
Did I mention that these chapters are really long? Because these chapters are pretty long. I frikkin love long chapters. It's great when I actually have to set aside some time to actually read something. 10k+ words per chapter! And they're not vomit on the keyboard! There's actual content here!
So yah, this review is being posted after only ten chapters. I'm grading a lot of it on asumption, but I expect my expectations to be outdone, and can't wait to see where it goes.
Within the first chapter I could already tell that this isn't for me.
It's like all of the stupid anime tropes got combines with a willful ignorance of any justice system, without any of the humorus or satirical suspension of disbelief that should make it all plausible.
TVTropes is meant to be a guide, not a checklist!
"Do good on your test scores or we'll kill you"? For a minor? Really? Like I said, this is beyond anything that should be taken at face value, even for a comedy.
After reading further, 90% of this is either dialogue, or internal monologue, with the bare minimum being spent on actual description of scenes.
Chapter 27, for example, is a perfect example. There is, at most, only the barest of hints as to who is talking or to who is actually involved with the conversation.
Badly translated Japanese web novels should not be used as a basis for literary merit.
Mr. Author, please keep this in mind. The premise is interesting, but the actual content and prose needs some major improvement.
The dialogue itself is actually pretty good, but it requires much more imagination than should be necessary to set the scene.
It's a fun story about a nice guy who is oblivious to the fact that he's been isekaid into a not so nice world.
Carl is cool. He's friendly, personable, and is well developed as a character.
The plot seems interesting, and the large mishmash of intersecting plots works pretty well.
I love that it has so many POVs, but at the same time the different viewpoints frequently retell events that we just finished reading about. Reading through nearly fifty chapters in a single sitting was fun, but I can see it beoming frustrating to read on a chapter by chapter basis.
It's a nice idea, and I think it was worth trying, but I also think that the main characters are well developed enough that we don't have to sit through the same conversation twice just to understand what the other person is thinking.
I'm gonna keep reading, but I'll probably do it whenever an arc finishes rather than when I see that a new chapter has been uploaded.
It's a great blend of scifi and fantasy.
Despite following a lot of tropes, it doesn't allow them to force it into any one direction.
It's got plot and actual character development. It's a shame that it was dropped 2+ years ago, but despite that, it's still in RRs top 100 and that's because it's good.
Ending or no ending, it's worth reading.