Not_A_Hat

Not_A_Hat

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Sylver Seeker

Good, but with it's own quirks

First off, I like this story a lot. It's got good adventure, has interesting scenarios, one of the few MC's who legitimately prefers discussion to violence, and some pretty big questions that are slowly being investigated.

But it's not perfect, either; it has two things that bother me rather a lot, although I  don't know if they're really 'flaws' in the writing so much as bits of style I don't really agree with.

First is... well, not exactly plot armor, but something that kinda looks like it. See, the MC has all this crazy necromancer knowledge, but he lost a lot of his power, and he's continually getting into situations that should be tricky, but he manages to pull through with his knowledge and preparations... which is fine, except afterwards he goes around saying 'wow, I dunno how I got through that, I'm actually super squishy and should have died if they looked at me wrong, it's a good thing I got lucky~!' and... Eh. I do feel like there are places where the MC's unreasonably lucky, but in other parts I feel like the MC has legitimately got a lot of power, and he just pretends he doesn't, possibly because the author didn't originally intend to write him as that powerful, but needed to in order to get through the predicaments he's put in.

So, yeah. Either he's got a giant blind spot about his power, or he's got serious plot armor. It kinda looks like the first to me, but the character himself seems to think it's the second.

Secondly, giant pieces of plot that just appear out of nowhere.

This isn't all over the place, but where it does show up, it's egregious. See, this story does something that's actually quite rare: it gives the MC substantial backstory. And I do mean substantial. Like, thousands of years worth. Which is used to great effect to give the MC fairly complex motivations, an actually mature outlook on life, death, and lot of stuff in-between, and some interesting insight into the history of the world.

It's also an absoultely humungous blank plot check the author isn't afraid to whip out whenever something interesting needs to be added to the story.

Want a demon summoning subplot? Well, it just so happens the MC was invovled with that.

Going into a crypt? Well, the MC just so happens to have some idea who built this.

Running into a god? Well, it just so happens the MC's a bit of an expert on this subject...

And on and on like that. It's not all bad, but it can feel a bit... unearned. Like, you know how foreshadowing is a thing? While reading this, I coined the term 'postshadowing' to describe what this story does. Instead of bringing something up, then having plot points related to it happen, the plot points happen, then the MC does all the related exposition afterwards. It's somewhat better than random stuff just happening, but not a lot better. It's just random stuff happening + exposition, for the most part - but the backstory does help somewhat. The author might overdraw the credit I'm willing to extend at times, but that plot check does exist.

Anyways, this story is decent, and if you like long fantasy stories, necromancy, or calm protagonists, you should give it a shot.

But it does have it's own quirks.


Tales of an Unlikely Wizard (Isekai LitRPG)🌟

This is good, if not super original. It's a 'summoned into a video game the MC played' type thing, but the MC doesn't seem to get everything from his avatar, though he does get gold and some skills. He sets about sciencing up some potions.

The author is honestly great at slipstreaming character and world building details into the narrative. For example, the MC is cautious to the point of cowardice, but it's never really discussed - he just has ridiculous safety protocols, even when summoning distilled water.

That being said, the grammar is kinda bad, and in an unusual way. The author uses long words properly, but sentences are often missing small words like 'the', or plurals are messed up, or it's a sentence fragment. Stuff like that. It makes it hard to read in a specific way, because the sentences seem well done, until they're suddenly just totally wrong. It's like missing the bottom step on a flight of stairs, it just trips you up.

I got through it by using text - to - speech while I did other stuff, kinda like skimming. But it could use some serious editing.

It's pretty fun, though.


A Bomb in the Building

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This reads sort of like stream-of-conciousness.

It's nonspecifically 'wacky', but it doesn't quite have the relatable quality of something like 'Hitchhikers', or the clever parody of Wonderland.  It just has weird stuff happening, one after another, and none of it makes a whole lot of sense.

It's not even consistent nonsense, for the most part. In the beginning the characters have no idea what a bomb is, but later on they talk about wild goose chases and eventually a planet full of Jessica Alba clones. Are they just dreadfully ignorant about exactly this one word?

Anyways. As a drama, the plot is fairly weak. The 'plot' doesn't really resolve, it's just kinda dropped. None of the characters really grabbed my interest - the first two seemed mostly interchangeable, honestly. As a comedy… well, I did snigger at one or two points, but the joke density seemed a bit low if it was trying to be really funny.

That being said, it's not actually bad or anything. It's just kinda… there.

Not quite sure what to make of it in the end. I guess it's novel, at least. The grammar was decent.


The Strange Boy

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This is pretty good, but a bit of polishing wouldn't hurt either.

It's a bit rough on the grammar. That first sentence might not technically be run-on, but it's definitely a bit meandering.

The first paragraph says he's 'rarely' done this, but later on he's surprised by the steps into the bus. It seems like 'never' might be better?

Honestly, I think the addition of the faceless friend hurt the story a bit. Needing someone along on a bus ride, at the age of eighteen, seems a bit much. I can understand a bit of confusion if he's never done this before, but it's not rocket science. Honestly, it's not even model rocketry. Public transportation is designed for the lowest common denominator. Moreover, the friend doesn't add much of anything to the story. They don't get to say anything, and they're not even named or given a specific pronoun.

The ending was an alright twist, if a bit obvious. Offering someone charity out of the blue is rarely doing to work out as planned, so I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be played straight, but I wasn't sure how it was going to pan out until the bit about the bag being full.

I did like the tone it ended on; sure, he didn't get to feel all magnanimous about helping someone in need, but the money got there in the end. :P

Also, it being set in Bangladesh was interesting. I feel like there's a lot of interesting culture, history, and mythology in those parts of the world that has been almost entirely ignored by western fiction, so that was neat.

Having the definitions at the end was nice. Knowing exactly what the words meant wasn't plot-crucial, but it was nice to know.

All in all, a good effort.


Bastion Fan Fiction

Good style, less substance.

This review is brought to you by Ludo305's iniative to ensure every 'complete' fiction has at least one rating.

So I like Bastion, and I like fanfiction.

This is a surprisingly good take on Rucks. I haven't played the game in a while, but this felt very true to his tone, and his tone left a definite impression. He didn't talk nearly this much about what was going on during the game, but with this sort of storytelling gimmick, you gotta do what you gotta do. Also, by starting out slow and ramping up, you made it seem more normal.

The War Machete was definitly my favorite weapon. I don't remember Workmens Ward specifically, though.

The fight scenes were fairly slick and readable.

In the end, though, there's nothing deeper here; no real challenge, or emotional swing, or twist ending, or what have you. It's fun, but fun is really all it is. 

There's nothing wrong with that, really, but yeah. I want a little more depth to my short stories before I hand out really high ratings. 


inflicted

I had trouble following

This review is brought to you by Ludo305's iniative to ensure every 'complete' fiction has at least one rating.

So... this is a surprisingly dense little piece. That's a lot packed in here, from implicit setting stuff to the character's motivations and fears. 

Unfortunately, that density makes it a bit hard to follow.

I'll be honest, I never really figured out what was going on. I mean, I kinda did - two people are considering running away from an oppressive estate of some kind, unsure of the outside world but convinced it's better than here.

But there were several things that seemed important I just couldn't figure out.

Like the scars on his arms. They're in the description, in the very first line of the story, but then... that's it? Do they concern his 'self-inflicted punishment'? Are they something else? I don't know. I'm not sure the story ever says.

I don't know what a gakusei is, or a dashiyo. I'll be honest, my knowledge of samurai is exceedingly shallow as well. Most of my exposure to Japanese culture is through anime, and I find myself coming up a touch short. :P

Anyways, this story impresses me with the amount of information it manages to pack in. Unfortunately, that same amount of information also leaves me somewhat confused and unsure.


The Cat of Roam (OS)

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For a story that claims to have been written in three hours, this is pretty good. The spelling is alright, the grammar is decent, and although there's some stylistic weirdness, for being written fast, it's not too bad.

Sure, it's also full of randomness and plot-holes, such as why did an angry mob show up in the barn, was that one guy really after his organs, and who was the girl at the end, but....

It's fast-paced and fun, and short enough to not overstay it's welcome.


Will You Go: Bite Size WLW in the Distant Future

This review is brought to you by Luda305's attempt to ensure every 'complete' story has at least one rating.

I guess WLW is 'women love women'?

So I had strong expectations going in, seeing this had passed some critical scrutiny before being posted here, and that was mostly upheld. I can point to some parts and say "I'd have done this differently", but a lot of it is nitpicky and can't really be called objectively better done one way or another.

For example, I'd have put the MC's thoughts in italics in several places to differentiate them from the narration. Is not doing that wrong? No, not really. I just like one way better. And some places had light pronoun ambiguity. That's a pet peeve of mine, though; they were totally understandable, just less smooth than I'd have liked. Bit of a natural hazard when both your characters are the same gender.

All in all it's a neat little story. It even had a touch of thematics - better to have loved and lost - which is more than can be said for most fiction around here. If I had to give one piece of criticism, it would be that the conflict didn't make sense to me until awfully late; the fact that she's in the resistance is hinted at in the first few paragraphs, but I didn't realize what that 'bullet in the head' line meant until she talks about farming information.

It doesn't get five stars because it didn't make me burst into tears or laughter, but it's definitely far above average for this site, and easily enjoyable in it's own right.


Rivian Musk

The prose here is fairly sound, though there are several instances of weird word use. Things like:

"The besieging army had been sent and lead by King Henry of England."

Firstly, 'led', not 'lead'; one's the metal, the other is the past-tense of lead, the verb. Secondly, it's conceptually difficult to lead something you send, since things sent are moving away from you. This should be more like 'brought' or something. Strangeness like this happens throughout.

Also, numbers under three digits (zeros don't count) should be written as words, not numerals.

All in all, though, the story is entirely readable. It's not perfect, but it's good enough.

As for the story-ness of the story... eh.

There's not really a whole lot here. I mean, it's technically a story in that there are a series of events that happen, but I don't find myself invested in much of anything that goes on, and, because of that, I have no emotional response to what happens. The encounter with the temporal pizzaman is curious, but not actually funny or important to what transpires; it's just a sorta 'that's odd' aside.

I... Urgh. I try to avoid this, but I'm going to have to give what I consider some of the nastiest criticism possible: this story is boring.

For a story to really grab people, it needs to make them care about the characters and what's happening to them, and then put them in situations where that care evokes an emotional response from the reader. If they love the characters, that's good; if they hate them, that's sometimes better. I... don't care about Rivian Musk, I don't care what he's doing, and I don't care what happens because of it.

It is possible I'm simply outside the intended audience. Maybe if I sympathized with Rivian's motivations more, or felt I could identify with him as a person, I'd have a different reaction. But... I have no experience being a knight, and his motivations seem to mostly consist of 'do whatever Henry tells him'.

Yeesh, that feels harsh. Sorry, author, I don't want to be discouraging, but that's really how I feel about this. Your prose isn't bad, the story doesn't have any major plot holes, and there might even be some basic three-act structure here. It's just... not interesting to me.


The Potion Shop

The mechanics here are reasonable, but not perfect. The story does have paragraph breaks, but they're rather inconsistent; most descriptive paragraphs have them, but dialogue doesn't. This story uses ALL CAPS for emphasis in some places, which... I mean, it's not the worst? Italics feel more professional to me, but ALL CAPS should convey the right meaning, especially for modern netizens.


Style is fair, but felt off at times. The characters, for the most part, speak in a fairly formal, slightly archaic, voice, but there were a few instances where they slipped in more casual, modern words or phrases, which was a bit jarring. There's also a sort of 'detail bloat' going on, such as specifying the shopkeepers chair is oak. It doesn't really matter to the story if his chair is oak, and although it does help the setting a bit, I'm not sure it helps it enough to warrant being so specific about something so trivial. I saw a bit of repetition, too; that chair being oak is specifically mentioned twice, rather close together. If mentioning it once probably isn't useful, mentioning it twice definitely isn't.


Plot, eh... this story doesn't really have one. It's a short, absurd comedy, where the knight plays the straight man and the 'potion shop' owner keeps humorously giving him useless products. I'll admit I snerked at the end, but I'll also say that the first and second interactions (fire resistance/stoneskin) felt so similar it seemed like telling the same joke twice. I kinda expected more of the same from the last one, but was glad it was different.


I do think having an actual plot is useful for most stories. I'm not sure I should lower the score for not having one, but in general, I feel like having the jokes + some plot would be better than the jokes by themselves, as we have here.


All in all, this isn't a standout or anything, but if I'd picked it off the front page, I wouldn't have felt like it was a waste of my time. It being short helps with that, though.