Cathal Ashenhand

Cathal Ashenhand

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Reviews
The Boros Bachelor

Overall

Overall, this is an enjoyable beginning to a fantasy story, that uses familiar elements alongside solid writing and good characterisation to create a great opening to the story. I look forward to reading more!

Style

The author's prose here is solid, with some clever use of 'in-world' similes and a reasonably strong voice that helps create a very readable story. The biggest weakness here is an over-reliance on adverbs where a strong verb would make the impact of a sentence much greater. This is really begins to stand out when adverbs like 'stealthily' begin to be repeated.

Grammar

A few, incredibly minor mistakes but by and large the grammar is pretty spot on.

Story

The story being told here doesn't seem at this point to be anything new, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. From what I can tell the two main characters will meet up and join forces so to speak as the wider story opens up, but what is set up so far is a solid and enjoyable take on some tried and true story archetypes. There's more than enough here to make me want to read on.

Character

And speaking of the two main characters, they are well characterised and likeable pov characters, and I've thoroughly enjoyed experiencing the story through them. Much like with the plot, the archetypes feel familiar, but the characters have enough of a personality and are written well enough that they seperate themselves from feeling run of the mill. As yet, the same cannot be said for the side-characters, the clan chiefs from the first several chapters feel a little closer to charicatures or 'npcs' than actual characters, but we are given relatively little time with them on screen, so this may improve.


Monillas: Human Garbage

In this fic, the author takes an interesting premise with some excellent grounding in our world's reality and uses it to tell an engaging character story,

 

However, there are significant grammar issues holding the author's prose back. The text has a nasty habit of switching tenses between present and past, and suffers a lot from a lack of imagery. As much as I have a sense of what some of the characters are like, I have no idea what any of the places they exist in look like, smell like, feel like to be close.

This is a great idea, that needs some real redrafting work or even a beta reader to help the author to get to grips with the grammar.


Demon Earth : Revelation

'Revelation' is a well-crafted dark fantasy set in what I believe to be a post-apoccalyptic alternative reality to our world.

Rarely have I come across a story that so effectively weaves a slow building web of tension. The author has managed to successfully weaponize dread, using it to slowly crank the atmosphere they evoke until it's dense enough to smother.

Combine that with a competently crafted cast, a fresh take on a well worn plot archetype and solid, if a little clunky and lacking in precision, prose and you have a truly outstanding work.

I've taken part in a good few review swaps in my time on RR, but this is one of the few that I can say without a doubt, I would be leaving even if it weren't a review swap. Followed. Favourited. I recommend that any with the good fortune to find this fic do the same.


Ribbon — Bleach AU

A very creative Bleach fanfic, that manages to use the tools that the original left at the end of the series in order to create an orignal story set in Karakura Town.

Style

The author's writing is competent, if workman-like. There is a lack of distinguishing features in the prose, and the author could do some work on developing his voice; but what is here is more than sufficient as the wheels upon which the story runs.

Grammar

There are some grammar mistakes, particularly in chapter one, but nothing worth stressing too much over - certainly nothing that would put me off reading more.

Story

The plot for 'Ribon' is promising, focusing around an area of Bleach lore that is rather underdeveloped in canon. The biggest complement I can pay it is that I will be reading more as soon as time allows. I will say there is a romance sub-plot that moves so quickly it's incredibly jarring - the female OC almost immediately falls in love with the main character OC literal days after having met him. I can see, I think, an attempt to mirror Orihime and Ichigo's relationship from the original series, or possibly even Rukia/Ichigo. The difficulty here is that Orihime and Ichigo's relationship was established to have begun prior to the start of the series and so nothing is jarring. Rukia/Ichigo was a relationship based on a sense of obligation in S1 and built slowly. This isn't like either at all, and needs further devlopment.

Character

Usually with fanfics, OCs come off as feeling wooden and cliche when compared with canon characters, as inexperienced authors struggle to build a character themselves. This story almost has the opposite problems. The OC characters are far and away the highlight of the story thus far, both being believable and relatable people, that intereact well. By contrast, the actual canonical characters, specifically Kisuke, feel like overblown caricatures of their canon personalities. It's not a huge problem, but it something worth considering.


GALACTIC

GALACTIC opens up with the main character, Ace, dead and trapped in the void. Here he has a conversation and it's learned he's been here many, many times. It's a tried and true trope, and an engaging start to the story. The characters are compelling and the story is clearly going somewhere.

As I understand it, the first portion of the story was written some time ago, and the author has since returned from a hiatus to continue it, which is always welcome. The prose at the start of the story is a touch robotic and it would really benefit with a little more work on sentence construction and flow. The author also begins with a habit of switching between perspectives between sentences. In the first chapter, there were times where we switched between Ace and Wrinkle's thoughts at an incredibly jarring pace. 

These are small things to fix, but would make a massive difference to the readability of the story overall. I haven't yet gotten to the later, newer chapters, but I'm looking forward to seeing how the author has improved!


Isekai Dungeoncrawl - Am Ende mit meinem Latein

This story definitely has some firm positives on it's side. The characters are strong and their interactions are enjoyable. Some of the dialogue is a touch stilted, but nothing a few quick revisions couldn't fix. The general idea is an interesting one, and there's a chunk of enjoyable action to boot.

Where the author struggles is in the locations. Very few of them are even described, which left me unable to really ground myself in scenes. Conversations because of this felt like they were happening in a plain white room.

There's a lot of promise here, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.


How Not to Use Magic

So far, How Not to Use Magic has been a teen-drama about a new student atending a party held by someone from his new school. He meets Nick and flirting ensues. 

The author has a decent-to-good grasp of writing comedic lines, and even though this kind of story normally isn't to my taste, he managed to get a chuckle or two out of me regardless.

Where the writing begins to fall apart, is in the grammar. Scenes are confusing and difficult to keep track of because the Author switches between perspectives and tenses regularly, and uses words out of context. There are other problems with pacing, promises and tone, but ultimately this story needs a good grammatical re-draft before those can be considered.

Once some of these issues have been ironed out, this could be a solid story for those that enjoy this genre.


Nomads of the Sea

An incredibly original fantasy setting, with complex characeterisations and a well-built world. 

The story has an excellent flow, though the pace can drag at times, and the characters are engaging to follow. The story does suffer at times from 'white room syndrome' and at times I struggled to visualise the locations, particularly durign dialogue.

Overall though, a fantastic story that really shows the author's talents. I look forward to seeing this story and it's author progress!


The Future That Never Was

An enjoyable story told from the POV of a mutant cat. Plenty of humorous japes and jaunts abound, to keep you engaged through some unfortunate grammatical errors that can break immersion somewhat. I will hasten to add however, that these errors come from the fact that this story is being translated from the author's native French, in which case they are entirely excusable.

Do recommend.


The Trash Savior

So, an interesting first chapter. An interesting idea, however tense issues and grammar/punctuation mistakes combined with very little description and actual prose make it very difficult for a reader to ground themselves in your scene(s).

Keep writing, it will come with time and practice - I'm looking forward to seeing you and your story grow!