caerulex

caerulex

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The Last Orellen

Exceptional Storytelling, Characters

The Last Orellen is a fast-paced adventure built on an impressively creative and original premise.

Luck magic is useless--or is it? The Lord of house Orellen has an affinity for luck magic in a family dominated by rare practitioners of spatial magic. When Lord Orellen receives a rare prophecy (the woman who gives them only wakes up for one day every so many years and gives only one prophecy), he realizes immediately that it is too good--so good that the potential fortune it heralds leaves his family in danger of being exterminated by the other magic houses.

But Lord Orellen has one secret up his sleeve--luck magic works, but it's finicky and tricky and can only work in specific ways. To save his family, he's going to need all the luck he can eek out, and he hatches a daring, almost ridiculous plan.

Interesting as Lord Orellen is, he isn't the MC. Our MC is a young Orellen--one pawn of many in Lord Orellen's heist. We follow him as he grows up and begins to learn magic on the outskirts of the world, where magic is inconsistent, ebbing and flowing with the appearance of the aurora borealis. The MC is eminently likeable. He's curious and wholesome in his innocence, and his love for magic is written wonderfully. I can't wait to read how the MC will grow up (there are numerous time skips but all are very logical and make sense).

The prose is excellent. Very well written. Errors are almost nonexistent and the work feels very polished.

I confess a few scenes regarding Lord Orellen's heist were a bit confusing/complicated, but that is just about my only criticism.

Highly recommended!


The Dog at the End of the World

System Apocalypse Meets Disney Movie Wholesome

So on RR, there are a lot of system apocalypse books.

Imagine a book that tries to capture the wholesome of a Disney movie and funnel it into the system apocalypse genre. Not cheesy wholesome, but the timeless wholesome that hits you in the chest whether you're 5 or 50.

This is that book.

Our MC is a floofy mixed breed dog named Lucky. He's one of few chosen by the system to get a head start 3 days before the apocalypse. But this isn't your average human centric system apocalypse. Animals get system interfaces as well! And rather than choosing only humans, the gods are willing to choose animals instead to be their champions. It's a super interesting twist.

Lucky soon ends up leading a "flock" of humans and other animals and defending his territory with his "pack" of dogs, coyotes, etc. There's base building as Lucky collaborates with humans to try and best plan how to survive The End. But there are difficulties--humans are not all trustworthy, and the group as a whole has precious little information about the deadly hot winds that killed people on the first day and the alien monstrosities that attack day after day.

The animals are kind of Disney-esque in their ability to talk to one another, so some disbelief suspension is required, but it's disbelief that I joyously suspend. I'm very willing to accept that dogs can have complex conversations with one another via bark and body language, for instance. And of course, with the system apocalypse giving even the animals status screens, their growing intelligence stats and language skills make the suspension of disbelief rather irrelevant.

The writing itself/prose/grammar are all excellent, no issues at all. There's no swearing and while the book discusses difficult topics ie animal abuse and the death of loved ones, it's done in a wholesome Disney way. Feels like a middle schooler could easily enjoy the book just as much as me, a 24 year old, though we might get different things out of it.

Highly recommended!


The Devil's Dark Remnant [An Urban Progression Fantasy Saga]

The Devil's Dark Remnant is a twisty-turny urban fantasy adventure that keeps maintains page-turning tension and features elements like mysterious organizations and high stakes betrayal.

Our MC is Seth, a high school senior trying to graduate. His main hobby is martial arts and he's a sweet guy who tries to do the right thing...but he has one problem.

Something in side of him doesn't want him to do the right things. Seth knows that there's a peculiar rageful emptiness inside of him, but he doesn't start to question or explore it until his head caves in and he's marked brain dead...but makes a miraculous, unexplained recovery. From that point on, Seth finds himself embroiled in a wild chase hiding from goons with guns and following a mysterious lich across the United States. Seth learns real quick that if he can't put his fighting skill to violent use, the one dead is going to be him, accelerated healing or not.

What I've described so far is really only the tip of the iceberg. Important to note is that the book takes a hot minute to get into the urban fantasy stuff. In the beginning, we get the setup and see Seth's high school life. But trust me, when the shit hits the fan, everything from that point on is a wild urban fantasy ride.

One undercurrent of the whole series so far (books 1 and 2) is that Seth doesn't know what kind of supernatural hybrid he is. In a world full of classic urban fantasy creatures like witches and werewolves, Seth continues to search for a straight answer, but none are forthcoming. He realizes that he might be something rarer and more dangerous than he could have ever imagined...and that someone, or something, is out for his blood.

Will Seth graduate? Will he manage to keep himself from being sacrificed on a bloody altar? Will Seth survive hunters, witches, and werewolves all out for blood?

One thing's for sure: he's going to have kickass friends by his side along the way.

The prose of the story is great, very not in your face and clean. Feels highly professional and polished. Could easily imagine it on the shelf at a brick and mortar store.

Highly recommended!


Enduring Good : [The Rationalist's Guide to Cultivation and Cosmic Abominations from Beyond the Stars]

Enduring good is a post apocalyptic isekai story and it's a bit hard to fit into any one box.

The apocalypse came and went. Humanity didn't end with a nuclear war. It didn't end from a rampant virus. No--a bizarre phenomenon from the stars crash landed and ended the world as we know it, corrupting the rules of physics with a special energy known as qi. The world becomes one of myth and legend and is dominated by alien creatures and spirits. The author describes the alienness of the world well, and some of the environment descriptions almost remind me of Pandora from Avatar (blue people).

Fast forward at least 1000 years into the future. Society exists, but it's feudal. Knowledge of the past has been lost. The weak cower before the strong.

The MC is Ash, a teen street urchin who acts casual and flippant about everything, even serious subjects involving life and death. Almost immediately in the story, Ash acquires the memories/integrates with a pharmacist from long ago.

We follow Ash as she seeks to figure out the purpose behind the apocalypse and elevate the world. Ash realizes that she is perhaps humanity's only hope of remembering the enlightenment of the past. Rather than running away from that burden or deciding to just empower herself, she embraces the responsibility.

She is an enduring good, one last hope sent from the past to try and make a better future.

As a character, Ash is an odd mix of immature (street urchin) and enlightened (pharmacist). She has a lot of mental walls up around herself for protection. She acts immature. These things are all shown well, and are clearly deliberate. I look forward to the character development as Ash learns to trust others and comes into her own.

Style wise, the prose is very descriptive, perhaps even a little over descriptive at times, and there are a few info dumps. Still far ahead of a lot of books. Almost no grammar mistakes at all. Feels polished.

One final bit worth mentioning: the author is an incredible artist. You might not even realize that it is the AUTHOR and not a paid illustrator who does art on almost every chapter, sometimes two pieces on one chapter. Regardless of whether my review has sold you on the story, just click on chapter 1 and appreciate the gorgeous art, or at least click on the cover art. These art pieces help to bring the vibrant descriptions of the world and characters to life even more.


Superworld

My Discord Server Wouldn’t Shut Up

My Discord server wouldn't shut up about how good this is.

"READ IT NOW" they said.

Me: I like superhero fics. But also how good can it be?

Several hours later I've finished binging.

Turns out, this story is really really good.

Matt has a secret. He is possibly the only person on earth without superpowers. To hide this fact, he decides to sell himself as a clairvoyant, a new kind of super...one with "indistinct visions" that are difficult to measure objectively. After all, how do you measure the predictions of a clairvoyant who can supposedly get insights into the future like an oracle?

I gotta admit, I was skeptical. I read a lot of OP MC books and the thought of reading about a guy without powers wasn't immediately appealing. But boy, our boy Matt isn't a push over. He's awesome and fully deserves to be our MC.

Matt works extremely hard to sell his clairvoyance as legitimate, using tools like excellent observation skills and even hacking to find out information that he shouldn't know. More than that, in a world of supers with mind reading powers, Matt has to make sure his mental defenses are at peak performance. He practices for over an hour every day on mental exercises to be the master of his own mind, with powerful results.

Matt has the world fooled... but what happens when a moment of carelessness throws his carefully sculpted persona into jeopardy? Matt finds himself inextricably tied to a girl that everyone hates because of her status as an empath, as she can copy other peoples powers with a touch. Some powers are too powerful, and when synergized together...catastrophic. Like walking 500 atom bombs catastrophic. Enter Jane, the "5 am ghost at the gym" who is just trying to prove the world that she isn't a monster, like the notorious empath who killed a billion people 10 years ago. Her only dream is to become a true hero and help people, but nobody will let her.

Matt and Jane develop an unlikely relationship as they both pursue near opposite goals (staying under the radar, becoming a hero). They soon find themselves at the center of things bigger than themselves... things with deadly, world spanning consequences. Because who better to predict how to save the world than a clairvoyant, right?

(cue Matt internal screaming)

Prose and grammar are excellent.

Highly recommended.


Speedrunning the Multiverse

"The only psychopath he respected was himself!"

The synopsis of this book is succinct and perfectly describes what the book is. An immortal godking with infinite time on his hands becomes a serial reincarnator to speed run getting back to the godking level of power (it's a strong from the start OP MC cultivation novel with litrpg level up messages, fyi).

We join him on his latest run where he's reincarnated into less than desirable circumstances. Will our cunning, ruthless, funny, self-proclaimed psychotic MC recover from his unfortunate start and complete his fastest run yet?

I guess we'll see!

Day 1: escaped from sure death, murdered a man, face slapped young masters...and lots more.

Our MC, Dorian, isn't joking about needing to go fast! And honestly that premise is both uniquely brilliant and hilarious. Sure, a reincarnated grandmaster can reach the pinnacle again, being slow, methodical, ruthless, etc. But now you add a serious challenge into the mix--doing it as quickly as possible. If you're trying to do things speedy, you can't do things the slow and steady route, hiding in the shadows and hiding your strength.

I for one am really excited to see how the plot progresses since the MC is already taking an interesting "look at me, I'm a prodigy, gimme resources" path vs the Reverend Insanity biding time in the shadows path.

The prose itself is good, and there are no glaring grammar issues at all. Good stuff!


He Who Fights With Monsters

I started reading HWFWM when it first started going on RR (feels like a long time ago, but really hasn't been all that long).

In the beginning, I was wary: was this just another isekai litrpg in an oversaturated genre?

But the book quickly distinguished itself with its solid prose, unique magic system, and excellent characterization. Characters all had motivations that were consistent with worldbuilding and felt alive. The MC, Jason Asano, is a standout. He undergoes significant hardship and character development. Additionally, he's just an entertaining MC to follow because he likes to ramble and act bizarre to throw people off balance. He's not at all a typical MC and that atypicalness is 100% shown, not told.

I took a break from this book for a while, waiting for the backlog to pile up. Now that I'm caught up again, I can only say that this book is excellent and has an incredibly ambitious scope. Thankfully, Shirtaloon has shown himself having the appropriate stamina to keep writing continuously, and the series is profitable enough to fund itself far into the future. In other words, I have faith the book is going to have an end, and given the scope of the world we've seen so far as well as foreshadowing, that end is going to be epic.

100% worth buying the series on Amazon (to catch up to the RR baseline).

Thanks again Shirtaloon for sharing this story with us. I was having a pretty terrible day when I decided to kick off my binge (around the start of arc 2) and your book made my day significantly better. What more can you ask for?


Battlefield Reclaimer

This story isn't perfect. But at the end of the day, I went to the fiction page today and went all the way to the 4th page of chapter releases to make sure the update schedule was 7 days a week because I wanted to know if today's chapter was coming.

I don't do that often for stories.

My biggest gripe is the same as other reviewers: filler. Specifically, the MC thinking through the same questions repeatedly over multiple chapters.

Still, that doesn't kill my enjoyment. You can always trim a manuscript. The good stuff is all there.

Recommended!


The Primal Hunter

I've held out on reading this for a while, probably because I knew I'd like it and didn't went to get sucked into a long binge session.

In short, it's a great story and I'm going to be savoring each future release.

It's a book that follows the MC, Jake, through a system apocalypse. It's a fairly typical trope but I find it's done in a unique and satisfying way. If you like system apocalypse books, this is probably the biggest one around and it deserves its spot as one of the most popular (and financially successful) web fics on the internet.

The story has well-thought-out world mechanics. The system isn't overly in your face, nor is it snarky. The forms of magic/abilities make sense and the progression the MC makes doesn't feel hand wavy, it genuinely feels like he's making break thoughs based on discovering facets of the new world mechanics. The world feels large and interesting, but it isn't info dumped at us.

The story is highly enjoyable in large part because of Jake, our ambitious protagonist and titular Primal Hunter. Jake is an OP MC through and through. He's good at all sorts of things (ie being an archer, arcanist, and alchemist), but you see him work for the power he has. He isn't a jack of all trades spreading himself thin, though: he is an archer through and through. He simply follows unexpected paths to improve what he loves best: the hunt. Plain arrows? Nope. Mana powered arrows? Hell yeah. Poison coated arrows? Of course!

But Jake does have something that sets him apart from being just hard working and smart: his bloodline. Lots of people read litrpg/progression fantasy books and wonder what makes the protagonist special enough to deserve a book. Why not follow another random side character? Well, the title of this book says it all: Jake has a powerful bloodline, a power inherent to him beyond the system, something that existed before the system even came. It's the bloodline of the Primal Hunter, and it, combined with Jake's drive, badass alchemy, and battle junkie-ness, is going to take him to the apex. Either he'll reach the top or die trying.

Sounds like a pretty fun MC to me.

Jake's OP-ness feels like a good example of showing vs telling. There's constant dramatic irony where Jake has no idea how extraordinary he is and everyone else is freaking out. It's the whole face-slapping trope but done well (and not over-used). And the relationship between Jake and his godly bud, Villy, cracks me up.

The writing itself is excellent. Very few mistakes, none of which impair readability.

Thanks for an amazing story Zogarth. Haters are always gonna hate, but you clearly got something special! Patreon $ > small hater minority 0.5s. Best rated is for chumps!


Virtuous Sons

Virtuous Sons centers on two characters, Lio, the son of the cult (sect) leader and Sol, a captured slave. They soon grow close in a taboo relationship disdained by those around them. The interactions between these two are gold, well written and believable. They both are distinct personalities and are excellently characterized with their own back stories and motivations.

For the most part we see the world through Lio's eyes (in first person) as he looks for the answer to his dissatisfaction with life. He has everything: status, power, talent. And yet something is missing.

Perhaps Sol can help him understand what. Perhaps they can help each other to be something greater.

While this character-driven conflict is at the center, the world is creative and engrossing, an East Asian, xianxia cultivator tale transposed on the Mediterranean. It works astoundingly well. Everything from a typical xianxia seems to map without issue onto this classical Greek variant.

Style is wonderful. Feels polished, professional. Could easily be from a traditionally published book.

No grammar errors that I've spotted, so full marks there.

The story is only just seeming to get off its feet but I love the setup thus far.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this story. I'd recommend it even to people who disdain xianxia/cultivation because it is vibrantly different and creative.