At it's core, 'The Menocht Loop' is a character study.
Recommended for readers who like:
- Character development
- Stories exploring psychology
- Time loops
- Overpowered Protagonist (Note: Very little action though)
Not recommened for:
- Levelling up
- Battle Junkies
- Worldbuilding (Note: Interesting world but not explored well)
- Refined writing
On the other hand, whilst it is a good fiction on the whole, reviewers from Caerulex's other fiction Apex Predator, and readers from the recently finished Mother of Learning who are looking for more time loops have drastically overhyped this story. Whilst it is has been Good enough to keep me reading, I would be hesistant to suggest that it is Great and I feel as though people looking for advice in the reviews should be aware of that going in to avoid betrayed feelings.
We as an audience are given too much information of what is happening outside of the Time Loop which largely ruins much suspense of the main characters situation. There are not too many but all but one of them could be considered if/when the protagonist escapes the loop.
When these do occur, they are hamfisted into a chapter with seemingly little regard for placement. There is a chapter where the first quarter is in the protagonists perspective and the you get the rest of the chapter as the alternate perspective. This kind of poor written arrangement happens often and its one of the reasons I binged the series. It is hard to follow sometimes. Not because of any complex time mechanics; because of very few points of closure.
(If this was intentionally designed to put us in the mindset of someone who can't get a break from the loop, it could be considered great, but it is almost definitely not as it comes at the cost of the quality of the work.)
The story does a decent job at doing this naturally but there are certain glaring things missing. I have no real idea of the technological level or appearance of the surroundings until particular scenes later on. It appears as though the setting could be similar to modern Earth but on a different planet but there is no solid confirmation. The modern aspects seem to have things related to magic but theres no real confirmation and we have very few views into how society functions.
Additionally if you do choose to read, Jupiter is not the planet. It is the name of a city. And should have definitely have been made much clearer.
Despite my earlier acclaim for the character writing, there are definitely times when the protagonist's character is inconsistent. Which makes me believe that some good parts of it are unintentional and might be from me reading too much into things.
The protagonist does tend to retract into themselves quite a bit and block off outward emotion. This combined with how other characters are portrayed due to the time loop leads to a bit of a disconnect towards the beginning but little tidbits from the beginning have made the characters incredibly interesting and rich as the story has progressed.
This is another area where I felt the outside exposition has detracted from the story as it introduced characters in a way that, whilst thought provoking, wasn't necessary.
- Intrigue & Mystery
Final point is on intrigue. As I stated in the beginning, at its core, this is a character study. You won't find the same kinds of intrigue that you would have read in Mother of Learning in this time loop novel. There is a level of mystery that struggles to survive admists all the extra information given by the expositional perspectives but that is most of what you will be getting in this story. The intrigue is largely situational and short-lived.
It is the bane of writing a character who is overpowered. There are limitations on the protagonists ability which help create more challenges but solutions to them are largely handed to them and there is little capable of causing resistance in the challenges the protagonist faces due to their situation.
What little exists though is written well, it is a shame this aspect wasn't given more room to shine. I think its reduced place in the story could be considered a boon though as it places focus on the character development without as many distractions a intrigue heavy plot would provide.
As a final note:
Do not read the comments on chapters because the author has put so many spoilers about future plot. Like I'm up to the most recent chapter and I already have parts spoiled for me. No joy is to be gained from reading them.
This fiction is as fast as a firebolt.
Recommended for: Anyone after a quick fix light novel that is more about the fantastical world and it's inhabitants than the main plot or characters.
Not Recommended for: People who want a investigative cop drama or development of side characters.
At it's core The Wizard Division is a openly magical urban fantasy with elements of a cop drama although certainly not a traditional one.
The urban fantasy elements are done really well and as I learn about the world that DrakonStorm has written I feel like I am having a blast. This is one of my first urban fantasy fictions but its worldbuilding is living up to the standards I've seen on tumblr.
The storyline is rather lackluster. The plot is consistent and it isn't an entire mess but the main character comes across as slightly OP Gary Stu in how all the story elements come way too convieniently to him.
He seems way to strong to convieniently win out against the bad guys despite only just learning about magic let alone using it in combat against a being made of magic that destroys stuff constantly.
I could accept him coming out with a higher power level at first than others but the idea that all the spells he is making have not been done before feels just plain dumb at times. Especially in how he made a mana-phone.
- That definitely should have been attempted before.
- He later figures out how to store spells in the phone instead of a spellbook which seems dumb that no one else could have done it.
If you are expecting good levels of intruige on the cops side of things think again. These cops are terrible at being dectectives as they had all the elements of a connected case and it was left to the MC to realise they were connected days later. No investigation. Just stumbled upon the realisation. The cop side of things comes out more in magical community work and battles so if you can look past the waste of taxpayers money, you'll be alright.
Characters are real hit and miss with this. The protagonists homelife feels most developed and I honestly like how it's been dealt with. The main character is certainly quirky if a bit mental and it's fun seeing the world through him. Any character outside of that though is a total mess. We don't get many scenes of character development with anyone other than his sister and dad. Most characters other than a head dectective have just come and gone. I expected this with folk in the community bc they are cops but theres not been much development thus far with the cops, hopefully there will be in the future.
Moving onto grammar but keeping with the characters they almost ALL have their own accents which comes out in the writing. It's horrific the amount of "ze's" you'll be finding into their words. It's done consistently but damn it's annoying when half the cast so far have been germanic or irish and must prove it in their words. I'm being a bit biased because I'm not a fan of this sort of thing. It's not out of place in this novel though. It's an element which really helps bring out the eclectic nature of the magic and los angeles community.
The rest of the grammar is okayish with spelling errors spattered about. I'm not sure if the author needs an editor or just to give each chapter a once over. Easily readable but could be improved.
The narrative style is going to be the make or break for a lot of readers of this fiction. Personally I'm not a huge fan but I can certainly see a lot of folks who are into fanfics loving this quirky fiction. It's got a similar sort of style to them and comes across as really laid back a lot of the time.
I feel like the cop elements definitely need to be reconsidered before I could give it a higher rating. And there needs to be more of an effort to develop characters other than the MC and not do it in a rush like I'm seeing in the most recent chapter as I review.
TL;DR: Urban Fantasy rich. Cop Drama poor. The style is not for everyone but those who like it will no doubt love it.
To put it bluntly, this fiction is damn good.
If you like well defined, consistent characters. This fiction is for you.
If you like intrigue and careful information games. This fiction is for you.
If you like detective or crime shows. This fiction is for you.
Story consists of a big city dective in a small town which plays a bit lax on the law when it comes to the locals and an investigative reporter who can hear whispers of words unsaid.
The plot so far has been rather simple and as a reader we follow the investigation into a case which is turning out a lot larger than it first appeared.
The narrative for this fiction has been beautifully done and does a brilliant job of portraying the intensity of the battles of intrigue that the novel has been chock full of. The dialogue is smart and at times witty with both of the characters holding their own in their perspectives. One fault I have to give the fiction is that there has been one or two scenes where the perspective is a bit vague and could have been either of the leads but other than that it is smooth sailing. The dual perspectives really plays well with the battle of will and gives a good sense of second-hand pride in characters one-upping each other.
I can't rate the story too highly as of now because it's not fully got into that but it's looking like it will also be a full 5 stars. The twists have been sensible although I feel like there needs to be some care in terms of their placing in a chapter in the future.
Notably when Shin manhandles her through the cell. The scene reads like Daniel just remains seated and lets it happen because of where it's cut. If I had to wait for another chapter at that point I would assume nothing was done which would be odd considering the situation.
That said the scene had the perfect level of chaos that should have been present so well done there.
Grammar is great. A few errors here and there. Mostly getting her, his, and he muddled every once in a while. Sentence structures are good and portray the thoughts well. Really like the style oh showing thoughts heard through her powers and the ways of presenting the stories that the dective or journalist is developing.
Might need a little bit of work for Nora to differentiate what is related to her powers and what is her coming to conclusions. The interrogation room scene in particular threw me a bit. Not sure if she was moving closer to look at him to increase her powers or to get a body language read. Going from what she got though it seems like it was powers. Yet it was in brackets not in grey.
The characterisation in this fiction is truly brilliant and it all feels very real and reasonable. I care about characters only 7 chapters in and have a good idea about their quirks. That's brilliant work on the authors part.
TL;DR: Brilliant characterisation and control of information by the author has created a crime fiction with a solid level of intrigue.
That is what makes this fiction so great to me.
The series is absolute bliss to read. We're talking great fight scenes with juicy and dark imagery galore. The grammar has been consistently impeccable and I imagine it will continue to be so as the story progresses.
At the Fields of Fire and Blood is a character driven Dark Fantasy set in a truly post-apocalyptic landscape where the last remnants of humanity hide behind walls and wards in a state somewhere between life and death. Inside this warded city lies four Houses each hosting a Scion with powers beyond the norm.
The story follows the Scion's and is told through their eyes. Each perspective offers something new and fresh, the writing style changing with each of the four narrators. The focus lies on the youngest, Kayla. Each of these characters have been inherently damaged by their respective Houses and the pyschological struggles which underlie much of the drama and conflict so far have been dealt with in a deft manner.
The magic system used in the story is unique. Much of it is largely intuitive and comes across as something much easier to consume for a reader. This is especially great for the combat scenes as you don't need to hear any main characters calling out skill names. Instead you are introduced to a couple of character staples and we see how they utilise their limited but powerful abilities to tackle their foes.
Kayla can utilises blood magic, fire magic, temporary platforms to stand on and a blade and that's as complex it gets.
TL;DR: I have been really enjoying this novel. It's reminds me of those beautiful animated shorts you can find on youtube which make you want to cry when you finish because that's where the character's story end. Give this novel a read because character-driven stories like this are zesty and I want to support this author.
I read up to 357 in one sitting (this was about 5 months ago)
This is an unexpectedly emotive and constantly flowing tale exploring the vast possibilities of the initial setting through a series of key events which shape both writing and the stories realm of reality.
Although this doesn't follow usual format and it isn't perfect. This huge project by Shademage is made of easily consumable chapters which leave you wanting more and I greatly recommend giving it a read (but maybe don't consume a years worth of someones creative mind in one sitting if you want to avoid a personality crisis aha)