DoomAlsoDoom

DoomAlsoDoom

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Peculiar Soul

Here we are, early review gang.

I'm not here to mess around, so I'll just get right into it. At this point the story is already 20K words in.

Character:
While the other aspects of the story so far are very good, the characterization is where it really shines. The main character and his relationships with others is some of the best early book characterization I've read in a long time, and probably in my top 3 for characterization on RR. The side characters are treated with equal care, as they all feel real... real problems, real personalities, real flaws. Anyone that knows me around here knows characterization is what makes or breaks a story for me and I have no problem recommending this story based purely on this alone.

Style:
The story is written in a very descriptive narrative style. It borders on the edge of too much, but rides that sweet spot and ends up being just enough, with a dash of flavor and spice that keeps it from turning dull. It also lends itself well to the style of worldbuilding which reminds me of a mix between the early 2000s epic fantasy style and early century classics.

Grammar:
Perfect.

Story:
It's still early, but the meat of the first arc has already gone through an awesome setup, such that I'm confident that I'll be continuing the story for the forseable future. We've already got politics and intrigue, a mystery, an antagonist, and a solid plot thread that I can't wait to get into. The magic system is unique. I don't think I've come across something exactly like it before and it promises to be very interesting. The setting is pretty cool too, a world caught somewhere post Victorian era where the very first "driverless coaches" are starting to pop up, but still maintaining that feel where people believed in magic, but in this world the magic actually works.

Just go and read it.


Apocalypse Unleashed - A LitRPG Story

I have to say, there are three things that I really like about the story up front:

The first is the magic system. It's totally an RPG skill tree magic system with unlocking tiers, which would make you think it's a hard system, but there have been hints and a few demonstrations that there is a large soft component to it that will allow for a ton of individuality and skill, and not just locking the characters into rigid archetypes. This leaves a lot of room for things like characterization and conflict, the two main things I look for in a story.

The second is that the author didn't spend a lot of time on setup up front. We get some "before the action" character development, but then we just get dropped straight into the apocalypse. Instead of long, drawn-out character backstories and exposition, we get to see what the characters are like when they're dumped into an impossible situation and forced to make hard decisions that are morally ambiguous.

The third is the conflict. Not just the system apocalypse, but the conflict between the various characters, the conflict within themselves, the conflict with the system. It's all very well done. Even though they're still in the school, I haven't been bored because there is always some kind of conflict keeping the story moving or keeping it interesting.

Between these three things I think the story has a really punchy start that could carry it a long way.

Grammar:

Not much to say here. I don't think I was knocked out of the story at all by poor grammar, so as far as I'm concerned that's a major success.

Story:

The premise is familiar, the system apocalypse messes with earth, but I feel like the execution is pretty good. The author took some familiar things and made them his own, with some unique characters and situations. The particular setting the author chose is very supportive of the kinds of conflicts and hard decisions the themes of the story take so far. It was also a perfect setup for a "defeat the first boss" type of arc.

Style:

Having been on RR for a long time, there are a lot of phrases that you see pop up all the time that are are a mix of translated cultivation lingo and specific ways of phrasing things that are super common here. I call these RR bookisms, things that people don't say in real life, but you see on RR all the time. I see a bunch of these peeking into the writing here. It's not necessarily bad, but I feel that the author has a distinct style that needs to shine through and these bookism break it. Otherwise, the writing is clear and straightforward and pleasing to read.

Character:

I really like the two main characters. Aiden is constantly being forced to measure their survival against the needs of others, with predictable results. He's a very well defined character, and so is conflicted Olivia. My issue with the characterization in the book isn't with the two main protags, but with the side characters. There were a few instances where conclusions were jumped to, or emotional extremes reached too quickly and specifically, purely to drive the plot forward. I'm not sure if it's bad, but it was noticeable to me, and a little jarring. On the other hand, these instances really did push the plot forward to keep the situation from waffling too long, so I guess that's a plus. I guess I would recommend a few revisions to try to figure out how to smooth these few instances over so they're less abrupt or obvious.

That being said, pretty much every speaking character so far in the story has been unique and written as if they were real people. Adam in particular is a character I already know that I love to hate. If you can get me to enjoy hating a character, you've done a good job.

 

Overall, I think it's a very solid first 20-ish chapters with a few minor things that irk me. I like the direction the story is taking, I like the characters, I especially like that everyone is forced to make tough decisions that leave a bad taste in your mouth, and not just a bunch of empty headed murderhobos.


Rebirth Of Civilization

I like it. It was sold to me as a survival and crafting fiction, and it delivers on these themes almost immediately. I think one thing that really differentiates this fic as a survivalist is that it actually feels like I would imagine it would. It's very reminiscent of the feeling you get when you play some well known survivalist games; you make do with what's around you and craft things to help you progress. Baddies are going to come try to kill you and you hope that the gear you managed to throw together is enough to stay alive. This pairs well with the MC's total willingness to experiment with whatever he has on hand.

The description of the setting is good. I wouldn't say this is a funny story, but there are some descriptive elements that are humorous, from the MC's pov.

 

Story:

There isn't much of a plot right now other than "survive and perhaps rebuild civilization", but that isn't surprising as it's common at the beginning of survival type fics. I imagine that once the MC has powered up enough we'll start getting arc level plots/goals. 

What is there is interesting. You can see the progression system without having to be bludgeoned by a "tutorial", which is nice. There is a very good sense of progress in terms of skills and character capability. There is a sense of progression for the exploration aspect as well, which is something I feel is often overlooked in these types of stories.

There was a bit of beef in the comments about the class choice, but I thought it was great. It's a natural extension of the survivalist theme and leaves itself open to a huge amount of potential later.

 

Grammar:

Grammar is pretty spot on. I didn't notice anything and I was never kicked out of the story. I did spot a few typos here and there, but nothing noteworthy.

 

Character:

As of the current chapter, there is only the MC and no other characters, and he's well done. His personality is distinct and the characterization noticeable. He's upbeat and positive, and willing to experiment, which is a good pairing for a survival fic, as those character traits are going to take him a long way.

 

Style:

This is probably the only category I had any issues with, and it's only one aspect. For the most part, the author's style is straightforward and clear, which makes for easy reading, but the story relies heavily on internal dialogue for both exposition and narrative. My only real critique of this fic would be to not rely so much on internal dialogue to give the reader information, or telegraph the MC's intentions. Use it for what it's best used for, which is characterization and context to the narrative.

 

Overall, I'd say this fic is well worth reading. It has a solid survivalist theme that is going to carry the story a long way and the quality of the writing is going to carry it the rest. Give it a shot.


Combat Archaeologist: Rowan

Since the story just passed the 10k words mark, I thought it would be a good time to get an early review in.

Even though we're very early in the story, there has been enough time for a few things to happen to the main character. We've had a chance to get to know him a little and get beyond the initial story setup.

So far, I've enjoyed where the story is headed. The MC was down on his luck, nearly died, then found a nice group of people to hang out with and learn from for a bit before he gets to the big city. We even got a bit of a training montage. All this before we get to the meat of the story, where I expect a bit of a coming of age/academy style story to pick up a bit.

The characterization is pretty good. Especially in dialogue, character motivations and personality come through clearly. Dialogue is often a weak part of the story in other fics on RR, but I'm glad to say that here the dialogue mostly feels natural; not forced or out of character.

The grammar is impeccable. Grammar is one of those things that when done well, you don't notice it, and when done poorly, it screams at you from the page. No screaming here. 

The style of the fic so far has been a bit on the literary side of prose, but that doesn't mean it's stiff or dated, it reads a lot like a traditional fantasy and less like a translated light novel, as so many stories have become lately. Literary fantasy is a plus in my book, I can dig it.

Overall, I'd say it's definitely worth a shot, and as the story picks up it can only get better.


The Perfect Run

Trust me, I'm a professional.

This has turned into one of, if not my favorite, story on RR.

My main interest in stories has always been big picture plot and character, and this story really delivers on both.

The characterization of both the MC and the side characters is probably the best on the site. Throughout the story so far, there has never been an instance where I thought character motivations, pov, or actions have been flat from a characterization perspective. That's not to say that I haven't disagreed with some stuff, but I'm happy to disagree with stuff if it's in character

The plot for 2/3 of the words written so far, is super tight and focused. The motivations of the MC are very clear, and that drives the story and the plot tightly for a good way, but then we hit the first "bump" in the road, and after that the MC's motivations and the direction of the story kind of fuzz out. We still know what his endgame is "The Perfect Run", but everything else goes out of focus. Who knows though, maybe this is part of the set up to deliver a plot punch coming up and it just seems that way right now.

For those who put a lot of stock in it, the grammar is basically flawless.

As far as style, this story is technically well written but really has an "it" factor that many others on this site lack. Even Vainqueur didn't really have it, although I enjoyed that one too. He has taken this story to a whole new level, and I'm glad he did.


Tower of Somnus

{ Edit at end of Book 1.
I'm bumping my story score to 5. Everything leading up to the end of book 1 was very satisfying. Well worth the read.}

Almost half a novel's worth of writing done in this story and it's fantastic. I'm not usually a fan of mixing VR-like and real life in a LitRPG story, but the author went ouf of his way to make the real world interesting and relevant.

While I enjoy the VR-like/LitRPG aspect, I actually enjoy the cyberpunk street samurai corporate dystopia world even more, where their powers from the VR carry over. The world building is great and it feels like the characters are walking around in a real world.

Style: I was already a fan of the author's general writing style, so this was a bit of a no brainer for me. 

Grammar: The grammar is excellent. There are a few areas where the prose is a little rough, but there are very few, if any, grammatical mistakes. Even with that, he's writing it incredibly fast so if there were things that stood out, I wouldn't be too mad.

Story: I'm a big picture type of reader. I tend to look for the overarching plot, so without that I can't yet give it 5 stars. We haven't reached a critical point where the story turning point happens. When we get there, I'll update my review accordingly.

Character: The characters are very good. The MC is a great character. I wouldn't continue reading if she weren't. That being said, my favorite charcter is actually the one I love to hate in the story. If I can love a character that was written to be hated, you've got my vote.

Definitely give this story a shot.


Vaudevillain

This late in the game, this story doesn't really need a review from me, but I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in anyway.

I typically despise VR stories. I despise VR Superhero stories even more.

I'm not sure why I started reading this story when it first started popping up, but I'm glad I did.

The grammar is fine. I don't typically notice any overt grammar mistakes, and the prose and word choice has never struck me as out of place or cringey, in context.

Style is such an individual thing, but I enjoy the author's voice in the writing very much. I'm not super enthused about multi-POV stuff, but the characters are good enough that I don't mind it.

I love every single character. The overall characterization is probably the best thing about this fiction. Each one reads and feels like a well thought out invididual and it adds a lot of depth.

The story is just plain fun. The goal of the characters for the majority so far isn't even to "win" anything, it's to have fun, and it reflects in the overall writing.

If you're an on the fence type of reader, I say give it a shot. The worst that could happen is you move on. Otherwise you're in for a great time.