Daniel Newwyn

Daniel Newwyn

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Reviews
Spirits Awakening

If there's something Nataraja has done really well in his first three chapters of 'Spirits Awakening', it would be the sense of mysteries he's been able to exude. In the first chapter, we're introduced to Rafael and his seemingly normal family and circle of friends. But following the disappearance of his uncle Leonard, we slowly learn that things are not quite what they seem. Every new character introduced seem to have something about them that contributes to the mystery (which I assume would have something to do with shamanism) which makes me want to learn more about them.

 

The author manages to keep the story going well and not confusing even though he introduces quite a few characters in a span of a few chapters. The style is simple and easy to follow, though the first chapter can be condensed a bit so we can get to the main fantasy parts quicker.

 

The characters in this book feel real and relatable, with real flaws and struggles. I don't like the main character Rafael too much because I feel like he's a bit bland, but I like his observations of other people and being able to form his own opinions. The downside of introducing many characters at the beginning is that some of them are bound to be under-developed or it can mess with pacing. I think Fanny, Jay, and other supporting characters are developed enough, and the chapters aren't dragged out too much, so in my opinion the author has done a decent job so far.

 

There's little about Shamanism up until this point, and I expect there to be more in the chapters to come. A danger with a slow start like this is that you have people picking up the story because of the promises of shamanism, but they might not stick around if they don't get it right away. I think there are ways the author can incorporate more information about Shamanism without having to change the settings in the beginning chapters.


This Strange New Life

A very different approach to isekai

So this story is very different from most other typical isekai-branded stories you'll see on Royal Road. The female MC is given a new life, and you can see how she slowly progresses and adjusts to her new siblings and opportunities given to her. Yeah, so basically we're reading about someone from childbirth and how she does baby things. But it's much more exciting than it sounds! The one thing that sets this story apart is this 'the human is a biological machine' approach which gives it a transhuman feel, as can be seen from the part where 'upgraded body parts' are given to the mother (even though it's probably through magic).

 

The author has an engaging writing voice that leans very heavily towards narration. We'll be inside the MC's head, learn about the world through her lens and views. The flow is good for this genre though the pacing can be a little bit slow, but it might be necessary for us to get enough hints along the way and help us to shape the MC and her alter ego. The grammar is also very good, especially considering the author isn't a native speaker. I can't wait to see how the story progresses and how the author grows as a writer.


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.


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)


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.


The World Stage Players

The World Stage Players by reelru is a fun read. Kian Sun just wants a normal life and of course people who wants normal lives in novels don't ever get to live them. 

 

The first thing I really like about this book is the character's voice. Kian has a mildly sarcastic, mildly full-of-himself kind of voice you see in typical people his age. Since the story is in first person, the character's personality bleeds into the tone and writing style as well, as we can see in lines like 'I'd never heard someone go on about nothing for as long as he can'. The descriptions of important stuff like PA excludes this voice; I hope the distinctive voice can blend in a bit more. Overall, just the type of voice I like in a character.

 

Another thing that really caught my eye is the use of status screens. I didn't even know you can make them golden before reading this book. The author must have spent a lot of time making them aesthecally pleasing with all the appropriate fonts and different shades inside option boxes. I really like how these screens explain the world when otherwise it would be big expositions.

 

If there's one thing I don't like, that is the fact the story didn't really reel me in at the start. It kinda feels like the author wants to drop me on a golden egg but somehow I end up inside a chicken barn and see nothing but chicken. Okay, that was a terrible analogy, but thing is it is kinda normal and has plenty of exposition, especially when the MC starts talking about his background. Once you get past that, the story gets much more attractive, so I think the author should be fine once the first chapter is looked at.


Angel's Dirge

Angel's Dirge by Localforeigner was a good read. Peri wakes up after an attack that killed her friend only to learn that the government had taken a special interest in her because she has somehow survived the attack and has changed. From what I've read so far, I think she will become a part in a special force against the Angels, who've become evil and corrupted in this world for unexplained reason.

 

The coolest and most novel aspect in this book for me is how "Angels" are actually devices of the devil. We have no idea why they attacked yet, and it's the mystery that pushed me to turn the pages. I think the story has monumental potential and it just needs a little bit more polishing to put it among the best out there.

 

There aren't many YA novels on this site (not that I know of, at least), but if you're looking for one that serves you the good experience, this is the one. The book is fast-paced and doesn't make too much effort to bog you down with exposition. It's also filled with Angels bashing humans scenes if you're into that. 

 

I like the cast; they feel like real humans and do what humans would act in the given scenario. The MC, Peri, is a realistic strong woman. The way Peri grieves her dead friend reminds me very much of how my own MC in my book grieves his, so it kinda struck a chord in me reading that scene. 

 

There are only very minor grammatical mistakes; nothing distracting or pulled me out of my immersion. Props to the author for this!