Rip Current

Rip Current - A Fitting Title!

Story: Right off the bat, I want to say that I'm really enjoying this one. It's easy to step right into the rocky seaside town's gritty frontier-meets-mechanization atmosphere.

Irian, the MC, needs work to help out his impoverished family. This has him away from home for the first time, and it's a rough introduction for him in many ways. His meeting with his new boss comes as a shock - the first of several, not the least of which is the nature of his newly beginning apprenticeship.

Characters: There are several perspectives but Irian's POV predominates. His new job triggers a wild learning curve (for him and the reader) one that has him questioning his worth and motivations. There are quite a few characters but I didn't feel crowded. Tarn is the most prominent, so far. He provides a sharp contrast to the MC, but all the players have their place in the story, more (or less) fleshed out to bring Irian's personality, inner, and outer conflicts to the fore.

Style: It's a little rough around the edges, but it's first draft, so that's not surprising. I got a good feel for Irian's initial innocence and a start on what he's up against in the first chapter without feeling buried in backstory. The dialogue is good, the prose descriptive - the switching between superficial living and deeper reality mirrors the rise and fall of tension in the story. It kept me turning the pages. The struggles of the tale quickly emerge and grow to several points of tension in just the first few chapters.

On the technical side, paragraph layout could use some work. I realize that some of it is done the way it is for effect, but there are few spots where it could be tightened. This, and a little more attention to repetitive word use, would shine things up to match where the author already hits his potential.

Grammar: The odd misplaced comma or full stop is all I came across, not that I'm an expert or anything.

Overall, Rip Tide is a unique find on Royal Road. Irian finds himself in an incredible situation and I'm looking forward to reading it all!

The Gambit

An Archaic World of Magic

This is a plot/world-centered story, with a maze of influencing Gods, royal families, alliances, and antagonisms - not something that can be skimmed. Note that Chapter - Lure is a glossary.

In short, the deities, called Primals, affect some of the characters by imbuing them with magical traits. While royal standing often is an advantage, these traits can allow people of low birth to compete in various ways. They can also bring trouble and I won't say more on this.

The prologue is intriguing and helps to set the tone. The first chapter moves to the first of several protagonists, the Ducal Prince, Richard. His point of view is presented, then we're off to the next chapter to meet a new protagonist and a new perspective.

This pattern repeats. While the characters are somewhat fleshed out, they serve more as vehicles to put the political/religious world-building across, which is quite complicated.

The style is evocative and atmospheric but tends more to exposition than dialogue to tell the tale, so far. The glossary is a big help, but there are still some obscure word choices and usages. While it might add somewhat to the "days of old' feel, it seems a bit much, given how complex the narrative is already.

There are a few 'out of time' words or phrases, and things are over-explained here and there, but generally, the prose flows decently.

There are punctuation errors, and sentence structure is awkward or incorrect, at times. Tense slips are infrequent. The author does state that English is a second language, so I'm assuming this accounts for the difficulties.

For those who enjoy alternative historical flavor and machinations, along with a unique approach, The Gambit might be just what you're looking for.

For Irision - Book One Complete!

Story: Told from the viewpoint of Aries, (Arie, for short) who, along with her crew-mates, is struggling with trauma, disgrace, and disillusionment after a disastrous mission. An abrupt about-face by her superiors has Arie confused, but she's not in a position to question the unexpected changes thrown in her path. This, and the way events are revealed, keep the tension wound tight and the pages turning.

Characters: The MC's history deeply colors her personality and reactions, giving her a dark, tense side. The supporting characters are reasonably fleshed out but a little more physical description would add depth. Of course, this is an early review so I might be pushing a little fast. The emotional ties between the crew-mates come through strongly and this holds promise for development.

Style: The premise is engaging and led me to read more, as did the pacing. The tech is intriguing and brings an element of duality that I really can't say more about. :) And even though the setting begins with a training school, it has a gritty appeal.

Without going into spoilers, there are two kinds of dialogue in this story. For one of them, I can go with the unconventional format. But for the other, the dialogue tags need some work or, for a simpler fix, full stops could stand to be replaced with commas. My brain is trained to a standard and I found it hard to get used to the difference.

Also, the way dialogue is placed on separate lines, rather than forming a paragraph with the speaker's thoughts or actions, had me losing track - easy enough to fix. A little more attention to sentence structure and variation in word choice would help, too.

Grammar: There are some miss-spellings, incorrect word usages, and the odd tense slip. I don't consider them deal-breakers - since this is a write-a-thon challenge entry, fast posting is of the essence, and edits will come along.

All around, 'For Irision' hits the dystopian space opera spot square, and I'm betting it'll take right off!

Heroes of Errand

Story: It's a well thought out tale, full of magic, fantasy beings, beasts and, of course, the protagonists.

The supernaturally gifted beings are gathered by a tavern owner to form a hired crew, and they're ready to tackle the trials and tribulations that are the meat and potatoes of the table top scene.

The team makes a gruesome discovery and is thrown into a quest right out of the gate, so there's no waiting around for the excitement to start. This is what kept me pulled in, wanting to know what's next.

Characters: I don't want to take away from the prologue, so quickly, here they are.

Gene is the MC, human, a calm, contemplative monk and leader of the crew.

Kira, a law-respecting halfling ranger, is handy with a bow, and Fern, is another half-elf who can shapeshift himself into various animals.

The Wizard is a rather vain lady named Meowlynn, but watch out - she has some tricks up her sleeve.

A sudden addition to the group is a wood elf named Ciylia, and I won't spoil how she came to join the crew.

Rounding the group out - and frequently saving the protags' skins! - is Aliya, a devoted cleric and healer.

All together, they add the believable factor, with their strengths, weaknesses, good calls, and not-so-hot ones.

Grammar: The author has done a lot of work in improving the story. As I've read on, I can see the difference in grammar, flow, and structure chapter by chapter.

In this, the Heroes of Errand is a work-in-progress. The author's ongoing aim is to write better and he's pulling it off!


Definitely Not Your Typical LitRPG!

This story really gets into the characters, and because of this, the work stands strong whether I look at with or without the LitRPG elements.
A unique approach and one I'm very much enjoying. The style is immersive - I fall right into it! The tempo fits the tale and the interest is kept high. Great action and some really odd characters, too. Minor grammar issues don't take away from the whole. All in all, a well -crafted fantasy adventure.

One Septendecillion Brass Doorknobs

The characters are introduced slowly, but they show their quirks, if not their personalities early, By Chapter Nine, several have only just arrived - in a van - so I can't really say much here - except there's a strong hint that there's going to be some action!
So far there's more exposition than dialogue, but
the British - flavored absurdist twists and puns keep it entertaining
Grammar is pretty good, only a few spelling and tense glitches, nothing too distracting.
Note that EU style of hyphens is used for dialogue.
I'm not used to this and I found it a little difficult to make out which character was saying what, at times. Extra line spacing might help there.
A mystery full of odd-ball protagonists. missing things, well-warped science, and, sometimes, even warpier psychology, true to Douglas Adam's legacy.

Stampede! Legend of a Magical Space Cowboy

A LitRPG blender full of genres and tropes? You Bet!

The story begins with two main characters, a young cowboy abductee, and an alien abductor, who's tasked with educating him for quite a special project. The abductee, however, often has his own ideas ... And therein lies the appeal.

The game element is really well done, and the strategy is, without a doubt, well researched. This goes for the background scenarios too, with just the right mixture of magic and science and more magic, then mana, to get to get to point - winning! Er, learning. Oh, heck - both!

Why read this? If you're into gamelit, you'll get your fix. Fantasy? Sci-fi - ditto! The genre overlaps add a ton of interest - and laughs!

The style holds up a pretty good. The pace moves at a healthy clip, although, in a few spots the POV's are hard to make out.  A little confusing and caught me off guard but I soon got the hang of it. All good.

The grammar is pretty fair. I only have one issue and it's not a deal breaker. Sometimes the tense jumps around, but other than that, the writing is solid. All in all, worth the read.

When Philosophers Cry – A Super Villainess Story

The teenaged MC, alias, Lure, has made the decision - to be a villainess instead of a superhero. But soon enough she, and her best friend, find themselves in hot water.

It's a little early to tell, with only five chapters in, but so far this is a fast-moving story that delivers a lot of action, unexpected changes, and shake-ups. I'm betting this pace will keep up.

The superheroes vs villains/villainess theme and game level-like background work well. The powers and motivations of the characters are quite varied and interesting.

The opening is a little confusing. The author has posted a glossary. I would have found it better if it was posted first for context.

The author makes it clear that English is the second language and is working hard to improve on grammar, welcoming suggestions in the comments, and making good use of them.


Into things psychic? Here's your story!

I can see already that the parapsychological elements are woven into the contemporary British scenario with skill. It's all so believable. The story quickly reaches well beyond the typical superficial teenage ideas and concerns ... no cardboard cutouts here. Personalities come out fast, full, and distinct from one another. Conflicts, both the MC's, Jessa's, inner ones, and those between the characters, are authentic and compelling - and are beginning to get downright creepy in places.

There are a few shocks and mysterious events early on, hinting at the pacing to come, but that isn't all. As the seemingly squeaky clean backdrop unfolds, elements of things dark, sinister, are suddenly at the edges of being revealed.

The author's writing style is clear, consistent and it pulled me right along - with some unexpected jumps! Don't let the middle-school setting fool you. While Psy is tagged for the YA audience, I'm betting it'll please the general one too.

PS - the grammar is good!

Tales of the Terrace Republic

After the promise of the prologue, the story introduces the main characters, nestled within the peace-time military setting, revealed slice-of-life style. True to the genre, the armed forces hierarchy, the realities of space, space travel, and the technology that make the future possible - are woven into the backdrop of the tale. As the natures and habits of the characters unfold, shady, grimmer, darker undersides begin to slide into the matrix. Things aren't quite as they first appear. At this point, Phil Murphy isn't aware that his new post is about to show itself for what it is - a lot more than he bargained for!

This is a new WIP, so I'm sure editing is also ongoing. Grammar and clarity are good! The plot is only beginning to take aim at the time of this review, so I've held off on the full monty. So far, it's a winner and I'm looking forward to more.