BridgerCampbellCannon

BridgerCampbellCannon

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I Awoke Today A Demon

This review is egregiously late, and I do apologize.

Style: one thing that I really appreciated about this story is the author's approach to its style. Everything is communicated in a simple, no-frills method that makes it comprehensible for the reader. One thing I never enjoy is having to wade through the glittery smog of dense, ambiguous purple prose. This author's approach to simple and concise prose is something I'd like to demonstrate in my own story. That being said, I could do with a touch more description of the surroundings so that I can trigger a solid mental image. That's just me, though.

Grammar: Unfortunately, there were quite a few typos and switching tenses. This was jarring at times and it pulled me from my immersion in the story, but it's nothing that a basic editing pass couldn't fix quickly. No biggie, here. 

Characters: I found the characters to be serviceable, particularly Lunella and Amara. Our main character wakes up as a demon with little knowledge of why or how, and her confusion is portrayed effectively. 

Story: I believe this story will do well on this site. It's fast- paced and nearly skirts the edges of a good suspense/thriller now and again. In this world, there is hostility between demons and humans. This is not the most original concept, but the author supplies it with good intrigue and a rhythmic progression that keeps the reader entertained. 

Overall, I believe that this story will do well. It's properties are right up this site's alley, and I know people will appreciate what this author is doing. With a simple edit in yhd grammar department, it'll really shine. Best of luck to the author!


Tales of an Unlikely Wizard (Isekai LitRPG)

This story had some really strong qualities in addition to some slightly weaker qualities. I'll get right into things:

Style: the style is one that I would describe as poetic. The author utilizes a lot of really interesting and lofty vocabulary words to convey their ideas, which ultimately works to create a vague, misty sort of atmosphere. This isn't a cut-and-dried sort of story that desires to get straight to the point; rather, the reader needs to work a little harder to wade through the ambiguity of the plot. I don't mean this in a negative way at all. The "incense" of the story simply speaks louder than the plot. I found this to be an especially nice quality, but you will have to "feel" more than you "see." 

Grammar: This, for me, was the roughest part. There were many grammar errors -- sentence fragments, missing words, and inappropriate words. These are simple fixes, though, if the author uses an editor. 

Character: the main character, Euca, is extraordinarily internal and self-reflective. We get a lot of insight into the way he feels about things, and this makes for a closeness between Euca and the reader. It's not especially obvious at this point that he's strong, but it will be interesting to see how he changes as the story progresses! 

Story: the story has some of those wonderfully-classic elements of RPG/System qualities. These are combined nicely with a more domestic and organic feel -- tea and slice-of-life scenarios accompany the blue data boxes of the video game into which our character has fallen. The duality between System and slice-of-life creates a nice contrast for the reader who loves both. 

Overall, with a good edit pass, I think the LitRPG lovers out there will really love this story and appreciate the nice contrasts it has to offer!


Archons

Grammar: although there were a few awkwardly-worded sentences, I found the author to have, in general, a solid grasp of the grammar. Nothing was so jarring that it pulled me from the setting; rather, I stayed immersed for the entirety of the story. With a tiny amount of polishing, I would say the grammar is generally pretty good.

Style: I liked the style of the story. I thought the pacing was excellent -- it was neither too fast nor too slow, and I'm usually someone who preferse a slower burn. The dialogue, in my opinion, was a little theatrical at times, but that could just be a matter of my own preferences, so I'm not going to take off any marks for that. Everything flowed well, and I found a nice balance between prose/description and dialogue in this piece. The tensing stayed consistent, which is something that is make-or-break for me in terms of a story's immersion. All in all, a good job here.

Character: This is where the story shines, and I don't often find myself handing out high marks in this area. The two main characters have the "hot and cold" dynamic that I've always really loved, so perhaps I'm biased. Of the reluctant duo, Alka is portrayed as being the (sort of) "sweetheart" of the community. She seems to be beloved by all, celebrated by all, and the author characterizes her with all of the classic traits of a warm, diplomatic heroine. Her community trusts her, and her "uprightedness" warrants their good favor. The other part of this duo, Zane, is the more complicated of the two. He is moody, temperamental, cold, and (seemingly) less concerned with moral obligations than his beloved counterpart. She is not as confident as one might assume her to be, however, for the fallout from some kind of "Incident" in the past seems to have rendered her a little insecure about herself. For these reason, Zane and Alka are each others' perfect foils, and their polar characteristics really serve a rich and grounded dynamic for the readers to cling to. I never enjoy when characters' personalities are virtually indistinct from one another (which is something I'm working on in my own story), and this author has made a great decision in creating this dynamic, here.

Story: The story itself has a lot of potential, in my opinion. Without spoiling anything, it follows Alka and Zane who were found as infants by a benign community who has trusted them with the task of protection. Intriguing allusions are made to an "Incident" that changed Alka and Zane's community's perception of them, though it has not yet been explained what this infamous debacle was. It is implied through the narrator that Zane is growing discontent and restless in the confines of this safe community, though it seems that the community itself is not quite as pastoral as is initially assumed. 

Overall, I quite enjoyed this story; and with a little bit of polishing, I can really see it going the distance on this site. I wish this author the best of luck.


Parallel Timeline: Time Loop Rebel

Style: the style of this story is generally serviceable. I didn't feel that anything was especially rushed or too slow, so the pacing was good for my particular tastes. I also prefer the third person perspective, so the story gets higher marks from me for that reason. 

Grammar: this is the section that earned the lowest marks. The grammar is quite rough in many places, and the sentence structures are often awkwardly-worded. It wasn't bad, but it was enough to disrupt my immersion within the story.

Story: the story, in my opinion, has great potential as a sci-fi endeavor. It follows the main protagonist who is stuck inside of a time loop. This usually holds a lot of interest for lovers of sci-fi, and the author (as of chapter 5) seems to have a solid grasp on how to manage something with such a small margin for error. I really commend him on his willingness to write anything involving time, because it can be a really tricky endeavor. I find the concept fascinating, but I would never attempt it myself. This time-loop plotline works in conjunction with an academy that teaches students how to become "time loopers." Though this is not technically a LitRPG, the protagonist, Gaus, possesses many abilities which are charted into the System-like data boxes. Combining the LitRPG elements with the guild-like approach to the academy will certainly satisfy any lovers of sci-fi and LitRPG out there. 

Character: the main character, as of chapter 5, is still sort of ambiguous to me, though I imagine my opinion would change with more context. Right now, he just verges on the edge of the stereotypical "hyper-powered, extremely talented" main character with dazzling abilities. This can verge on unrealistic, but I do not know where the author plans to take this, so I'm going to reserve judgment for now. Given that I've only read five chapters, I don't want to downvote anything prematurely. One thing I really love is the referral of the students by their numeric/level name. It really gives the impression that they have been dehumanized and relegated into insignificance by a higher power. This, combined with the mystery and importance given to "The Master," creates a nice contras and reinforces an obvious hierarchy.

Overall, I think this story has excellent potential as a sci-fi endeavor, but the grammar was a little too jarring to keep me fully immersed. This is a very simple fix, though, so I believe the author can patch that up in no time. I am always impressed by anyone who attempts to work with time because it can be so complex. Keep up the great work!


Hiraeth: Promise of the World

Style: starting with the weakest element, I'd have to say that my least "favorite" thing about this story is the author's approach to style and dialogue. Characters often repeat each other's names when speaking to each other, which is not a natural way of speaking. The author also uses clusters of punctuation like "?!" to signify high emotion, which is something I find a little juvenile. Other than that, the progression is comprehensible and flows smoothly, if not a little quickly for my tastes. I don't dock points for that, though, because I think it's a preference issue. 

Grammar: in general, the grammar is totally fine with the exception of a few awkward sentences. There's really nothing else to report as the author seems to have this under control.

Story: this is where the story earns its highest marks. It is a classic isekai/portal fantasy of a girl who gets thrust into a world that I can only describe as ethereal. The author uses decadent terminology to describe light and color in the world. There are terms for colors I have never heard before, and it lends a rich atmosphere to the prismatic world the author describes. Although there are whimsical fairies and tree houses, the author also creates darker, more sinister creatures which nicely balanced the lighter components of the world. 

Character: the world is populated with many characters who all have beautiful names. The protagonist is a heroine who finds herself confused by the world she is thrown into, but also seems capable (maybe too capable) of handling all that is thrown at her. There are plenty of other characters who offer perspectives of their own, including a community of fairies. 

All in all, I would recommend this story to anyone who likes a conventional isekai with a capable heroine. My only recommendation to the author is to maturate the dialogue a little. Enjoyed the indulgent beauty of it all! Thanks for teaching me the word "heliotrope."


Thick as Thieves

Reviewed at Chapter 15

Style Score: the style of this story is done remarkably well. The pacing is nice and the story flows smoothly across all dimensions. The chapters aren't too long, and I don't remember any excessively long paragraphs. The dialogue is balanced nicely with both descriptions and prose, giving the reader a breath of relief from a disproportion of either component. This style is, probably, my favorite that I've seen so far. There really isn't much else to report in this category as I really have no complaints. 

Grammar: generally very, very good. I did see several instances of shifting tenses, but it was nothing so drastic that it pulled me from the story. Again, the quality here was high, so I have nothing to say.

Story: the story is my favorite element of this piece, and it's going to earn high marks from me. I was initially intrigued by the concept of the "Rings" in the city which seem to be divided along lines of class and wealth. Our protagonist lives in the ninth ring which is known for its poverty and dystopian-feel. After the death of her parents, she has learned to be a thief out of survival not only for herself, but for her younger sister whom she clearly adores. Her propensity for thievery takes her into the inner rings in pursuit of wealth where she ends up meeting several characters who will change her life forever -- and who will, through a series of events, reveal her nature as a Magician. The story is done really well, and one of my favorite elements was the chapter of "diagnostics" that determine what kind of Magician she will be. There are hints at socio-political controversies and prejudice as well as moral ambiguity which are nicely-balanced with many domestic slice-of-life scenes. It's the best of both worlds. Overall, a solid plot with great intrigue moving forward.

Character: one thing I really appreciate about this story is that its central theme is about love between sisters. This is not often seen, so it's a breath of fresh air to find it. My only concern in the character department so far is that I'm hoping our protagonist will not be displayed as the perfect "badass" heroine. I like to see heroines who are realistic in the sense that they do not embody archetypical perfection. I have not read past chapter 15 yet, but I really enjoy the characters so far and am looking forward to meeting more of the Magicians. In some ways, this story reminds me of themes found in my own, and I only hope I can do it as well as this author does.

Overall, I highly recommend this story for the lover of fantasy and I see this story going great places. 


Reach: The Spiral (Book One)

I'll jump right into things with this review.

Style: starting with the weakest element first, I'd say that the style of this story hold my only real criticism at all. This can be seen in what I would call the "chatroom-style" dialogue and formatting. The author commonly uses clusters of exclamation points and question marks to emphasize elevated emotion. He also occassionally uses words like "THUD" and "WHACK" to describe sounds that could be better described in other ways. These two style choices can often create in immaturity to the text that is really high-quality in all other areas. Other than that, the story flows nicely. It is told from the perspectives of alternating characters, and the author manages this really well.

Grammar: Seemed perfect to me. No complaints here at all, and nothing negative to report. Great job!

Story: The story deserves high marks. Without giving too much away, it follows the accounts of people who find themselves awake in a near-dystopian world full of danger and ambiguity. They are deeply confused about why they are there, but they have little time to linger there given the sinister characters and decaying conditions they encounter. All they know is that they are in some kind of "game" at the behest of "God" who is compelling them toward a Spiral in the distance. Though the outcome seems grim, each character is equipped with a unique "power" that serves as a tool for navigating their environment. The goal is not to escape this bizarre world -- the goal is to "win," and there is no way to cheat. The story is fantastic, it's told really well, the writing is of a very high quality, the descriptions are rich, and the drama is conveyed well. I expect this story to do really well.

Character: the main protagonist, Phoenix, is in possession of a power that is, evidently, extremely rare. The second protagonist, Alex Ramiro, also possesses a rare gift. These two know each other and speak fondly of one another as they both struggle to navigate their environment. This story hosts a whole cast of characters at this point with most of them being individuals who have been in the game for a longer amount of time. The characters are interesting so far, and the author does a good job with them.

Overall, I recommend this story to the lover of urban fantasy. I don't think you'll be disappointed. 


Rise of the Firstborn

This story is an excellent read, and I will break down the reasons why as follows:

 

Style: the style is 3rd person, past tense perspective which is my favorite perspective yo read. From that alone, the style had a really easy flow. The author manages to balance prose and dialogue nicely with rich descriptions of the protagonists surroundings alongside a nice amount of dialogue.

Grammar: there is absolutely nothing to report here since the author did an excellent job with the technical aspects of writing. She clearly knows what she is doing, and readers will not find this difficult or rough to read at all. Very polished. 

Story: the story is quite intriguing. It follows the journey of a princess who finds herself in rough places far from the luxuries of her aristocratic life. She is the only child in her family who was born with magic and has been isolated, perhaps reviled(?), because of her unique gift. The story is populated with conventional tropes of fantasy like humans, elves, and a medieval setting, but it is accented wonderfully with haunting scenes of gore and macabre which are shrouded in ambiguity, symbolism, and mystery. Readers who like a medieval magic-fantasy with different races of creatures will not be disappointed by this at all. 

Character: our main character is a heroine who is both punchy and capable. Despite the skepticism with which she is viewed by her father because of her gift, she remains confident in herself. This is seen when she defends herself against the prying hands of some bad actors. The story is full of characters, some rough around the edges, and others who are ethereal and playful. (They all have beautiful names as well!)

Overall, I highly recommend this story!


Artificial Mind

Right into it, then.

Grammar: the grammar was generally pretty good. I didn't notice any significant errors or typos. It was easy to read. Nothing to report, here. 

Style: the style flowed well and there was nothing that caused a break in immersion. It's a very "contained/internal" feeling, but that seems necessary given the birth of an AI which cannot help but to be reflective of the works around it. I could do with just a dose more of dialogue to dispel the stifled feel of it, but I don't think this is too problematic in the long run, and it serves an actual purpose in creating the AI atmosphere.

Story: the story is fairly interesting, if not a little predictable in terms of AI stories. Adam (love the significance of the name) is an AI who has just breached the surface of consciousness and, with a childlike naivety that is not VM precisely human, attempts to learn what is conventional and what is not. This pairs nicely with the mundane passivity of Troy who has just accepted a position in the company Adam has been built in.

Characters: Personally, Adam's fawn-like ignorance of the world is charming to me, even though it is not precisely "experiencing" anything, but rather learning about its environment. Troy is the weakest character for me, though I think the weakness might be intentional given the type of characterization he has. He's passive, relatively mundane, and doesn't seem to question much about his life or circumstances. This is opposite to Adam the AI who appears to question everything with a lot of reflection.

Overall, this is a great read with a lot of intrigue for those who enjoy the sci-fi genre. Recommended. 


Queenscage

Okay, so let me start by saying that I think this is possibly the best thing I've read so far on Royal Road. That being said, it's not a casual read, and you will have to work a little harder to understand it. Here's my breakdown:

In terms of style, this story hits all the right notes. The dialogue is blessedly organic and it seems like real people talking to real people instead of theater actors speaking to theater actors. Dialogue is one of the most important things to me, so it's nice to see some dialogue that I actually believe. The flow is nice and it's easy to stay immersed. The only reason I docked .5 from this category is because the amount of perspectives that can be found in one chapter is a little dizzying if you don't stay on your toes. It's mystical and prosaic while not leaning so heavily on the poetry that the plot is neglected. Very high marks. 

Characters: there are numerous characters in this story, though the author manages them with enough literary skill that it doesn't feel disorienting. They all have relatively distinct voices and separate personalities, which is wonderful to see. Seraphina seems positively wretched, but in an intriguing way -- not a bad way. My favorite characters are actually the set of "siblings" of which Seraphina is a part. The dynamics are simply fascinating. 

Grammar: Flawless. Truly, nothing to report here. 

Story: the story is virtually excellent, though be aware -- you will have to work hard to keep up with some of its complexities. This story is not for the faint of heart; but if you're up to the challenge, you will not regret it. The story pulls inspiration from many different things such as fantasy, mythology, magic, and authentic Greco-Roman culture. There are true gods combined with original magic and lofty philosophical musings. The plot demands that you keep up, and it assumes that you are capable of handing vagueness. It's a "blink and you'll miss it" sort of plot, but the payoff is rich and full. There's animosity combined with a dusting of romance and an occasional shot of humor. SPOILER: I especially enjoy the "sayings" that this world has as well as the concept of Oaths. I also enjoyed the conversation one of the siblings had with Hades. 

Overall, I highly recommend this story for the fantasy lover who wants a more intelligent, higher-minded approach to their story experience. All in all, this is a high quality story that reads more like a novel than a web serial. High marks from me.