MalevolenceMau

MalevolenceMau

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Reviews
Light of Returning Darkness

Light of the Returning Darkness is a nice wuxia that suffers from a rocky beginning that shifts into a time jump that makes the introduction somewhat irrelevant. But after the first 5 or so chapters, as we get into the real story, it picks up in pace and quality.

Style: Featuring a mostly third-person style that focuses a bit too much into a comic-style writing approach. Onomatopeia are used constantly from "wooshes" of wind and "BAM BAM BAM" of explosions or mighty hits. These sound words are quite jarring at times, as they are almost a complete replacement for good descriptive text of the sound, in favour of shock value words. 

Aside from the used of onomatopoeia, dialogue tags and descriptors often change their place or style, from the "Name: Speech" style to "speech - tag" style, which again creates a somewhat off-putting reading experience. Skills names are designed like [Ghost Walk] which is an easy way to separate them from normal words.

I feel like this style would benefit better if the onomatopia was less frequent or lent into it a bit more with possible imagery and aside descriptive text.

Story: As stated earlier, the prologue goes on for 3 chapters until we find the true characters we'll be following and even then it takes a bit more build-up. A general affair with Wuxia with title-names and gods fighting against one another, and then dropped into the gaze of a 14-year-old.

Nothing really gripped me, aside from some of the starting action that died off and time-skipped away. Until reading a bit further in and the story grabbed my attention in another way.

Grammar: Quite a few instances of dialogue not ending with proper punctuation, some speech just being punctuation, sentences lacking periods, broken sentences here or there. Since the author seems to be from Thailand this could be more to do with translation errors, but the number of punctuation mistakes feels more like a universal issue. 

I didn't find anything that broke the story, but I feel like the issues could break immersion for most readers who care for proper grammar and spelling.

Character: The story contains a lot of characters, some in the beginning being tossed aside for later, and plenty being introduced with the new protagonist. I am not personally fond of the naming style, though I know it will appeal to others so no lower points for that. It can get difficult to keep track of so many different characters at once, however, as a few of them don't get enough aethestic descriptions to get a clear visual of who is who. 

 

Overall, this is a fun story with some interesting ideas, though I feel it could do with another polishing run and possibly assistance from either a grammar program or checker.


Sin-Eater

A story following a not-dead protagonist as they come to terms with their non-deadness and ability to not die so easily due to regenerative powers that they got after dying. Yes.

 

Style: With a third-person perspective somewhat limited to our protagonist, this story contains a heavy amount of descriptive text and somewhat repeated concepts. A few tables are dotted about with a colour scheme that is friendly on the eyes in dark mode with succinct information. As warned, it does get a bit gory which is fine for me but did feel a bit too hammered-in at times.

Story: Early days for the story and protagonist as they both find their feet in the world. With a drastic change in word count, the chapters do feel like they speed by but plenty happens in each one, with the first real chapter being much meatier than the protagonist. 

Grammar: I saw no issues whatsoever.

Character: Our undead fellow shows a good amount of fear at first and develops into their new self at a nice pace thereafter. Aesthetic descriptions are in-depth enough to get a good mental picture of the characters though early portions feel a bit lacking when dialogue is introduced, more thorough use of tags and descriptive text would bump this up.

 

The story is quite new and short for now, I'd be interested to see where it all leads later down the line as we get to see more powers and plotlines unfold.


I'm Not a Competitive Necromancer

A uniquely styled necromancer story that shows many signs of being translated from a different language as well as possibly more than 1 pair of hands on the keyboard at a time.

 

Style: Taking on a third-person style with somewhat jarring POV swapping, the story steps around in the timeline quite a bit to display these POVs. There is a heavy amount of description, explanation, and simile/comparison paragraphs that add so many more words to the story that I felt was necessary. The story contains a modicum of comedy and it follows a consistent house style throughout. I didn't find too much wrong with this segment, but it was wholly not to my taste.

Story: Very slow-pace, several chapters for a single day with several paragraphs describing one aspect of them. While it is a slow-paced story there is just enough happening to not lose complete interest with dialogue between characters or events taking place. The systems at work aren't explained in-depth in the beginning, which feels like a missed opportunity for those who love to read into that side of things but not everyone wants hard LitRPGs.

Grammar: A few issues here and there, from misplaced punctuation from dialogue, thoughts, and quotes to some roughly worded sentences that could do with a touch-up.

Character: The story contains a varied cast with a wide range of names that don't feel too standard except for Maximilian, as I have read so many stories with that being the main name. With different perspectives, we are treated to their personalities a bit more. The whole training atmosphere does lead to a situation where we have to "catch up" to the characters in terms of ideals and backstories. 

 

Overall, the story is well written though often feels like it "waffles on" for far too long in several portions, putting too much emphasis on some areas whereas others needed it more. 


Strange Aeons

A typical Isekai fantasy story with many of the usual tropes from the first companion being a female love interest to OP powers from the get-go. Encapsulated in some amazing writing and descriptions, this was more enjoyable than others that hang all their hopes on the tropes.

 

Style: Third-person omniscient that changes POVs semi-regularly, following the main character Zed, his love interest Emi, and tertiary characters. Statuses are shown in plain text without too much depth, the standard ability scores with some skills to go along with them. The story makes use of flashbacks, other perspectives, and flash-forwards though not to an annoying degree, however, the one flash-forward that is present feels slightly jarring as it was not expected.

Story: Zed is taken from his bad life and thrown into a fantasy world where he has the chance to be great, and greatness is so full on his lap it’s overflowing and pushed to the side at times. Without too many spoilers, the MC is given some powers that one would expect to gain after a hundred chapters. The romance between the two leads also feels somewhat sped up, a 2-week time skip possibly hiding a lot of that interaction away to get to the meat of their action.

Plenty of stereotypes and motions are taken right from Anime and Manga, from head-scratching to the effeminate motions of females in fantasy. If you’re fine with those then you won’t notice them much, the story doesn’t harp on these areas too harshly as of yet.

Grammar: I found a few issues here or there, from misspelt words to missing punctuation. Thankfully, the story seems otherwise devoid of writing or grammar issues.

Character: While the MC is shown to have a terrible life in the real world, his acceptance of this new world is a bit too quick without much foreshadowing or story as to why that is. Other such areas are also sped up, like the relationships held within the fiction that I felt could have been expanded over a longer period rather than time skips. The characters are varied, though you do have your typical stereotypes standing about the fiction.

 

Overall, Strange Aeons is a fun read if a bit atypical for the genre. Very Japanese-inspired, with plenty of sections taken straight out of that world with Torii gates. The writing is great with a story that can grip a reader well enough to push aside most concerns of repeated content.


King in the Castle

A fun, if not extremely exciting, story that follows a sci-fi adventure of cleaning and office drama.

Style: The story is very descriptive, I found very little that wasn't explained enough or felt underused through its first-person perspective. However, there is the main issue of styling changes. At the beginning there are 2 return spaces between each paragraph, this then changes to 1, then none, with indentations being included after around 4 chapters out of nowhere. This disjunction of stylisation makes the fiction a bit awkward to come to terms with while reading.

Story: A slow-paced story that gives finite detail to all aspects through the eyes of the protagonist, written in a way that fits a biography as the MC even says themselves they are doing. It isn't high-octane action, though not all stories need to be, to be engaging. It is a bit too slow for my own liking, as well as being a bit out of my comfort zone for reading, but the writing quality makes it more than bearable.

Grammar: I found a few issues here and there, from lack of punctuation marks or overused ones. Not really something non-hawk eyed readers would notice. A few word choices are awkward but easy enough to understand.

Character: As we're listening to a first-person explanation, the characters do come off a bit one-sided as they appear in the eyes of the protag. Thankfully, the characters are varied with some detailed aesthetic descriptors, though I do feel like some characters could do with more information on their aesthetic, especially Steve.


Awakening: Prodigy

A story that contains within it an amazing written introduction to a dark world full of death and demons. The use of a wide variety of descriptive text paints the world in such a colourful if dreary way that pulls the reader into it incredibly well.

Style: Third person perspective that changes every so often between the main characters, also features a time skip or two. It feels like the time skipping or movement between scenes could be handled a bit better, though this may be because the author has seemingly written the story and then split it up into chapters to release regularly rather than write with a chapter in mind. Chapters also contain a wide array of lengths from what reads like 3,000 words to 1,000 words at times. Making the change between chapters smoother, or having some additional reminder text could go a long way into making this a better binge reading experience.

Story: While the writing beautifully immerses you into the dark demonic story beginnings, the explanations of themes and rules can come off a bit rough as we're introduced to how the world works. Hunters slaying demons, non-hunters sticking back. Regardless of any issues, the sheer quality of writing makes this a wonderful read all the way through.

Grammar: I noticed a few issues with quotation marks, punctuation in dialogue, or capital letters and misuse of "its" and "it's". The errors aren't constant, fading into the background for those without eagle eyes for errors.

Character: The characters on offer have a good amount of depth to their setups and developments, with Astral having a fair few edges to her form. Her emotions are described well and contrast well enough with Mathias and the other survivors of the dark days.


Sovereign of Loss Book 1: Invader

Heads up: I did talk to the author before posting this review, and they truly wanted some feedback and parts of where they want wrong. Hopefully, it is known that I am not trying to attack or bash the author and their work.

 

Style: The story had a somewhat strong beginning, though that is only comparative to the later chapters (3+). A third-person perspective about a man either remembering something or going through a scene, it's hard to tell at first. Conversation and descriptions are in-depth but a lot of emphases is placed on some parts whereas others are only given a few words. With some introduction to substance abuse and possible capture, the story doesn't stray away from difficult topics.

The author has a weird trend of changing the return spaces used in their story, from single to double and even triple at times. Sometimes they keep the dialogue tags on the same line whereas others give them a whole separate line. Descriptive text for actions that follow or proceed dialogue also changes between being on the same line or the line thereafter. As the story continues on there is nary a paragraph over 3 lines long, instead of splitting up needlessly.

Story: I really could not tell you what this story is about most of the time, the introduction is so weirdly designed and told to the reader that it's hard to understand. Some chapters feel like they've been written months apart, and one of the Author notes even says a chapter was put to the side at one point. From what seemed to be a war-torn scene to a 1-month prior notice about being in school and riding in a car for 2 chapters. 

The flow is really broken up but the style choices, and the flashback scenes, combined with a car ride that features way too much in the story when not a lot is established. 

Grammar: Constant misuse of upper and lower case letters for non-nouns, the beginning of sentences, as well as seemingly randomised. I found several spelling mistakes too, alongside the wrong quotation marks and punctuation for dialogue or quotes. Several lines and paragraphs are also missing periods to end them, even in dialogue. I would hazard an estimate that only 10% of the dialogue has proper punctuation.

Character: Clive and the background characters get some personality as well as backstories to them, but it feels really jumbled up. I can't really say much on this part as they kind of fall into the rest of the story.

 

I was initially thinking I would give the story a 2.5, but going over it again, looking through my notes, and getting to the final chapter, all I see is the problems reoccurring. I'd suggest the author picks up a grammar assistant like Grammarly or ask a friend/family to look over their work if possible. The emotions that are attempted feel like they could lead to something good, but the fiction needs a lot of polish.

A total rewrite is more than likely a solid choice for the author on this fiction.


The [Bookworm] Who Couldn't Read

A neat story surrounding the normal trope of a character getting access to a hidden class, that they also need to keep hidden or lose all its benefits. Following mostly the story of the MC Vesper with some side glances at other characters.

 

Style: With a third-person approach, the story has a lot of focus on areas and conversation, a vast majority is Vesper talking to his fellows or investigating scenes and literature. There isn't a heavy emphasis on stats or tables, only around 3 meaningful tables so far in the story with a few smaller ones to note Vesper gaining levels. Those who love statistics may be left wanting. There are some spacing inconsistencies at times, with whole lines for a few words or new paragraphs when it should have been a longer paragraph.

Story: A medium pace with plenty of slower-paced segments where Vesper learns about his skills or reads books. His learning of the alphabet is surmised in a single paragraph which felt a bit quick, though I felt that personally, this was the right choice. With 11 chapters so far, the story has plenty of room to grow but currently doesn't have any major hook to grab me.

Grammar: A few spaces or misuse of punctuation, not enough to break immersion for non-hawk eyes.

Character: Too early to tell my opinion on the MC, he is a bit young for my tastes as well as feeling a bit too unworldly to a place he should be more accustomed to, at least from what is inferred from the writing.

 

Overall, this is a good read but the pacing could be normalised a bit more to fully polish it. A re-read and edit run could do a good amount of improvement, plus some additional descriptive text to describe the character's aesthetics and individuality. 


ARMOR

A fascinating tale about a Mimic-Armour that finally gained a conscience after his fourth meal. Following its travels out of its master domain, we are treated to a somewhat fresh approach to adventuring tales.

 

Style: With a third-person perspective, we're treated to the inner monologue and "feelings" of our protagonist armour. There aren't grand graphics or tables, replications of letters being centralized in the page for effect. The story has a nice flow to it, I'd see it as normal to fast-paced. Combat can feel a bit clunky at times, where certain areas have a whole paragraph with some actions only getting a few words.

Story: Starting with a character that has previous knowledge of an area, to exploring the wide-open world with memories of those it had eaten previously, the story is told both through recollections as well as observation. I get a sort of Goblin Slayer vibe from the group dynamic, though that could be due to the protag just being armour. The progression the armour has is engaging as it adapts to life as a masquerading adventurer. 

Grammar: A few errors here or there, combined with some rough transitions. in total it's far above average.

Character: As the protag is technically five different entities, we are treated to a wide area of expertise and emotions that are encapsulated within the armoured entity. Some deliveries feel wooden at times, though this could just be due to its infancy. Supporting acts are well done, though I feel aesthetic descriptions could use a touch-up. 


Flight of The Draykes

A story following a far-too young MC that grows as the story progresses with promises of reasonings to their maturity down the line.

Style: First-person view, however there is a lot of stumbling over POV in the beginning chapters that feels really rough. After chapter 6 the style changes drastically to both pros and cons. After that point, the author has moved to a 1 to 2 lines of text per return space that breaks the flow of inner monologue and descriptions heavily. The pacing is fine for the most part, but it is a rollercoaster with the separated text.

Story: The plot and systems are explained in depth in the beginning, some parts that could have organically been explained later on but it's hard to say what with how the story is designed. Some portions feel real slow, as the MC explains or describes scenes for way too long or stands around for a minute longer than necessary. Nothing really gripped me sadly.

Grammar: There are several occasions of dialogue missing punctuations, but no spelling errors presented themselves.

Character: A young protagonist, very young, with the introduction not really doing justice to their aesthetic description nor their emotional states. Extremely passive and accepting, sometimes stupid, to then pull off actions later on that betray that initial setup. The beginning chapters could do with a rewrite or additional foreshadowing text to better illustrate their transformation later on or reasonings to why they are how they are.

 

Overall, the story is too rough in the beginning and I feel like it could lose a lot of readership due to that. The heavy shift after 6 is extremely prominent, with the overuse of the enter key. Making that change a bit less impactful would help with keeping the story consistent, as well as a rewrite of the early chapters helping to keep the style the same.