Daniel Newwyn

Daniel Newwyn

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Reviews
War of Seasons

A different kind of fascination

War of Seasons is a War Fantasy that is more of a drama than a full-blown action-packed approached that many other authors on Royal Road used. If you're in for political intrigue, close character progression, and mulling over important questions, this is absolutely the story for you.

 

While the characters didn't draw me in at first, I warmed up to them pretty quickly. The foundations of these characters have been done many times before. Dorothea might seem like a typical young person with a disdain for the ruling class type; Shark might have a past ze don't want to be recalled; and Cerid might be too naive and black-and-white at times. But then I read on and found that there's way more too them than meets the eyes. The story spends a lot of time molding the characters, and I say that's worth it. Once the stage is set, you'll be seated at the prime spot for the actions to unfold.

 

One thing that Sara Mullins does exceptionally well is the way they intersperse deep, nuanced dialogues in otherwise casual conversation in a way that makes them flow naturally. I particularly adored the interactions between Shark and Cerid as well as some other conversations like one between Rhys and Dorothea.

 

For those who are picky, the grammar is sublime and nearly spotless. I think this story deserves more attention than it should, and you might regret it if you don't pick it up.


Shinobi

Shinobi by Apocryphal opens the gate to a war-torn Japan where the legendary Shinobis and their magical properties define the tides of war. Dirge is a child with destructive power that people are terrified of and want to have her dead, but it seems like her master, Raven, has another agenda.

 

The story has a very solid plot. Dirge is a remnant, though she's a slightly different kind. She's very strong, but she's just a child and has weaknesses. It would be kind of wrong to make a child blatantly OP, so her power level is most appropriate for this stage of the story. Her personality reminds me of Sekiro, in that she seems very stoic and doesn't have too much inside her soul. It's very clear that Raven is planning something big, something she's so confident in that she's willing to rig the game and betray war generals to get it. This bridges well into the characterization of people in this book, too. The dialogues feels very much appropriate for the characters and their status, and you'll see many values that are important to the Japanese pop up in their speech and action.

 

The writer's style is really solid. It's a distinctive, descriptive, detailed style that brings the vividness of the world alive. His style is especially effective in fight scenes where the action just comes alive in front of my eyes. Reading through them reminds me of playing through Sekiro, barging through waves of enemies to reach to the boss. The grammar is nearly flawless, although some sentences are a bit too long for my liking.

 

One thing I really like is the use of status screens in this story. They only come up at key points, mostly to tell us the changes to Sacred Arts and Sacred Abilities, and get us to understand more about the nature of Dirge's power.

 

Overall, this is a great story for fan of wartime Japanese setting, great action and possibly grander political ploy. I'm looking forward to more of the same!


Breakout: What Did I Get Myself Into?

Breakout is a pretty neat Light Novel style story that closely follows Reito Usodachi as he enters Capital City for education, and much more. The story is reminiscent of some school brawler mangas and manhwas I've read, with a big plus being the quirky teenager voice of the main character blended into the narration. The story has some very strong action and lots of dialogues, so if you're a fan of the genre do give it a read. It's worth your time.


The Primordial Tower

Haven't read anything quite like this before

So I've read litRPGs. I've read litRPGs where the MC and their friends went on conquests to level up. But I've never read one where the MC, his mom, and his sister got teleported into the same RPG world. Noah's family is still separated up until the chapter I've read to, but I think he'll meet them again in the future. And who knows; maybe the mother will become ridiculously OP.

 

The story is reminiscent of tower climbing litRPG sub-genre, with lots of goblin farming, looting, and plenty of stats menu. As Noah finds his way in the new world, he soon encounters his friend, and the two starts going on adventures together. There's a fine blend between dialogue in scenes where they're needed and meticulous description when we want to know about the new world or when the characters are fighting monsters. The author did a seriously good job at this.

 

The characters are interesting--they are normal people with real flaws and not the OP kinds who goes around ramming and messing with things all the while maxing out on stats. Liam and Noah have very chemistry with one another. Liam has the voice of reasons and acts as a mentor to Noah in many situations. If you read to Chapter 11, there will be another character POV, so make sure you read on.

 

The grammar is pretty neat in general, nothing that breaks my immersion of the story.

 

All in all, it's a good litRPG that pays tribute to the best aspects about the genre: stats, looting, and climbing towers.


Tenshot

One of the most interesting ideas I've seen

Tenshot by B. N. Miles is unlike anything I've read from this site before. The story starts out with with Tenner trying to scam his friend Jesse for money to feed his family via a card game, which makes me intrigued. I thought this was going to be a story about a card game, which would've been very amusing since I have no idea how anyone could pull the off. At the end of Chapter 1 though, the litRPG element is incorporated, and we start to see something more akin to the things we see on Royal Road.

 

There isn't too much characterization at the beginning chapters as the author is trying to expand the world and introduce us to the RPG elements, but they're very effective when they appear. A single paragraph tells me all I need to know about Tenner and pave way for the plot to move forward. The litRPG elements are handled well, and the action scenes are tastefully written. There's lots of potential for the story moving forward.

 

The grammar and presentation is still a bit messy at the moment, which might partly be because the author was pumping out chapters for the Writathon. With another round of edits and fleshing out ideas, I'm sure the story will shine as it should.


A League Apart - Journeys to the Beacons

A League Apart by ScriptOblique is an Adventure Fantasy that follows the story of defeatist Cameron Walker as he's given a second chance (sort of) by some kind of super god, and is sent to a world of magic with only some guns with him.

 

The best aspect of this book for me is the dialogues. They're real and raw, and with well-timed profanity. The main characters so far, Cameron and Dastilan, feel like characters from similar molds, and the distinction between them is how they talk. The author has the tendency to fall back on all caps for shouting which doesn't really vibe with me, but it's a stylistic choice that doesn't affect my experience.

 

The grammar is nearly flawless. I can only see a few very small errors, but absolutely nothing that takes away my immersion. 

 

(Will be updating this review as I read on, so it makes an Advanced Review)


An Uncertain Duality

An Uncertain Duality by David-O follows the story of Viviane, a person who seems cold and conceited on the outside but warms up to you as you get to know her. Viviane trumps the typical stereotypes of a woman, or any human in general: you can't be good looking and have a perfect body while also being smart. Further on, there will be another pivotal character, the shy and overthinking Kylian, but I haven't read far enough to see how important he'll be to the story.

 

I know the story has the Comedy tag, but humor isn't the focal point of the story. The humor leans more on the satirical side, and it's mild enough to not overpower the plot. The story is in fact a proper attempt to explore the sci-fi genre, with mysteries surrounding a teleportation method invented long ago. There are many instances where we're hinted about something bigger and more sinister behind the scene, but so far the story is introducing characters and get us to know them better.

 

The pacing is a bit on the slower side plot-wise, but is leveraged by the author's straightforward narration and prose. The characters are realistic and likeable, although they sometimes act over the top (looking at you, Kylian) for comedic effect. All in all, this story is a good blend of comedy and seriousness, and is something you should have a look at.


The Harrowbird's Crown

Tales of a Harrowed House by Corvus M. Handly is not something you typically see on Royal Road. In a platform where most of the story strive for accessible writing and adolescent literature, this story strikes you with layers upon layers of nuances, meticulous word choices, and a generally well-thought out story atmosphere.

 

The most noticeable aspect about this book is how advanced the prose is. The author has clearly spent much time and thoughts on every single words, and they oozes with rich imagery that drive their intentions. The prose gives a general sense of looming menace, which bodes the tale of the little boy Corbin and the mystery in the isolated island very well. There is an omnipresent uneasiness throughout the chapters as the readers are made to face the unknown through the lenses of the characters.

 

Another catalyst for the book is conflict. There is realistic, human conflict between the characters in every step, ones that often propel the plot to new heights. From Hugh Lightly to Esmerée, each character shows sensible frustrations that foreshadow the bigger plot.

 

The grammar for this book is spot on. There was not a single error I can find. If you're looking for a thick read with plenty of mystery and fantasy elements, this is the one for you.


Dark Pathways

Light novel vibes, but with solid writing

Dark Pathway tells the story of the Singaporean young man Zheng Jingxin as he encounters a wicked demon who leads him into the dark and magical paths. Reading this takes me back to my experience reading light novels in my teens, reading about normal school students getting dragged into the mess of the world. The story employs a lot of dialogue to move the mystery and the plot forward, and these exchanges have a lot of souls to them. I'm looking forward to read more of this.


Where the Wind Goes

Where the Wind Goes by axdaae is an awesome book. The author has a meticulous and narration-heavy writing style in the beginning chapters before transitioning to a more straightforward dialogue-leaning style as new characters are introduced. I think this fits really well with the general pacing of the genre, where you'd like to introduce the world first before delving into the plot. Although the author spent a lot of time setting up the foundation and background for us, but I still feel like I need a little more character background (for the side characters, at least) and especially world-building, which seemed to be secondary since Oliver is going to Veralia anyway (?). The bulk of what we know about the world is from the character descriptions, which is cool, but typically don't give us meta-level knowledge about the world.

 

The writing in general is very clear, solid, and consistent. There are only a few cases where word choices could've been better (maybe some stronger verbs to replace weak adverbs + verbs, for example), but otherwise really good. The premise of the story is a bit typical, and from the chapters I've read, the characters and world-building will be the aspects I'm keeping a close eye on going forward.

 

The grammar is very clean in general. Punctuation-wise, there are only a few extra commas where they shouldn't be and some spacing issues, but nothing that affected my immersion. All in all, this is a great book if you're into high fantasy with multiple characters and a romantic subplot.