David F. Weisman

David F. Weisman


Mysteries within mysteries

The first chapter gives us a great deal to think about. Somehow the protagonist is caught in a time loop, and goes back to the beginning when he dies. Unfortunately he loses his memory each time, so he doesn't understand what is happening any better than we do.

The next section is easier to understand. Ace is a slacker student at a school for heroes, with the power of teleportation, which is considered the most common and least prestigeous superpower. He doesn't like to work hard or study, and cheats to avoid dissapointing his dad and letting down his team too overtly.

No spoilers after the first chapter, but I will say that very often when you think you understand a character, a major secret is revealed or hinted at. The author tells us in the introductory matter that the protagonist thinks he is good because he is the least bad guy around, but so far I only see an amusing but immature youth. There is still plenty left to read though. They are still in training, and Ace is not the only one who has benefitted from his fathers influence, and cheats when trying to prove his prowess. I sure hope the supervillains they face started in similar circumstances, since others on Ace's team have worse surprises than that!

This is great fun, with plenty of twists and turns.

Isekai Dungeoncrawl - Am Ende mit meinem Latein

There are a couple of spoilers in the last two paragraphs, but they are from relatively early in the story.

The prologue, chapter zero, is a sort of outtake of the battles that will come later in the story. The author mentions that it was added because a few readers thought there wasn't enough action in chapter one. I really loved chapter one though, the sort of professional chapter you might find in a published book. It gives a deep look into a Roman army and culture, into politics and ambition, and conflicts between classes and cities and individuals. I am not an expert, but I think the author has a lot of genuine knowledge.

It is all realistic and historical until Publius has a chat with his diety just before being ripped away and sent to another world. Despite the final chat, he has seen no magic in his own world and is astonished to meet it here. For safeties sake he tries to conceal his ignorance of his new world.

Soon he becomes involved in a dungeon quest. I was almost dissapointed at first, I felt I knew him so well and he would say no. But since the author tells us the first part was based on a D&D adventure he has played, of course he goes.

*** Mild Spoiler Warning, from around chapter six and seven ***



The adventure is no simplistic hack and slash though. They play a deadly game, allying with sneaky and treacherous Kobolds against openly murderous Goblins. But what will the Dragon they are supposedly trying to rescue do?

This seems like a straight dungeonquest with a twist at the beginning, but it's a fun and readable one, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. Not a lot of touring from room to room while slaughtering inferior enemies and gathering treasure. If they end up with treasure they will have earned it.

Wander West, in Shadow

This is the story of a witch and a wizard on a mysterious journey. Their deadly adventures are a large part of the story, but each of them has important secrets that they are keeping from each other and the reader, and the gradual unravelling of these may be an even bigger part of the story as it goes on. 

In the very beginning we know so little about the wizard Martimaos that we are not even sure if he is good or evil, if we should cheer him on or hope for him to fail. Soon we develope empathy for him, and shortly after that we find he is a good person who wants to help others even at the risk of his own life, whatever his mysterious purpose may be.

He is attracted to the witch who insists on accompanying him, but does not trust her. Nevertheless, he decides it would be safer to travel with her than have her follow him in secret.

Soon they come to a village where the apocathary insists on hiding them, saying the people hate mages because they believe one has stolen their children. Indeed, a mage has carelessly travelled between universes, and reinserted himself into this one just slightly wrong, but wrong enough that he might harm or kill without meaning to. Unfortunately there is no way to fix this without fighting him, and he is much more experience than the young witch and wizard who must confront him. Maybe they can take advantage of the fact that his perceptions are sort of off - unless indeed some dark creature comes to his aid.

The Dungeon Challenge

This review was posted just after the author finished chapter 30.

There will be spoilers for chapter one. After that the novel has many twists and turns. I will give as much of the flavor as I can with as few spoilers as I can - even when I tell you stuff after chapter one, you don't know as much as you think.

I loved the opening. We learn a great deal about the world, Malco, Malco's home village, and his family. There is very little exposition though, there is a fight scene, and pretty much everything we learn comes naturally into Malco's story without stopping the action. 

This is gamelit - but only a few people ever get class powers or level up. A few, the mysterious Godtouched, are born with them. The rest must do without - or try and earn them in a mysterious dungeon via an ancient custom. There are conflicting origin stories, but in the present time few seek these powers voluntarily since most die in the attempt. Yet the Godtouched have their own games of power and prestige, and an entire village may be destroyed if their are no 'volunteers'. So someone must be persuaded, but who and how?

Even the journey to the dungeon can be very dangerous - but the story is just getting started. Pay close attention once you reach the dungeon, there are more characters and things get complicated. Bonds of family, friendship, and trust are tested and tested again, and the story is hard to put down.

I love this book, I have often seen less sophisticated and passionate writing in bookstores and libraries. And yes, there is plenty of action and fighting.

The Beast and The Swallow

Despite her illegitimate parentage, the Royal prince orders Lorelei to marry his bastard brother, the grim and mysterious Duke of the North.

While still incomplete, this is the best story I've seen on Royal Road yet! (Mild spoilers from early on ahead, I only discuss later chapters in vague terms so as not to spoil the suspense).

The first chapter starts out like a light fun romance, although the author has done more historical research than that would lead you to expect. As the second chapter goes on it turns darker and more serious, then it does so again. Some good people have already died, so we can't have a happy ending for everyone. A couple of larger than life villains fascinate the reader, but mostly we understand why people do what they do. The story has an oddly realistic feel, as the characters cope with similar problems to those that historical people faced in real life.

The fun facts the author highlights at the end of each chapter are sometimes actually fun, and sometimes kind of grim. The realism is occassionally harsh, but even if you've read a lot of fantasy this will stick with you.