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The Realm Beneath: A Dungeon Story

Details are what makes a good story. They create ambience and flair. They fill the skeleton of the story with flesh, make characters three dimensional and make a story worth reading.

Or so I thought before I read this story.

Here I learnt that details can be like being stuck in quicksand surrounded by tar pits.

There are so many details. But not the details describing relevant stuff. Or the details charactersiing actions.Or the details colouring the PoVs by the character takeing the look. Or the scenic views that gives you context. Not even the not the meadering monolgue kind that helps you at least to learn about some characters. Or the data dumps about worldbuilding.   But only so many plain pure boring details.

At first I thought the story would only suffer from the common problem of a dungeon story starting with its formation. But after trying to read a lot of them (including some part of the newer chapters)I can say: The first chapter is very representative of the rest.

If you can read the first character without starting to skip half sentences, full paragraphs or falling asleep, then perhaps this story might be more compatible with you than with me. If you hope it gets better afterwards, relninguish all hope, don't waster your time and skip to some other story.


Thera of Rose Manor
It was a great story. Had the author given it some proper ending around chapter 20, it might have been one of RoyalRoad's top ten stories. But it had no end there so I just became another story going from once absurd to even more absurd setting, without any discernable plot and updates so slow that even if the run-away plot did not make you give up following, you'd not be able to remember anything happening anway.

The Necromancer and the Would-Be-Hero
My favorite quote from the story: "She had been lucky in that respect, a prodigy of a sorts. There was a reason that necromancers didn't rule the world, after all. It probably didn't help that her bretheren tended to lock themselves up in dank crypts or get themselves killed off before they could become strong, either. She shrugged and moved on to bigger things, like planning their next move."

The Nothing Mage

Nice story, though sometimes hardly readable due to a grammar quirk.

The plot is nice, the worldbuilding is great. Characters would be a bit shallow for a character driven novel, but for a plot driven story they are good enough. Most of the grammar is quite good (at least good enough that I did not realize any problems), except one extremely disrupting quirk: The author has some serious problem with the usage of names and pronouns. How bad it is different for different chapters (I think it is hardly noticeable at first, is worst around chapter 8 or 9 and gets better later while still making some passages very hard to read).

Carn Online: Second Chances

another time travel, but well written

So, another story with the protagonist travelling back in time to play the game that decides the world. There have been so many of them that it is hard to create another one that is not totally boring.

But I think this story managed it make it quite enjoyable to read.

One aspect is that the protagonist does not magically remember all the little details of the game, but only some of them. This makes it feel much more real. (It's of course still quite unrealistic, and it is more talking about not remembering the details than actually missing them, but it manages suspension of disbelief quite well for me).

While some characters might be a bit over-accented, they feel much more like a real team than the other back-in-time stories I have read which are more like the protagonist and some support staff without real characteristics.

And last but still quite important it is quite well written.


Power Up

You might want to skip the first 4 or 5 chapters.

A piece for warning first: If you decide to read this story, you might want to protect your sanity by jumping over the first four chapters (or even the first five). (Except if you like to laugh at absurd back-stories how some party ended up within a computer and if you have much sanity to spare (and I mean much)).

If ignoring the first 5 chapters, what I miss most in this story are believable characters. The characters feel so one dimensional as if someone created them by looking at the description of the role within a cRPG-party and created characters from them. Forcing the beserker to force playing the healer and the scientist the beserker and filling the role of rouge with a squirrel has some potential but this growth potential only increases the feeling of how little of a character there is.

There is little story so far. The first four chapters have some story, but as I think it would be better without, they count with a negative value in my eyes.

Unlike with the content and the characters, I didn't realize any problems with the grammar. I might have only been to distracted, though.

YMMV, and if there was a possibility to write a review without giving a score I might have done so with this one in the hope there are others that can enjoy the story. But this is what I think is a fair score for it.


The Scourged Earth

nice world building, but low quality writing

If you are interested in apocalypse litrpg stories, then this is a must read for the world-building, especially the unique and innovative mechanics used in it. The story is also not bad.

Sadly the writing does not match the ingenuity of the mechanics at all. The low quality of the writing make it quite an exhausting read and reading it as web-serial will not be fun unless the world you are burning with enough passion. Without enough passion for the story to have all the previous chapters memories or managing to be immersed into each chapter starting from the first line, the inconsistent ways to refer to characters alone will make you stop reading almost instantly when trying to resume reading later (like after waiting for the next chapter).


The Forest Spirit who sought the Gods

I don't know what to say about starting with 4 "chapters" of pure data dumping. It's better than adding data dumps to actual chapters, I guess. At least easy to skip.

If you plan to read this, I hope you do not care for spurious commas. Otherwise welcome to hell. The author seems incapable to write more than four words without adding a comma.


The Bratislava Intruder

Bad grammar, mostly only direct speech.

Bad grammar and consisting mostly out of direct speech. Unless you do not care about either, don't waste your time. (Though it has nice images, though the style of the images feels strangely familar).


My Farm Within

perfect imitation of a low quality asian webnovel

Consists almost entirely of direct speach: check

Hardly any paragraph having more than one sentence: check

One-dimensional characters (if any characters at all): check

Contains displays ("blue boxes") without any formatting: check

No mechanics not seen hundreds of times before: check

At least the grammar is not too bad (at least for the low RRL standards).

It might get better later on, but I could not stand more than the first dozen chapters.

If you are into this kind of work, you might be able to enjoy it. Otherwise, don't waste your time on it.