Chimera of Reality - Season One - Living in a Virtual Mirage

This story has an interesting premise, and it tries a lot of things. The plot seems interesting, but I haven’t read far enough to say exactly how good it is. Unfortunately, I think the story is bogged down a bit by some issues with character and style.

Grammar: To get grammar out of the way, it’s fine. I noticed a few issues here and there, but it’s very readable overall, especially by RR standards.

Character and Style: I’ve combined this section because they both factor into a similar issue I felt while reading.

The simple description is that I didn’t really buy into the characters. The author writes in first person perspective, but the characters feel a little too detached from their own experiences. Their internal monologues are very complete, cool and collected, with occasional one liners. As a result, I didn’t really buy in early, and later when the story tries to create some moral dilemmas or melodrama, it just doesn’t land. I think the story would benefit from using some sentence fragments or stream of consciousness in more active/action sequences, to make their perspectives feel more grounded and less aloof. Like they’re really in the moment.

The previously mentioned melodrama and moral dilemmas feel like they go from 0 to 60 real fast. So much so, that once again I just felt nothing reading them. Similarly, many characters meet and within moments it feels like they’ve progressed their relationship to some good friends/flirty level.

Combining these things, my reading experience felt very detached.

There does seem to be some plot reasons for some of the stuff I’ve mentioned, but that doesn’t really change the fact that I never really felt the characters.

Story: The story is told through multiple perspectives and the different characters give a different insight into the larger plot. This is all well and good, but that means it takes a while to really get to it. The first one of these with Sheaun takes about 20k words, which is 1/3 of a short novel. By the end the general situation is roughly clear, but at this point it feels like the story will take a while to work its way around to each plot development as it switches between POVs with different “episodes”.

Overall, the story is very creative, and the plot/premise are interesting, but I just couldn’t quite buy into it. This may be because the story is a bit more of a slow burn and I wasn’t seeing enough of the bigger picture.  There is potential here, and with a bit of tweaking I think things would land better.

Craft Codex: Part-time Adventuring in the Underworld

This story reads very much like a shounen light novel or anime. It hits many of the familiar beats and has a similar sense of humor. In that regard, it is relatively standard story arc for RR. The only complaints I have are primarily limited to style and character issues.

Style: In terms of style, the story does a bit too much telling when it should be showing and the formatting for some of the dialogue is incorrect.

The “dialogue” I’m referring to is actually the protagonist’s thoughts. Thoughts in this story are written in both italics and quotes and are set off in their own paragraph, like dialogue. I’m not sure if the intention is for the protagonist to speak his thoughts or if this is just an oversight. Either way, it should probably be written in italics and kept in normal paragraphs, or just fully merged into dialogue. As it is, it creates scenarios where you often have two “dialogue” paragraphs back to back, which normally indicates a change in speaker, but is actually just the protagonist thinking and then speaking. Context is usually enough to figure things out without much confusion, but this hinders the readability a bit.

The issues with telling make some sections of the story very stiff and unnatural. They seem to be cases where the author intends on a bit too much direct exposition, rather than leaving things more subtle. One example is that there are many of these “As you know Bob..” type segments where the characters needlessly expound or think on information they all already know(the MC thinking about his own exact age and life circumstances) for the benefit of the reader. Most of the time this could be accomplished the same way with characters merely making slight reference to the same idea without the exact details that make those sections very stiff.

There are a few other scenarios where there is direct exposition that could probably be shown through dialogue or actions, but those are more minor.

Story: The story thus far follows a pretty typical plot archetype for this kind of anime style. I could take it or leave it personally, but if you’re a fan of that type of story, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for here.

Grammar: I noticed a couple issues, and the above issues with dialogue could probably be included here as well, but overall, it’s pretty solid. Most RR readers wouldn’t have much issue with it as it is written, imo.

Character: This is the other area I had some issues with. I would say the characters are also pretty typical for this type of story, but I don’t think that works as well as the plot. The characters don’t necessarily need to be changed greatly, but I feel like they could use a shot in the arm. Right now, they feel a bit too expected and even the satiric or comedic elements feel like they’re lacking a punch. That might just be me, but I think they would benefit from a greater divergence from the tropes either way.

Also, it’d be good to tone down the usage of “!?” I get that it’s supposed to be a comedic exclamation, but it’s used so much that it loses its effect and characters seem more shallow, imo. 

Conclusion: As critical as I feel like I’ve been, there is good potential here. A lot of the issues are relatively easy fixes, and the story has the right ideas. The execution just falls a bit flat. The story is still well worth a read if you’re interested in the light novel/anime style, and it will be more than worth it, with a little cleaning up. 

Iruedim (Children of the Volanter)

Iruedim is a unique story on Royal Road. It fuses unique worldbuilding aspects of magic and technology with a character driven story of romance and adventure.

Style: I had an interesting time reading the story. For a while I wasn’t quite sure where it was going to go, but once I got a little further into it, I got a good feel for the story. One of my problems is that it does feel a bit stylistically inconsistent to me. There is a certain comedic straight man/Funny man dynamic going on between its characters that appears on and off enough that I wasn’t always sure what to feel in some scenes. At times it felt like it was supposed to be a lighthearted romp, but it also felt like there are some more serious aspects to some of the characters that conflict a bit with that tone.

Story: The story is interesting, and the world is rich, but the early pacing felt a bit off to me. There is some exposition in the beginning explaining aspects of the world, since the protagonist is an anthropologist, but it felt a bit like too much was forced into those early chapters, imo. I felt that it may have been better to hold back some of that information on the different countries and aspects of the world to be shown further into the story.

Grammar: No egregious grammatical errors or spelling stuck out to me. Overall, it is very readable, and the author has a solid grasp of grammar rules and language.

Character: The characters are unique, and each has a distinctive background. They are funny, but also introspective. My only gripe here is like my stylistic issue, the tonal shifts sometimes feel like they undermine some of the more serious motivations of the characters. If the story was tagged as a comedy I’d understand, but I’m not totally sure that’s what the author was going for.

Overall, the story is great fun and a breath of fresh air on Royal Road. I’m glad to see a story really break new ground with its setting and characters. This is one I’d keep an eye on.

A World of Monsters

When I started writing this review, I was at a loss for how I wanted to describe this story. At first glance, it is an all-too-familiar genre of system/monster story that is popular all-over Royal Road. But if you dive deeper, it is much more ambitious and unique compared to many stories of slightly more uncommon genres. Ultimately, I decided to say that the story has character.

In terms of Style and Grammar, the story is written in more complex language, and sentence structure than most other stories on Royal Road. At times this can be burdensome, but at others it adds a layer of complexity and depth that you don’t typically find in these types of stories on Royal Road.

The story’s more complex sentence structures do add flavor, but there are also occasional grammar and word choice errors to go along with them. The occasional word choice errors did jar me out of the story a few times, the grammar is more forgivable. Overall, the story is readable, and can be considered more stylish/better written than many on Royal Road.

The Story itself mostly follows a typical loop for these types of system novels; with the second main character’s perspective being much shorter and taking a different approach. I haven’t read far enough to give too much of an opinion on the overarching story, leveling stories aren’t really my thing, but if you’re a fan, I imagine this story is pretty much exactly what you’re looking for with some added variety with the secondary main character.

As far as characters go, they’re reasonably well done. The MC is very emotive, and the other characters add a layer of depth and mystery. The secondary main character’s perspective takes a while to get going, but it adds a different flavor to a somewhat familiar loop of the main story. It seems to tie in more with the story’s themes. Those themes are fairly apparent early on, and in the description of the novel, but they haven’t been delved into too far, up to where I’ve read, and I wouldn’t say they get in the way of the main story if you’re not as interested.

Overall, this is a system story that does enough differently to keep you interested, and shoots for a much more ambitious target than most. If you’re a fan of the genre, than this one is well worth a try