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Midara: Requiem

Good story; talented author; crowdsourced

The world that the author created for this story is truly impressive. Like the sheer amount of effort that has gone into building up a whole magic and political system for the characters to use and inhabit comes together to form a very immersive and interesting world that is quite different from any other. Like, we're all familiar with the generic fantasy template a lot of stories just pick up and run with and this is certainly not that. It's really good, just based on the world alone.

The only major detractor in the story is that the author is crowdsourcing it which leads to the main character taking a lot of weird actions that don't make a whole lot of sense considering what we are lead to expect from her characterization as the not-so-unseen hand of the reader puppets her along. It really takes away from the experience.

On the plus side, the author is very talented and manages to make things flow fairly smoothly and link things together properly despite the randomness inherent in this sort of crowdsourced storyline. Props for that I guess but at the end of the day I would much rather read a story from a talented author like this who wasn't beholden to the whims of a capricious crowd.


Dating Trials of a Vampire Queen

An intriguing piece of writing, to be sure. The title does a bit of disservice to the content, if you ask me, because while there are various trials that the characters face "dating" isn't really one of them up to the current chapter I've read (60). But despite that, I also think it's a good title. Because it reminds and informs the reader that, at the end of the day, this is a harem-type romance novel with a female lead. Any one of those words in the previous sentence can turn readers away, but if they don't discourage you I can give this book my wholehearted recommendation. Even if they do discourage you, I might recommend it anyway. 

Because it is fascinating. The world is vast and interesting. The author has created their own magical world that bears little resemblance to any of the familiar classic vampire mythology, entwined it with the myths and legends of various cultures to create a menagerie of fantastical magical creatures and places for the main character to try her best to avoid getting killed or enslaved by. Which, as of chapter 60, is what most of the story has been - the main character meeting strange and fantastical monsters that, incidentally, want to murder her on sight. Followed by her adventures in clumsily stumbling through the unfamiliar magical world, trying to deal with the various threats to her life and liberty.

The author has mentioned that they have other books published somewhere else. It shows through in the way that they write very well, at a much higher standard than the average here on RRL. I'm not an English major or anything so I won't comment on whether or not it's grammatical perfection - I'll just say that I think it's very good. Also, in my opinion, I think the author is quite an impressive storyteller. It's a hard thing for me to describe with words but I certainly feel like this is a "good story" in the sense that it isn't overly bogged down by minute details or quickly glossing over important events. It avoids all the common pitfalls - no lengthy exposition dumps or the like. 

The only thing I dislike then, are the characters. The so-called harem. None of them are very likable or (as of chapter 60) close to the main character. They are all written as deeply flawed individuals - presumably (I'm guessing) so they can slowly grow into better people as they grow closer to the main character - but that still leaves you, the reader, reading about a bunch of unlikeable pricks all the time. A lot of the power relations in the setting are sort of "all-or-nothing" as in (100% mindfucked into being a slave or not) which, I imagine, makes things difficult - because of course, the main character can't just magically / physically dominate everyone she meets because that would be boring. But, unfortunately, that leaves her in the role of the character being magically and/or physically dominated. And all the male leads do it. They either literally place her in some sort of magical ensnarement, or literally physically overpower her - their introductory chapters are all just some weird guy bumbling into the story and staking a claim on the main character with their weird powers. And, of course, they are all - at best - just sort of generally dismissive of her wants and needs or - at worst - completely unable to recognize her as an individual with thoughts and desires of her own. It's weird and frustrating but maybe it's just a romance novel thing.

This review got a bit negative at the end there but all in all I think this is a great novel that has a lot of potential to keep getting better.


Parasites and Magic

I've read to the current chapter (44) and think the story is pretty good. I knocked half a star off because there are actually quite a few persistant grammatical errors, more than a few times I noticed words being used wrong and it was jarring. Also a lot of the dialogue is hard to follow especially in the action sequences.

For the story itself it is - as another reviewer put it - "brutal". There is a lot of blood, a lot of guts, a lot of betraying rubes that for some reason let a monster into their homes (this happens more than once and it stretches credulity a bit). The plot can more or less be summed up with "a monster who has a single-minded focus on extracting magic from whatever it can does just that". Then, know that "magic" is found in glands that grow inside humans and specific monsters with magical power and as the main character grows stronger it begins to develop a desire to create a huge insect-like "hive" and you can see the general arc of the story.

If that sounds like your cup of tea then by all means, read on. But, again, like everyone else has noted, the author doesn't pull any punches while playing up the "horrible ruthless monster" angle - you've been warned.


Maou Shoujo Magical Chaos

Starts good, gets *really* boring

To start with the good: I really liked the first 59 chapters. It was fun to read along as main character learned about the world and steadily grew stronger. It was cute, humorous, slightly sexually charged, all in all fun to read, 5/5.

But then after 59 the author got restless or something and the story takes a sharp downturn in quality. For every main character chapter the author decided to start writing at least two other chapters from alternate POV's of side characters doing side character things. One side character is an unlikable rapist. One side character is an annoying group of weaklings. One side character was at one point the closest character to the main character, so I, the reader, actually cared about what happened to her - BUT she was grouped with the weaklings so having more chapters from her POV just unnecessarily padded the story length.

To compound the issue, it was at this point the author decided to introduce the exposition fairy to the main character - so even after wading through three chapters of side content - we come back to the MC literally powerless as she listens to this annoying other character just. fucking. monologue. for chapter. after chapter. after chapter. The kind of stuff that an author should have in their own notes, hidden behind the proverbial DM screen, is instead laid out in excruciating detail in the most boring manner possible.

Maybe the story picks up again later, I dunno, my will to continue reading was broken after I found myself mindlessly skipping the side chapters, hoping to return to the main story, only to be rewarded with page after page of mind-numbing world building minutiae force fed directly from the exposition fairy to the main character in the most blatant example of telling not showing I have ever had the misfortune to read. 


Last of the Mage-Kings

And that's why I rate this story five! D&D wizard doing D&D wizard things will never not be endlessly amusing to me - and this story is a lot of fun for me to read because of that.

Plus it's well written. No overt spelling or grammar issues. Little early to weigh in on the plot. All in all my only issue is that the chapters are too short! I want to read more ;_;


Curse of the Kat (Dropped)

It's kind of sparsely written but if you look past that it's a good time. The author compares it to Kuma Kuma Kuma but I for one think it's much better than that series, since there is an actual overarching plot thread and some drama that makes you feel invested in the story. Despite that though the overall tone of the story is pretty light and fun, which is nice.

The only major downside in my opinion is how little is actually written - everything is short and sweet. And by that I mean one or two sentence descriptions of characters and places that don't leave the setting feeling very "fleshed out". So it's not even really a downside, just a stylistic thing, but I think it bears mentioning. 


Devil Princess Reincarnation

Too early to give a proper advanced review but what I've read up to now (chapter 6) I really enjoyed. The author clearly put a great deal of thought into building and showcasing the world with very minimal use of direct narration - it's great to read! And the first few chapters move at an impressive pace without feeling like action is being 'forced' which is nice. MC really carries it too, love her personality - tough as nails!

 

All in all loving it so far.

 

e:(a few months later) We're up to chapter 19 now! Long chapters, tons of pages, lots to read and it's all great. The setting is interesting and well developed (if not very imaginatively named if I'm allowed one gripe) - seriously, it's obvious the author has put an inordinate amount of thought into the setting and it shows - in a good way. Plus MC is still kicking ass, still a lot of fun to read about!


Saga of the Overgod

Reviewed up to chapter 6--

So I've not read any wuxiaworld type stuff and this story draws pretty heavily from that sort of thing as inspiration. That said it's a very comprehensible story even without knowing much about the genre. The characters all behave in believable ways and Farjan gets swept up in cultivation without it feeling overtly forced by the author - which is nice compared to how it goes in some stories. 

The pace is a bit too quick here and there though I think, some stuff that could be fleshed out a bit gets glossed over in a line or two, and there are some minor punctuation and grammar snags that mostly smooth out by the latest chapter. It's always readable but occasionaly there are issues with tense useage and extraneous punctuation.

The quality of the writing varies a bit, sometimes it feels too stiff - or like too much is being said too quickly - but there are a lot of points where it shines, which is why I've rated so highly. The comedy is fun and the jokes mostly land. Plus the imagery that gets employed - especially in the first chapter - really got me hooked on the story. Three suns indeed.

 

All in all it stands very well on it's own as a story, I'll look forward to seeing what happens next.


Chain Worlds: Rise of Three

An interesting and engaging story, recommend.

First things first, this review is of every currently available chapter - up to 33

Overall: This story is very ambitious and I enjoyed reading it quite a bit. It paints a picture of a grand conflict, a country in the midst of rebellion and revolt - following the stories of three people with pivotal roles to play. It is for the most part written excellently and if the concept interests you I would wholeheartedly recommend giving it a read. I would also say the author improves quite a bit, comparing the thirtieth chapter to the first, the most recent chapters are a lot of fun to read.

Style: The author's prose is on point. They are able to paint a beautiful and unique picture with words, which is a pleasure to read. They also have fairly good range, the humorous segments are humorous, the dramatic properly dramatic. There are some niggles, some scenes that are hard to imagine or – in my case at least – required rereading to grasp what exactly was happening. That only happened to me twice in 30 odd chapters though so I'm not going to ding the score for it. I was a bit afraid the rotating POVs would grate but ultimately I didn't mind much

5/5

Story: The story has a very clearly defined structure with an apparent goal that all three protagonists are working towards. In that regard I have no complaints, however, the manner in which it is communicated is at times... frustrating. Because of the nature of how the story is told – alternating POV chapters from the three leads – there is a lot of time skipping and it sometimes feels important bits of the story are being told off-screen. For instance, in one scene a group of characters is introduced to one of our leads. In that character's next chapter it seems bonds of friendship are implied, presumed established, but never explicitly depicted.

Further, because of repeated use of that sort of storytelling it occasionally feels things are more “told” and less “shown”. It seems hard to avoid, for the writer, but it was immersion breaking when I noticed it and defiantly my biggest gripe with the story. On the flipside of that coin, however, it allowed the author to rapidly establish various things without pages and pages of exposition and push the story along toward its ultimate culmination. For me, personally, I did not enjoy that feeling of the story being pushed along – but I also feel it might be something of a necessary evil, given the scope of the story.

3.5/5

Grammar: The author obviously puts a fair amount of work into polishing his story. They also have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of written English. The typos are minor and occasional, there are no overtly incorrect uses of punctuation, and there are no flagrant violations of the rules of the language. Overall I consider it excellent, especially compared to the typical fare you might find around these parts.

5/5

Characters: This is a bit of a tricky one to rate. For the first dozen or so chapters the character development did not impress me at all – since it was more focused on tying our three leads together and establishing the world around them, rather than giving insight into their individual quirks. They felt somewhat generic and interchangeable – and that was made worse by the occasional feeling that some important moment of character development was thrown in as an aside 'in hindsight' following a POV change. It wasn't until I reached chapters in the latter half of the twenties that I felt invested in them as individuals... but I did reach that point.

They are all consistent in their thoughts and actions, from a technical perspective there is no issue at all – no wide eyed idealist being instantly converted into the incarnation of nihilism because the plot calls for it. They are all realistic, with personal struggles that are intriguing to read about – it just takes a while for the story to build to the point where you care about them.

4.5/5

 


Pagebreak

Excellent story - hooked me right away

Before we begin - this review written 7/4 when the story has released up to Episode 4 Scene 4 so that is as far as I've read. Haven't wrote many reviews but I did enjoy this story it has a very intriguing premise. Probably in one of the top ten or so I've read on this site. I'll just do a bullet point list since that's simplest.

Style - The style is very consistent throughout, the author has a very solid grasp of the langauage and makes constant use of very apt similies and metaphors. It really helps set the stage and only very rarely feels like an overuse of flowery language. The first person perspective is rock solid all through the story - never slips into third person or has any unintentional chronology errors.

The only (very minor) flaws I came across were I thought that the very first chapter might be better called a prologue and divorced from the main story entirely - it's so different in tone and setting from the rest of the work. Also in that first chapter I thought there was slight overuse of purple prose alongside some literary references I didn't get which just sort of dragged it down. It's my fault for being too stupid to understand the references of course - but that's not a fun feeling.

Story - really enjoyed the story. The level of effort put into the worldbuilding is phenomenal and since we're all readers here I think the basic premise will appeal to everyone. The story also really drew me in, getting to the end of each chapter I always wanted to click to the next one right up till the very end (it's on a cliffhanger I'm eager to see resolved right now). The story feels very "a hero goes on a quest" written in an interesting and engaging way and set in a surprisingly deep world.

The only issue I had in this department was that it did at times feel that "the hero is going on a quest" and we're gonna keep the gas floored until we get there. The time from when Jean wakes up to when she's thrust out into the world on an epic journey feels a bit to short. Plus (so far) the story is all the characters around Jean know about how the world works and she doesn't - but she pretends she does - which can lead to some frusturation as a reader wondering what exactly is going on but the exposition has be being doled out slowly so as long as that continues it should be fine.

Grammar - No noticable issues at all, the story is supremely readable. The author certainly has a bigger vocabulary than I do because I didn't spot any noticable or inappropriate instances of words and phrases being recycled. And I complained about the purple prose a bit earlier so you know there's no skimping on descriptions happening.

Characters - I said in the 'story' section I felt that Jean got going on her journey perhaps a bit too quickly - conversely the relationships don't feel very rushed at all. The cast is interesting and varied, all the characters have distinct personalities and also moments of character development that flow very naturally out of the story. But it's also a bit too early for me to say concretely - the cast hasn't broken ten named characters yet and the main group is only five plus the antagonist. 

That stuff said I could really use a physical description of the main character at some point. Maybe I somehow missed it, but I remember noting when I hit Episode 2 Scene 1 I still wasn't sure of her gender (figured it out by reading the blurb or I'd probably still be unsure). And then considerably later there a bathroom scene where she sees her reflection and mentions her hair color? But that's all I've got. I feel like I must have accidently skimmed over it or something but if not - well yea.