Rock Falls, Everyone Dies

A quick short story about a falling (or precisely, rolling) stone.

The story has surprising plot twists and development that it's so much fun to read. I can see why a lot of people like the silly things that happened and our protagonist is indeed adorable in its own rock-y way.

Grammar and style is alright. The author cleverly used tropes like system boxes to his advantage and subvert reader expectations. Some prose I did not expect to find in the story, I was blown away. The rock's pondering about certain things will make you think. I really like that aspect.

I love the plot twists. Just when I thought the story is going to end, a new development take us into a brand new direction, which is a pleasant surprise.

Highly recommended for an afternoon read while having tea and cookies. Kudos to the author for writing such a fun story!

Borne of Caution

Such an amazing read! This was my first time reading a fanfiction, and I was blown away by how well it's written and how much I enjoy reading it. I was only three chapters in, but those three chapters are already long enough to trigger me writing this review. Read the story!

This review is spoiler-free! (outside of the blurb)

Plot Summary - Lee Henson is a zookeeper that is Isekai'd to Pokemon Emerald world. Without spoiling things, how he got there is done in a way that is uncommon for the trope. I'd like to warn you that it might be gorish and traumatizing. Even then it's still worth to read!

Grammar and Style - It's well written. I enjoy reading it more than I expected! There are some typos here and there but it's not that noticeable. Chapters are long and leave a satisfying feeling when I read it to the end. Sometimes it feels like reading a wish-fulfillment story, but also somewhat realistic. In short, I like it very much.

Characters - The first chapter introduced us to our protagonist, Lee Henson. I get the feeling that the author is experienced in showing instead of telling. From the first chapter alone, we get a glimpse and so much characteristics out of Lee. The fellow zookeepers are just a supporting cast, but their introductions are done really well. Even in the Pokemon world, no character behaves in a shallow way like they sometimes do in the games. They seem to have a fluid thinking, intrinsic motivation, logic and reason behind their actions. Oh, and someone pointed out that the Pokemons are really well done. I agree!

World Building - The setting opens up in the real world and then shifts to the Pokemon world. The story definitely relies on our knowledge of Pokemon world, and that's okay! There are mysteries surrounding the Poke-world and I hope that the author tries to clear the mysteries as we go on continuing Lee's adventures!

Conclusion - This is a very easy review to write, unlike some of the other stories I've tried to review. I definitely recommend checking this out, especially if you like Pokemon and a smart believable zookeeper as a protagonist! Read the story!

Final Score - 10/10. For a fanfiction? Really good.

Ouroboros Ascendant

People said that friendship is beautiful. Good friendships might even transcend space and time. That is certainly the case for our four protagonists: Jack, Erin, Layla, and Rory. I highly recommend the story if you want to read a tale of friendship and adventure!

Review contains a minor spoiler of the early chapters

Plot - Friends on an Adventure - Jack, Erin, Layla, and Rory were on a MMORPG quest when they were suddenly transported to another world with varying races, classes, and magic. Having played for a long time as a party, they quickly adapted to the magic system and were on their way towards exploring this new world. They were able to make good use of what they have, gather information, and quickly decide on what to do next. The tone of the story is light hearted, and that’s okay! It feels like having a stroll with your friends on a breezy spring. So far, I really enjoy their explorations and looking forward to reading more of their shenanigans.

World Building - World with a Lore - We spent only a chapter with our main cast on the original Earth, but we already get a sense of how their life was before the Isekai. In the new world, the author has prepared a good lore to explore, with the creation myth of Serpent and Tree, and an overarching quest to complete. Even though the tropes of the new world are not uncommon, I think the author has done a good job creating a believable and culturally-rich stage for our heroes to shine.

Characters - Realistic and Quirky - This is one of the strong aspects of the story. Even though we have multiple main characters, they are easily distinguishable from each other. Jack is calm and reliable, Erin is the tough girl, Rory has a charismatic presence, and Layla is the mischievous demon. Each of them have their own quirk and characteristics, and it’s really interesting to see the dynamics they have within the group.

Grammar and Style - Flowing Organic Dialogues - Speaking of group dynamics, that is also one of the story’s strong aspects. The dialogue feels organic and smooth. It didn’t feel forced at all. The way they’re comfortable with each other gives me the sense of long time friends hanging out. I really like their banter. Although there are many stories with good dialogues on Royal Road (like The Quest is Bullshit and The Devil’s Foundry), Ouroboros Ascendant gives a distinct feel to its characters’s dialogues. I think it’s worth reading the story just to experience the interactions between the characters.

Grammar and Style - Short Chapters and Multiple PoV - My main issue with the story is that the chapters feel too short. That’s understandable since we have multiple main characters and therefore each character needs their time to get in on the action, hence shortening the chapter's 'length'. 

Conclusion - Read the story if you’re looking for a story with great dialogues and multiple lead characters!

Final Score - 9/10. Feels like hanging out with your friends!


In for a Journey, In for a Treat

This story is a reverse marketing strategy by the author. They have already published the book on hardback, paperback, and amazon! (with ISBN: 9781735878706) They’re trying to gain readership by publishing the story for free on Royal Road and Reddit! I don’t know if this strategy will work (it probably will), but I’m just glad that I was able to read the story! 😁 Highly recommended if you’re a fan of HFY genre!

Reviewed at chapter three, may contain minor spoilers of the early chapters.

Plot - Summary - I was trying to write a good summary of the story but whatever I write I think the author has done a better job than me with his synopsis. So go read the synopsis! 

One thing I’d like to point out is that the prologue seems a bit jarring and, uh, different from what’s expected in a typical Sci-Fi. Maybe it’s just because we’re still really early in the story and lacking the context to understand its significance. That’s okay!

Plot - Good Pacing - The pacing of the story is moderate. Not too fast, but not slow either. Actually, maybe a bit slow. That’s understandable since the author takes his time building the world our protagonist lives in, namely the culture inside Dandelion. Speaking about world building...

World Building - Thick layers - It got thick layers of it! I think this is one of the best stories on Royal Road with its world building. We’ve got the Dandelion starship, with its high technology and culture (the tale from the Ranger’s instructor? Brilliant). We’ve got the New Home, the destination of the ship (which we haven’t seen much yet). We’ve got earth, our old home (with sprinkles of a colossal war history thrown in; also hints of alt human races in chapter three). All in all, a pretty solid world building.

Character - Huge Cast, Multiple Leads, Many PoV - The first three chapters focused on introducing us with our main cast of the story: Amber, Roy, Nikki, D.A.N.I., the captain of the ship, ranger instructor, and the rangers. There are multiple point-of-views throughout the story and so far it was executed brilliantly. The rich world building was influenced by the multiple PoV we experienced. In a way, it reminds me of Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris’ format of changing the point-of-view every chapter or so. I expect the future chapters will have our main characters face their own challenges that interlaps and interacts with each other.

Grammar and Style - Long chapters, Professionally edited - The prologue and the first chapter is quite short, but chapter two and three are really long. It’s because there are a couple of point-of-view shifts inside the chapter, and that’s okay! I really enjoy reading the story even though it has long chapters. There are no grammar mistakes I noticed, probably because the book is already published, and that usually means it’s already professionally edited. Excellent!

My Issues (HFY rant) (spoilers up to chapter three)

As with every other HFY story, my issue runs with how the humans were unbelievably painted as a good race. I’ve had trouble suspending my disbelief with how the human society and culture depicted in the story. It seems implausible to me that no major conflict has happened within the 284 years of its voyage. Humanity is just not that utopian! There’s bound to be some crime happening right? Yes, the story actually tried to address the issue by saying they keep crime and inequalities low through AI’s control of population (keeping it under a million souls, the ‘goldilock zone’). 

But! If that’s the case, it breaks another plot point for me.If the omnipresent AI is capable of controlling the birth rate of a million people while doing a billion other maintenance on the ship, how come, did our protagonist still have a broken home?! 

A utopian society aboard the starship requires a good civilization to function and be sustainable (on top of the AI). A good civilization has its foundations in stable families. Without a stable family, the civilization will collapse in and of itself. No culture and sports to preserve, because each member of the society is busy working on their family issues! The AI (if it’s that powerful) should have no problem predicting each couple's compatibility and therefore ensures a happy marriage and family. 

A broken family is actually the least thing you would expect from a society that runs so well so that the average human physical and mental capability went up compared to three centuries ago. Either have the utopian society, or the broken family. You can’t have both.

Honestly, this is just my nitpick for every HFY story. I think there’s a reason that so many fictions depict humanity as the real monster. Because deep down, we know it’s true. Humans are the most lethal creatures on earth - google it if you don’t believe me! I still think the story is well written and worth reading. If this doesn’t really bother you, then go read it!

Conclusion - A well executed HFY story, with artificial intelligence, out of the world high technology, multiple lead characters, and awesome world building. On top of that, it’s professionally edited, written by an experienced author, and it’s FREE! What are you waiting for? Go read the story!

Final Score - 9/10. Well written and free!

P.S. Do you agree with my reviews? Are there anything you disagree with? Instead of only disliking the review, help me write a better review by sending me a constructive criticism to my reviews! You can do so from this link: 😄 Thank you!

The Hard Way

This is a good example of HFY in a nutshell. HFY (Humanity F*ck Yeah!) is a genre of certain types of stories that paint humanity in favorable light. If you never read a HFY story before, try to read this short story. It’s complete at around fifteen thousand words and can be read in a single afternoon.

Plot - Humanity realized that all of a sudden aliens exist and we’re in the middle of a warzone. From the onset, there are few hopes for survival but after an alien ship crashes on earth we were able to cooperate and escape ultimate extinction. I have no problem with the premise, but I was skeptical how humanity was able to cooperate. To me, it paints an unrealistic light on the human condition as tribal people. Although I agree that we’re capable of cooperation, I doubt that humanity would be able to escape the doom without a significant alpha leader like in the story. Even though the story has acknowledged this issue and tried to cover the weaknesses, I think it’s still lacking in its execution.

World Building - The story takes place on earth and the alien’s ship, and the author has done a good job to incorporate several earth cultures and certain tropes to the story, like Asian characters, Russian, African, etc. Although in my opinion the main antagonist of the story needs to be fleshed out more, and I had trouble suspending my disbelief how the Plague monster traveled across galaxies.

Character - My main issue is with our main character. He didn’t seem fit to be the leader of the human colony. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I just felt that he lacks the charisma and traits that leaders under crisis have. This is, of course, just my opinion and nitpick and you’re free to argue otherwise.

Grammar and Style - The first few chapters are fine, but I don’t like the POV shift on chapter five where we were introduced to Azthera. For an alien civilization so focused on knowledge and technology, their conversation doesn’t sound that interesting to me.

Conclusion - If you want to read a HFY story, try this one! Although if you’re a hard science fiction fan, maybe you’ll find trouble to suspend your disbelief.

Final Score - 7/10. Good enough for an afternoon snack.

Unraveled: A Short Story

Initially I didn't know the meaning of the title, before reading the story. It's actually a question for a crossword puzzle. A hint I can give you though, it ain't "HAPPY".

The story is gripping and the author seems to be experienced with writing thrilling stories. Thank you for sharing the story with us! I enjoyed the read. I hope you'll be willing to share more with us

(Oneshot) I Shouldn't Have Pretended to be the Female Lead

This is a good short story with a fun little plot twist at the end. You should read it, it only takes ten minutes, max. 

The story is basically about a lazy guy pretended to be a maiden princess because he's afraid to be the hero. Based on the cover image and the story title, I had some expectation about the ending, but I was pleasantly surprised with the end. 

The author has stated that this story is prompted by his friend's challenge: to write a story about, and i quote, 'my phobia, a significant event, my fetish and a genre that I normally avoid'

Lonely Light (Complete)

Alternate Synopsis for this Romantic Story

This is a great short story, and the synopsis doesn't do justice for me. Here's my attempt at an alternative synopsis:

Darkness is Passion, Aggression, and Chaos.

Light is Contentment, Peace, and Stability.

Touched by Earth's Darkness, I'm no longer qualified to return. Years spent alone, no kindred beings in sight. I found her at the clutches of Dark sorcerers. So innocent and bright, a pure Light - just like I was. I know I have to send her home. Before she ends up like me, tainted and don't belong.

I'm no longer alone, though not for long. I have to send her home. I know I have to send her home. Even so, is it wrong wanting to not be alone?

The Devil's Foundry

Genre Hodge-Podge/Mash-Up: Supervillainy x Isekai

Man, how delighted I am to found another gem on Royal Road. The story is funny, deep yet light, and led by a smart female protagonist with lots of witty banter. What’s not to like? Read the damn story!

Review contains a minor spoiler of the early chapters.

Plot - Summary - Supervillain ‘Empress’ Via and Superhero ‘Electra’ Elenor have to work together after they got Isekai’d because of a mishap from their most recent fight. The premise is really interesting and I was hooked from the very first chapter! I have read isekai stories before, but never from a world where superpowers are reigning. That’s new and refreshing! From the premise alone, this story is worth reading. But there’s more.

Plot - Fast pacing - The pacing is good. It’s quite fast! Things are moving and the scenes are rolling left and right. Sometimes we’re thrown smack bang in the middle of actions. Just the way I like it!

World Building - We’ve got history - From our two main lead dialogues, we learn that they’re long time nemesis. They had their bit of history. There’s a layer of their old world we still don’t know yet. A simple quip between the dialogues here and there helps us imagine the first world. It let us feel as if we were from that world. Clever!

World Building - There’s gonna be struggle - At the nearest civilization, they get into a scuffle with the authorities. Rare classes aren’t so welcome in the new world. That means that they have to fight their way to seize power. Knowing how smart our MC is, I’m so excited and eager to find out how she is going to wreck the world! 

Character - Smartass Dumbass Dichotomy - This is where the story shines. The characters! Via is so damn smart, and Elenor, uh, well, being Elenor. But seriously, their dichotomy is one of the best banter I’ve read in a while. It reminds me of the early days of The Quest is Bullshit (it has fallen from grace in my opinion). But this one is so, so much better! We can sympathize with the characters’ circumstances, and understand and support their decisions. Their personality is solid, believable, and unique. Have I mentioned that the MC is so damn smart?! She is!

Grammar and Style - Witty Dialogues - Brilliant. Their interaction is just so *muach* brilliant! This story is exactly how I would imagine how a blonde super bimbo and petite smart villain interacts. I think the author has nailed the perfect balance for writing a witty dialogue.

Conclusion - Read the story! Especially if you’re looking for witty dialogues, a smart protagonist, into superhero genres, and, well, isekai. Read it! Now!

Final Score - 10/10. Straight recommendation to go read it right now!

Disclaimer: I may have exaggerated things in my review since I'm so happy to found another well written story, and I hope that you're willing to curb your expectation. Thank you.

Savage Hunters

Love the Monster Hunter Vibes!

Don’t be fooled with the single entry! That one chapter is actually thirteen! Thirteen chapters put into one! It’s actually more than thirty-one thousand words! And each chapter is polished and high quality. I’m pretty sure this story will have a huge following in the near future.

Edit: The author has split the chapters up. I have read up to chapter 13, and my review stands.

Review contains a minor spoiler for the first few chapters.

Plot - Summary - Alden is an adolescent warrior from his once-nearly-extinct tribe, eager to prove his worth and brave the unknown. Only after the evil Scourge is back, that Alden gets the chance to venture out to the world, mainly to seek help and participate in a tournament with other tribes. The premise is nothing new, but the execution is brilliant.

Plot - Good Pacing - The pacing of the story is good, although a bit slow to my liking. It’s understandable as the author is taking his time to set up the world, and it’s really well done.

World Building - Tribes, Tattoos, and Huge Monsters - This is where the story shines (currently). The Author has done a good amount of research to create a believable, living, breathing culture. There are original races in the world, huge monsters (even the sheep are huge), tattoos linked with ancient magic, silent spirits, and even a snippet of the history of the magic system. It reminds me of Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris, maybe better, and that’s good to me. 

Character - Realistic and Unique - From the sister’s marriage, the first fight with the Scourge, and the venturing out to the world, the author has done a good job of showing how the character struggles, literally and figuratively. Not only for the main characters but the supporting characters as well. Each character feels realistic and has their own personalities. The author utilized character tropes well, like a young brave leader, a trickster best friend, a smart loyal cousin, a childhood friend - love interest for the cousin, and a wise aged mentor. It’s still early in the story and I can already tell each character apart because each of them has unique introductions.

Grammar and Style - Well written and Descriptive - From the descriptive scenes, character introductions, and cool fight, I can tell that this is a polished work. It’s well written and probably already edited. The author has published other books and seems to be highly experienced. That experience shows in this work. I’m really glad that I can read this.

Conclusion - Read the story! Especially if you like Huge monsters, Tattoos, Greatswords, or anything related to Monster Hunter. It’s a bit slow in the beginning, but it’s worth it!

Final Score - 10/10. Really excited to read high quality work