This is part of a review exchange.
The author does a few things really well. His grasp of tactics and history puts him head and heels over most of the writer on this site. If you're looking for a story which places you in a world of battling city-states like ancient Greece look no further, this is the story you've been looking for!
Personally, I like a little poetry in my words, but I found the style serviceable and uncluttered. The pose was to the point, leaving no room for confusion.
No complaints here. Great job.
It got off to a rocky start. It began much too slowly for my liking, but when it got going around chapter 5 everything started coming together with a little more punch. My advice to the author is to read Take Off Your Pants! by Libbie Hawker. Your mc never had a moral flaw he had to overcome and it didn't get a sense of a theme, and those things are important if you ever mean to publish one day.
And I think you have the talent to become a published author if you want to.
I really enjoyed how you were not afraid to kill off your characters, it added a sense of realness to the whole thing. Well, that and the way you described your battles. In the beginning, the characters felt a little thin, but they got flushed out as the story progressed. A write of the first few chapters would fix this problem, that and giving your mc a character flaw besides his fear.
A solid 4.
Thanks for sharing.
Disclaimer: This is part of a review exchange.
Overall: I enjoyed this piece. It was a well-written journey into another world, where books can give you power. The main character was likable bibliophile who you can’t help but root for, and I personally can’t wait to find out where else her story goes. In an environment where every other RRL writer has a magic system that relies on mana or qi, the author managed to create a truly unique magic system, which added depth to the story and world. The mysterious nature of the magic system was by far my favorite part of the world.
Style: This is not the work fledgling author, it stands head and shoulders over most of the writing on this site, yet I had a few issues with the style. As I mentioned in one of my comments, the start of a few scenes were a little jarring, and sometimes the details were too sparse.
Brandon Sanderson had a great analogy; he likened writing to a tree. A good writer moves up and down the tree during his/her novel, the lower you go, the more detail you add to a scene, which pulls the reader deeper into the story. But you can’t keep the reader there every second bc that becomes a chore to read, yet the opposite is also true. With too little details for too long, the reader floats away. That’s what kept happening to be during some parts. For example, the part with the witch’s cottage could use some more detail. That part would work much better with more setup.
Story: Good, but I think the mystery was sometimes taken too far. I believe the time-traveling Ben plotline was unnecessarily confusing. And Ben’s unwillingness to answer any question on why he had kidnapped Jean made me want to punch my computer screen. It all seemed like a sick trick on the author’s part. Especially bc there were already so many unanswered questions, adding another just turned it into a confusion/irritating mess.
Character: No complaints here, only that it was hard to envision the characters sometimes bc of the lack of detail.
Grammar: Great. I didn’t notice any problems here.
This Review is part of review exchange.
I want to preface this review a little bit; keep in mind, I don't know it all and I am not a published author. So take my thoughts with a grain of salt.
As a fan of ancient Romain history, I see what you're trying to do. You modeled Soter’s father after Gaius Julius Caesar and Soter himself after Gaius Octavian, but as is it does not work. One of the biggest problems I think is the lack of subtlety. You have Soter’s father act like a crazed five year without ever giving us a reason for his seeming madness. The thing is a politician who spent years climbing the ladder of power to become The Consul would know how to read and use people. He would have mastered the use of carrots and sticks; if not, how could he get the people to vote for him. So, for that reason, most of what you've written just doesn't ring true, and I found it hard to get into.
You should grab your audience with your very first sentence; it's the very first thing they read, and they will judge you on it.
Soter stacked another blue block onto the tower of wooden blocks, hoping to distract himself. His hands trembled as he placed it. The whole room seemed to shiver with the light of the candle he had set in the middle of the floor, long shadows leaping up the walls.
And yours doesn't do that at all, which is the case with most of your writing. But as you write more that should improve so don't stress about it too much.
“I heard that. You talking to your hands boy?” the shadow said in a gruff man’s voice.
He walked over to the curtains. “Why do you always draw these, eh? It’s broad daylight.”
“I heard that. You talking to your hands, boy?” the shadow said in a gruff man’s voice. He walked over to the curtains. “Why do you always draw these, eh? It’s broad daylight.”
Side note: Please write longer chapters. The short snippets make your writing feel choppy.
Anyway, I hope this helps. Thanks for sharing.