ArthurScott

ArthurScott

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Discidium

The dead never stay dead anymore...

I GREW UP WATCHING A LOT of anime series and films -- so much that I often lost sleep. There's just something so surreal and fascinating about the style that's not easily definable. Discidium takes me back to that feeling I seldom encounter nowadays; everything is just so cliche and overdone, but this book steers things in a solid direction. Graffiti creates a world where fantasy and horror collide in a somewhat dreampunk manner. Evil and good face off, characters suffer, and conflict stirs. These are the elements that every story should exhibit.

I started this story unsure of what to think and eventually found myself invested in the atmosphere; it's like the author shoots you from a cannon into a well-crafted dream, if not a nightmare. 

With these in mind, I found no difficulty in scoring it. 

STYLE - 5/5

The prose follows a densely layered cake of description; it's sweet and easy to digest. The attention to scenes is solid: the author knows when and what to say with each action, following a cinematic flow. We experience the atmosphere as Alka sees it, even though it is told from a third-person perspective. And what's perhaps most significant is the way in which the story progression keeps a consistent flow with the descriptions of scenery. There aren't any jarring pauses that take the reader out of the immersion, and there aren't moments where the story loses its momentum. None that I can see.

My only issue with the style, which shares a close relationship with the grammar, would be the repetition of some adjectives, particularly dealing with human characteristics. Eyes, hair, and skin are often delineated using "colored" adjectives: "Black-colored/red-haired/blue-eyed", etc. This is fine at first, but it eventually sticks out like a mirage in the middle of the Sahara desert. A diverse use of descriptive adjectives could help alleviate this problem and allow for the reader to refresh themselves every so often.

GRAMMAR - 4.5/5

Overall, the grammar isn't bad, but it could use editing, particularly the areas surrounding character interactions. When Alka speaks with Kylie, the dialogue is attached to a bulky layer of description, which disconnects the reader from the talk. This is why books often give each speaker a paragraph, dialogue, and a brief description of their mannerisms. The rest is put into a separate paragraph. Discidium has moments where the dialogue and description interlace.

Small, technical errors are often found: non-capitalisation of actions after dialogue, some clunky sentences that I'm sure the author corrected, and repetition. I'm glad the author opted to turn on suggested edits, so I didn't have to keep backtracking!

STORY - 5/5

Discidium follows the journey of the bloodshedding, ruthless assassin Alka, protecting her city from an apparent evil brought about by the corruption of a Burial Stone. Years have long passed since she opted for this position, and it left her battling this evil for a while, building up experience and a badass demeanour. Her powers allow her to fight off the darkness -- she is a Remnant. 

Now that sounds like a wild anime set-up! A dark fantasy immersion, if you will. It helps that each scene is easy to depict and almost cut from one image to the next through the transcendence of action. And as the plot thickens, when another Remnant arrives, we get to see the potential of her power truly, and that opens a door for evil to weaken and for good to triumph. She is the key!

CHARACTER 4.5/5

Alka is almost like Saitama from One Punch Man, though not nearly as strong. But she's strong enough to progress the plot and pose a threat to the antagonists, the origin of whom we are not exactly certain because it's only 70 pages deep. With time, we can see how she deals with the war between light and dark, good and evil, if not in some cases battling against her own kind. My only issue with the other characters would be that they don't really progress the plot as Alka does. Kylie is there as a "shoulder to cry on", so to speak. Yaya is mostly a conversation starter who only showcases Alka's traits more than anything else. It's like she's the only true character in the story, apart from Ash. I want the others to impact the plot a lot more because a lot of what they do and say doesn't influence the narrative. 

Ash is different: his villainous nature creates conflict from the onset and forms a sharp hook to catch the reader and reel them in. I want every character to have that form of impact, especially when they seem to be relevant to Alka. 

OVERALL - 5/5

While a little rough around the edges, it's still worthy of reading. The story feels so dreamy and anime-like that it's hard to ignore, and the action, pace, and MC are amazing starters. With time this story can flourish into something wonderful! I highly recommend this piece to fans of anime, dark fantasy, or dreampunk!


Ash and Bone

BEAUTIFUL PROSE THAT RUNS OUT OF STEAM!

I CANNOT WRITE a whole lot on this story because it's something I genuinely struggled to comprehend. But at the same time, I can admire the effort and time put into it, as evidenced by the descriptions and flow. Trust me when I say I tried to come up with stuff to discuss storywise, but the single most significant issue I have with this fiction is its lack of immersion – for me, at least. 

This is based on personal opinion and shouldn't dissuade anyone from giving this a look, because other people seem to enjoy it.

STYLE - 4/5

I'll begin with my least favourite of the categories. Stylistically, Ash and Bone is written to give the reader clear descriptions of actions, scenery, ideas, and backstory. This is an excellent style to have: it's slow but thought-provoking, leaves people engaged, and creates a pleasant atmosphere with which to progress the story. However, this very same style becomes a significant detriment to the story's pace; it runs out of steam quickly and resorts to reusing unique phrases that we already saw from the author.  I cannot wholly blame the author for this because I sometimes do that when I want to get things down. The style can easily be fixed by not depending on raw description to entrance the readers all the time. At first, it's nice and atmospheric, but it eventually becomes tiring to get through and reminds me that I'm just reading someone else's writing instead of immersing myself in a story. 

At times I'm just completely lost as to what's going on. I keep zoning out after a few paragraphs, and I'm not one to usually do that, so I can only imagine what this story will do to other readers. Whether that is because the prose is not investing enough or too slow is up for debate. Some readers will probably be able to get through it with relative ease, but not me. 

That said, the sentences' flow is immensely satisfying, which leads me to my next category.

GRAMMAR - 5/5

The grammar is generally good! There's a nice consistency (sometimes; I'll get to that) that showcases the author's ability to write freely. That's not to say there are no mistakes: there are moments where the author goes back and forth between punctuating dialogue correctly and incorrectly. Dialogue tags are often preceded by periods instead of commas, and commas often precede actions instead of periods. This inconsistency can be bothersome to more attentive and pedantic readers and can lead to them not even giving the story a try. This is also true with literary agents: they don't read anything with a typo on the first page. I noticed only one spelling mistake, and that was the use of 'quiver' instead of 'quaver'. So spelling is on par! The capitalisation of some words was sometimes inconsistent or incorrect. I didn't pay much notice to them, but they were obvious and understandable. Another error the author makes is the incorrect punctuation of its and it's. They typically use "it's" as the possessive, instead of "its". This is just something small. 

A pet peeve regarding the author's grammar: not using an en dash and/or em dash. The author tends to use the hyphen as a dash. And that really bothers me, LOL. 

In general, I recommend mastering the dialogue rules. The prose is in a good place now in terms of quality; I still think it could be cut down massively. And because of the overall accuracy of grammar, I decided on 5/5. I enjoy how the author sometimes removes commas in areas that typically take them. It increases the tempo and mood in a most artistic way. There were no comma splices, which was fine, but they can help quicken the prose's pace if need be. 

STORY - 4.5/5

I am sorry, but I cannot with great confidence summarise this serialisation thus far. I understand the action scenes, the discussion between some characters, but I was lost due to the writing style. It's definitely the most significant flaw for me, if not a complete hamartia. It would make me put the book down, but I can see others enjoying this with the same energy I put into other stories. So that shouldn't dissuade the readers. My problem was the pacing and the slow action scenes. The prose tends to keep to its roots all around, even during high-octane scenes, which leaves them less impactful than they should be. I'd recommend varied sentence length in these areas with a propensity for short lines. This makes things more exciting, easier to follow and gives it that sense of urgency. When something is long-winded, and the scene opposes that, it seems forced and stilted. 

CHARACTERS - 4.5/5

They all seem pretty similar in terms of language, which makes sense. People in a township tend to communicate with identical tongues. Some people could be less on the dramatic side of things; not everyone should steer towards fancy language, but then again, the author may have a purpose for it. Simultaneously, it can make it seem as though everyone is reading from a script, sounding stilted and such. There are pros and cons of this, but it's up to the author at the end of the day. I like the transition between the characters. It makes things clean and easier to follow. This is only the beginning of the story, so I can't speak much about the characterisation. Seventy pages aren't enough to characterise people fully, especially at slow paces. 

OVERALL - 4.5/5

Although this serialisation left me confused, it's still put together with much eclat. The world Ashenhand creates is both diverse and political in nature, if not profoundly satisfying to venture into. I feel the prose could be devised with more attention to pacing as opposed to the description. A nice balance between the show and tell of things would help circumvent this issue and appeal to more readers in the process. I highly recommend this to fans of Fantasy and Grimdark!


Aurora Scroll

DARKNESS AND SUFFERING are one and the same qualities that man has long endured throughout its ages. The trauma of such suffering can be found throughout our history from the likes of wars and differing cultures. In Aurora Scroll, Avery Light creates a world that is both familiar and disturbing, and the sharp depiction of human naturalism gives the story a surreal, dark-fantasy atmosphere.

Light has said that English is not their first language, and from reading you would hardly be able to tell. The prose is clean, simple, somewhat philosophical, and written with an attraction to all audiences across the board. This delineation of an alternate world is truly captivating and worthy of attention. 

With this in mind, some imperfections draw the reader away from the experience, if not by technical means, by story-related issues.

STYLE - 4/5

Stylistically, the story is written with a propensity for simplicity. From the start, we are shown a third-person narration that reads like old literature found from the shelves of libraries: literary, long-winded, and thought-provoking. This changes as the story unfolds, changing to a more Neil Gaiman, beige approach. Along with this, the POV of the characters changes frequently, and at random times, starting with Cain of Ur and finishing with someone else. To combat this issue there are separators (***) found throughout the story. But these come either too early or too late: they generally don't represent the switch, but instead a time-skip. This leaves the reader wondering the which POV the story is told from; this is especially evident in the later battle between Cain and Demetrus. It hollows the immersion and takes the reader away from the more important scenes. To fix this, I would suggest carefully focusing on each character's POV and telling everything from their eyes without seeming too forced (he saw [and] he heard). The aim of the story should be to make the reader forget they're reading at all, not to emphasise that they're living in a reality that cannot mirror the intricacies of fiction. 

There are also inconsistent switches between formal English and informal writing, which I found to be jarring. This is usually caused by a confusion of POV in characters; Cain of Ur using colloquial phrases, and at some times, divine language. 

By the same token, Light has a tendency to tell at the wrong times. By this I mean the characters' traits are told directly to the reader instead of leaving them to conceive their own opinion. This is especially the case with Cain of Ur, the supposed main character of this universe, and the driving force behind the plot. The "Show, don't tell" rule is often misrepresented in cases like this: show more than you tell. This rule can either break you or make you; the aim of telling is to convey a sense of pace, to create the scene, to expose the trials and tribulations of the stories, to invest the reader in the story, and to, above all else, make the reader slip into the pages. Showing is used to keep them in the pages; an easy way to know when to show and when to tell is to plan a scene, either by daydreaming or writing it down. Show the character's quirks, emotions, beliefs, hopes, dislikes, relationships, and so on; tell the background noise. This attention to prose will leave the reader invested, if not disturbed by another source of error, which leads me to the next category.

GRAMMAR - 4.5/5

Overall sentence flow and structure is fairly good. By reading, you would not be able to tell this story was written by a non-native speaker; there are only minor flaws that hinder the experience for both more attentive readers and pedants. The first is the incorrect dialogue punctuation: sentences that should end with commas, end with periods in places where it is incorrect. And vice versa. A mastering of punctuation is important for many readers: we want to see your display of English, your virtuoso in the craft, your attention to minor details and microscopic blunders in sentences. All this tells the reader that you care about quality, but that's not to be confused with perfectionism. Slip-ups will happen, and they can't be stopped; the only way to avoid this is to edit, again and again, get help from other writers and readers alike, and improve your mastery of English. When we get past all the errors that make us feel terrible, we find an improved version of ourselves. And that's perhaps all that matters in the end. 

Other areas, such as the inconsistent number spellings, hyphenated words, British and American variations of words, and occasional grammar mistakes, lead to hiccups in the story that are difficult to ignore for some readers. But considering the general good quality of the prose, it's nothing that a quick reread wouldn't fix. 

STORY - 4.5/5

As far as I've read, the story is quite unique. This new world is certainly more interesting than a lot of the others found on Royal Road, and the longer you read, the more complicated and wonderful it becomes. It made for a lot of actionable scenes, coated with a touch of dark atmosphere, and fantastical eerieness. Cain seems to encounter new and refreshing challenges in his way, suffering a "fatal wound" and showing "no sign of injury"; battling against others in the same universe; enduring cold winters and harsh climates. It's the small stuff that makes it all the more enjoyable. The pacing is quite slow at the start, especially where scenes are shown instead of told, even though they don't seem that important to the plot. I can't fault Light on this, because I, too, do this. It adds an air of mystery and realism to an otherwise dense plot. The structure of the plot follows a pattern similar to Stephen King novels: we have characters in difficult situations, they progress to handle them, and newer more challenging situations arise. This is a solid set-up to follow; it differs from a lot of the more teen fiction platforms: action, action, more action; it's nice to take breaks when needed . . . As long as they aren't overdone to the point of boredom, which really hasn't happened in this novel thus far. 

There are contrived moments, in my opinion. These likely stem from my unfamiliarity with power fantasy as a whole, but they didn't matter a whole lot in the long run. They simply make for a more exciting experience. 

As a side-note: I think the blurb of the book needs a rewrite, as it doesn't really offer anything to the story that readers will encounter. In this case, a dramatic depiction of the novel would best suit, and could then be followed by an excerpt relating to the said blurb. 

CHARACTERS - 4/5

As I've already mentioned, Cain's traits are simply told to the reader. They warranted mixed reactions from both me and some readers in the comments section. Nonetheless, the characters seem human, their dialogue isn't stilted, and their interactions feel genuine. I could best liken them to a cinematic introduction at the beginning of Netflix series: dramatic, somewhat comical, and realistic. This all adds to the air of authenticity that often goes unfound in a lot of stories, especially in web-novels. I enjoyed the interactions between all of them, the different ways in which they communicate, and the opinionatedness of their beliefs. My favourite would have to be Irene: her hot-headed attitude was a nice change from the regular, formal talkers earlier seen. She holds within her a drive that many others possess and may act as a catalyst for change in the community, an inspiration that will leave readers turning the pages, wondering with unease if she'll be okay in the end. Only due time will tell, as they say.

Cain's name-change, later on, seems confusing when brought up in scenes where he should identify as Cain. It may be the interlude-like cut to his other life that makes it strange, but it's something I was bothered by. 

Although this book left me bewildered at times, I would still rate it highly at around 4/5 (I would put 4.25 if I could). Many qualities make this story a gem on Royal Road: the brilliant atmosphere, the characters and action, the focus on politics, the excellent prose, and so on. But I feel the story could be devised more cleverly, following a faster pace that feels more like fantasy and less like horror. The darkness in which the story is portrayed may turn readers away, especially the gory moments. Cain is without a doubt an evil protagonist, and that's something to be warned of before entering. If morally grey characters are more in your alley then you will enjoy this story, if you look for the characterisation of good, then probably not. Fans of slow-burn novels may also enjoy this story; that is if the author doesn't quicken the pace, which will likely give it that more authentic feel. I highly recommend this book to fans of dark fantasy, horror, and LitRPGs.

 


Reboot Reality

Reboots dark fantasy, science fiction!

"Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis."

                   -- Martha N. Beck

THE GENERAL WAY in which a novel is written or composed should signify a concept or moral that bears significance to the reader or the modern world. Reboot Reality, although complex and derived of mostly spiritual and dark-fantasy elements, emphasises the trials and tribulations we -- as visceral creatures -- endure. The lesson I derive from this story is that the dichotomy between humans and animals is not as large as one might believe, so far as I've read and understood, with a quirky main character undergoing severe heartbreak, and a godlike being that represents, in essence, 'hope' itself. 

 

STYLE -- 4.5/5

While the style seemed rather facile in terms of delivery and effortless in terms of structure, I eventually came to believe that it made for a somewhat smooth experience; that is, however, when it sticks to what is true to the main character's perspective. From the very start, it seems to be a documentation of the character's experience with distress, a nightmarish undergoing, and an out-of-this-world journey. In spite of this -- or, rather, with that in mind -- I feel the dialogue of the main character is out of tone with the prose, which is a first-person experience. The hellish opening certainly engenders sympathy from me, but I believe it dies out as the story continues. A part of me wanted to see the character at least recall her former life: the tragedies. But she seems to completely forget. And if that's an important detail -- I hope it is! -- I expect it to tie into the ending and/or a vital part of the story. I know the character probably forgot a great deal of their beforelife, but since 'memory' is a huge theme to this story (at least, I think so) I'd expect her to look back and reflect more often because that would call forth a sense of humanity in a being that appears to be no more than an insect. How the author conveys emotion in the prose, I think, could be restructured to show humanity and thoughtfulness, instead of telling us that she likes to think. I enjoyed the humour at times, showcasing that there is some essence left in the creature. Another point to bring up is the overuse of the "Show, don't tell" rule. It is evident that the author is aware of this "rule", but it is taken far too seriously at times, to the point where it slows down the pace. This could be because I'm a fan of fast-paced thrillers, but the fact that no detail is overlooked is somewhat challenging. I don't mind skipping beats; it shortens chapters, makes things easier to understand and follow, and makes more sense. The character would want to tell a lot of what happened, especially if it's not significant. We do it all the time in real life. We don't pay attention to how we climbed the hill or how we walked to the store; we pay attention to the monster we saw when we got there. 

 

STORY -- 5/5

 

The story, in my opinion, is distinctive; the only similarities I can draw are that of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. The progression of the plot is slow (chapters are very long!) and the focus is primarily on the animal nature of the character. For a while, this is fine: it invites the reader to see everything from multiple viewpoints and to step into the shoes of another being entirely, whilst still pertaining to that of which cannot be mirrored in reality: the ability to transform or metamorphosise. I feel the study of human reaction to such an event is interesting because it's not something you'd see in the like modern-day novels or short stories. It does have that dark-fantasy element, which I love; the shift between depression and survival instinct is a good way to start a story. Despite this, I think the scene with Memory was very exaggerated, but it in no way took away from the experience. At times it was difficult to imagine. For example, when the author describes the scenery of some places, I wonder what exactly I'm imagining, where what is and how it looks. And even though it is mostly beige, I'd still like to know how important the details are to the story, like how the bugs and lifeforms are described before the main character devours them, or how the rainwater is described before we learn that is a weakness of theirs. How it ties into the story can make the difference between a good read and an amazing read. There was a nice twist at the start of the story, and that hooked me immediately. It would be nice to see those permeate the prose, though, not too much, of course. It's a great way to keep track of events! The only plot-holes I could find were subjective ones that I already mentioned: the character being completely unaffected by the deaths of her loved ones, the forgetfulness. These struck me as odd, but they didn't make me turn away from the story. After all, I did see a lot of potential!

 

To add to this, I was wondering if the post-apocalyptic world signified at the beginning would be significant to the plot. I'm not sure if that's the case. The main character's stay in a country house may just be back-info. It would be nice to see that element come up again!

 

GRAMMAR -- 3.5/5

 

This is likely my most harsh score because it was difficult for me to ignore the typos and grammatical errors throughout the story. There were a lot of areas where the author switches tense inconsistently. Now, switching tense in a first-person documentation is okay, as long as it allows the reader to gain an insight into how the speaker feels in the moment. But there are times where the prose switches from past to present in an untimely fashion, and it is jarring. I have pointed these moments out to the author; I'm sure they fixed them. Another issue is the placement of adverbs: the author tends to place adverbs after the verb. Example, though not from the book: "I found finally the ring at school." This is just slightly annoying! It's a simple fix, so I just hope the author pays closer attention to things like this in the future! There were also some spelling errors, which I've already pointed out. There's an inconsistency between American and British spelling as well: at times, the author uses the American variation of words, and at others, uses the British variations, sometimes with the same word! It is jarring to someone like me, who pays a lot of attention to small details. Grammarly tends to make incorrect spelling suggestions, and I did see some errors that Grammarly would make, such as "closeup" instead of "close up" or "underwater" instead of "under water". This is because Grammarly's default is set to recognise compound nouns as adverbs!

 

CHARACTERS -- 4.5/5

 

The characters were very well-written, although I still don't know the name of the main character. She is expressive and adventurous as the narrative unfolds, which is the complete antithesis of her former self. This is okay, but I'd at least like to see some semblance to the chapter-one main character. Memory is amazing! -- she acts how I expect a god to act: lively, humorous, somewhat human. It's nice to see a sense of humanity in a supposed omnipotent being. After all, it would be boring to have all that power and not use it, right? There's nothing else I can really say here that hasn't been said already. I'd just like more connection to the beginning; that is all. 

 

OVERALL -- 5/5

 

To wrap everything up in a suit and bow-tie, Reboot Reality is a virtuous, perhaps debut novel that pieces together the fractured portrait of someone's unreality. The way the character(s) interact with the world rings out to the human psyche through somewhat musical language, and I can't help but listen. It is how the MC emphasises the dichotomy between humans and insects, creatures of lesser descent, that fascinates me most. Perhaps because I like to see abstract, political messages in stories that are otherwise to-the-bone, or because I have a tendency to dive too deep into the 'how' and 'why' of stories. Nevertheless, there is a message I think that this story drives home: no matter how difficult the challenges of life may be, there is always a way around them; no matter how tall the mountain, there is a way to climb it; and no matter how depressed or down on yourself you might be, the sun always rises, even if it requires a complete reboot in reality!

 

“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

― Stephen King

 


Rising From the War of Fog

THE AIM OF ANY STORY is to get a point across to humanity, at least from my view. Rising From The War of Fog (forgive my dyslexia) tells of a vagrant wandering the monster-invested wastelands of bloodshed and humanitarian division. The ideas portrayed, which might not end for another four hundred pages -- if they do intend to reach that point -- are captivating and phantasmagorical, so far as I've read, with a main character that seems to dream of a life without struggle, and a cast so believable it will leave you wondering where the hell they came from.

The style is very simple to follow; told through short chapters, we get to see the action first-hand, the world which this enigmatic wanderer explores, and the creatures that inhabit it. The language itself is a perfect blend between beige and purple prose, not too descriptive to the point where it slows down the plot. Couple this with action, and you have a well-filmed movie-type story, cinematic and dreamy. Dark Fantasy? Definitely. I suppose what fascinated me most about this type of writing was the author's ability to never lose track or go off on a tangent; you can tell they're always telling you the truth, telling you exactly what happens and precisely how the characters react to it. I know author Neil Gaiman once wrote, "Write as honestly as you can," and I believe this author does just that. If you can have well-detailed paragraphs without meandering somewhere far, then you're doing something right. It immerses you and it sews the seeds of something quite wonderful. Dialogue is kept to a minimum in the beginning, showcasing the world and main character instead, which is divine. Starting with the event is always a good way to go about things, especially with the niche of web-novels nowadays. This style is rare and it is something mastered rather than inherited. Overall, this high-octane prose will keep you turning the pages till your fingertips chafe.  

The grammar is pretty much perfect; I will not dwell on the errors I've found, because it would be unfair of me -- or anyone -- to mark someone down for such little things when the overall prose reads like something you'd pick off a shelf. I didn't really stop at any points, so if you have a problem with the prose, you have a problem with literature as a whole. The vocabulary is diverse and will keep you refreshed for pages upon pages without being too complex or vague, and that's something every writer should strive for: clarity. With all the different advice given to writers nowadays, it's hard to know which way to go about things; in truth, there is no right way. There are so many different ways to write a story you'd be fooling yourself trying to copy someone else, and with that in mind, this story stands alone; a unique depiction of characters; a well-crafted look on destruction.

It's so interesting to ask one's self what they have to say, what they have to tell about society, about the world; and so many times, authors write with no voice on something. Let me tell you what this author has to say: War never changes, violence is inevitable, all of mankind is evil when under pressure, and survival always comes first.

The characters, I have not much to say about. Zelsys (try saying that name 5 times really fast) is a countrified survivor of the War of Fog. So far, she's my favourite, not because she's a badass, but because she's real. The same goes for how she interacts and how she thinks in certain conditions, especially in the opening chapters, where we know so little yet so much about her. That goes to show the author's ability to draw a character with nothing more than worldbuilding and reaction. That is some Stephen King level characterisation; only a few pages in!!! I suppose what's most interesting is the fact that we know she is accustomed to this world; it's not anything new. War never changes. Maybe we all share some comfort in believing that violence is a natural human reaction, and that the longer it presents itself, the less it affects you. We see it all the time: police at murder-scenes, autopsies, etc.. Desensitised is the word. Zelsys is desensitised. 

The story should speak for itself. I'm never too picky with storylines but I genuinely enjoyed this one, as new as it is. It shows raw potential not often seen online, or anywhere. If there's something we can all learn from this, it's the following: 

"Get a little rock and roll on the radio and go toward all the life there is with all the courage you can and all the belief you can muster. Be true, be brave, stand. All the rest is darkness.”
                                --- Stephen King, It

I can see this appealing to a large audience, diverse and cosmopolitan. I recommend this book strongly, not for where it stands -- even though that's a pretty darn good reason -- but for what it will be. In the end, that's what a story is all about.

 

 


The Cursed Witch (Book One)

CATELINE is a character that possesses many tropes found within humanity; but at the same time, she is unique. 

The role of women in the Elizabethan Era had resulted in a negative wave of social belief throughout the ages. Cateline, a morally grey sorceress, takes the reader on a journey that ties this theme to its tailgate and travels through a mystical portal of magic, envy, and perhaps dragons and acrimony. 

It had all begun in Denzethea, where two kingdoms collided under social justice and power. Cateline's character is well-developed and visceral in this setting. She is a master of ice (and other spells apparently) and likes the colour blue. This is a protagonist that shines brightly in the echos of hierarchy, and she divulges a plan to reach her full potential (and you know, stop bad stuff). 

The writing is almost perfect, with little errors scattered about. Grammar doesn't matter anyway.

The story reminds me of Eamon (Edward) de Valera's rise to power in 1932, where he promised an end to Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. Cateline's journey through magic is direct and hair-raising, keeping the reader on their toes. 

The style is the exact same as everything ever written ever, and that's okay, because style doesn't exist. It's prose, and nice. But I think the author uses grandiloquent words at times where smaller ones would suffice. But nobody cares about that. 

Mr Gaffney once said that he's a living legend, and that couldn't be more true in hammering down the plot of this story. Cateline is a legend you tell by embers under moonlight. She is the shadow you see at night, the spiral in the sky (or black hole), and Gecko's favourite character. 

The estranged right opposition in the story allows for a fantastic subplot and is one of the many reasons it's a page-turner (or mouse-scroller). Very well-written. 

The story is pepepapulonticulous in design, structure, and execution. I highly recommend this to Fantasy readers and Science Fiction writers.


The Courting of Life and Death

I have followed this author across multiple platforms and can say with confidence that this is someone to look into. 

Her mastery of English and storytelling allows for remarkable tales!

The style is easy to follow and powerful!

The grammar is perfect, and if you have any complaints, you seriously must be pickier than chimps at an auction for lice!

Characters are published quality; no complaints there. 

Check it out on Amazon! It's even better!


The Epic of the Atlas Dawn

WHEN I FIRST BEGAN reading this story, I wasn't expecting such an expertly done narrative, nor did I expect to be blown away by the action, which in itself was drawn together using narratively correct writing techniques. It follows more than just the main character, taking us from perspective to perspective naturally and coherently. Actually, I think Klay was outdone despite being the main juice! Hilarious!

The style isn't too simple, and I like that, although I can tell the author stopped at certain areas whilst writing, such as the purple patches of fancy descriptions and the big words. Nonetheless, they didn't bother me or hinder my experience. This definitely resembles many (if not all) of the elements an adventure book should have: well-presented action, witty characters, devilish monsters, and a herculean goal: becoming the Dauntless. If I had anything to compare the style to, it would be, as the title of the review suggests, Scott G. Mariani -- the vampire virtuoso. This is mostly because the action outweighs the talk, for the most part (there are scenes that have too much dialogue in my opinion). A stylistic choice that I believe took me away from the experience was the untimely flashbacks to eight years ago; they sorta presented themselves as a way to spin the wheels and leave you waiting . . . for too long, unfortunately. That's just me being picky, though, and I won't mark the author down for that, mostly because it seems to be essential to the story, and may paint the main character as a dreamer,

Spoiler: Spoiler

 When I talk about purple patches, I mean sentences that draw attention to themselves by being overly fancy; I do that myself for dramatic effect, though, I just thought I'd put that out there in case the author was not aware of its purpose in literature, which, by the way, can be seen from a lot of different viewpoints. 

The pacing was on point, not too fast nor too slow (except for the areas with flashbacks, which significantly slowed down the plot). I'm usually a fan of the slow-burn beginning, and although this wasn't slow by any means, it still immersed me quite easily. Fiction is, of course, all about how you present your ideas, but it has to make sense to you, whether that be through fast-paced action or slow narration ready to put you on a boat and send you whirling through an ocean festured with fantasy. This author presents it naturally and uniquely. 

In terms of grammar there were the intensely small mistakes that literally EVERYBODY makes on this site -- well, most writers. And that is the following: mixing up dialogue punctuation. So easy to fix, yet so irritating to do. One or two words were technically misused in a traditional sense, though, I can see where the confusion came from, what with Google describing the words themselves instead of proposing the context for which it should be used. A lot of words are that way, which is why I don't normally use the first pop-up on Google; instead, I look at the official sites for definitions. There are tense switches here and there, but mostly in the opening chapters, and I'm not sure if they were intentional in the prologue. They were certainly jarring, regardless; I won't mark the author down for that because the level of grammar outweighed the mistakes made, even whilst they may have been incorrect, it is important to take everything into account and not just the minor details. I can tell this work has been edited, whether that be by the author or someone else, and that's a good sign. It's ornate and easy to follow; but, and this is controversial, the writing seemed a little timid at times. By that I mean it really made sure not to make a mistake or miss a detail. When I already had the full image in my head, the extra tautologies just further emphasised it when unnecessary. Overall, it was very good, and a clear indicator of quality prose. 

The characters were one of my favourite features in the story, as they should be. Klay is a moron, which is shocking. Rarely do you see that type of character take the lead. As well as that, I felt he was outdone by all the other characters, who each felt more in sync with what was going on. Klay still seems too dreamy even after years and hasn't developed much, not in the ways I would expect anyway. Everything seems like a joke to him. And maybe that's the point, I don't know. Does it matter? Probably not. It just struck me as odd. As well as this, I found that the multi-POV was a great to tell the story, even if it took focus away from Klay. Now, I can't comment much on the characterisation since not much is supposed to happen in the first 100 pages of a novel with regards to that (we're supposed to get the know them before they change for the third rail), so I do hope Klay develops accordingly with the plot whilst becoming the Dauntless in the end -- not just nominally but in character, too. 

One might argue that the characters don't have enough description themselves, but to me, that's a stylistic element that even published writers use. I could still not tell you what colour the men in The Stand by Stephen King are; they could be green for all we know. Same goes for this story, and it doesn't matter, mostly because people create an image of a character before they even see them. We do it in real life, too, not just when reading. And isn't it funny how we're almost always right? Crazy. 

The story should probably go without saying: it's very good. It's believable, it's worth your time, it's precise. There's not much to go off of yet, but it sure seems to be turning into a thriller of sorts!

Overall, I highly recommend this piece to anyone interested in fast-paced fiction or adventure. Fans of Scott G. Mariani would love this work, especially from my experience with his books. Keep on!


Quest is not for sorceress

SOMEPLACE FAR, although I'm not sure how far exactly, there exists a sorceress amongst a compact seclusion of powerful people. Not unlike the dreamy characterisation of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter or the sharp attention to individuality of Stephen King, this story, I believe, pieces together a realistic portrait of love, politics, and mystery, bound together by a hint of magic. 

The style, as evidenced by the opening lines, is reminiscent of line-to-line literature, where the reader can easily follow the path of the characters whilst maintaining their own interpretation of how such descriptions shape the world. There are many reasons I think this story will go far: the pacing is impeccable and is shoehorned by the characters, leaving us with a deliberately fast-paced story, the characters are real, each possessing their own speech patterns and thoughts, and the worldbuilding follows a unique pattern that makes the reader drip into the ink of the pages. 

The story follows Mia, so far as I know or can tell, with a relationship with Edgar, and a morally grey attitude drifting off the screen to the reader's imagination. Cinematic storytelling, easy to read, and realistic, even for a fantasy. 

There were grammar mistakes, of course, but I will not mark the author down. Grammar is something mastered over a long time. I'm a dyslexic individual, and I can tell you, it takes a while to get used to. But something I noticed was that the flow of the story was very clean; you don't stumble on sentences as you would with incohesive stories, and that's something difficult to master even if you held within you the grammar and vocabulary to make George Orwell look like an amateur. Kudos to the author on that!

Overall, I highly recommend, not because it is great where it is, but because of how much greater it is going to become. Definitely receiving a follow and a favourite from me!


Occidendum

Men of shadows, hearts of gold!

Occidendum – a big word that means 'murder', but also a killer story. Nathan is a young man looking to follow in the footsteps of his father, Blithe, who is a highly skilled assassin. Even from just hearing that, one can immediately expect a story full of high-octane encounters, fights, and complex decision-making; and it delivers just that, along with a wonderfully written cast of characters. 

Right off the bat, the style is reminiscent of descriptive, to-the-point literature, taking the reader from paragraph to paragraph easily and appropriately. It helps particularly in pacing the story, which is so in the middle, neither too fast or too slow, the way prose should be, for the most part. However, the author knows when to switch it up, especially in the action scenes, of which there are many; it turns into a quick-paced adventure, leaving you on the edge of your seat. Not unlike the type of material you would find in published vampire federation novels such as Scott G. Mariani or Darren Shan, Occidendum stays true to its intended style. 

The story follows the adventure of a father and son dealing with the aftermath of a deceptive and treacherous company (Blithe, the father, is a member of said company) that works to assassinate people. Nathan, the protagonist, has to learn what it takes to be a master assassin, or hitman, if you will. This leads to a myriad of fight scenes, plot twists, and captivating interactions. For fans of vampire assassin novels, I would highly recommend this piece of fiction. Its so new, yet so delicate. 

The grammar is picture perfect to published works, though, my only suggestion would be to take care when inputting punctuation in dialogue. Sometimes the comma or capitlisation of words in dialogue is incorrect. Though, this is a small thing and didn't really hinder the experience for me. The prose itself was perfect. Another issue I would bring up is that the author tends to switch between spelling out numbers and using the digits (20 and twenty). It's okay to use digits for large numbers (2356 years ago), but things like small distances, age, and whatever else should be kept consistent. Typically, anything more than two numbers (seventy-one thousand eight hundred years ago) can be put in digits. That's just a preference of mine though. 

The characters, as I've already mentioned, are lovable, down-to-earth people that will leave you thinking they are actors from a famous cinematic film. Their actions are relatable whilst still maintaining individuality. Blithe is by far my favourite; he is so countrified and dowdy, but is still intelligent. Nathan is the follower, the one who hopes to learn from Blithe, and it's already evident pages into the book that that is his intention. Wherever they may go, I hope it is someplace good for the both of them, and I hope their actions play a huge role in the narrative. 

Overall, I highly recommend this story to fans of action and adventure; it will pull you in and have you turning the pages until the very end. Kudos to the author for such magnificent display of éclat!