Lmarief

Lmarief

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Selena's Reign: The Golden Gryphon

Masterful work with a decidedly frustrating MC

I have had the pleasure of communicating directly with Mr. Flanders about some of the deeper themes embedded in "Selena's Reign", so I am in the unique position of not having read all that has been posted but still knowing too much.

"Selena's Reign: The Golden Gryphon" is a masterfully crafted work of art. Truly. From the meticulous construction of each sentence to the vast amounts of research put into every single chapter and beyond to the forethought invested in the full story arc, you will be hard pressed to find a better work of literature on the RR platform. The world building in this book is incredible including gloriously described landscapes, the creation of at least the sounds of an authentic language, political backgrounds and world events that mimic real historical moments, the construction of a thematically important religion, and the requisite fantasy magic system you would expect in such a story.

My one great consternation with the story is how frustrating I find the main character, a young man named Zephyrin. Having discussed his character at some length with the author, I understand the purpose of this frustration, but, nevertheless, I personally struggle to engage with the story because Zephyrin is so difficult for me to relate to. Zephyrin, a prince of great importance, begins the story dying as a young 20-something. He is then granted the opportunity to return to the world as an infant in the care of peasant parents, but still retaining his memories of his past life. Zephyrin displays a certain cognitive inflexibility throughout his infancy and childhood (at least to the point that I have read) that makes me want to smack him upside the head for lack of better language to describe my feelings. His goal is to alter history, specifically the events of his father's life, and because of this hyper-focus, he misses all opportunities to really live and connect meaningfully with some of the other fantastic characters sprinkled throughout this story.(Insert some earth-shattering commentary about how this applies to our own personal lives.)

At this point, I will discontinue my line of thought to prevent accidentally spilling spoilers.

I absolutely recommend this story. It is not a binge-read book. This is the kind of story I could see an AP Lit teacher assigning their high school students to read. But it is definitely worth a look.


The Isekai Police (aka

I have been enjoying "The Isekai Police", and want to encourage Vnator in their writing and more readers to take a look. (The author's self-description is pretty darn accurate thus far.)

As my review title states, the premise for this story is epic. Basically, a task force (TOAL) exists to make sure that "Earthers"-- who are summoned from planet Earth to act as the chosen heroes in alternative worlds' catastrophic wars, disasters, or what have you-- are summoned ethically and then treated appropriately. Enter Artyom, a battle hardened higher up of TOAL whose background we only sort of can guess at (at the point that this review was written). He's quick on his feet, a little cynical, calculating, and determined to protect Earthers.

Artyom is sent on a top secret mission to identify the source of earth culture on a fairytale planet with no known summons and a strange set of psychological readings. His task is to find the presumably present Earther, figure out how they got there, and unravel the hidden mysteries he discovers on his quest. Fighting a somewhat uphill battle against an overpowered magical Skills system, Artyom has to remember to keep on his toes despite the seeming incompetence and lack of basic intelligence in the world he's exploring. I'll stop there because I don't want to drop any spoilers.

We occasionally get little interlude chapters inserted amidst the Artyom arc that seem to primarily focus on a new TOAL recruit named Kai (whom, I'll be honest, I expected to be the main protagonist after the first couple of chapters and without reading the full book description🙈). These interludes give the reader insights into TOAL headquarters and training and some world-building that, as a reader, I've quite enjoyed.

Stylistically, I don't feel qualified to give much feedback. I will say that the story has been easy to follow thus far, and the prose is fairly straightforward which lends itself well to immersive reader engagement.

Grammatically, it's not perfect, but except for one section which the author notes suggest was tacked onto the chapter a little later, it's pretty good. It hasn't distracted much from the story, in my opinion.

Final thought, it's worth a look! I'd imagine that the category of story isn't for everybody, but it's a fun read.

Updated at chapter 39 to include an "advanced review".


Seeker of the Lost

"Seeker of the Lost" is what I would call a bingeable story-- thus the title of this review. The style is straightforward if unvaried and predictable with snack-sized chapters, the grammar while imperfect is passable without too much consternation as a reader, the characters are entertaining and their relationships interesting, and the story is simple while still being compelling.

To summarize so far, Lianne and Amra are on a quest to find an unfindable city in an effort to relieve Lianne of a curse acquired when Lianne tried using dark magic to bring her brother back to life. Along the way, weird, creepy, and frightening things happen that drop little micro-clues about Lianne's curse and some greater evils loose in the world. The best friends pick up another companion as they travel, a quirky elf named Faolin (he happens to be my favorite character), who has his own dark past, quest to resolve, and mystery to riddle out. The deeper we get into the story, the more it would seem that Lianne and Faolin are linked by a common enemy. 

Dun, dun DUUUUUNNNNNN!!

Enjoyable read if, like me, you don't have too much brainpower to spare and are seeking easy, escapist entertainment. 


World Of Elite

Compelling story, hard to read

In my reviews, I try really hard to bridge the gap between honesty and generosity.

Story

As my title indicates, the story is compelling. In a world plagued by monsters from another dimension that arrive through great spacial rifts, a fraction of the population has evolved to possess superpowers specifically to combat them. Rin, the MC, is from a family lucky enough to claim an almost perfect track record for producing "elites", or supercharged, mutant humans. Unfortunately for Rin, she is the exception in her family. Training from a very tender age in martial arts and swordsmanship just to be accepted by her elitist family, Rin quickly becomes a master fighter in her own way. But is it enough? You'll have to read to find out.

A classic underdog story merged with the supernatural in a contemporary AU, "World of Elite" has a ton of potential.

Style

Sky573 has a simple but followable writing style. The prose is basic, but, in a way, it adds to the charm and seems to match the simplicity of the characters. The story is linear. Unfortunately, the style is overwhelmed by grammatical errors that almost negate the pros of the simple style.

Grammar

Since I'm on the subject, let's talk grammar. This story is crying for an editor. CRYING! And I've found it frustrating to read because I have to spend so much time decifering what the author meant in almost every sentence. If it wasn't so hard to read, "World of Elite" has the potential to be a very bingeable story. 

Characters

Rin is a classic underdog protagonist. She has to work extra hard trying to earn the visibility and acceptance of the people that should care about her the most. Her brother and sister are both elites and love her and encourage her to pursue an elite status despite her lack of superpowers, but, in order to pursue their own paths, they have to leave Rin behind. Consequently, Rin is sent off to school on another continent by her parents where she lives on her own, struggles to make friends because of her intimidating skills, good looks, and general ability to excel at everything she does. And yet, somehow, she's popular? I'll admit, some of the expository narration about Rin seems to conflict with the character herself. In some ways, Rin feels like a recycled character, but in other ways, she has a lot of potential for growth and development that is exciting to see. I'm curious to see how Sky573 chooses to develop her.

 

Final thoughts. PLEASE GET AN EDITOR, or at least take the time to polish things a little. This story has SO MUCH POTENTIAL. Definitely worth the read if you can get past the errors.


Ancients [An Epic Litrpg]

This is my first book review, so bear with me.

Let me explain my review title. This story (as far as it is written) is set in a world that has clearly been well-developed by Lin Lee. The number of creatures, amount of lore, alluded backstories, and political history suggest that Lin Lee is playing a long game with their story-- giving just enough hints at the depth of the world the reader is immersing themselves into that it leaves you hungry to understand everything. (And keeps you reading!)

That said, so far, I've been craving more human interaction. Moments away from the action to develop the people. I want to understand Chen, the protagonist, his relationship with his father, his perhaps trivial but character developing interactions with the people around him, his spirituality to give the magic he stumbles into some context, etc. After such a gripping prologue with the early introduction of a deep marriage relationship, I wanted to see more of that embedded throughout the rest of the story.

Chen wears a thick suit of protagonist armor, somehow always surviving the unsurvivable when outside forces intervene. And while Lin Lee describes the ensuing battles with epic detail and image-conjuring simplicity, the trope was over-used. (Perhaps in an effort to introduce important creatures in a streamlined way, setting up for an epic future battle?)

Grammatically and all things like unto it, "Ancients" could use some refining. I got the sense while reading that getting the story onto paper was the goal more than polishing that story for ease of reading. (A worthy goal, but it does require more effort as a reader to enjoy.)

Overall, "Ancients" as it currently stands has a ton of potential. I look forward to seeing where this story goes!