TwelveGreatApes

TwelveGreatApes

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Fictions
Reviews
Awakening: Prodigy

Style

Clean and clear. It's generally a good mix of being easy to read without being overly complex. The quality of the writing is good, and it usually conveys the point well. Occasionally you'll find one of those sharp, well-put remarks in the narration which reveal the author's talent.

I'd say the only issue here is in the flow of the text, which can feel a bit uneven. Some sections of the story are really overly exposited, providing the reader with large amounts of information. While not necessarily a bad thing, this usually falls during more quiet moments, drawing out the sedate parts of the story longer than is probably necessary. Paradoxically the more exciting moments -and especially the action scenes- feel overly rushed. Here it would actually be better to space things out a little and give the audience time to absorb what is happening. Readers usually picture a scene at the same pace they read it at, so sometimes you need some extra padding to build the tension,

Story

The story starts off very strong, with a dark and atmospheric first chapter. It definitely caught my attention straight away. However after this the pacing does drop off, and as mentioned, the next fight goes by in a flash. Now I'm not someone who needs constant action to keep myself entertained, and I appreciate a dip in the story if it's building to something bigger. But these parts of the story stretch on for (I feel) too long, and some ruthless cutting in a future draft would help keep the sense of tension and threat.

The world-building seems really interesting so far, and you catch these little glimpses of depth that hint to a bigger world. The 'magic' system and the workings of the demon are well thought out and a joy to read. I only wish the exposition was spaced out over a longer period of time, as it can be a little much at times.

Grammar

Generally fine. Some mistakes, but nothing you wouldn't expect from a well drafted work that hasn't gone through an editor yet. My only real issue is that often dialogue is buried within a paragraph of text, where a new line would make it far clearer and easy to read.

Character

The strongest part of the book, in my opinion. They all feel genuinely real, and you can tell by reading that the author is a keen observer of people. The narration offers some good insights into the characters, often through little, evocative details that add to the bigger picture. It's also telling that the narration shifts slightly around the perspective of the point of view character -this is a hard thing to achieve, and really impressive to see.

Overall

I'd definitely recommend it, especially if you're a fan of the genre.

At the time of the review the story seems to be heading into a battle academy sort of direction, and I fully expect the blood and horror to keep on coming!


Flight of The Draykes

This is a really hard fiction to review, as the bones of the story are very good. The underlying plot has a clear progression and remains interesting, the characters feel well thought out and consistent, and parts of the text are extremely evocative and well written. 

But there is an everpresent issue with this fiction. That is that all of these positive attributes are absolutely buried under a mountain of exposition. Although some of the information given is surely necessary going forward, those parts are thoroughly diluted by the sheer quantity of background information the reader is forced to wade through. This quickly becomes overwhelming and definitely forced me to disengage from the text quite a few times. 

Similarly the concept of warforce is explained in overwhelming detail, with a huge emphasis on ranking systems. While clearly an important element of the story, in my opinion the level of detail is really unnecessary at this stage and only detracts from the flow of the text. It's enough to know what it is and the general concept of what it does and that people can become far stronger with it. Drip-feeding the information more naturally as the story progresses -rather than dropping it all at once- would avoid overload and actually serve to draw readers in by creating an air of mystery about it.

The grammar is nigh on perfect in terms of spelling, but there is an issue where the dialogue is sometimes chopped up a little too much to the point it can be difficult to work out who is speaking. There's also the issue of jumping between 1st and 3rd person in the text, which is quite odd, and it would probably be better to stick to 3rd person throughout.

As I've mentioned before, parts of the fiction are extremely well written (the confrontation and fight scene in courage especially comes to mind). The characters are also well drawn and memorable. In fact it looks really promising in general. It just desperately needs a second draft where thes excess details are culled, so that the reader can focus on the more important bits of worldbuilding and the other elements of the text in general.

There's something great buried under all the exposition, and I'd love to see it excavated so it can truly shine!


Lingering

Puts the 'super' in supernatural!

So at the time of this review, the story is still getting going, but I'm definitely impressed with what I've seen so far. The style is straightforward and easy to read, and I found myself drawn into the fiction very quickly. Some concepts are presented incredibly well, be it a particular expression on a character's face, the history-steeped streets of Strona, or one of the absolutely chilling dream segments.

The world is well drawn, with a focus on the supernatural that lies at the heart of this story. I can already tell a lot of thought has gone into the mechanics of spectral possession and paranormal interactions, and I'm excited to learn more. I always appreciate a work that is internally consistent, and this has that in spades. 

The story hooked me in fairly immediately, particularly after the dream sequences. Though there has been a slight dip in the action over the last couple of chapters, I'm fairly confident it will pick up again.

Probably the stand out feature of the story so far is the dialogue and characterisation. The various characters feel just incredibly real, in a way I honestly have yet to see on this site. The interactions flow realistically and the conversation is just natural. I'm honestly running out of ways to describe how the characters just seem to jump up off of the page.

Just to mention it for the sake of , the grammar seems fine with nary a commar out of place.

I've already favourited and followed, and look forward to seeing more!

 


Drinker of the Yew: A Necromancer's Tale

I'll preface by saying I was very upset to find that I had run out of chapters to read - hopefully more will be released soon! 

The style is wonderfully anachronistic, with a noticeable style shift between the past and present segments (as there should be). Both fulfil their roles well, and some segments are nothing short of poetry. It often reminded me of works such as the Silmarillion in its worldbuilding, and in the far off wonder instilled by hearing exotic (yet internally fitting) places and names. The prose does not beat you over the head with descriptions, it just sucks you in until you can almost taste the mountain air. It's really quite beautiful.

It's hard to say this early, but the premise seems well thought out, and the first chapter does a fantastic job of setting up the rest of the story. It's intriguing and prefaces both the character's background as a tale within a tale (a context that really works well here), and a potential larger story. That's actually very hard to do, and it's achieved impressively neatly here! So far I've found Nayinian's story entrancing, and I'm excited to see more.

Grammarwise, it's far better than almost anything else on here, but still needs some work -if you look hard enough you can find some minor mistakes or formatting errors. I'd also encourage the author to space out their paragraphs slightly more (something I've really only recently learned to do properly) as it makes things flow more easily in a digital format. Believe me though, I'm being very critical here.

It's very early in the story to talk about the characters, but I can still say that they feel like real people, rather than simply plot devices. Considering the rate of the story and that many interactions are sped through in the past tense, I'd say this is quite impressive. They may not be especially well-drawn at this stage, but they come to life when the author's brush lingers on them.

I'm genuinely happy to see work of this quality on this site, and I sincerely hope it can find a readership. I for one am very interested to see where the story goes!


Memories (Completed)

Would make a great screenplay!

Premise seems interesting and the story moves quickly.

I didn't find the grammar as much of a factor as a lot of people seemed to. I did find though that the writing style was somewhat removed, with little emphasis on emotions or the tone or detail of interactions. 

Despite this matter of fact approach, the story does contain some genuinely evocative moments. It's just more of a read between the lines sort of thing, rather than the story coming to life in front of you.

But hey, the story beneath it is good, and that's the most important thing. This is a great attempt, and I hope the author can continue to improve.


Rise of the Last Star - A LitRPG Adventure

Captivating action, enthralling characterisation!

It's actually very rarely that I'm drawn into a story on this platform, but I really was with this one. Finished everything that had been done so far in one go,

So style, first off. The language isn't tremendously complicated, but its easy to read. The story pulls you in fast and the action scenes are especially well done.

The grammar is largely fine. Speaking very critically, there are a few mistakes here and there, and some of the formatting surrounding dialogue could have been done a little better, but by and large the text is very professional, and certainly some of the best I've encountered on this site.

As with any fiction, the story is what really matters. Last Star pulls you in with an action-driven plot, suitably surrounded with deeper themes of philosophy and absurdism -something that is very much up my alley! The main character spends a lot of time on the brink of death, and the treatment of this is refreshing, focusing on the thought processes behind what the character is encountering. This feels very real and helps to draws the reader into the moment, lending them a lot more investment into the character. The action scenes are captivating in general, as a matter of fact.

The one thing I would say -and this is entirely a matter of opinion- is that I disliked the RPG/game stats aspect of the story. I felt like presenting things as a video game (and hanging on that during the crescendo moments of action scenes) seemed to rob the situation of some of its gravity and drama.

For example seeing a character do something like lay aside their self destructive tendencies in the midst of battle, seizing instead hope and the will to live, and then having that defined as an in-game ability sort of... Cheapens the moment, in my eyes.

Of course, this is probably entirely subjective to me, and fans of the genre will likely enjoy the extra layer it provides. Others should likely learn to read the story tags more carefully before they are surprised by certain inbuilt elements!  

Characterisation, of the main character at least, is fantastic. Relatable, well drawn and empathetic, with a spine-chilling backstory to match, the protaganist certainly feels real. I can't really say the same for the side characters at this stage of the story, but hopefully this will change as we go onwards -Albert certainly seems very promising!

Only thing I found a little hard to swallow was how quickly all of the characters were in figuring out the world/individual skills/rpg system elements. Seems like the sort of thing that would take a while to adjust to, perhaps with some of the side characters voicing a little more scepticism, or not quite landing on the official nomenclature. Perhaps a larger time gap would fix this?

I'm also genuinely quite interested to learn more about other character's perceptions of what had happened -If the translator is universal, does it put the system into terms that individuals could better understand? More than anything, their general reaction to the whole situation ought to tell you droves about a particular character.

 

So in summation, check out this fiction, and do it now! It is one of the best I've had the pleasure to read on here -and I have a natural aversion to the very genre- that certainly ought to speak to its quality! I hope the author has plenty of more material ready for release!


Black Heaven Ascension

A gem in desperate need of polish!

Style

The story is written simply, but often quite snappily, frequentally moving quite quickly from one scene to another. This does keep you interested and invested in the story, at the cost of a little development. The fight scenes are also exciting and easy to follow.

 

Story

Writing at the end of act 1 the story is shaping up quite well, and is equally interesting and imaginative. While dealing with definite high-fantasy concepts the setting still feels grounded and consistent with itself, which is always a good thing.

 

Grammar

This is the biggest issue with this fiction currently, something already acknowledged by the author. Whilst certainly not the worst I've come across, there are a few things that really let it down and at times make it a real struggle to get through. The main ones are:

-Proper speech formatting: Whenever a new character begins speaking, there needs to be a paragraph break. Without the proper breaks, it's really difficult for a first time reader to work out who is currently talking. This is the most important thing that needs to be changed, and fortunately its not a hard fix. Just requires a scan of the work and a lot of hitting the enter key.

-Inner thoughts: Currently these are presented in speech bubbles, which makes it a real challenge to work out whether the main character is currently speaking or simply thinking out a problem and tends to draw the reader out of the text. These should ideally be changed to a different tense, Eg: 'the opponent looked tough,' rather than ' "This opponent looks tough" '. At the very least, the inner thoughts should be changed to a single ' , rather than a double ", in order to differentiate them from speech.

Character

The characters are well drawn and the interactions believable. I particularly found the main character quite unique and often amusing - it's actually great fun seeing such an outwardly rude and acerbic character negotiate his way through the unfolding events!

 

In conclusion this story has a lot of promise, but there are some basic grammatical changes that need to be made before it can really shine. If you don't mind this sort of thing, then I'd recommend jumping straight in, because the underlying bones of the story are not bad at all!


Encapsulation

Well crafted Sci Fi novella

Grammar

 

Just to get this out of the way, the grammar is generally fine, especially by the standards of this site. There are a few typos and doubled up words, where two potential terms have been added and not deleted. However these don’t occur often enough that they take you out of the story, and there are generally only a few mistakes per chapter.

There are also a couple of occasions where the character’s name is literally written as the word ‘Character’, presumably as a placeholder term! Seems like an easy fix though.

 

 

Style

 

The text is easily digestible, focussing on short, straightforward stage directions that move the plot forwards, than longer, more descriptive moments. It’s punchy and easy to read.

Judging such a thing is always going to be a matter of personal taste - I enjoyed the fast progression from beat to beat, but I did sometimes feel that the narration often overwhelmed the voices of the characters somewhat.

Action scenes, especially, felt more like receiving a dispassionate summary of an already concluded event rather than being present in the thick of the action.

There are also a few moments where the narrator would suddenly break the fourth wall out of nowhere, which were a little jarring considering the rest of the text was written in a totally different style.

 

 

Story

 

The work is fairly short and more of a novella length, which obviously restricts its room for development. That said, this is a good, self contained story, and ambitious in what it tries to achieve in a relatively short amount of time. The pacing is pretty spot on, right up until the very end of the story, where things begin to feel a little rushed. It could also be argued that perhaps a little too much time is spent on the prison, as I did not feel truly drawn into the story until the plotlines of the two protagonists started to interweave.

There are also a lot of plot points which are left underdeveloped, perhaps due to the brevity of the work. The idealogue virus could certainly have been emphasised more. Considering it becomes a major plot point near the end, it remains a bit overshadowed by some over devices and is left in the background for most of the story, to the point where I forgot it was even a factor. Likewise, the character’s criminal past rarely comes into play, considering the emphasis put on it, save for informing him on his role in prison.

I also feel that with the amount of emphasis put on it, the ghost grass needed a larger role in the plot.

Otherwise the world (galaxy) building is pretty colourful, and the sci fi elements are presented really well.This kind of story is actually right up my alley, and I did not have to struggle to finish at all. I found myself really enjoying the ending, but it was noticeable that some elements needed to be set up far earlier in the story to really resonate, and earn their place, as it were.

 

 

 

Character

 

The characters presented in the story are competently crafted, though it could be argued that only the main character, Carrick, and Apple, a tertiary character. Otherwise, they work well enough to fulfil their roles, and are drawn well enough that they don’t just fade into the background -a trap that I’ve seen many other authors stumble into.

That said, Carrick does come across as a little uneven in his personality and opinions, teetering constantly between a righteous square and a morally grey rogue. Perhaps with a little more time on the character things would even out a lot better. His past is also not very well drawn, which wouldn’t be an issue, except it becomes a major plot point at the end. For the character’s motivations to really ring true, I think more time needed to be spent on his origin and relationship with the boss.

 

So in conclusion, its eminently readable. The story is self contained, and the plot is great, if a little underdeveloped in parts. If you’re reading this, it’s definitely worth a look!


Urban Wolf: On The Run

Cleaning the streets - One sword stroke at a time

Just to get this out of the way, the grammar is great, and if there are some small mistakes these are the kind you will find in any unedited work, and better than the majority of work on here.

 

The prose is generally clear and easy to read. The first person perspective keeps things moving along really well, though I did find that (particularly at the start) the tense sometimes slips between present and past, which does break the flow a little.

The sword fights in particular are well described and put together, and clearly written from a position of some experience (or at least a lot of research). In fact all of the action scenes are laid out very well, and to me definitely seem the strongest part of the text. They flow nicely and I rarely had any trouble visualising the combats. In fact I was quite impressed by the author’s ability to describe what was happening so clearly and without cluttering the text -A very difficult thing to do!

The dialogues are also generally well handled, if sometimes a little fast paced. One thing I noticed is that there is sometimes a tendency to prioritise spelling out the main character’s thoughts and emotions through narrative, rather than through action and dialogue, although this is obviously something that comes up more with a first person perspective.

 

The characters are competently described, at least for the roles they perform within the story. There are many ancillary characters throughout, but they don’t generally have much of a spotlight put on them (excepting quite literally with one individual in chapter 12), and come and go as the narrative requires. I would have enjoyed a little more time spent out fleshing out and exploring these characters, but this might happen naturally as the story continues. That said I really enjoyed the characterisation of Lenny, who has a very distinct and relatable personality, and grows more interesting and well rounded with every chapter.

The protagonist is well written as well, but also quite reserved and dispassionate, which can make it hard to get a handle on her personality. I would quite like to see events push her into baring her true self a little more, in order to flesh out her character.

 

Without spoiling anything, story-wise things get more and more interesting as it goes on, with a escalating turf war between rival gangs and a mysterious drug that changes people from within. There are some interesting themes so far, most notably the moral cost of the conflict the protagonist is slowly being drawn into. I'm quite interested to see where the story is going, especially with regards to the body altering narcotics.

The biggest criticism I have with the work in general (and it’s something that is fairly easy to fix), is that sometimes more context is required in order for the reader to build a clear picture of the setting. Some information can be waited for (questions about the city and setting, or what role or prevalence sword schools have within the world), but others should be more immediate. For example, during the protagonists initial encounters with mutated attackers, I was unclear given the context whether the attackers were something relatively common (the protagonist seemed fairly unperturbed, considering), or a genuine outlier. There is also the main character’s ‘physical differences,’ which also left me a little confused as to the rules of the setting. I feel like either it’s something that should be explained immediately, or instead be hinted at throughout the story, building up to a reveal later.

Like I said though, this is all something that can be fairly easily fixed, and I’d probably recommend getting some more people to read it and take note of anything that confuses them, as it could just be me!

 

All in all, it’s shaping up to be a solid urban fantasy so far, and I recommend others to check this story out -especially if you’re a fan of katanas and fast paced combat!


Syche: The Dark Element

Set in a world where an organisation of people with extraordinary psychic abilities influence the world from the shadows, the story primarily follows two brothers -Joshua and Kaele- ‘rogue elements’ aware of their existence, but unaligned to them.

 

Story

 

Starting from an intriguing first chapter, the story is well crafted, and soon picks up pace, culminating in a gripping and cinematic climax at the end of the first act. It takes its time, and important details are revealed slowly, maintaining an air of mystery. My only real issue would be that there is a lot of travelling around, which I found often took the focus off of the characters, atmosphere and advancing plot a bit. Perhaps a few stops on the journey could be artfully condensed or cut around in order to make the story flow a little better.

 

The setting is interesting – the blending of modern day cities and destructive psychic battles reminds me a little of the world of mob-psycho. That said, because there are a lot of different elements blended together (a bit like the world of Philip Pullman’s northern lights), I did find building a clear picture of the setting a little hard at first, jumping from western to dystopian future to various decades of the 20th century in my own head as the book progressed. While this isn’t a problem per-se, some extra clarification might help the reader understand the world a little better.

 

The syche powers are very interesting and well written. One thing I particularly enjoyed was that they were not all revealed straight away. I thought this was quite an artful choice, leaving a certain mystery to the world. I sense we have yet to see even a small fraction of the ways they can be used.

 

Characters

 

The characters are probably the strongest part of the work, together with the rich conversational interplay. The two brothers in particular tend to be rock solid in their characterisation. Their personalities are easily distinguishable from each others, and show subtle differences based on their varying qualities and experiences. It is clear the writer has a clear view of who the various characters are, and writes them convincingly.

 

Grammar

 

The quality is perfectly readable. Just needs a run through or two to fix some small, surface level mistakes that often pop up in the text.

 

Style

 

The story is well written, flows well and generally keeps things simple. At times it can be very cleverly worded, and the action scenes are pulled off well. The only negative thing I really picked up on was that the text surrounding the dialogues could use a little shuffling around in order to make it flow better -for example defining who is speaking a little earlier into a speech.

 

All in all a fantastic opening act, I particularly enjoyed the ending fight and tore through the last few chapters in no time! I’m very interested to see where the story goes, especially after the revelations of chapter 11!