I was a little iffy on the story at first. The prologue was a mixed bag and I wasn't really sure how to feel about how it was written, but it is listend as optional so I didn't give it much weight. The following chapters helped me clear up my feelings on this series and matched the not so serious tone much better than the origin story of everything.
Style - I enjoy the occasional present tense story and I think Rolling Stone did it well enough. However, there are some parts that just don't flow that well/feels a bit awkward. However, I really ended up enjoying the light tone of the story and how simple the writing was. It borders on a little dry sometimes with the strong 'tell' approach, but it keeps things moving with events.
Story - For a litRPG monster progression story, it's not anything completely original so far, but it has a lot of sprinkles of goodness here and there. Parnter adds a great dynamic to the usual boring leveling up alone thing, so that's great. The Universum is also interesting. It's the system and most of the intruigue comes from Partner's knowledge of it and his warnings, and the prologue. The story takes a few unexpected turns and seems to be shaping up for good future events.
Grammar - Some issues here and there with a missed word or letter. Occasional awkward sentences or paragraphs. The tense sometimes just feels off. A bit of editing and it's fixed so not a big issue.
Character - So far, Stone is a stone and I like how simple he is. He's not really interested in anything until Partner pushes him. Their dynamic is great. Partner is the straightman with a goal and aspirations and he's forced to drag along Stone who has only ever known how to do nothing. Stone is starting to grow a personality and that'll shake up their interactions a bit.
Overall, It's a very fun read once you get a chapter or two into it. The characters don't have much depth so far but it's still early on in the story. One of the coolest things, and something I thought was funny too, was when Stone would basically call for the 'system' and a stone tablet would appear.
Style - 3.5/5
While I don't mind the amount of telling, there's a little too much. While I'll bring this back up in the story section, the switch from current events to a character's backstory happens a little too often and disrupts the flow of reading. A few things are repeated when they don't need to be such as when the word, 'direction', was used three times in three consecutive sentences.
Grammar - 3/5
There are a few missing words here and there and a couple of tense switches in the middle of the chapter. It's a little jarring but with a bit of editing it shouldn't be a big problem.
Present tense is fine and so is past tense but sticking with one makes things easier to read and follow. Switching to present tense to show a character thinking or when a character is talking is the way to do it.
Story - 4/5
The story was actually intriguing and I liked how things started. The cast was introduced quick and we were thrown into the action. There are a few problems and that revolves around the characters giving their backstories at the start of new chapters. It slows the pacing down to a crawl and doesn't leave much room for the readers to learn about the characters. It tells us about them but it'd be so much better if we got hints about Joe's past, making us interested in learning about him as a person.
I will admit that I do kinda like how the characters tell us about themselves, since it gives the story a distinct feel, but like I said, it slows the pacing and reveals too much about the characters that we could find out organically.
Characters - 4/5
They're interesting and fun. They've got their interactions with each other that are defined, showing how long they've worked together and how close they are. It's interesting that Mark and Skip are working together since they're related and also cool that Skip is hiding something from his father. Makes for good future conflict. However, like I stated in the story, instead of telling us about their pasts, the story would be better off just giving the character more screen time and slowly reveal their past in future chapters.
Overall - 4/5
Biggest issue lies in the grammar and style of the story. The ideas are good, it's just the little things that add up that hurts PSI Mercs. Fix the grammar issues, do a little rearranging, and I see a bright future for this fiction.
Just like the title said. The first few chapters are some of my favorite so far. Nothing gets me more into a story than a character whose thoughts seep into their descriptions, their actions, and their words.
I love that the author chose to go with a first person perspective even though it's not as common. It really lets us as readers sympathize with Lucas and understand the choice to tell a story of a person with aspergers. I think that the first few chapters alone have enough charm to convince someone to give this series a chance.
The story is a little slow once something does actually happen which is something I'm mixed on. I liked the slow trodding pace of the first few chapters and while him waking up on the distant moon is a mystery as well, it didn't feel quite as compelling to me. The mini-journal/diary entry might actually be the source of my problems. I liked them but I think their placement in the story should be reconsidered. Or, instead of having them be so short, maybe have them be a little longer? <-- this unfortunately isn't something I can find a solution around since they seem important.
There were a few grammar mistakes but nothing too big.
I'm just going to gush about how much I liked the style here one more time. Maybe I just really like first person stories, but it felt so refreshing to read. It's like one of those good days where things that are a bit mundane seem a little more exciting.
Also, Iris is a fun character. I liked seeing her and hearing about her theories and stuff. It's great to see Lucas contrasted against characters like her and Steve.
Overall - It's an enjoyable read with great things going for it. It's entertaining while at the same time it sets a solid tone that gets jumbled and twisted once he finds himself on the distant moon. And just in case it wasn't clear, give this series a shot.
Even at the time of this review, I'm not entirely sure if Otto is completely alright but it does make for some interesting first few chapters.
Style - Diagloue and descriptions are a bit too short. If there was a little more sprinkled here and there I think it would help a lot without taking away what I like. What I did like about the style was its simplicity and how easy it was to just come back to it without having to reread.
I think there should be more space between characters talking or if a character is speaking, make sure its all put together instead of being spaced out.
Grammar - I didn't see major mistakes but there were a couple scattered here and there. Just another editing pass should do the trick.
Story - It has an interesting start and he goes out into the world soon enough. The magic is very unique, probably the most unique one I've seen. The explaination for it is simple but the application seems complicated. The story is still in its early phases from when I'm reviewing this and the world is just starting to open up.
Character - This is a love or hate kind of thing. I thought Otto was weird and still kind of think he is but he carried the first few chapters well enough and I got used to him. It's not so bad when a character is goofy every now and then. The book is interesting too but I'm still not sure if Otto's just crazy or whatnot.
Overall - I think its worth a shot. The magic is something to think about and Otto's antics can be endearing.
Style: It's pretty well done for the most part. The author does a good job of injecting character voice into the descriptions and the narrative. The only issue is that I wasn't particularly moved by the detail of places and characters.
Grammar: It's good. I didn't see any major mistakes or see anything that made me have to stop and reread.
Story: It's very comedic and silly. Lots of light-hearted fun to be had here and MERTICORE is a cool system. I wish it was explained a bit more or that the MC would expand how he tried using it.
Character: The MC just seems a little too slapstick at times but it's fine because this is a comedic story after all. The sisters, Nicole and Mary, seem a bit out of their depth but maybe that's just because Memelord is too powerful.
Overall: I liked it. It was fun and worth giving a try. We need more funny novels like this.
Style 4/5 - The writing is easy to follow and mostly flows. There are some missteps with word variation but it's not a big issue. I really like how the 'system' boxes are set up. They're easy to follow and it's not just a huge mind flood.
Grammar 4.5/5 - Only some mistakes like a missing letter at the end of a word. It's good enough to not impede anyone reading and there seem to be less mistakes in the newer chapters.
Story 4.5/5 - It's interesting right from the start with the vials and the doors. The A.I. in his head is a differnt take. It reminded me of the movie "Upgrade" and I got those vibes from their first interactions too. I'm confident that this will end better than that movie though. Things aren't really explained until the fifth chapter but it's entertaining enough until then.
Characters 4/5 - There didn't seem to be too much to Jarek's character but he works for the most part. The situation didn't really allow for us to be shown much of his personality. The A.I., Samantha, on the other hand, starts off fairly fun and I'm curious to how she'll develop.
Overall 4/5 - Worth a read. The dynamic between Jarek and Samantha seems like it'll really hit its stride in the coming chapters and the system boxes are easy to read and digest.
Also, at the time of this review, this story is on the fourth page of best rated so I mean it when I say it'll really shoot up there soon.
Style 5/5 - Everything reads very smoothly, flowing well from one scene to the other. The imagery is strong and vivid but never outstays its welcome or is prioritized over the pacing.
Story 5/5 - Speaking of pacing, the average chapter length for the chapters I read were under the 2k word range. The lower word count, combined with the smooth writing, keeps the story moving at a pace where interesting events are always coming one right after another.
Grammar 5/5 - The chapters are well edited and there were no mistakes I could find while being pulled along by the story.
Charaters 5/5 - The author has done a great job making Carina someone we can root for. Her circumstances suck, her family sucks, her future sucks, but she's always striving to change things. Carina is a very active character. Even in the prologue she's doing something.
The characters felt very real, or if you don't like hearing that, they were tons of fun to read. Maura/Carina's mother and half-siblings immediately have their relationship with her established, upon their appearance, through their rough interactions. Because of this, all their actions can easily be thrown under the scope so the reader can deduce their intentions.
Overall 5/5 - Very strong start and it keeps rolling with it for the chapters I've read. Don't miss out on this one, whether you like female leads or not, it's 100% worth your time. The only reason I can think of for why someone would not pick this up is because of the warning in the summary. Still, even considering that, I don't know why this isn't more popular.
The story is still developing but it's interesting. The prologue caught my attention right away. It's a little vague but really hits on the Buddhist and Hindu philosophies this is based around.
The plot follows our MC as they're reincarnated into a weak caterpillar and they have to try to survive the harsh world they live in. The system is done well, easy to understand and not too much of it. I also appreciate the 'spoilers' at the end of the chapters that shows the current status of the MC. While I haven't studied the philosophies this was based around much, it'll be cool to see how karma and the like play into the story.
Also, there's another character we follow who has his own challenges trying to build a home.
The grammar is pretty good and doesn't take away from the story. I'd say read it even if you aren't looking for a reincarnation or system story as it has strong beginnings.
The story did not disappoint. It was a bit difficult to grasp where everything was and what was happening at first but there's enough information given to readers that allows them to make sense of the important things. This creates a lot of
First of all, I'm a bit jealous. It flows well and keeps the story moving at all times. The way things are described and how characters talk sets a strong mood and atmosphere. It's fun to read while not being difficult. The narration also is very intertwined with the characters, showing their inner wants and the like while always slipping in more information.
Things are quite dark, not grimdark, but dark. Mora is a Lady of Death and with her, she brings death (self explaintory, I know, but I had to say it). Illness and death is just a part of life and this novel makes sure not to shy away from it.
There is a sweet romance that blooms rather quickly but there's a lot of monkey wrenches that seem to threaten it. At the time I'm reviewing this, there's not an obvious direction for the story to go but I appreciate its slower burn.
Yes, I know I spelled it wrong. The grammar is good. There are a few small mistakes here and there and a few awkward sentences, mostly because of their length, but it doesn't detract from the story.
The characters are good. I would rate this section higher but it's been a bit dominated by the male lead, Pierre, so far. A little bit more focus on the female lead, Liz, or Mora, would easily fix any problems I might have.
TL;DR: It's different from a lot of the other things on this site and its pretty good. If you're looking for an interesting romance with a well done world, then this is for you.
Although this is a 4 star review, I do plan to point out a few things I didn't particularly enjoy or thought could've been done better. Anyways, let's get on with it. As most RRL reviews, I won't hesitate to be subjective (Yes, that was a slight bash against some RRL reviews).
The style - I have a few problems here such as the lack of details given about the surroundings. Perhaps I may have accidentally missed them but I was often left without any solid foundation on which to base my imagination. Of course, the general feel of the story guided my image of the places somewhat but I would’ve preferred some more details.
Something that’s quite good, something that I have trouble with, was how the author always adds in a little something to the dialogue. Instead of talking heads,
“Hi” he said
“Hi” she said
The author never failed to add in a little more spice into those conversations.
Oh, and another thing about the conversations, they always felt like they had life in them. The cheeky characters, have cheeky dialogue. The annoying characters, say annoying things. Most of the text is talking so it’s a good thing it’s done well.
But, here come a few gripes from me again. I personally felt like many of the chapters were a tad too long. It was difficult to maintain focus on the chapter as I wondered about how long I had been scrolling. The chapters are basically all over 5k words from at least chapter 1 to 16, which is as far as I read. I will admit that I skimmed just a paragraph or two every once in awhile which could be the reason why I might not have gotten the details of the cities and stuff… A plus side to this, is of course that not a single chapter felt like it was deprived of content. Though, that doesn’t mean that things couldn’t have been cut out. Condensing earlier chapters could have helped the momentum of the story. My eyes and brain didn’t fail to notice how masculine the main male character was as I was reminded again and again throughout the female MC’s various thoughts about him… It’s not a big problem as it goes away later so nothing that bad. It was just a little repetitive, though I assume the problem wouldn’t have been so big if I read the fiction weekly rather than binging it.
Story - The world of Of Astral and Umbral, is great, it’s huge! The world isn’t explained all at once and neither are the traditions and workings of any single place, so I was left a little bit confused but I enjoyed it because it felt like an actual world. In usual fantasy settings, there’s usually a taboo here and there or something like that but in Of Astral and Umbral, it extends into traditions, culture, laws, etc. It really feels like the characters are living in an already established world. This, I give a thumbs up. But, of course, with a world this large, the early chapters were a bit hard to digest with the multiple levels of gods, monsters, talking dragons, types of mages, etc. The only problem I really have with this aspect is that we, the audience, have no real gauge of strength between characters. Is a demigod able to compete with a lower god? How strong is a Dux class beast really considering the amount of times we see them defeated without a problem? I can understand that they’re strong because other characters comment on it but I have yet to actually see its strength.
The main conflict isn’t entirely clear, as of chapter 16 ofc, but it often results in the two main characters constantly testing the waters. It’s a bit frustrating with the slow pace as they refuse to communicate but isn’t too bad since it makes sense with some of the established rules and the personalities of the characters. The actions of some of the gods being kept secret also leave a few interesting points to explore.
Grammar - The easiest part. It’s perfectly fine. Nicely done. Pat on the back.
Characters - Oh my favorite part!
Let’s start with the character we spend the most time with.
Arianna. She’s an interesting female protagonist. She’s strong, hotheaded, self confident, seclusive, but is overall a seemingly decent person, despite her constant threats to kill people. She’s family focused and would do anything to protect her brother despite how much he annoys her, and sometimes the audience. Her past is revealed early on, but a huge mystery surrounds her. Her personality is very different from what I’m used to seeing on RRL as she takes on the brooder role that often the males have but is also snarky and doesn’t back down from anything. Arianna also is lot more open to flirting. Considering it’s natural for people to enjoy flirting and such, I found it a bit jarring when reading about her interactions with the male protagonist. Her usual cool personality tends to feel a bit overshadowed by her constant blushing and admiration of the male protagonist’s features. I won’t deny that there are many valid reasons for her to be like that, one being that the male protagonist is a Incubus, but I still found it to be hurting her character more than it helped.
Darius. He’s the brother of Arianna and totally annoying but hilarious in a way. I never found myself wishing he’d stop acting as he did since I found it funny, since his attitude felt very much true to that of a sibling and that gives him a little boost. He’s extremely childish but those traits give me lots of hope for him in the future. His potential to grow is ridiculous.
Nalithor. The male protagonist who is an Incubus and a god. I very much prefer to see the story through the eyes of Nalithor, not because Arianna is uninteresting but because whenever he interacts with Arianna, he’s always flirting. I’m not to the part where I can say that there is only one true main character, so I still hold onto the belief that both of their perspectives are equal, just that one is used more than the other.
I think that when the characters get past the flirting bits are when they are at their best. I was enjoying the writing of the story and that’s what kept me going until chapter 16. Although my focus in stories is usually the characters and they’re what keep me reading, I never really felt a connection until the revelations of chapter 16. After reading that chapter, something just clicked. The chapter had a strong feeling and kept that atmosphere throughout the chapter. When I finished, I just thought, “Wow. Now that’s a payoff.” Looking back on it, I feel like that’s when the story really started to hit its stride. I read a bit of the next chapter, and all the characters just felt different to me. The things revealed in chapter 16 just lent a whole load of depth to the characters and I was shaking a bit after reading it.
I guess I just really admire it when an author is able to bring a character to life.
Overall, although I found it hard to get through some parts of the story as the beginning was a bit slow and it relies heavily on conversations to pull the story through, it’s truly unlike anything I’ve read on RRL. Chapter 10 is when the fiction starts to feel a bit different and chapter 16 just brings it home.
If you’re looking for a romance where both parties are equal in the relationship and it doesn’t feel like one is the “alpha” or a large world with tons of things happening or great banter, writing, flow, secrets, characters that are interesting, I’d recommend this.
I honestly didn’t know if I liked it that much in the middle of 1-16 but, as I have said before, I enjoyed it in the end (chapter 16).