Sii

Sii

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Reviews
Stampede! Legend of a Magical Space Cowboy

An intriguing mixture of sci-fi and litRPG. The early chapters do a really cool job of blending the two seemingly disparate genres, making the magical backdrop feel both immediate and futuristic. 

The high points for me are the character building and world building. We are thrust into the shoes of Willie, a freshly abducted "chosen one." As far as I've read, Willie is still coming to terms with his new reality. The way the author incorporates the usage of a system  has a very retro-futuristic feel that easily fits the sci-fi setting. I like the slight subversion of the chosen one trope along with the willingness to go for a magic system that feels both hard and soft. The author does enough work to establish the boundaries of their magic system while also keeping an air of mysticism to it, giving magic a nice sci-fi tinge. As far as I've read there isn't too much of a major plot other than "Chosen One is abducted to learn how to fight against the Intergalactic BBEG" and there's nothing wrong with that. I do look forward to seeing how Willie develops and grows. For a 16 year old emancipated adult, he's pretty easy going considering he was abducted. 

The weakest point of the story, for me, is the style. The writing comes off very beige and, at times, reads like an instruction manual on learning the magic system. The author is also prone to info-dumps, both through exposition and through the dialog. Personally, I'm also not a big fan of first person perspective but I'm not holding this against the author because they are using it well, I just need the experience to be a bit more visceral. I'd suggest balancing the showing and the telling so that the pace won't become bogged down and while also really putting the reader directly into Willie's shoes. First person perspective lives and dies with how viscerally a reader can interact with the story, in my opinion, and a little more focus on the balance would definitely bump the stories style and quality up a couple notches. 

Overall, despite the beige and bland narrative, I found the blended concept interesting. I'll be looking to continue reading as I think there's enough of a hint at a larger plot and plenty of room for character development for me to want to continue. 


Quest is not for sorceress

This was a very interesting read. For me, the story is carried by the strength the MC and her whacky, zany personality. The comedy doesn't feel overwrought or forced, it feels natural and genuinely had me laughing. While I'm not far enough along to have any real opinion on a plot, what we do have feels like a reconstruction of old fairy tales. The master wizard, who happens to only be 26, and his goofy apprentice get into some fun Joni is early on and I think that's a really fun dynamic to establish early on. 

 

The absolute strongest part of this story is the strong characterizations of the few characters that have been introduced. Mia is a character and she's extremely funny. She feels unhinged, and I think this is done purposefully, and I'm pretty sure she's not completely all there. But that works in her advantage. How many people would be anywhere near normal if they grew up under the tutelage of a weird, incredibly vain sorcerer? Edgar is a hoot but he shows he actually cares about Mia and his weirdness has some justification. And the most normal Character in the weird household happens to be a talking cat who provides so much needed gravity to the story. The story and world building is sparse early on so I'll update that score down the line as it was more, but there are enough hints at a larger, more nuanced plot to hook the more plot oriented readers.

 

The weakest aspect for me was the execution. From a grammatical standpoint, there are many mistakes that hinder the reading experience. Missing words, misused words, repeated, redundant, lacking sentence structure. Basic writing concepts that need to be paid attention to to help the reader fully enjoy the underlying story. I'd understand if it was a deliberate choice to help communicate the chaotic world of Mia and Edgar, but I don't think that's the case. And it's perfectly fine as writing is a craft where a writer should be constantly learning and looking for ways to improve their ability. There are also instances of jarring head hopping that break the immersion and confused me as a reader. But these are all things that can be improved upon with concerted effort. 

Overall, I found the comedy and characters to be very compelling. I'm envious of the authors ability to infuse their humor into their writing and absolutely enjoyed it. While the execution was lacking, I'm of the camp that believes everyone can improve as a writer. There is already a good, very fun foundation in place. All that needs to be worked on is tightening the execution so that it truly shines for the gem it could be. 


The Calamity of a Reborn Witch

So, I've had to force myself to stop reading so I can write this review. It is an excellent, compelling read that kept me pressing "Next Chapter" over and over again. I feel as if the author used some kinda magic to compel me to keep reading. 

The strongest point of the novel, for me, is the story and the authors excellent character work. Maura/Carina is an incredibly interesting and nuanced MC. I found myself rooting for her as soon as I began reading and I don't even know who she is. She is smart, independent, caring, and all the other good descriptors you could think of. And you find out these things about her within the first few chapters. Her "family," if they can be considered that, are delightfully villainous. I commented that I would fight them and I mean it. I will fight Carina's whole family by myself because they're a bunch of pompous jerks. And that's a testament to the authors ability to create excellent characters. Maybe they'll grow and get better, idk because I'll have to read more and find out. But I hope they die, my little black heart loves me some good villain/antag deaths. Each and every character introduced slowly unfolds the wider world that the author has built and it is an absolute joy to follow along. I don't even really care about an overarching plot but there are enough hints at something big getting ready to happen that I just wanna hurry up and find out. But I also don't because I wanna learn more about Carina and her closest confidants. So yes, I'll probably be binging this story as soon as I have the time to do so.

As far as style and grammar go, I found nothing that detracted from my reading experience. POV is masterfully used to keep each and every chapter feeling evenly paced. I don't think I've come away from a chapter feeling like something took longer than it needed to. Everything flows well and is absolutely easy to read and binge. I like a clean, clear read and this definitely delivers with that .

In conclusion, I enjoyed this story way more than I'd expected to. While I was reading I kept forgetting that it was an isekai and that's a testament to the authors skill. Most isekai will consistently remind the reader that the MC doesn't belong. But this story does the opposite, the MC has blended in and knows how to survive in this foreign world. She is smart and tactful and definitely not a complete idiot like most isekai MC tend to be. I do feel like Lincoln being alive still is a tragedy but that's a personal problem lol. If any prospective reader is reading this, I encourage you to give this one a read.  


A Coder's Guide To Magic

In the world of LitRPG/Isekai, it's rare to find an out and out unhinges MC and I'm all for it. Otto is crazy in a good, comedic way without making light of mental illness. 

The story and character is incredibly chaotic and in a good way. The author does an incredible job of conveying the chaos and uncertainty anyone, let alone a fictional character, would feel when they find themselves thrust into a new, unusual world. Add to that the fact that Otto is already a bit unhinged from the get go and you have the first 5 chapters, where it feels like you're actively stuck in a mind, that's already tenuously connected to reality, having to come to terms with an uncertain situation. He  comes to understand magic in his own unique way, through the language of coding, and this adds to the hilarity in that he learns to code magic in an overly complex way while still questioning his own sanity. Otto is extremely funny and I enjoy his take on not taking anything that's going on too seriously and just wanting to figure out what the hell is going on. While I still need to read more to see where the plot goes I have enjoyed the experience because of how satirical and comedic the novel feels. The author has a great sense of humor that I really enjoy. 

The main problem with the novel is the execution. I think it adds charm to the story as it makes me feel something like "this is what it must feel like to be stuck in a paranoid schizophrenics mind." Of course, not every reader would feel this way as there is a basic expectation as far as structure, formatting, and grammar. But, I think it can be done if the author seeks some help from someone who understands how to make the unique circumstances of his MC and world shine through in an easier to read and understand way. Basic copy editing and line editing would help improve the quality as there are missing dialog tags, words, misused grammar, and other basic writing problems that can be improved with time and effort.

 

Overall, I really enjoy the novel. It's a unique concept with a unique MC that I really enjoy and a breath of fresh comedic air amidst the sea of super serious Isekai. I believe the author has an excellent concept on their hands and all they need is some work on the execution to polish things up and let more readers fully enjoy this gem. 


Rise of the Mechanar

Rise of the Steampunk Swordsman

I found the story extremely pleasurable. It reads more like a novel with some of the flair of serials/webnovels mixed in and I believe this is one of the main strengths. The pacing of the story moves at a nice, even clip, making sure that the reader receives all necessary information without getting bogged down and overwhelmed. 

The hints and namedrops concerning a larger, wider world pique the interest immediately. It makes me, as a reader, want to know what else there is in this world while we continue to follow the MC. Currently, Nick feels much more mature when compared to most MC's in similar stories. He knows what he wants to do and there are hints at his preparations and hard work that have gone into achieving his goal. While he has some developing to do, as there are only 4 chapters available at the time of this review, I think he has the potential to develop into an interesting take on the "lost child" MC trope. The world is beautiful, as far as I can imagine, and I look forward to learning more about it as the author puts out more chapters. I'm rolling my review of the characters and story into one as the author does a wonderful job of introducing their world to the reader through the MC. Nick is smart, driven, and resourceful and I hope this gets polished to a shiny sheen as he develops. The author does a great job of balancing showing and telling, giving enough information to allow the reader to build an image in their minds as they read while not letting the pacing suffer too much. 

For style and grammar, I found very little that would hamper the reading experience. There are the occasional misspellings or missing words but I think this is more due to needing to just do a couple editing passes to help clean things up. There are also some instances where the prose gets confusing, either through being a bit too wordy or clunky sentences, but nothing that's too egregious. This is an area that's much easier to fix than say any story or character problems and I'm sure the author knows how to go about cleaning things up for their own work.

In all, I found the lore and world to be very rich and engaging. It's still too early for me to pass judgement on the characters as I feel I really only know one but there are the hints at rich and meaningful characterizations with some of the side characters introduced in the most recent chapter. I look forward to the direction the story flows as the author continues to release chapters.


A World of Monsters

Chaotic, Confusing, Very Interesting

Another interesting monster take on litRPG/Isekai tropes. While I'm still early on in the story, I'm excited to see the development and learn about a world where Buddhism/Hinduism is the main religion and how that affects the System.

The first few chapters are confusing, chaotic, and downright hard to get through. But once you're able to latch on to the right bits, it slowly makes more sense why the author chose to write them like that. It conveyed the confusion and the helplessness felt by the first main character. They are sentient but can barely do anything to keep themselves alive. At one point they bury themselves in their own shit just to stay alive. And its that kind of chaos that makes me rate the Story the highest out of my score. It is an extremely interesting take that focuses on stripping away what often accompanies System/Isekai stories, the power fantasy. There is no power here. One of the MC's is literally a caterpillar that contains the sentience of a formerly powerful being. That being can't even think properly because of the limited brainpower their current form has. It's this expression of futility that really draws me to some of the deeper themes of this story. I'm basically rolling the character score and story score into one because they go hand in hand, we get to learn about the wider world and the philosophies that are important to the authors world while watching the development of both characters.

As for Style and Grammar, I'll also be rolling them into one. I think this is where the story suffers the most. I thoroughly enjoy that the writing feels very detached, very ascetic. It feels like we're reading an old religious text and I think that goes hand in hand with the themes and tones of the story. The execution is a bit lacking with some grammatical errors, clunky sentence structuring, and redundancy that will pull the reader out of full immersion while reading. But these are completely fixable things that come with constant craft improvement and getting objective eyes to assist with copy editing and overall editing.

In all, the story is very well handled, thematically and tonally. I enjoy it and will be back to read more down the line as I look forward to seeing what becomes of the MC's.


The Courting of Life and Death

I wouldn't consider myself a constituent of the target audience for romance but this was a very interesting and insightful read. The world and characters are definitely the biggest draw for me and they come across beautifully in the first bunch of chapters. 

For me, the world and mystique the author has woven around it and the magic systems that it's inhabitants adhere to are the biggest draw. We are slowly and carefully introduced to the world, we're given the chance to feel some wonder as we learn about Clandestina and its surrounding nations. The magic system actually feels like magic. It's wonderful and mystical and makes me think of the first time I read Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And I appreciate that the author doesn't just dump everything on us, instead we get to learn it in a very organic feeling way.


While I'm not the biggest fan of the "slightly aloof, learned noble" character trope, Pierre comes across as believable and 'human.' His motives are muddy and mysterious, at least as far as I've read, and this makes me want to learn more about him. He is an excellent vehicle for the reader to learn of the wider word that the author has made. I won't be too harsh on the rest of the characters but so far Elizabeth seems naive and sheltered, which is believable when we consider her upbringing as a nobles daughter. She is very smart and observant and I think, and hope, she'll end up being a very strong character in her own right and not just a love interest that acts as a foil to keep Pierre grounded. 

I'm rolling style and grammar into one as they are both well-handled and ensure that the reader stays involved and immersed in the story. The prose is wonderful and balanced, being descriptive while also being able to keep a good, even pace throughout the chapters. The only time I felt like it was a bit of a slog was right at the beginning of the first chapter and that was really only due to my misgivings at seeing the "romance" tag. 

Overall, I enjoyed what I've read so far and will eventually find my way back to learn more about the world the author has built and to see how Pierre and Elizabeth develop. And I wanna see more Mora. Definitely. 


The Precipice of Power

Don't let the relatively few chapters deter you from reading. Nameless has the beginnings of an excellent xianxia/cultivation world that immediately draws you in from the get go.

I'll start with the strongest part of the novel, the characters. They jump off the page with how cool and full of personality they are. The sibling dynamic between Kiro and Seira is really cool, you see that despite the struggles that get introduced in the first prologue chapter they have remained very close. Aer, the Saint, is just cool as hell and does whatever the hell they (she? I'm not so sure, they seem like a they to me.) want. Aer's intro chapter has to be one of the coolest OP character intros I've read so far. And the two least developed, imho, immediately define themselves in their short intro and get expanded on quickly in their standalone chapter. I can't wait to see how they will develop and grow. So I'll need Nameless to hurry up and post more chapters.

The story, so far, is sparse. But there are enough hints at a larger, more expansive Murim-inspired world of cultivation hijinks that I believe it's worth giving a 5. The bits and pieces that we get are enough to tickle the imagination and keep one sated until we get to enjoy the rest of the world.

Rolling grammar and style into one because I found no problems with either. The pacing is excellent and rarely, if at all, meanders. I consistently forgot I was reading a chapter because of how enjoyable the experience was. I spotted little to no grammatical problems that pulled me out of the reading experience. And the author has a tight command over their writing and is able to infuse a good amount of voice.

Overall, I can't wait to see what the future of The Precipice of Power looks like. I am biased as I am a fellow disciple of Fuyu Dust, who worked on my cover and the cover for this book. But that bias really only enhancements my enjoyment for myself.


Vagrant — CYBERPUNK / SCI-FI

6 chapters so far and I think it's off to a very solid start. It starts off with a very atmospheric first chapter that introduces us to a familiar yet alien world that feels like it could actually be what our future looks like. 

The story and characters are the strongest point of the novel. There are hints at a larger, riskier plot that are pretty exciting to spend some time thinking about. Desirae is relatable in her hubris and rebellious nature and I'm looking forward to her becoming a truly badass MC after some bumps and bruises. DeVile is interesting and mysterious, he comes off as the villain before showing that he occupies a wholly grey area. I definitely think he'll be my favorite character as the story goes on and I'm rooting for him to go out in a blaze of gunfire and cigar smoke. I'm am looking forward to some high octane action as the story unfolds.

Style is very well handled. The author commands third person limited very well and infuses a good amount of voice. They do a very good job of putting us, the reader, into the shoes of each character. The language used is easy to read and digest while also being evocative and descriptive. Grammar was my only gripe because of some repetitive sentences, a few clunky sentences, and missing or miss-used words that can trip up the reader. This can be easily fixed and I will most definitely adjust my score at a later date as the author has shown they are receptive to feedback from readers. 

I'm excited for what the move has in store for us and will continue following it. 


A Stranger in Sorcererstown (The Stranger Trails Saga)

I'll preface this by saying that I intend to continue reading as I have been ensnared by the tale that Jon Wander has woven. I feel that I've read enough to be able to formulate a fair and impartial opinion and wish to submit my review before I grow any more biased. 

A Stranger in Sorcerorstown deserves all of these 5 stars. Jon Wander does an excellent job of introducing and building an intriguing and beautiful world. The MC is an absolute badass who isn't simultaneously a dumbass. He has his flaws and a fatal weakness that, at the point I have read up to, is hinted at. He isn't completely OP, in fact he's just a cunning, wiley old warrior who just so happens to wield a unique pair of weapons. 

From what I've read so far, the plot is highly engaging. It harkens to the old classical westerns and samurai movies, paying excellent homage to those old school badasses while infusing some clever problem solving. A commenter compared the story to The Dark Tower series by Stephen King and I am in slight agreement. There is definitely some Roland Deschain in The Stranger, but there is also some Randall Flagg and even the Pied Piper rolled up into a white haired, less talk more action mans man. Being a fan of The Dark Tower, I appreciate the nuance that Jon has woven into the story. It starts off with an excellent, well written action sequence and then rewards you with political machinations and some super sneaky ninja action. 

I'm mainly focusing on the story and character due to how easy Jon's writing style is to fall in to. At no point did I feel like he was being verbose or purple, everything was described succinctly and with enough detail to keep the imagination engaged. The pacing is excellent and varied, the slow moments are patient and introspective and the fast moments are breathtaking and heart racing. 

In all, A Stranger in Sorcererstown is a very enjoyable read from the very first chapter. It is carried by easy to read and understandable writing that guides the readers imagination along effectively and a strong MC who is a beautiful homage to the heroes of old while transforming the trope and making the hero a thinking mans hero. There's even some comedy to help alleviate some of the moments where I became breathless while reading.