Valkyrie's Shadow

expected world domination; received sensual domina

I wouldn't even recommend this to others as a fanfiction. I'd just tell them it's an excellent web serial, because there is no reason to invoke the stigma associated with that other term; you don't have to know much about Overlord in order to enjoy Valkyrie's Shadow. Though, it's a useful litmus test in that fans of the source material are also very likely to enjoy this.

Anyway, Valkyrie's Shadow is really more of an unofficial spin-off than anything else. Personally, I think there's actually more kingdom-building here than in Overlord, because Maruyama tends to avoid the nitty-gritty of domestic policy in favor of Ainz malding over all the paperwork he's unintentionally foisted upon himself. There's some of that here, too, but the main cast of Overlord takes a back seat so that the author has room to develop their own rich and meaty origin stories. 

I believe it's already been mentioned in an author's note somewhere, but the aim of this story is to fill in all the gaps that were left in the plot of Overlord, between the establishment of the Sorcerous Kingdom and its ascension to the throne of the world. It makes sense that this process of becoming a global superpower had to have come about from more than just the machinations of Albedo and Demiurge, even if they're both uncomfortably sexy.

The development of a nation admirable in every aspect, from flushable toilets to military might, requires a defter touch than that of living gods. It was never an issue of competency; only that the denizens of Nazarick are limited in their perspective by their undying loyalty. Luckily, many of our protagonists exhibit great loyalty and one even possesses both those qualities despite having been grown organically, without pesticides, in the New World. Through their eyes we get a front-row seat to all the fascinating minutae of... maritime trade. It's interesting, I swear.

Ludmila and Friends seem like mary sues. It's a concession that I think has to be made in exchange for their positions of power, and acceptance by the floor guardians, especially Albedo. There are incompetents and just-averages among the survivors of Re-Estize's nobility, but they don't see much action precisely because they are not inhumanly proficient in their occupations. If the main cast is to be doing anything meaningful to the development of the nation at a large scale, they will be played like chess pieces to the greatest possible effect. They won't often go places and do things they aren't built for, and everyone outside of their inner circle will view them as exemplars of their station. The inevitable superiority of the Sorcerous Kingdom is something to be expressed through public-facing government representatives as well, and to me that is acceptable. Funny, even, because it carries major similarities to Ainz's characterization.

Maybe in the future we'll have a PoV character who is essentially a normal fellow that ends up somewhere interesting by virtue of luck or circumstance.

My only minor complaint about Valkyrie's Shadow is that many of the characters seem to toss around a shared voice which is used for expository purposes. It's happened on many occasions, with Ludmila and Ilyshn'ish being the worst offenders. The political hit squad of young ladies from the Sorcerous Kingdom and various high-profile characters from the Baharuth Empire also make use of it with some frequency. You might notice it more clearly when two or more individuals characterized by their intelligence speak with each other in a formal setting. This isn't a big deal and it likely won't tarnish anyone's reading experience, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

They are Smol



Jayke Cipher

i have some expectations

Frankly, nothing that has happened in the story so far has surprised me, which isn't inherently a bad thing; part of the reason for this is that everything in the world seems to abide by the natural law of common sense, and leaves little room in the plot for gimmicks that'll only be relevant for a few chapters.

The setting was crafted thoughtfully, but I don't think that's apparent just because any of the geographical landmarks or flora or fauna are singularly interesting. What separates this particular fantasy world from others is that all of its most prominent, attention-grabbing features are drawn out and described in satisfyingly complete detail, while those bits that are more technical or difficult to explain are gently obscured beyond their initial description. Essentially, it's unique because it doesn't feel like someone's trying to illustrate Skyrim for you using their extremely limited vocabulary in a foreign language. Now that's epic.

Jayke, despite having lived in total isolation for a year under constant siege from alien hellspawn, has managed to maintain a relatively clearheaded, rational state of mind. Unfortunately for him, the experience hasn't shaped his character in any apparent manner, and he remains a blandly nice, nondescript human male. Same as most isekai protagonists. There's nothing wrong with being supremely average in all the ways that don't matter and competent in all the ways that do... Except that those types of characters get labeled a "mary sue," and people sometimes get pissed enough to drop stories because of it.I 

Spoiler: (((Hot Take)))

I'm satisfied with the grammar. Issues like misusing a comma where there ought to be a semicolon, not using a comma where there should be one, or mistakenly using the past tense of a verb where a preposition belongs are scattered throughout but mostly unobtrusive. They shouldn't greatly affect anyone's reading experience.

However, if you notice mistakes, it's good manners to point them out in the comments so that they can be corrected. I've not done this because I usually read on the Safari app with Javascript turned off, and couldn't write any comments. Do as I say, not as I do...

My only other complaint is that the updates don't come often enough. Thanks for the chapters!

Fixture in Fate

I was going to write a proper review but it's 5am

Basically, some big shot suddenly pays for the creation of a Linked team consisting of two socially awkward young adults from very different socioeconomic backgrounds and two other not-socially-awkward young adults that are difficult to pin down when it comes to exactly how much money they had before this whole training arc. A few of them don't get along too well with each other or the people around them for various reasons that actually make sense.

Turns out their trainer is basically Arnold Schwarzenegger except he's a reticent fellow the size of a garden gnome, their tutor is a sexy Indian office lady who can see the geometric shape of how stupid you are, and the chef at their building is a mute, androgynous, pretty boy who I imagine to look like the archetypical "elegant scholar" in Eastern fantasy. He's also a natural empath who somehow knows the recipe to your mom's chicken tikka masala, even though you're pretty sure they've never met because otherwise he'd be your biological father.

The government discriminates against people with Links that don't use the HTTPS protocol because they aren't secure enough, so companies other than the one that operates Whiz, this world's Bing-equivalent, might be able to collect their data and sell it to that one armchair hypercognitive who bought 20 jars of gamer girl bathwater last month for research purposes. It's not a great system because it prevents a number of people who could actually help with humanity's self-inflicted pseudo-apocalypse from acquiring legitimacy as individuals with arguably useful powers, but the Australian government is the Australian government, after all. They could've easily done worse.

Great swathes of the civilized world have reportedly either turned into shitholes or inhospitable wastelands at the hands of irresponsible folks who'd wrongly assumed every superpower was a buy-one-get-one-free deal that came with a lifetime supply of little orange cards displaying Mr. Monopoly in a prison uniform. The governments of the world made attempts to beat them back, but it turns out human trafficking is a more fulfilling occupation than any form of gainful employment; the gangs and cults never seem to run out of fresh members.

There is a silver lining to this enormous turd, however. The marked increase in individuals capable of shooting bargain-bin lightning bolts from their extremities has resulted in a steep decline in the cockroach population worldwide. 


i thought it was going to be a typical isekai power fantasy but actually there are human characters and emotional interactions and the protagonist manages to exert influence on the world without being an overpowered asshole

very cool

my faith in max is such that even if he started collecting girls like rare gacha drops i could only admit that he deserves to get laid ten times a day and continue reading

it is pretty slow at the beginning though you spend like 50 chapters in the same town but it's not just a bog-standard training arc the main character gets shit done and becomes cool in the process

based author had health issues but came back from hiatus with 30 chapters and they still be writing even though this story dropped off trending before it had a chance to really get popular what a chad

you wont be disappointe 

Borne of Caution

I am not a pokemon fan however this is nice cute vibes although Lee's 'nam flashbacks are more comical than distressing with the caps lock OMG BIG PAIN text that doesn't mean anything to the reader I think the author should describe his physical reaction to the memory instead of trying to write intense movie scene subtitles also more description of the various pokemon would be nice because this fan fiction is not necessarily for just pokemon fans given how well it is written

listen to this pokemon mix while u read 11/10 recommended good music

Marriage And Monsters - An Eschatological Romance

I've actually only read the first chapter, but I am thus far ninety-nine-point-nine-eight percent sure that, whatever this story is supposed to be, it's the only piece of fiction coming out of r/rational that I'm going to enjoy. One hundred percent sure that it's the only one I have enjoyed up to this point in time.

That's a lie, actually. WTC was fun for a while until it wasn't, but that's off-topic. Anyway, dimension-crossing, soul-linking, inter-species, hard-core hand-holding. Lewd?

The premise itself reminds me of something I'd wake up thinking about on some weekday mornings, only to be forgotten in short order because there were only ten minutes remaining until the bus arrived. Not that my subconscious mind was ever this creative. But it's great because, disregarding everything else, the plot alone makes me feel as if I had gone back to a time when I didn't owe a dozen fat stacks to the federal government for helping to defer the costs of higher education.

It's weird. Kind of like substituting a package of "salted spicy radish" from the local Asian supermarket with Hot Cheetos, as a side dish to porridge. Tastes good. Also nutritionally similar? I can't imagine there's much to be had from "salted spicy radish" besides salt and spice, given that it tastes a lot like kidney failure. The Cheetos are basically just carbs and air. Mostly air.

If I had to say, Sean is the porridge and Haley is the Hot Cheetos. Given that I've only read a single chapter, the general gist of it is that dragons breathe fire and fire is hot, whereas psionic possession powers are not. However, Sean's soul buddy is able to control a number of vessels at once, just like how there are numerous grains of rice in a bowl of porridge.

Along with that, if by any chance a picky eater is unsatisfied with the simplicity of plain porridge, it's easy and socially acceptable to add various other ingredients to the mix. Things like dried prunes, beans, and lentils come to mind, but just about anything is potentially usable as a porridge ingredient.

I put chunks of sweet potato in my porridge once, and it was nice except that the chunks were ever so slightly larger than the volume my spoon could safely lift from the bowl. So I had to put in the effort to chunk each chunk into smaller chunks for the sake of stress-free consumption. What a drag. The taste was pretty good though.



I'll edit this review after I'm caught up with the updates.

The Broken Realm Online

I want to like this story but every important character except Gabriel and Liana pisses me off, and that's because both of them are understandably ignorant enough that they can't be expected to do much about what's going on in their respective situations.


Spoiler: Spoiler

 Anyone who's stupid is irredemably stupid, and anyone who isn't stupid doesn't have the knowledge or skills to do anything about the irredemably stupid people. This is so bad that it goes beyond what can be covered by the "people aren't perfect" excuse. I find myself wondering between every paragraph how the hell any of these folks managed to survive beyond age 5 without tripping on flat ground and dying of head trauma. Feels bad, man.

Dungeon Engineer

Aamoeba wizard
Mamoeba wizard
Oamoeba wizard
Eamoeba wizard
Bamoeba wizard
Aamoeba wizard

Wamoeba wizard
Iamoeba wizard
Zamoeba wizard
Aamoeba wizard
Ramoeba wizard
Damoeba wizard

-0.5 for lack of amoeba wizard

That's really the only shortcoming. I don't have any other complaints and I'm not going to praise the story to high heaven either, because the other top reviews already did that. Amoeba wizard.

I'm also not going to outline what the story is about, because:

- that's tiresome

- you don't give a shit about my opinion anyway

Dungeon core stories are so prolific on this site that, if you haven't read any of them yet, it doesn't matter because this one is a good place to start :')

edit: a tardigrade wizard is acceptable too


reviewing because reviews count more than ratings


it's probably fine if I don't write anything of particular use to new readers, since nobody ever visits the second or third page of a fiction's reviews

undermind is some good shit though

only negative IQ folks be reading randidly or metaworld instead of this