Nelsyv

Nelsyv

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Virtuous Sons: A Greco Roman Xianxia

Unmatched Bro Chemistry in a creative setting

Absolutely fantastic, standout cast of characters. The two main characters have a downright incredible bro synergy to them, a brilliant chemistry that easily puts them at the pinnacle of buddy duos in fiction. I simply adore their friendship. Seriously, any time the two of them team up to do anything, I'm hyped out of my mind, it feels like it's going to be AMAZING. (And it usually is!)

Grammar and style are both fairly unremarkableā€”this is a good thing, because it means there were no distracting mistakes or errors to detract from the story. There is a decent amount of foreign vocabulary sprinkled in, but you can pick it all up from context, as in any well-written novel.

The setting and worldbuilding is very interesting. It is a quite original twist on a sort of fantasy bronze-age Mediterranean, though I think many of the social structures lean just a tad too much on traditional xianxia tropes. But the rest of it is too cool, and the characters far too charismatic, for it to genuinely bother me.

I very strongly recommend this story; it has definitely earned its place at the top of trending. The prologue alone ("part 0") would make a brilliant little novel that I would pay money for; the story proper ("part 1") seems to be gearing up to be just as good, if not better, as of the first 100 chapters.

 

Unfortunately, it won't make much sense as a stub, so I can only offer 0.5 stars for the chunk that is currently here on RR. As a whole, it is worth 10x that, though.


Seeds of Magic

Standout, highly original fantasy

(Full disclosure: I've been following OP's work for years on Reddit, and I've read the entirety of Hollow Home (Book 1; a.k.a. chapters 1-40) at the time of this review.)

Bentnose really outdid himself on this. He's taken one of my favorite modern fantasy settings, and constructed a refreshingly straightforward (though not without its twists and intrigue!) and wickedly solid tale of adventure in it. Each cliffhanger left me breathlessly awaiting the next chapter, and yet the ending left me with enough closure to be happy, while still leaving plenty of open threads to explore in book 2 and beyond.

His grammar and other English mechanics are all but flawless, easily comparable with traditionally published work. The style is also very good; it leans on the ever-reliable 3rd person past-tense, but the addition of the little blurbs at the top of each chapter makes the world feel alive and interesting without excessively bloating the narrative with worthless fluff (as is common with that format).

The characters are all varied and engaging. The MC is, admittedly, a bit passive, but that feels right for this story: it's about an unprepared teen getting thrown into the deep end, desperately trying to survive in a convoluted web of plots and intrigue that he never knows enough about. The supporting cast does a great job of supporting the MC while retaining their individuality, and the worldbuilding behind the various fantasy species bleeds into their relationships in a tangible (if confusing, in the same manner as relationships in real life are!) way that makes them feel alive.

Bottom line: I highly recommend reading this story, and I definitely plan on nabbing a paper copy if OP manages to get it published.


13.AI

Very, very cute. The spelling/grammar mechanics have a small handful rough spots, but they are easily read through (and not unexpected in a NaNoWriMo submission).

Don't let the "HIATUS" tag scare you away, this story is actually COMPLETE and wrapped up nicely. Honestly, give it a pass by a professional editor and I would happily spend a dozen bucks to get a paperback for my shelf.

Overall: The plot is simply enjoyable, the characters are delightfully amusing, and the 1st person omniscient narrator is a really interesting twist. This fun little take has asily made its way to my Favorites list.

Make no mistake, this is a romantic comedy. While the genre sometimes gets a bad rep from the likes of Hallmark movies, I think this particular incidence strikes a great balance of both romance and comedy. It is humorous, with situational and dramatic irony (in addition to a few nice bits of wit), but thankfully it doesn't ever  fall into the trap of Cringe. The romance is a little cheesy, but it's sweet and fun rather than feeling ham-fisted. I approve.

Honestly, there isn't much else to say without spoiling the story. Go ahead and read it, it's not terribly long. I finished it all within one lazy morning off work.


Featherlight

Delightful narrator, detailed worldbuilding, exciting plot

I've read ahead up to chapter 29 where it's released elsewhere. I can confidently say that this is one of my favorite current serials on the whole internet: every time I see that a chapter has dropped, I feel the need to inject a bit more Baulric Featherlight directly into my veins.

Grammar, mechanics, style: as good or better than professionally published work. Easy to read.

Characters: my oh my. Absolutely S-tier, top shelf. Baulric, the 1st person PoV, is one of the best narrating characters I've ever come across in all of fiction. Seriously. As much charm as Handsome Jack, as hilarious at wordplay as Terry Pratchett, and all of that consistently so, he makes every sentence of the work an absolute delight to read. Even if the plot were boring (it's not; see below), he'd make reading it worthwhile anyways.

Plot: engaging and twisty, without getting too full of itself. Nicely layers and foreshadows as it goes, but it never feels over engaged. Totally solid and exciting all the way through, as all good detective stories should be (so far, at least).

Worldbuilding: absolutely standout. The City is wonderfully detailed, and the fantasy!cyberpunk setting is incredibly creative and unique. Yet another way that OP has totally knocked this one out of the park.

Bottom line? READ IT ALREADY!


Forgotten

genuinely engaging take on the "OP MC" lit-rpg

TL;DR: Overall, one of the best lit-rpg, one of the best OP MC, and one of the most interesting fantasy pieces on this site. I highly recommend it.

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As a general rule, I despise litRPG stories. Many of the litRPG authors here on RoyalRoad use their litRPG system as a crutch to hide character-writing skills they prefer not to practice. Not so with Mr. GamingWolf. His 'System' is very light-touch (almost not present in the main narrative, even if the setting is actually steeped in it), only used when needed, such that it is a nice flourish to add to worldbuilding, rather than a crutch or placebo.

The characters are fantastic, and the plot is very engaging. Both of those criteria are incredibly hard to meet in a story featuring an "overpowered main character", but Wolfie has done a brilliant job of addressing them in a refreshingly creative manner. One way he combats this is simply through tossing out the typical "isekai" protagonist (as of the time I write this, there is no evidence of any isekai happening in this story, which is actually a point in its favor that it doesn't need an outsider's perspective to add intrigue), but he also writes plots that cannot simply be solved through being powerful, and characters that would be interesting and relatable and evocative even if they were not powerful.


The Burden Egg

Lovely WIP piece with a well-executed stream-of-consciousness style

I've been following this story since it was on r/hfy and been enjoying it all along. Mag is a fantastic writer, everything he touches ends up incredibly polished and easy to read. The setting for this particular series is creative (a sort of post-apocalyptic sci-fantasy fusion), the narrator is interesting and relatable, and the style is much more immersive than you might first think (first-person stream-of-consciousness is tricky to get right, but Mag has done a brilliant job so far!). Chapters are relatively short, so I highly recommend pushing through the first three or so before you decide whether or not to continue.

Reviewed as of the end of chapter 10... looking forward to chapter 11!