AJ Fluff

AJ Fluff

Siren's Elegy [A Mutation and Mythology Progression Fantasy]

Siren's Elegy is a futuristic sci-fi with a fantasy tilt, featuring both genetic altering and demonic contracts!

The Traits are a fascinating system, both unique and easily understandable, which is always a perk. It seems to revolve around genetic mutations, which can lead to a vast array of potential powers and possibilities. Our protagonist, Indra, is Trait-less, but don't worry. He gets his power by making a contract with some ancient entity he probably shouldn't have.

There's a lot of inspiration taken from old indian/hindu mythology and the like, and I really like it. It's something you don't see very often, awash as we are in euro- and asian-centric stories. This mythology choice also gives Siren's Elegy a bit of a fantastical tilt to it's otherwise futuristic sci-fi setting. It makes for a very interesting twist.

The story is incredibly well-written (extremely so), but I personally found some word usage and sentence structure quite repetitive. Don't get me wrong! The descriptions are gorgeous! But there's only so many times I can read the word "stygian".

Grammarwise, I've got nothing to report. All accurate and solid from my perspective.

Another point against are the characters. It's a big cast we're dealing with, but they're not introduced all up front, which gives the reader some time to adjust to a few characters at a time. That's great, very well done. My issue (again, very personal) is with the character interactions. The dialog can read a little off sometimes. I couldn't put my finger on it, it was just an uncanny vibe I couldn't quite shake.

Overall, Siren's Elegy is an intriguing story with a unique system that could do with laying off the thesaurus once in a while.

Champion of Small Gods [A Slow-Burn Fantasy Epic]

Champion of Small Gods is a classic in the making. It's premise is very quintessential epic fantasy: small town boy has his entire life uprooted when he becomes the "chosen one" and sets out into the big, wide world. But it's the details that elevate this book from "standard epic" to "proto work of art".

First, the characters. Each exude life and realism in a way I don't find very often, and every detail of characterization is communicated to us through amazing dialog. We're never told that Alice is a headstrong spitfire. We're shown that as she straight up argues with her father, the most powerful man in town, several times. It's glorious!

We follow the story of Konrad, a young man of the local serf class, long used to being beaten down. He's even worse off than his fellows by having only one good leg. Konrad doesn't want much. Or, rather, he doesn't dare wish for much. He's clod. He's disabled. And he's all his parents have left after his older brother was Chosen and spirited away to the temple. And then, you guessed it, Konrad gets chosen too. Only, his gods aren't as powerful as the Father or Mother. They're small gods. Only, it's not that simple. He has debts to pay and people to take care of.

Grammar is excellent. Nothing to report here.

Illuminaria: New Roads

Have you ever wondered what it'd actually be like to be reborn into a game-like world, full of people and cosequences and ideas about what you could really do? Well, Capaluchu has answered that question and more!

Illuminaria begins with a fantastic, beginner-friendly intro to the standard gamelit genre, providing detail without overwhelming the reader. It's a really tricky balance, but one that is masterfully pulled off by Capaluchu. First, we meet Joe (the MC), who, lost battle with cancer not-withstanding, is your average joe. :P He's sweet and well-acquainted with games, but isn't overtly a minmaxing genius, which is quite refreshing.

Character selection is an ordeal to someone who just newly died and didn't much like the experience, so Hawking (I love that name) gives Joe a special race that doesn't keep to the standard body as much as others. And then, newly created, Joe is dropped into the world without even a class chosen yet. I found this super refreshing, as it meant I get to see how Joe interacted with his new world before he made any other life-altering decisions. He just gets to exist for a bit and get used to that, and that was nice considering he'd just died from cancer!

But don't worry, Joe isn't alone for long. He meets a whole cast of colorful characters, from dickhead knights to simple farmers. But nothing is ever overwhelming. Many characters are introduced, but they're all spaced out and given room to breathe and for you to get to know them a little. Every character feels so amazing real. Capaluchu has a wonderful talent for giving depth to tertiary characters in a bare handful of lines. 

The style is wonderfully close, pulling the reader along with Joe as a kind of right-over-the-shoulder observer. You're right there with him, experiencing this rush of new life and emotions and challenges, and it's all so suscinctly worded. Nothing is overembellished, everything is given just the right amount of detail, it's honestly astounding.

Illuminaria: New Roads is exactly what I've been looking for in isekai anime and litRPG. It's just right

If you've fumbled under the quantity of info a litRPG can dump on you, but still want to get into it, Iluminaria: New Roads is an easy-to-read introduction to the genre. Give it a shot! ;)

Saga of the Reborn Demon King

Saga of the Reborn Demon King is just that: the story of a Demon King reborn as a half-human-half-demon boy... who has no memory of his previous life. He's always been more aware than other kids, but slowly, bits and pieces of his life as the Demon King start coming back to him. During that time, though, he lives his new life. He lives with his mother, meets friends, and learns magic. And it's all so domestic and sweet, but there's so much hidden tension and compelling mysteries lurking just beyond this happy bubble.

Luqa is a reborn Demon King, not that he knows that (just yet). He's precocious and a bit of prodigy, but he's not the only one, which balances out. He's also a half-demon, but (again) not the only one. Lucia is the stuff of my nightmares and I will bow before her, my Half-Demon Queen XD We've also got on older boy, Var (I cannot remember the long name, I'm sorry) who's an ambitious young swordsman hoping to get out into the wide world someday soon.

The style isn't quite to my taste (a bit too repetative sentence structure), but the descriptions are amazing. Vivid and emotional imagery abound here!

Grammar's fine. I didn't notice it really, which is how it should be.

This is a fascinating exploration of the reborn trope. I liked that, while Luqa has a certain awareness to his existence that hints at rebirth, he doesn't immediately remember his past life. This allows him to be a kid, if a precocious one. :P

The Ultimate Fairy Tale [On Hiatus for Now]

I gotta say, magic academy and spirit/animal bonding are two of my favorite tropes, so it's super cool to see them paired up here!

The Ultimate Fairy Tale follows Spade, a young man who's finally found a reason to actually try at his magical academy: he's finally connected with his celestial beast and apparently disappointed it with his slacking off. This is a really intriguing premise and one I'm looking forward to.

The first few chapters focus on Spade's classes and interests, with a little smattering of details about his classmates. Spade seems like a loner, so he doesn't actually interact with his classmates that much. Mostly just observing. The action scenes are dynamic and engaging, with funny anime-esque moments sprinkled in.

Spade himself is... very tropey. He's an edgy orphan with no friends and a fox-spirit companion. I think this would be fine if we spent more time with Spade and really got to know him. But the first few chapters focuses on his day-to-day early 10th grade, and then we jump forward 1 year. Currently, there's no chapter past that (waiting for an update), so I'm not sure if we'll get to see that progression from trash student to better student. We'll see.

With all the details included about his classmates, it feels like we'll get a lot closer with a bigger cast, but it's too early to tell just yet.

The style is a little inconsistent, hopping between slapstick funny and serious, intense action between paragraphs. I think the combo could work, but it needs some polishing to smooth down these noticeable edges. Grammar could also use some smoothing, but the author is always improving (they keep track of how many post-posting edits they make, which is super cool), which is a big plus in my book.

If you're looking for more magic academy shenanigans, The Ultimate Fairy Tale is an intriguing story with a huge cast of (as of yet) supporting characters and some good ol' standard tropes. It's a good time, overall. :3

Two Masters (progression, beastspeaker, dinosaur, & epic fantasy)

Yeah, you heard me! Epic. Fantasy. Dinosaurs. I'm sold.

Fortunately, the story's as good as the pitch. It's a slow start, first introducing the MC in action: solving a problem with his abilities and unique flair while dropping tidbits of lore and magic system and character motivation. There's hinting of "massive animals" on the otherside of the ocean, away from MC's safe island, and I can practically hear adventure calling. Then we're introduced to the MC's beastspeakers community, which is very vegan and... they don't really like him. And it's kinda understandable.

Thomas does a really good job with making you want to root for an arrogant, immature brat. XD Not to say that Revin doesn't have his good points. It's obvious he loves animals, and he wants to push himself, to really know what he's capable of, which I found admirable. Less admirable is the utterly teenaged snit he's eternly caught in. And this is the only place I'm docking points: Revin comes across as a bratty 17/18-year-old. Not the 21 years he's supposed to be. But that might also be a me thing. (I teach university. I know the differences in these ages very well XD) But I can also feel that the payoff willl be glorious when Revin finally gets his wakeup call.

What really blew me away was the worldbuilding. There's such attention to detail given to building up history and lore in a realistic sense. Revin knows all this stuff, so there's nothing just given away to the reader for free. It's hidden in dialogue and passing glances and effing architecture and I love it!

Grammar is flawless. Nothing else on that.

Thomas's style is unoffensive. I liked it. There's nothing wrong with it. It reads clearly and succinctly with fair pacing. ...but I couldn't really pick out a style. Everything was good, but nothing really stood out to me as "ah, this is what this author excells at / enjoys". Very neutral. Again, there's nothing wrong with this. But I'm kind hoping I'll see some unique style evolve as I read on. And I will be reading on. ;)

God of Discovery

God of Discovery is about as high fantasy as you can possibly get. The main characters are literal deities. It begins by dropping us right into a faux-action scene, letting readers get acquainted to the normal system rules and the main powers of the MC (speedster god). Then, through some clever use of characterization and dialogue, readers are introduced to a weirdness within this system (mahee) that our main cast will be investigating. We get history, characterization, motivation, and a pretty good foundation in mahee within a handful of pages. And it's all done so subtly that it never feels overwhelming. KonstanceKay is just sneaking that knowledge in while their fabulous story draws us even further down the proverbial rabbithole.

As mentioned, the main cast are literal gods, beings of magic itself and connected to one another so intrinsically because of this. There's a wonderful sense of community paired with a kind of individual loneliness from the MC that's just exquisite to read.

As the God of Discovery, the MC is often (by his own choice) off on his own and far away from the rest of his kind, visiting only occasionally to share what he's learned about the world. He comes across as so human, from his joy of running to his anxiety about crowds and dislike of orgies (ace protag?!). It's so charmingly done.

The writing is gorgeous while still being easy to read. The descriptions are beautiful, full of little details that breathe life into each and every scene. No problems with grammar whatsoever.

God of Discovery is one you don't want to miss out on! ;)

Summoner's Rolodex (Tower Climb/LitRPG/Progression/Summoning)

Summoner's Rolodex is a light-hearted romp of a dungeon crawl, chock full of hilarious puns and good times. The story is interesting and well-paced, with little moments of quiet interspersing intense action. It doesn't take itself too seriously, instead relying on jokes and a dash of over-the-top dramatization, which is a really nice break from gritty-grimdark mcRealistic story number 728 (hello, I am guilty of this).

Bob is a noob just trying his best against a Tower of Trials. He's excitable and a bit hopeless, and I enjoyed watching him encounter different obstacles and overcome them. The leveling system is simplistic, but the emphasis is on the leveling of the mysterious rolodex, which is a cursed item that allows Bob to summon any monster he's encountered before. I like that the rolodex is a sentient item, with its own personality and sense of humor.

Style can be a bit repetitive, but nothing an edit or two couldn't fix. Grammar likewise is a bit rough, but continuously improves throughout the story, which is something I like to see.

All in all, Summoner's Rolodex is a rough gem. Could it use improvement? Yes, but KAO is improving with every chapter and fixing up previous chapters as they go. The story itself is solid and worth a read. Give it a chance! ;)


Niche, but deserves to find its audience

The premise reminds me of The Nonary Games, but less brutal and nerve-wracking (personally, I was never able to play them; too squeamish, so I just watched otheres play). It's a murder-mystery-thriller with a ghost protagonist facing off against the still-alive players of this haunted house game. There's not a lot like this in western media, so it's intriguing for that alone. Hunger Games comes close, but still isn't quite in the same vein.

The start is both slow and too fast simulataneously, so I'm a bit torn. To be clear, I liked it, but it's a risky kind of start. There's a lot of beginning exposition to get through, which slows down the pacing quite a bit. But Devora (MC) and so the reader too are thrown into the plot and mysteries head first with nothing to really anchor us. My instinct is to say the beginning two chapters could use a rewrite, but they also work for this kind of story in a very niche kinda way. So I'm torn.

The characters are Devora (a ghost), her fellow ghosts, and the living players. As a ghost, Dev can't really interact with much, which gives her plenty of time to snoop around the players and give them a spotlight. Already, we experience a lot of dynamic characters through interactions and Dev's insightful observations. It'll be interesting to see how Melanthe makes the ghost-thing work without making the protagonist too passive.

Grammar is unnoticeable, which is how it should be. This allows the style and voice to really shine. It's a very faux-academic style, which works well for the main character being a nosy historian. I dig it!

Overall, I'd say Overtime is definitely niche. It won't appeal to everyone. But it has its audience and deserves to be found by that audience. Because it's a real gem. <3

Tales after the end of time

A Fairy story with so much potential

This story has a lot of potential. There's political intrigue, war, demonic curses, and fairy princesses, just to name a few. It's a lot to introduce in the first few chapters, one right after another. It could be a little overwhelming, but it's also early enough in the story that I'll give it a pass. I was never lost, but I could see how it might be confusing to some people.

The style is very descriptive, favoring action and character expressed through dialogue. I enjoyed the tiny breaks from Lucia's perspective to the demons. They're entertaining and interesting in their own ways.

The characters are intriguing, particularly Ian, the amnesiac librarian. We don't know much about him yet, but him losing all his personal memories while retaining a library's worth of information is unique and something I look forward to learning more about.

I'm torn on Princess Lucia. It feels like she's written to be sympathetic, but she honestly comes across as entitled and bratty, and inconsistently so. But I'm hoping for character growth in the future.

The grammar could use work, but the author takes a lot of suggestions, and their writing does improve with each chapter, which is always nice to see.

Overall, even with the grammar issues, I really enjoyed Tales after the end of time. It has the feel of old fashioned fantasy that's nostalgic for me. Definitely a story to keep an eye on for further chapters and improvements.