Disclaimer: As there aren't enough chapters to go off of and make firm judgments on individual ratings, I'll keep this review to a simple one. Once you've written some more, PM me and I will gladly update it and make the review more detailed.
But first things first, I highly recommend reading this novel. It drew me in instantly with a very fast paced murder sequence in the beginning. Then, it takes you on a journey with the protagonists, Karson and Ax. You don't even notice it's an isekai straight away if you dive into the story; it's that well done of a subversion of the trope. Only if you read tags, reviews, or the synopsis (which granted you should have done unlike me) do you realise it is one.
As for the story itself, so far it isn't the typical isekai. It does its own thing and does it well. Again, not much to add to the other reviews as there are not many chapters, so I'll keep readers curious with my vague talk of it.
My critique is that characters need a bit more "oomph". A bit more emotion in the characters. Though not bad, it does need that little boost to make them great characters. That's pretty much it in these early stages.
So yes, I highly recommend reading it even if there's not much to read so far.
tldr: The story in itself is amazing. However, I feel like the side characters let it down somewhat and need some work. There are a few other problems too, which I will discuss below, but I still recommend reading this novel.
Ok, whatever style you used throughout this novel, I loved it. Clear and concise and easy to understand. However, the underlying issue is that it's not consistent.
What do I mean by that? Well, there are cases where italics are deployed but then when the same scenario happens, you use normal font. Another example is the odd use of boxes here and there but then not others. Even the most apparent example is that for chapter 1-26, it used roman numerals for the title and then ch 27 onwards used English ones.
All I'm saying is that no individual style is bad, but using them inconsistently is. Best to stick to one.
As I've said before, the story is great. It has the political intrigue, the drama, the action etc. All the good stuff. If the novel has a selling point, this part is it. I won't spoil anything, and the other reviews give enough to get you going, so I'll leave it at that.
Perfect. Any problems I've had would come under style instead.
Ok, time for the elephant in the room. Is it me or do the side characters suffer from mc syndrome? Where they don't have anything bad to say to the mc unless they're the enemy? Sure, they're not fawning over Gale please-marry-me-and-have-my-kids style as some other authors do with their mc, but this is definitely a mild case of that.
They're too polite and respectful. Don't get me wrong, that's not a bad thing but the way it's portrayed just doesn't feel natural. When he does good, they praise him. When he doesn't understand something, they're like "oh yeah, you don't understand our world. Here's the explanation."
What it truly lacks is a few characters to be like "ugh, why are you like this?" or someone who annoys Gale as friends often do, or even a "are you an idiot?" when he doesn't understand something. Y'know, something that feels like a natural and diverse set of reactions to the same scenario. The vibe atm doesn't feel that way. Yes, have some of the characters to be polite, understanding and willing to explain, but don't make it the cookie cutter for everyone's interaction with Gale.
As for Gale himself, I feel like him being too calm due to his condition, combined with the fact that he is OP, just doesn't open up too much character development. He won't get that much stronger nor do I see him getting personal development (again, due to his condition of not being to feel negative emotions). I guess he could regain the emotions that he lost, but that's as much character development I see coming from him in the future.
Final point: dialogues feel like they need a bit of work. They're used either to progress plot or explain something. There's no natural fluidity or normal conversation between characters, or at least in my opinion. And honestly, I believe this point could be the reason you're having writer's block a lot lately. It's harder to write the way you are currently and it drains you more than it should be.
The speech lacks that natural banter between people. Stuff that adds nothing whatsoever to the story but makes you fall in love with the characters nonetheless as you draw out their personality through said conversations. They're not useless to the reader, even if they have no effect on the overall arching plot.
An example of doing this would be: After a victory in a battle, you could have someone say a line such as "Great work everybody, especially you Gale. Seeing you on the battlefield was as graceful as my wife on my wedding day." instead of something like "Great work, especially you Gale. [Insert next plot point]". See what I mean but adding useless (relative to the overall plot) information in order to make dialogue feel less robotic/more natural while building on characters? (the example I gave here shows that the person has a wife who he obviously loves and thinks a lot about!)
Well, anyway, that's it for my review. Please don't take my critiques too hard on yourself. I'm harsh and honest not because I want to be mean, but because I want authors to improve themselves. Whenever I had an issue, I gave examples and suggestions on how to rectify them. It was a great read and I hope you all the best.
tldr: It's slow but that's necessary for this type of novel. You don't know what the story or plot really is until you read further in and get yourself invested. Even then, you need to actually focus. This is not a book you can skim through. Highly recommend reading this.
Onto the detailed scores:
I'll be honest here, I was originally going to give this a 3.5 or 4. I wasn't really a fan of it in the beginning, such as clumping dialogues together as if their own sections. However, the more I read, the more it grew on me. Before I knew it, I quite liked how neat and tidy it was. It was clear and easy to read and is actually fitting now that I think about it. This is why the style score is 4.5 now!
As I mentioned before, in the beginning, it was tough to figure out what the plot is. However, once I figured it out, it is a really amazing story. It's nothing spoonfed, and I believe it'll be different from person to person in terms of how you perceive things, so I'll just not comment on the story itself and let potential readers figure it out.
Not much to say. Pretty much perfect.
Really good. All main characters are fleshed out and have their distinct personalities. Most side characters have enough for you to be invested in them. My only issue would be the minor character traits such as Thorn being seemingly a bit incompetent at times, but that is justified by his past, nature and all-around, well-built character. Still, it's all great and I'm glad you're keeping it up consistently.
All in all, I am likely to continue reading. Good luck with your endeavours!
tldr: this has an excellent story with good characters. My main issue is the grammatical mistakes and the style that, while not bad if you're into it, doesn't appeal to me (but don't take it the wrong way, it's a personal preference). Still would recommend reading it though.
Ok, this is the big one. "Why is it still a high rating despite me not liking it?" you might wonder. Well, I split the style category into two. The first is the literary style and the second is the abstract style.
For the literary style, it's a 2.5 or 3/5 for me. It uses present tense which I personally didn't like but I'm sure others will. This is just a personal preference as I mentioned before.
However, I must stress that you continue doing this despite my gripes. Be consistent. Don't change your ways to appease me or others who want past tense narrative. That only spells a recipe for disaster.
As for the abstract style, this is a 5/5. What is an abstract style? Well, the use of pictures and imagery as well as giving a legend/key for some of the techniques you use is top notch. Because of this, your overall rating for style goes to 4/5.
Story and Character: Both 4.5/5
(I wanted to shoehorn these two categories because they're really similar and I want to do them together.)
This is great. As others mentioned before, it is a unique world where you pay attention to details. Your creations are amazing (fire sheep still my favourite) and it is very much an immersive experience. I don't want to spoil much for potential readers and the other reviews do enough justice, so go ahead and read it to find out why people are loving the story and characters!
It's not terrible nor is it the best. It could definitely be better is what I'm saying. Some tense switches (if you're going to use the present tense, use them throughout. Remember "was" is the past tense of "is" which is the most common mistake). There are a few other mistakes too, but using a grammar checker would iron most of them out.
That's it the review! Although I probably won't be following it (not my cup of tea), I would still highly recommend people to try it out.
The tldr of this review is that it is a wonderful premise. It is not rushed so far, nor is it the type of novel that should have fast plot progression. The characters are all great; no one feels cardboard and one-dimensional. Quite a few grammatical errors though but that can be corrected over time. Overall: would recommend reading this. 4.5/5
Now, onto the more in-depth analysis.
It is very well done. Not much to say but that it is coherent, direct and leaves no room for confusion of understanding. Objectively, it might be right to say that there is no fault with the style.
However, my personal bias has rated it lower because of:
a) there's a bit too much info dumping. Though it might be necessary and done right, I feel like it's throwing a bit too much at you that you're meant to absorb and remember.
b) Though not incorrect, the formatting is a bit block-like when it comes to speech. Might be wise to work on that a little (with a few more paragraphs for example).
I don't want to spoil it for future readers as I want them to experience the story, but I will say it's excellent. No typical harem, op mc, everyone flocking to the mc's side and all the other cliche trope. No, this is different.
The reason I docked a half star is that there are a few iffy moments that could raise red flags in the future. However, the way you've done it so far has me trusting your judgment. The plot progression itself is somewhat slow, but going any faster would probably ruin it, so I advice keep your current pace. Continue doing what you're doing and this can easily turn into 5 stars.
On the whole, it's decent. Some spelling, punctuation and other grammatical errors but they don't take away from the reading experience too much.
As I said in my tldr, no one feels cardboard. Everyone has their characters shaped and defined to a tee.
The MC is shown to have his strengths and weaknesses and his lover is acting as a great support to him, showing how deep their bond is. The other side characters have their roles too.
I also love how Isi speaks her own language! Don't see that often and the way you get the readers to understand what she says via the MC is amazing. Keep it up!
That's it for my review. I believe what you've done so far is great and that you keep it up, but take my critiques into consideration so that you can improve in the future. I'll be lurking and reading your novel from the sidelines.
In short, it's a fantasy isekai story with LitRPG elements. It doesn't sound like anything new but due to the genre's oversaturation, most have forgotten the essence of an Isekai: being thrust into the unknown, with no knowledge of the world and for the mc to explore along with the reader.
Most stories of this genre progress or lack of worldbuilding. However, Ancientblood takes it slow to introduce the reader through concepts in a nice, easy progressive style. Now on to the scores.
Smooth and consistent, AstralTempest makes the style easy to follow and gives the imagery when needed. Not much more to say on this topic. There are moments of being overly vague, mostly when trying to foreshadow things as a single chapter, that ruins the style a bit, at least for me. 4/5
Near perfect. Any mistakes would come under style rather than grammar. 5/5
I liked it. The subversion to reader's expectations, especially in the earlier chapters, were really well done and as I said before, the progression is smooth and gradual. You don't grow too strong and even when you get a power up, you are shown signs of needing adjustments such as that time Liam overestimated his jumping power.
However, there's still plot holes, that are often pointed out, which forces Astral to use a chapter to explain things, which kind of undermimes the story somewhat. 3.5/5
Tbh, I'm not a fan of the characters. Sometimes they do things that don't align with their characters. E.g. For the chaotic neutral Liam in the beginning, he does things that seems to disregard that nature of his in in the middle of the story. Sure you can point the reason to his transformation, but I believe that shouldn't done.
I'm not saying that his change of character isn't a bad thing. It is done relatively gradually (but that's not saying much tbh). However, I just think it should have been done much slower for someone suffering from ptsd and is pretty much an emotionless egotistical psycho to begin with.
Other characters suffer from similar out-of-character moments too, but I'm not going to spoil anything.
Despite my criticisms, all of the characters are well made. None of them fall under the generic mold you tend to see and have their unique traits. 3/5
With all this said and done, my overall score is a 3.5/5. Good read but still has its flaws.
Sorry for the delay. Was reading other stuff lol.
But I truly enjoyed this story. The humour was good, the plot was well thought out and it definitely has potential.
My only gripe, and this is down to personal preference, was that the overabundance of elipses (the '...'s). I understand that this is your own style of writing and others probably wouldn't mind but this is only a minor flaw I find in it.
This shouldn't discourage you, however, and I hope you continue to write this story.
If you go further into the plot, I will do an advanced review. But, for now, this is a placeholder for people to be encouraged to read this novel.
The concept is brilliant, the story well excecuted and the potential is through the roof.
I enjoy the various abilities of the main characters and side characters are decently fleshed out. The tables and pictures shows how much effort you have put into the story and I anticipate future releases.
I plan on doing an advanced review once you get further into the story, but this is a placeholder to encourage others to read it until then!
Finally caught up (up to Lost and Found 13 at the time of this review)!
If I were to summarise the story so far, it would go along the lines of 'a-blacksmithing-story-where-there's-not-much-blacksmithing-going-on-as-life-seems-to-hate-the-mc-and-deliberately-prevents-the-blacksmith-wannabe-from-blacksmithing. Also, there's Magic and Women interested in the MC.' (Alayna best grill ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) )
Now on a more serious note:
As a reader, it is enjoyable and something I would recommend this to those who want something different from the normal tropes found commonly on RRL. It mixes Medieval fantasy with futuristic sci-fi in a clear and concise manner so if you want a dual world genre, this novel is for you.
On the whole, very good. Easy to follow, read and also brings out imagry needed. There are a few word choices that are iffy, which is why it's not quite 5/5 but that's beside the point.
A very good plot-line. A bit slow at the start, but I think it's needed to build up the worlds. Not only do you have to world-build for one place (Earth), but you have to do it for another (Ragnaros), so kudos to you.
It brings out the contrast between worlds based on fantasy and science fiction superbly. Though the systems in place haven't been fleshed out yet (like magic or the rules of the 'modern world'), I'm sure that would come with time. As such, this rating won't be that high, relative to the others.
The antagonist group, Napur, is also very well thought out. It makes me wonder what you were searching up for *ahem* inspiration for them.
My only true gripe of the story is that...
...how you make it seem like Ian doesn't really have free will due to the dark matter. I can understand deciding a profession might be influenced due to it (though it still gives a 'meh' vibe). However, when your brother is being a dick and grabs hold of you and your sister without letting go, getting angry and deciding to knock him out shouldn't be explained with 'Must be the dark matter influencing me'. It's a natural thing to do in that scenario.
Not much to say, as I can't see any faults. Word choices come under style, so shouldn't affect this rating.
All of the characters are well-defined. They're memorable and have their defining traits. I could talk more, but I think character is up for interpretation, and having my opinion stated might influence people while reading it.
As a fellow author, I have to admit that in terms of style, grammar and characters, this is much better than my own novel (story is up for debate). Because of that, it shows how much effort you must have put into it, and I understand the strains of how difficult it is to write consistently for your fans (which showed near the later chapters as you had to say sorry more often for lateness). If my whole review doesn't encourage you to read it, at the very least, read this novel to see the passion Astral has put into it.
Disclaimer: I'm a slow reader and haven't caught up yet so this review is subject to change.
I like it so far. In terms of the 5 review categories, I can't make a fair judgement due to not reading as much (I'm on chapter 10 atm) but I'll give my thoughts on what I've read so far.
Style: Very clear and has a neat structure. My only problem so far (and it's not major) is that the POV changes can sometimes be a bit confusing but that might be just me. I can understand things in the end so, as I said, it's not a major problem for me
Story: The premise of this world of uncertainty and rebellion is interesting and does make me want to continue reading. That's all I have for now. Don't want to make a proper statement until I've caught up.
Grammar: My grammar is not the best so I can't distinguish the difference between a 4, 4.5 or a 5 but it definitely doesn't drop between a 4.
Characters: No comment on this until I read further into the story