beast_regards

beast_regards

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Sanguine Symphony

Sanguine Symphony is an urban fantasy.

One with vampires, and vampire hunters, and werewolves, and witches, and so on.

It’s also a fan-fiction. Thus for a very specific audience. Not one based on the pre-existing piece of fiction though, it is one that re-imagines the obscure singer as the vampire, which immediately sends this story a hit-of-miss category with potential to entirely alienate the large portion of the audience that found this story literally by random chance. I don’t have the slightest idea Darren Hayes is, or was, and find him just as alien as his vampire persona within this story, perhaps more. Yet, the novel expects an almost familial, or personal relationship with him, which is a gap that no amount of Google searches can fill. I can’t download your feelings. 

Style - The story itself isn’t badly written, it shows the visible effort, it can set up the atmosphere properly. It uses a mix of 2nd and 3rd person narration. On the one hand, this is a perfectly valid choice for storytelling, it helps to put the reader within the story (literally), but on the other it alienates the person who isn’t the target audience and doesn’t place the deep emotional significance on the characters the same way as the author does. Personally, I would choose 1st and 3rd person instead, where I would be able to put the emotions I experience on paper, instead relying on the audience to feel the same way the author does. Novels with 2nd person narration still have their fans. I, however, cannot fault the author for me not being the target audience, giving the style a 5-star.

Grammar - All stories I review should receive 5-star by default. English isn’t my first language.

Story and Characters - As far as urban fantasy goes, this is a valid story. I didn’t find any ideas put into it (including Aboriginal vampire hunters with boomerangs) particularly off putting. Story does kinda start “in the middle” but that’s not much of an issue. It’s not unusual. 

Only problem, and it is a very subjective one, is that I don’t know who Darren Hayes and Daniel Jones were, yet the story is essentially put together in the way that expects me to have deep feelings for them, something which the author of this story without a doubt had. And I feel for them, albeit only in the empathetic fashion by understanding it is important to them, and their need to express their feelings through writing this story. I agree. I am, however, not the author of the story, so I don’t share those feelings. 

Overall, I would suggest this story to the people who can say something about Savage Garden (a real world band) without Googling it. For me, they are essentially a mystery. 

Rest can enjoy it only if they could handle being thrown in the middle of something without the zero context.


I Got Trapped In a Fantasy World As A Literal Anime Girl And I'm Really Not Taking It Well [Light Novel Format]

A typical light novel, or at least parody of one, with an obligatory impossibly long title describing the basic premise of the story.

 

“I Got Trapped In a Fantasy World As A Literal Anime Girl And I'm Really Not Taking It Well.” 

 

Says it all. Except it isn’t. She is talking quite well, all things considered.

 

Style - A typical, fast, easy-to-read style, with relatively fast paced story, a simple narration, a lot of quirky dialogue and the very simple descriptions relying on you knowing it all. I would consider this a stylistic choice as it fits what the story actually is perfectly. Light novels aren’t necessarily that complicated either.

 

I am quite surprised it doesn’t contain any GameLit elements or at least endless talking about the weirdly named skill rock-paper-scissors mechanic, which would the Light Novel like this still have, even the comedic ones like this one. 

 

Grammar - All stories I review shall receive 5-star for grammar by default. English isn’t my first language. 

 

Story - If you watched any isekai, which is at least slightly comedic in nature (and many of them are) then you have seen this story. Typical, run-of-the-mill scenes, and associated tropes, quirky over-the-top characters, a default fantasy setting, this story has it all, and it makes sure it goes through every single one of them. No tentacles yet. Most likely because we are on Writhathon, and tentacles aren’t allowed, otherwise we would have them too. 

 

Characters - Also quite typical, with the strange personalities you would find annoying in real life, but are entertaining or charming on TV. Which should be a point of the entire story, hence the title. Except, it isn’t. While the protagonist should be the last / only sane man in the story, (s)he doesn’t really act like one. Actually, the original genre of the protagonist is purposefuly ambiguous, though the overall feel would lean rather towards implied gender-bender. It isn't said anywhere though, so there is that. Author finds ambiguity important. I don't. Either way, Alice isn't the last sensible girl within the story, quite the opposite. Despite her occasional "Oh no!" remarks, she plays along with the shenanigans more often than not.

Whoever the Alice was before being transformed and transmigrated, she now quite fit the role.  

Story tries, but it is not some commentary on the weirdness of the default isekai settings and its inhabitants through the eyes of the normal, real-world person. 

It is just another of those typical isekai, put on paper. 

 

Which doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad, things like this are constantly being done, and still find their audience, so I consider it a fair game. Its slapstick humour would be better served in the visual format, but all those popular anime these days were once light novels too. So, it's up to pair 

 

Overall, a Light Novel Like story I would suggest for the anime fans. 


God of Cards - [DECK BUILDING] [LITRPG] [ISEKAI] [COMEDY]

God of Cards is the novel that closely mimics a very popular anime (and light novel) KonoSuba. Fair enough. There is nothing wrong with inspiration. Still, the way it is done in this story is extremely noticeable, to the point it can be considered either a tribute or, alternatively, a parody. 

 

Either way, it is very hard to review without referencing the other story. 

 

Few stories around there force you to do that. 

 

This one does - and if you loved the one, you would love the other. Aside from the mechanic, they aren’t that distinctive from each other. Read the exchanges between Ahri and Talasin, and I am certain you will start to see similarities too. 

 

Style - Story is written in 1st person and relies almost entirely on fast humorous dialogue. Action and descriptions are short, simple, and quick & easy to read, and the story's overall structure is very similar, if not the same, as many other Light Novels. 

 

Grammar - English is not my first language. It defies my comprehension. All stories I review should be rated 5-star for Grammar by default. 

 

Story - Despite the many unique elements and interesting ideas, I can’t help but to see KonoSuba in this, especially in the characters' interaction and the overall direction of the story with the useless, quirky characters with their unrealistically exaggerated personalities, combined with a very similar kind of humour. 

 

Characters - Characters are quite hard to judge as this story is humorous, and many annoying parts of their personalities, or their interactions, are part of the joke. I can’t say I liked KonoSuba. I, however, don’t think this is better, or worse, than the Light Novel that inspired it, and thus can’t really down vote it either. 

 

I am, however, slightly disappointed because the protagonist feels like Kazuma all along. At the very least, I expected them to have at least mild competency with the card game. However, he didn’t come with the complete deck, so it is hard to determine if he would perform better if he had the low tier one, rather than nothing at all..  

 

Overall - A story intended for very specific readers, with very specific humour, but as long as you are within the intended audience, you are fine. 


The Young Master

The Young Master is not a Xianxia novel.

 

It is merely the origin story for its protagonist, and the flavour of the narration, while the rest is a science-fantasy kitchen sink which takes elements from several wildly different settings, and more importantly, from the very different settings, mixing it together to challenge your suspension of disbelief in every opportunity. 

 

Style - The 3rd person narration is heavily stylised, resembling the style of the typical Xianxia novel, with the odd terms and quirks in the expressions being used to match the protagonist's origin, to maintain its themes and character, and most likely to confuse readers as well. It is, for the most part, written in the way the person native to the typical Xianxia’s fantasy China equivalent would say it, though later it leans towards the more modern expressions to keep up with the journey into the more sci-fi themed settings. Sometimes it is a challenge to understand, however, even the most obscure passages don't offend the ProWritingAid as much as my writing does, so I can’t consider it a flaw. Let’s call it unique, or having a soul. 

 

Grammar - English is not my first language. I am yet to master this mystical technique called Grammar. All reviews should receive 5-stars by default. 

 

Story - Yi Cao is the lowly disciple pushed into the service of the Young Master. From another world. And also from space. With no further spoilers, the original setting demands the 5-stars alone. 

 

Character - I can’t focus on characters at all. They are well defined, and fleshed out, but the author really, really drove home the point with the narrator / the point-of-view character from the pre-modern society, so I can’t help myself and look at the character as their cultural background. Yi Cao is simply the disciple from the cultivator sect, a product of his upbringing, and I can’t really focus on the personality he actually has. Only his role. Same with Zihan. 

 

Overall, it is not your average Xianxia novel. It is not about the characters. It is about the setting, the setting where the old meets the new, where magic meets cultivation meets technology, where nothing is as it seems and where everything is possible. 


Empire of Night

Empire of Night should be, at least judging from the first glance, the culture uplift story. 

 

At the very least, it has the premise of one. Judging only from the synopsis, the story itself doesn’t seem to be clear cut as it barely introduces its own character, let alone the world it is set in. If it does interest you, try it, though I suggest reading further ahead than the current 6 chapters I am leaving this review at. 

 

Style - A conventional, 3rd person narration, focusing primarily on the direct speech, with a very little exposition and little to no descriptions. While not necessarily a problem per se, it makes understanding the setting a little of a struggle. And it’s a struggle for the reader, not the protagonist, as he actually knows what’s going on. It’s just that the story only leaves us hints to fill up the blanks with our own imagination, which is strange because the setting itself is not a part of the mystery - this is not isekai, the protagonist knows everything about the world he is in, the author just opts to not tell us. 

 

Grammar - All stories I review should receive 5-star in Grammar by default. English is not my first language. 

 

Story - A cultural / technological uplift story, on the first glance. It’s a sci-fi story set in the far, or at least a poorly defined future, with interstellar travel, and at least one technologically backward alien society aside from humans of Earth. The protagonist married the alien before the start of the story, and now is visiting her parents, and that’s pretty much it. That’s all we know. If there wasn’t the strange tangent on human politics, which was entirely pointless and felt like the author is trying to salvage the audience's opinion, and not built the setting - i.e. protagonist does essentially try to convince us (the audience) that his “culture isn’t communist, I swear” which feels very meta and is presented in how the author is trying to justify his setting considering current political situation, and not write the story from the perspective of the character that grow in such culture. And this in character meta commentary is the biggest piece of world-building, the rest of the Earth, aliens, travel, cultures etc. is a mystery. 

 

Character - Again, very little is known about the protagonist, his alien wife, their relationship. Characterisation itself isn’t necessarily bad, it just isn’t unique enough as it feels like a generic American couple, not a pairing between the human and alien. The“trip home” doesn’t have this feel of reaching the alien planet, its visit to a rural homestead in Illinois‌ or something similar (and not even the 3rd world country, let alone different planet) 

 

Overall, it’s not a terrible story. The advertisement caught my interest, and the premise is interesting enough, though very little happened in the current six chapters. 


The Short Stories of Argras

Want to find out more about the world

The Short Stories of Argras are, exactly what is said on the tin, short interconnected stories. 

 

Style - Story is narrated in 3rd person, it’s very straightforward and easy to understand, sadly it focuses more on the brief action and occasional dialogue rather than setting the mood of the scene, even the epic battle doesn’t feel sufficiently epic, or terrifying (and it should be, from the context). This isn’t necessarily a problem, most stories are written as this, there is nothing wrong with it. However, considering this is a collection of pretty much short, self-contained scenes, I believe it would be worth it to focus on the feeling of the moment much more than this does. 

 

Grammar - English Grammar is the force beyond my understanding, it’s not my first language. All stories I review should receive 5-stars for Grammar by default.

 

Story - Short stories are fine. The first short story describes the futile battle against overwhelming force from the perspective of one of the soldiers, the second is from the perspective of the researcher who is forced to develop magical techniques because the first battle (from the first short story) was so lopsided and the government realised they aren’t really prepared. As a result, the first short story only provides fragments of the lore, and leaves you confused who is who, and what is what. There isn’t much explanation to be had in the midst of battle, of course, this is understandable, but that’s why the focus on atmosphere mentioned in the style section would be better. Second story starts on much better footing though as it narrates much more about the world. 

 

Characters - There isn’t much room for character development in short self-contained stories, though I think that Leind is handled in a believable and interesting way. Sadly, this story ends after the 6 chapters, and we are with Sisap, a very different character unrelated to Leind. 

 

Overall, it’s a decent story, or collection of several shorter ones, and it is definitely worth a read. I was immediately interested in finding out how the world looks like, or how it works, sadly the first volume doesn’t answer much of it. 


Soil and Stars

Witness of the Soil and Stars

Soil and Stars is an isekai story. A very stereotypical one at that, featuring the average Japanese high school student summoned to the other world, this time with no powers whatsoever. 

 

Style - When it comes to style, this story is extraordinarily well written and shows visible effort put into writing, more in line with traditionally published novels rather than the usual web novels playing the fast and dirty. Story is written in 3rd person, omniscient narrator style, which is fine. Certain passages, usually only a few sentences that explain how Minoru feels at the moment, feel off though - I can’t quite explain why, as I didn’t have the same feeling from other novels written in the very same style - but I don’t consider it a flaw. Just a curiosity that stands out in the prose.

 

Grammar - All stories I review should receive 5-stars by default for Grammar. 

 

Story - It’s not a bad story per se. A travelling band of adventurers, called voyagers in this setting for some reasons, are slowly involved in the struggle to save the world. It sounds generic, but even a generic plot can work as long as it is executed well, and judging from the writing style, this author has the chance to actually do it. There is one flaw. It doesn’t need it’s own protagonist. Which leads me to the:

 

Characters - Minoru is the generic Japanese high school student, typical audience surrogate. His Ainu heritage doesn’t play any importance except his relationship with classmates, which becomes immediately irrelevant the moment he is dragged to another world. Other than that, he is good natured and well-meaning, which I like. The problem is, he is totally useless in the plot, and quite passive too. He doesn’t have any powers, and he doesn’t have any marketable skills, and learning takes years, which is all realistic, but he doesn’t have any role in the plot either other than being a passive observer. Plot just flows for him to observe it. His teammates, who are by the way people with motivation here, immediately accept him in their group with no strings attached, and he wanders around with them, and that’s essentially what he does aside from delivering some usual Japanese high schooler protagonist lines about friendship and saving the girl he knew for 10 minutes. I am not entirely sure which part of the plot actually requires him, for anything else other than being the witness, or occasionally asking the right questions necessary for the audience to understand the plot. Which wouldn’t be that bad if he served as the sort of chronicler, but he isn’t behaving like one - because he is a typical high school student, which … fine, it is realistic. It is just not interesting. 

 

Overall, I wouldn’t say it is a bad story, it shows (author’s) skill, it shows (author’s) effort in world-building, it just needs the protagonist who does something.  


Lahnthean Aria

Elemental Mythos: Rise of Idika is a fairly typical isekai (portal fantasy) 

If you love the typical (female protagonist version) isekai (portal fantasy) you can’t go wrong by reading this one. 

Style - Decent, narrated in 3rd person, straightforward and easy to understand. It doesn’t limit itself to the fast exchanges of dialogue to move the story and put some effort in description too.

Grammar - All stories I review should receive 5-star in Grammar by default. English isn’t my first language.

Story - A stereotypical summoned heroine story. There is a little twist. The summoner had a different person in mind, but the protagonist's action put the spanner in the works by trying to save the girl the spell was originally targeting. This caused her to be summoned instead, much to the caller's displeasure.

 

Characters - Nothing outstanding. Kiran, the protagonist, shows her heroic tendencies, where she tried to save the other girl in the middle of the earthquake the spell caused, instead of saving herself, which is the main reason she is here in the first place. There is very little personality shown yet, she accepts everything quickly, as she has no real choice. And that’s pretty much it we know about her. She is the well intentioned ordinary girl trope personified. And her rescuer slash summoner is the typical deceitful, bad boy type. 

Overall, I would say it is a decent story. I would say the style is above average, with the plot set up and characters being the personification of the typical tropes.


Elemental Mythos: Rise of Idika (Hiatus)

Elemental Mythos: Rise of Idika is a LitRPG Isekai. 

 

This is a worldbuilding focused novel, with an extremely slow progression towards the greater plot that has been merely hinted at in passing during the first few chapters.  

 

Style - When it comes to style, this novel is extraordinarily well written, putting more efforts on description than usual, which it shows effort. The narration is, for the most part, done in 1st person, from the perspective of its protagonist. Paragraphs are quite too long for the web novel format and I would suggest breaking it up to the smaller ones, but not hard to read, so it’s not too much of an issue, conventional novels are structured in this way too. Otherwise, there isn’t anything noteworthy. 

 

Grammar - English Grammar is the biggest mystery beyond mortal comprehension. It’s not my native language. All stories I review should receive 5-star for Grammar by default.

 

Story - The protagonist is, quite suddenly, and without any explanation, reborn to the other world as the infant goblin, and spends most of her time learning about the world, about the people that inhabits it, as well as about the strange metaphysical aspects like souls, chi, prana, energy (and yes, there are all four).. Which … actually, is perfectly logical, she is the child, it’s just … quite boring. There is no action, no real tension, it’s her learning or getting along with her mother or her siblings, which… make sense within the context of the story, but difficult to keep attention to. Most isekai are action / adventures, while this one is not. But it’s not exactly a flaw.

 

Characters - This part is also quite strange. Despite the huge amount of words and effort put into the protagonist's introspection we still don’t know anything about her as a person, aside from the fact she is inquisitive and wants to find out more about the world that surrounds her. Her previous life is gone, and she acclimatised to the loss relatively quickly, otherwise, there isn’t that much about her. She is just a vessel for exploring the world. Even her initial choices in the second chapter were made for her and she had no power over this. I understand that a whole “fire” (and void) was something like “true alignment of the soul” or something very similar, it does make sense within the context of the story if you read into it, but it doesn’t make her particularly interesting characters as she seemed to have a very little agency outside knowing more about the world. Almost like she was the author's vessel to show his worldbuilding.

 

Overall, it does require patience, as it behaves more like a slice of life story, and less like action-adventure, but it is not a bad story if you approach it with right expectations, and stick around for a while.


Solar Flare Versus [Sci-fi. Superheroes. Cosmic horror. ]

Solar Flare is the superhero origin story set in the far future.

 

It’s a short story too, essentially the equivalent of the 1st issue of the comic book introducing you to the new characters, testing the grounds whether you would like the upcoming series and thus worth continuing, or leaving the author enough time to pull out. 

 

Since this goes against the business model of continuously posting the new chapters as the Royal Road requires, consider trying it, as it won’t be noticeable unless the sequels are written. 

 

Style - Story is well-written, using 3rd person narration, with a good deal of description given for both characters and the event, along with some background necessary to basic understand the setting. While exposition through media feeds or Wikipedia articles equivalents are quite questionable, and can be called info-dumps, they are necessary to bring the reader into the setting in the very short time. This complete story is 14 chapters long, and they aren’t particularly long ones either. There are only so many things you can do with this story's length.

 

Grammar - All stories I review should receive 5-star for Grammar by default. English isn’t my first language.

 

Story - This is a superhero origin story, very short, straightforward, essentially the Green Lantern style, considering there are rings giving cosmic powers given to chosen individuals. That’s pretty much it. It’s a finished, self-contained story in the original futuristic setting. Some world-building is made, though limited by the length. The first villain is beaten, and then it’s over. 

 

Characters - A previously mundane girl receives a call to action and goes to become a superhero. Well, she isn’t exactly mundane, but the story works the way she is. There are no complicated character issues, there isn’t room for it. Story is over before the characters develop further. It takes place over a short time interval in-universe too, hence none of it can be considered an issue. There wasn’t time to develop issues with characterization either. 

 

Overall, a very good story. Finished story, with potential for sequels, but very little content. 

 

Well-done, one-short. Proof of concept for long-running series.

 

You can try it, enjoy it, and finish it quickly. You won’t regret it.