Cocop (Cale Plamann)

Cocop (Cale Plamann)

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Reviews
Heroes of Errand

Interesting if in need of polishing

Summary-
For good or for ill this feels like a tabletop rpg.  There's some fun banter and character development and the struggling of a newbie party as it gets thrown into a political fight over its head.  I do think that the story is worth giving a shot to, but it does have some flaws (detailed below).  If you have a problem with any of said flaws, you should probably stay away as I could see you not enjoying the story.

Style- 
The story moves quickly which is a plus, but at times it moves too quickly.  The plot does advance from time to time so fast that you are getting bare bones details on some nefarious plot and it can feel a bit like an action log on an RPG.  Additionally, although some of the dialogue is good it can feel noticeably wooden from time to time and the story isn't afraid of exposition dumping on you.  That said, although I have stylistic problems with the story I am hopeful they can be cleared up with editing and they don't reach the level of a 'hard no' from me.

Grammar-
This story needs proofreading and grammarly.  It's not awful (and doesn't read as a foreign novel run through google translate or anything like that) but there are noticeable tense/pov changes that knocked me out of immersion from time to time.

Story-
The party is naive and makes mistakes, this is fine.  Unfortunately, it keeps happening.  The story feels like it is on rails (the party is thrown from quest to quest by powers outside of their control- and sometimes you can't help but feel like the party could have taken more agency by just not making dumb mistakes earlier).  That said, it feels like we are getting introduced to a web of deceit/lies etc and I am hopeful that the currently published chapters are just being used as an 'intro' to that.  If the story continues with 'mandatory quests given because the party didn't tie up loose ends' I would have to knock the story score down further.

Character
The story is at its best when it is a slice of life.  The party dynamics/interactions are more fun than the nefarious plots and combat if you ask me.  At times, characters are weirdly sexualized which is a bit offputting (and again some of the characters can slip into 'wooden plot device puppet advancing the story'), but by and large I like learning about the characters and how they interact with each other.  I will note that the author keeps adding characters which while fun very well might dilute these dynamics in the future.


The Loyal Ones [Dark Biopunk Fantasy]

I never thought I'd read a story about the struggles of powerless and oppressed Kaiju, but it was really well done.  The world is ugly and unfair and the main character gets far from a fair shake.  The story is inventive, well done, fun, and worth reading.

 

Style
Pretty straight forward.  There's some action, but most of it is the main character doing his best to avoid a fresh round of injustice and torment, often times landing himself in more trouble simply by escaping the last round of problems.

Grammar
It's good!

Story Score
My 4 is a bit of a placeholder, I enjoyed the read a lot but I'm only 9 chapters in right now which is a bit light to comment on the story.  Not a lot has happened so far but I'm enjoying thins.

Character
The main character is well done and a treat to read.  I'd like to know a little more about all of the secondary characters (which is the half star ding) but again, it's all really well done.


Worth the Candle

This story is incredibly good.  On the surface it's an RPG about an incredibly crunchy/stat heavy system set in a world that's always on the brink of falling apart.

In actuality it's an almost intentionally disorienting story about the main character dealing with depression and loss.  Now, don't let that drive you away.  The RPG sections are done VERY well and I suppose you can sort of skip over the emotional depth (a good portion of which is done via flashback) if you want to.  That said, as much as I enjoy the RPG portion of the book, the parts devoted to broken people trying to fix themselves are where it really shines.

Style
This lost a half star because some of the book was so hard to read that I simply skipped over parts of chapters.  I didn't take more than half a star off because I 100% agree with the author including those sections.  Its more a testament to the author's skill at creating believable characters that I connect with emotionally and then putting them in positions where they have to confront the stupid, immoral or just bad things they've done in the past.  Some parts of the story seem intentionally disorienting (the lack of chapter numbers and the flashbacks in particular left me a bit lost), but they honestly do a very good job of feeding into the overarching sense of desolation and confusion that serves as the foundation of the work.

Grammar
Very good- nothing else to say really

Story
The story is great.  Flat out.  It's almost a metastory, the story of how a storyteller tells a story and using metaknowledge of that narrative to try to gain an advantage while still always being on the knife edge of failure.  It does a very good job of establishing political elements, stakes, and pacing.

Character
The characters are why you read this.  All of them are broken in some way and the adventure is almost more about them healing than it is about saving the world.  As good as all the other elements of this story are, the characters are what take it to the next level.

Summary
This will probably get buried considering I'm posting it like 6 months after everyone else, but just read it.  It's really good.


Heaven Falls

The only downfall of this book is its epic scope.  As some others have noted, there are a lot of characters and there is a lot going on.  I can see why the author elected to give the novel the scope that it has- the content is an absolutely massive divine civil war, but at times the pace can be a little slow (addressed under style).

Long story short, well worth the read and one of the better novels on this website.

Style-
The novel has a slow start with a lot of POVs which can impede reading a bit.  Additionally the author's writing style can be a bit stuffy.  Those are basically my only complaints with the novel.  Despite the speed of the novel, it doesn't feel like the pacing is bad.  Instead the early pov heavy/slow chapters have a building sense of unease.  For the first 10 chapters or so you don't even know what exactly is going wrong- you just know that something terrible is on the horizon.  The author does a very good job building that unease to the point where I want to be clear that my one star off for style is one hundred percent personal taste regarding the novel's speed, not actually a technical critique of the end product (which is very good).

Grammar-
Very good, not much to notice or critique

Story Score-
The story is slow building but epic and engaging.  I find myself excited to read the each chapter.

Character Score-
Every one of the POVs has a different feel to it.  There are a lot of characters in this world, some wishy washy, someon insane, some withdrawn, some forceful.  Each of them feels distinct and well developed.  

Summary:
The entire novel is good, but Character/Story are what elevate it.  Well worth a read so long as you can commit to reading the first 16 chapters.

#TeamForyndaDidNothingWrong


Soulless (Apparently)

I'm going to preface this by saying that I was looking for one subcategory to ding to a 4.5  or 4, but I honestly couldn't think of where to put that.  The only concerns I have for generally recommending this work is the genre (a noiresque mystery with some but not a lot of action).  The book itself is well crafted and a lot of fun.

Style- I generally shy away from first person novels not because first person is BAD but because it's probably the hardest to continually write in without screwing something up.  This novel was in first person and it was good.  The story moved smoothly from scene to scene without wasted time and without feeling rushed.

Grammar- Very good.  Clearly edited (or well self edited).

Story- A lot of love clearly went into crafting the story.  The parts interlock perfectly with good foreshadowing.  It took a little bit to learn what the plot actually was as it starts with everyone more or less living their lives, but I found myself engrossed when we hit the plot.

Chracter Score- The characters all feel distinct and believeable.  One character strays a bit close to being a little edgelord/cringey, but they stay just shy of the line.  

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Summary:
One of the better technically written books on Royal Road at the moment.  Enjoy it.


The Syndicate

This is a thoughtful and fun superhero coming of age story although I will be honest that I wasn't ready for the low grade sexual assault that happens almost immediately (emphasis on 'low-grade.')  

Even reading it, it feels like a brightly colored CW esque superpowered drama.  That feeling really works well with the way that the author writes the story.  At first I started reading expected super powered beat em ups right away, but I came away satisfied that it would instead be a story about the friendship (or more?) between the main character and his crush/mentor.  I'm sure super powers will factor in more later, but right now I don't feel like I need them to enjoy this story.

Style:
The story has a very light feel to it.  There are two POV characters, but the plot is still moving along nicely without major distractions.

Grammar:
A couple errors here and there but nothing super noticeable/serious

Story:
The story hasn't really progressed.  Instead the story is about both of the MCs finding themselves in different ways.  I would be disappointed if there were major progression in the characterization at this point given the relatively short length of the story.  This 4* should be considered more of an 'incomplete' or 'placeholder' while we wait for more to be written.

Character:
The characters are well written and likeable.  I know what their motivations and fears are, and they are understandable.



Curse of Clwyd

A very specific brand of good

This is a very good story, but I don't know if its for everyone.  (By way of a caveat I have read a complete rough draft and love the story as a whole).

If you're deciding to read this story, be aware that it is a bit slow to get up to speed and the writing style is intentionally stuffy and ponderous.  That is intentional and an interesting part of the narrative voice.  If that's a dealbreaker you should probably just ignore this story and move on.

The rest of the story is an interesting tale of a Doctor/Priest and his sons/assistants trying to protect the King from the influence of vengeful Welsh spirits, leaning heavily on local mythology/folklore.  

Style:
The book is slow and overwrought but it is intentional and adds to the ambiance.  It serves as a good contrast for the supernatural elements to help build the accumulating sense of dread that the author is going for.

Grammar:
The grammar/spelling is very good.

Story:
The story is well researched and interesting, hinting at a larger world of malevolent mythology and folklore that the Anglican Church has protected the British Isles from.  The story balances exposition with action fairly well and does a good job of building suspense before throwing the characters into situations where they are usually outclassed by some sort of supernatural beast.

Character Score:
The characters, some historical some not, are well fleshed out.  Each of them has their own distinct voice and feel.


Hands Held in the Snow

I'm going to start by saying that I don't usually read slice of life novels (although I don't hate them).  Also, as someone who has never been a teenage girl, I might not be the best judge for the accuracy of this work etc.

 

That said: this is an absolute gem.  It's about two girls from very different lives finding each other and dealing with all the insecurity and second guessing of having your first real relationship.

Style- It's written in a fairly interesting manner (3rd person limited with a 1st person narrator).  The pace is quick and the writing is fluid.  Each of the main characters has a distinct 'voice' that they're written in.

Grammar- there were enough double words/wrong words for me to notice it, but not enough to subtract from my enjoyment in any way.

Story/Character - The story is and the characters (the story is basically the story of the characters) are absolutely great.  Their interactions are well written as are their internal thoughts as they interact with each other.  We already have a moderate number of side characters and we have a good feel for most of them too.  The background on the world of the book is interwoven naturally into the narrative flow.

Summary: One of the better slice of life stories I have read.  Be aware of the style before you start, but it is a very good read.


Arrogant Young Master Template A Variation 4

I don't think I've ever given an unqualified 'all five star' review before but this book deserves it.

Technically it's a reincarnation Xianxia, but the main character is a very self aware 'antagonist' trying desperately to not offend an 'actual' main character (who would then murder them).  The author clearly loves the Xianxia genre, but that doesn't stop them from poking holes in it while giggling.

Style-
The novel flows well and it's very funny.  Don't make the mistake of thinking that this is an action novel, it is 100% a genre subversion comedy.  

Grammar-
Very well done.  I'm sure there were mistakes but I didn't notice any (so who knows, there might not be any).

Story-
The story meanders a little and is slow, but that feels like its by design.  The main character is a 'side character' in a Xianxia so they barely have a story other than "survive."  That said, there are plenty of hints as to the portentious stories of the 'actual' characters that the main character is dealing with.  Later in the book he starts taking active efforts to avoid having his thuggish underlings fall into common traps.  I feel like I should mention again that everything is hilarious.

Character Score
Every character feels distinct and unique.  I absolutely love how the main character is written.  Everything is about outward calm and acting cool while internally swearing and panicking.

Summary:
If you've read enough Xianxia novels to roll your eyes when the MC is at an auction for no discernible reason or he's slapping some 'young master' until they have a 'pig face' while 'jade skinned beauties' watch on, this is an amazing change of pace.  It deserves 5.5 stars out of 5.


Tales of a Killer Flower

This story is pretty clearly an homage to Chrysalis, but Chrysalis is great so that really isn't a bad thing.

Per its title, it's a reincarnation/system story (and gets bonus points for not using a truck/blue boxes).  The main character is reincarnated as a rose and proceeds to go on adventures while raising its rank.  Nothing terribly new (other than being a plant) but well enough done to easily be worth a read.

Style: My only complaint is that things move a little too quickly.  The main character is only running from one emergency to another while gaining xp.  I'm only taking a half point off because it is still very smoothly written and engaging.

Grammar: There were one or two word choice issues (Might instead of Mite etc) but not enough to take off a point.

Story: There really isn't much of a story so far outside of 'survival' and things have been going a bit fast.  Again, this isn't meant to be a 'bad score' but more of a 'placeholder' until we learn more about the world.

Character: The only character is Joe the Flower who is interesting, but a bit over the top and flighty.  He's almost erratic enough for me to worry about him being an unreliable narrator, but other than that he's a very solid main character.

Summary: A promising reincarnation/start from the bottom novel that's well enough written that you won't have to abandon it halfway due to plot/grammar/sylistic errors.