Jacob A Zucker

Jacob A Zucker

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Children of Nemeah: Evolution of a warrior (epic progression fantasy)

Style

The author's writing is really solid. It can be a bit wordy and cumbersome at times, but not enough to detract from the actual story. It's very descriptive prose that makes sure every scene is vivid and well-imagined.

Grammar

No complaints. Solid. I caught a couple of small errors, but nothing significant.

Story

I'm enjoying the gothic horror vibe of the story. The creatures are frightening and the action sequences engaging. It definitely feels like it's shaping up to be more of a serial than a cohesive beginning/middle/end novel. I don't know if that's the intention or not. The jumping around and pace of the narrative can be a bit jarring at times.

Character

Definitely the most room for improvement here. They just feel a bit...hollow. For example, the only woman is immediately becomes the caricature of the sex-symbol. Some of the male characters have more well-rounded personalities, but could similarly benefit from a few more defining traits. Also, the names felt a little mundane for the setting (Josh, Rick, Jessie, etc.).

Overall

A good start! It's a fun story with plenty of action. The characters have a good rapport, and if you like banter you won't be dissatisfied. It's got the bones of a good "band of brothers" type of story. I fully expect lots of daring exploits and epic fight sequences in the chapters to come.


The Boros Bachelor

"The Boros Bachelor" has very clear strengths and flaws, making it the perfect fiction for some people and perhaps not the best fit for others. First off, it's exceptionally well-written. The prose is near to flawless. Grammatically, I don't think I spotted a single error. In terms of writing style, there was the occasional cliché or modern reference that pulled me a bit out of the story (e.g. white knight), but this wasn't a big deal at all.

On the story front (as someone who has no familiarity with the source material), it was a bit jarring. I'm thrown right into the world, which is ordinarily fine except I was having trouble connecting with the characters. I didn't feel Lilla's passion for revenge. The characters aren't weak per se, but the plot moves at such a blistering pace that I was struggling to keep up. I would've like a more time to understand Lilla and her relationship with the other characters in a less exposition-y manner. Again, these are personal qualms.

As a whole, I think "The Boros Bachelor" is exceptional fan-fiction if you already have some knowledge of the world it exists in. It's action-packed and filled with delightful worldbuilding quirks. The writing is superb.

If those things tick of your main checkboxes for a RR fiction, then definitely give this story a read.


Marrow

An astoundingly nuanced and well-written beginning

I'm still early in my reading of "Marrow," and I may edit my review in the future. That said, if the current trends hold, I think this fiction is deserving of some serious acclaim.

The pacing of the story is steady. It puts you right into the world of the novel with little handholding, which I personally didn't mind (though a map would be immensely helpful). I quickly got a sense of who Marrow was and the unfortunate circumstances she begins in. The early tread of the novel is standard—enslaved child brought into new and better, though still dubious, circumstances—but promises excitement as Marrow adjusts to her new world.

The writing in Marrow is generally excellent. No complaints there. 

Two chapters in and I'm already engrossed in the world and in the characters. Marrow is complex—bright, but already sporting a clear inferiority complex. The "adults" of the world are a mixture of nasty, sleezy, or generally untrustworthy, with few exceptions.

I look forward to reading on and seeing how the plot progresses. So far it's been somewhat understated and sort of "slice-of-life", which I enjoy. It's a refreshing change from some of the other top-heavy fiction on Royal Road. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if there's plenty of action in store. 

So if you're looking for a fleshed out world with compelling characters and a nuanced plot, give "Marrow" a read!


The Bear - First chronicle of the Children of the Bear

"The Bear" takes the notion of an anti-hero to heart. There are very few redeeming qualities for Bryn. I was reminded of Toblakai from Malazan if anyone is familiar with the character. I haven't read enough of "The Bear" to know if Bryn will undergo a similar arc where he develops past pure bloodlust. 

Style: The writing is great. No complaints there. It reads well, and it's easy to follow.

Grammar: Minor typos. Again, no real issues.

Story: The pace of the story is close to breakneck. It moves fast, which is completely fine if that's to your taste. For me, I find it doesn't give as much time for the characters to breathe and develop as I would have liked. It definitely feels like the plot is priliveged over the characters. Also, I was mildly disturbed by a particular scene involving beating a child so take the author's content warnings to heart.

Characters: I feel the characters are what is holding the story back a little bit. Especially Dyla. The meek, obedient wife is frankly quite frustrating in an otherwise compelling story. I hope she progresses further in the coming chapters (there's definitely hints that she will). 

"The Bear" is a good story. Bryn is that mix of vile and (somehow) principled, that makes for an interesting anti-hero. The plot is set up well and I expect a lot of action and drama in the coming chapters.


Urban Wolf: On The Run

The sword-swinging, lone, badass warrior is always a fun motif, and the author wields it (pun intended) to good effect. The writing is solid and easy to follow, with the exception of a few jumbled, run-on lines. Dialogue can also be a bit clunky at times, but nothing overly distracting. 

The first person, present tense keeps the pace fast. There's plenty of action, as promised by the emphasis on the swords from the first chapter.

It's a fun read. 


Isekai Dungeoncrawl - Am Ende mit meinem Latein

I really like the idea of a Roman noble being plucked through a portal and deposited in a typical fantasy world. I think it's clever, teeming with potential. There are plenty of opportunities to play up the comedic elements.

The writing in this story is alright. It can be a bit cumbersome in sections, but, overall, still pretty solid.

The author clearly knows a lot about Roman history, which shows. It almost makes me (as a minor classics buff) wish for more of the Roman section, though I am still intrigued by the portal fantasy aspect. It is a bit strange how quickly the protagonist adapts to all the oddities of the new world, which gives the whole story ever more surrealist, satire vibes.

Overall, a fun read.


RakhtaBhushan (Blood Ornament)

I love the notion of Indian mythology blending with fantasy. The way the author has co-opted hindu figures and myths, shaping them into something distinct, is fantastic. Unfortunately, the writing holds back the story from being truly great. Besides some minor grammar/syntax errors (not really a big issue), the language can be clunky at times. The shifts in POV are also a bit distracting.

If the author can keep improving their writing, I think the story has so, so much potential. I like the characters. I like the world. I like the epic scope of the story—it really does feel like you're inside a myth about gods and heroes. Keep up the great work!


The Cursed Heart

This story is excellent. The writing is very clean and perfectly fitting for a Young Adult book (I figure this is YA or middle age? That's what it seems like so far). The prose never overextends itself. It just does what it's meant to do.

While the magical school promise is rife with tropes, I feel like this is a sufficiently fresh iteration. It's definitely not a cheap Harry Potter knock-off. There are enough differences that it's compelling and I want to learn more about the world of the novel.

So far, the only thing I can say I would have liked more of from the book is some higher stakes. I don't feel as though I'm super invested in the story yet. I feel like there's a stark absence of conflict this far. Again, this isn't an objectively bad thing. Reading this story is like putting on a weighted blanket. It's comforting. Kayden as a protagonist is surprisingly rational, making decisions and saying things that I, as a reader, am thinking (I love the section where he calls the teacher out on his BS). Maybe it stems from the fact that there's no real antagonist yet (except for an inanimate curse)? Not sure. Maybe I just have to keep reading.

Overall, the story is great. I'll echo what another reviewer said, but you should consider seeking publication. It can be a painful, gruelling process, but there's a huge market for LGBTQ, YA fantasy—especially with an exceptionally written trans protagonist.


GALACTIC

Interesting, but not my cup of tea

Not usually the kind of fiction I would personally read, but still enjoyable. With a little revision, I think it could be quite entertaining. My one complaint would be that the writing is a bit choppy. There's some basic grammatical issues that could be fixed. Some general line-editing might also help the flow of the story a lot.


The Dungeon Challenge

I'll preface this review by saying I'm not overly familiary with gamelit. That said, I've enjoyed the story thus far. It's simple, but neat. The prose doesn't overtax itself—the writing is tight and to-the-point. I don't know if first-person, present-tense is a feature of the genre, but I did find it a little jarring.

So far, Malco is a bit bland as a character, though his half-sister and adopted-sister are both intriguing. 

Overall, I quite enjoyed what I've read so far. I look forward to seeing how the story progresses.