Jon Wander

Jon Wander

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Reviews
Ancients [An Epic Litrpg]

This is a well done beginning to what promises to be a finely crafted story. The scope is epic and the author know how to entice the reader with promises of what is to come,

Style: Clear, concise, easy to read but paints a good image in the reader’s head. There is switching between first and third person perspectives, but it is smoothly done and never confusing.

Story: The best part so far. The MC’s adventures are off to a good strong start, but the clash of the gods and their clans of followers promises there will be drama on an epic scale most litRGPs never get to. I’m looking forward to seeing how Chen gets involved in the grander scheme of things exactly.

Character: Chen is a strong character who’ll definitely be able to carry the story to the end and is good company. Currently a big green (from a character perspective not a writing perspective) so we’ll get to see plenty of growth.

Side characters are good, though they haven’t yet had time to show themselves great- though I expect that to change in the near future.

Grammar: No major issue seen, so full marks. The author has a strong understanding of the English language and makes full use of it.


Silver Dragoon

Style- High octane and punchy, the kind of thing that many English teachers and literary types hate because it makes people actually want to read. Action and adventure bleed from the page thanks to the style.

Story- It’s the kind of world you only usually see in the really old pulps and a few pastiches, post apocalyptic-underground-sci-fi-fantasy blend with ogres, swords and guns where magic and monsters from the ancient world clash in a fight that officially doesn’t exist inside the technocratic ruins of once futuristic America. The concept is awesome and the execution delivers fully on the promises.

Characters- The best part IMHO, I love Eddie and his family, in this kind of situation too many modern authors would decide to go full emo teen view of the world. Not here, the Salt family are good salt of the earth people of the sort that made America great in the first place. Hard world? Hah! Bring it on, we’ll face it together! Very, very easy to root for and extremely refreshing.

Contra Retrospectme, our MC Eddie is not motivated only by ‘long legs’. Yeah, there are good looking women in this story and Eddie’s blood is as red as any healthy young man’s, but early on it’s established he has standards. For starters he loves his family and wants to inherit the family restaurant and that's established in his first scene. I really have no idea how Retrospectme thought otherwise.

Even his interactions with his love interest don't give that impression, the reason he is reluctant to pursue Hilde (who is a great character in her own right) isn’t because he’s dumb or wants a hedonistic life instead of commitment but rather because he honestly worries about being able to provide for her should they get involved romantically. A short time later he’s risking his life to save her without hesitation, not something a would be cad would do. He’s a bit hardheaded, as befits a teenager, but very likeable and good company for the story in which I expect him to grow into a real hero.

What’s been shown of ‘Whisper’, the various antagonists and Blossom has all been great so far as well. I have no criticism here.

Grammar- Saw precisely one error. Full marks.

Overall- Five stars all around and would give a gold medal if I could. Why are you still reading the reviews? Go read the story.


Void Breaker

Style- Highly accessible in a very light style that still manages to convey plenty of emotion for the story. Some people have said it is jarring to go from Liz's life pre-system and/or switching perspectives. Personally I didn't feel that way at all. The initial segment is a pivotal moment for Liz and isn't really any longer than if she had been reminisciing and the other segments were clear to me. I do think there were a few points that could have been better in word choice and the like, but nothing that's worth a deduction in score

Story- This is a pretty character driven system apocalypse, we're only just getting to Liz finding her way to a group, but the plot is engaging enough so far for the characters to play in and there's plenty of indication it will get meatier very soon.

Characters- Liz is easily the strongest of the characters, but the supporting cast is all well done if maybe not quite as much as she is. It is still pretty early though so that could easily change very soon. Out time-traveler definitely has a large role to play. Also, regarding a character introduced in the latest chapter that Null seems a bit worried about I don't think it will be an issue as said character's motivations make internal sense.

Grammar- I saw no issues, which is pretty rare for webfiction. Every error pointed out in the comments was swiftly corrected, so full marks.

Overall- Well done lit-RPG, so unless that's not up your go ahead and check it out. Nulls has done great job here.


Savage Hunters

Professional quality in a free read

Style: The style is both easy to read and very vivid. AdamLaneSmith is a published author for a reason. Full disclosure, I'm a fan of a number of the author's works not just this one.

Story: Paleolithic Monster Hunter. If that doens't perk your interest I don't know what to tell you. The world-building is much deeper than you might expect from a LitRPG (the author actually consulted an friend trained in anthropology when crafting the tribal cultures). While it doesn't get it the way at any point the intro is slower than most action stories, which would be a negative if the opening wasn't so nicely written and intersting. The action itself is high-octane and punchy, real top-notch stuff.

Characters: The characters are vivid and lively, like StarvingSloth said there are familiar tropes in many of them but they all feel like believable people with their own motvationa and personalities.

Grammar: The first book was professionally edited. Grammar is flawless as far as I can tell. Book 2 is apparantly being edited now and I expect it will be polished well above RR standards by the time it is published here.

Overall: Read this story. It's a top-notch LitRPG told by a top-notch author with plenty of material to come.


Eden Virus

This is a lot of fun that's the least you need to know.

I won't go into too much detail with the story but there is a lot of inspiration from JRPGs and adds some seriously creepy horror. The plotline brings to mind 'The Matrix' and the atmosphere brings back memories of the 'Silent Hill'. 

The characters are clearly taking some cues from JRPG/anime archetypes but those are templates and bases for who they are rather than their entire character. Nobody feels flat or lifeless. As an aside I think Alma's name is a reference to 'F.E.A.R.' and I did get an odd impression that makes me think there was some inspiration that game as well but I can't quite put my finger on why.

Style was a little choppy in the early chapters with a few bits feeling stilted and a couple scene transitions being confusing but that largely vanishes as the story continues and the atmosphere is consistently well done- especially when dealing with the horror elements.

Few grammar errors, only noticed a few, mostly when using a text to speech program. Nothing that the average reader will notice or care about.

So if you want something different, creepy in the way that get under your skin rather than makes you jump and nicely written as a whole this is what you want.


The Precipice of Power

I WISH MORE XINXIA FICTION WAS LIKE THIS

I put off reading this for too long. If you've been around here you may have been burned by stories in this genre as well.

Put those fears to rest, this is a well crafted, highly enjoyable story with actual good guys as well as villanous bad guys and an entertaining struggle between them. 

The plot is intersting, well-paced, and has a fresh feel to it.

The writing style flows well and has a way of making you go 'just a bit more' again and again.

The characters are well done, as someone with a twin sister that's always a nice relationship to see portrayed well. People are rootable, hatable and various forms of in-between as appropriate.

In summary: If you like xinxia, want to try xinxia, or want to refresh your enjoyment of the genre. Read this and be happy.


Valkyria Heart: A modern fantasy

Style: The style is well done with little notable issues.

Grammar: Occasional typographical issue, nothing major or intrusive.

Story: This is the strongest point IMHO. After an action packed intro we are treated to some slower paced world-building. This works because the odd hybrid  of norse myth and sci-fi is a very interesting place to learn more about, followed by building up to the main plot with all its thriller promises.

Characters: The characters are well done well done but some characters occasionally act a bit too ‘contemporary’, clashing with the interesting and unique setting.

In conclusion: If you want to see out a uniquely curious world where myth meets the mechanical check out Ragna


Summon Imp!

Unlike so many stories that promise a non-human lead and give us what is essentially a human character in a costume Summon Imp actually delivers on what it promises.

In someway this has the feeling of good sci-fi from an alien's perspective with how inhuman the MC's point of view is. As this is the main selling point all I can say is, well done.

I didn't find the first few chapters a slog like some reviewers do, though they are a bit slow in pace I think that helps ease into the inhuman point of view.


Alter Online: Oathkeeper

Like the review title says, Kal is great company. An interesting character with a level of toughness from a former life as a police officer, sadly taken from him along with his sight.

So far the story is still fairly early on but, unlike too many of these types of stories, we already have an overarching goal. It is a good set-up that allows for plenty of flexibility in events, which so far have been nicely done.

No grammatical issues and my main criticism is that other characters haven't really had a chance to shine compared to Kal so far, but it's still early and won't harm your enjoyment of the story.

In summary: If you want a nicely done litRPG with a protagonist who is good company and lacks cheat skills or this is what you want.


Tempest Rogue

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S A FIRST TRY

This is a fun read, the sort of fun you hope to find on a site like RoyalRoad. The litRPG elements are well done, the story itself is interesting, and the protagonist is a likable smart-aleck who is easy to root for.


There are some typos and the like (what author here can honestly say there isn't in their work? Even professional editors don't always get every typo) but nothing that will stop you from enjoying the story. Besides which C.R. is clearly taking writing seriously and there's a noticeable increase in quality as the chapters go on.

EDIT: Scratch the typos the grammar is officially great now including in early chapters


And it's apparantly C.R.'s first try at any story.


That is awesome. I'm only amateur myself but it makes me cringe even harder at the memory of my first attempts. Congradulations C.R.


In summary, if you want to read a fun webnovel read Tempest Shadow and keep an eye on C.R. as a notable for the future.