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THE STRANGE

Shoots out of the gate, trips over its own feet, falls asleep on the track

By TanaNari, author of Price

Apr 30, 2017: It opens with an incredible hook that held my attention from the beginning- and then the narration switched to another character, who I’m assuming was the main character. I say ‘assuming’ because he’s received the most story attention of any character thus far, and there are a dozen others sharing the spotlight.

From there, you have an enjoyable read, aside an excess of purple prose in the first couple chapters. For the most part the characters feel natural, the world is well established, and there’s a mystery in the background that drops little breadcrumbs here and there. Once the story starts to pick up pace, it’s an enjoyable, if meandering and unfocused, read.

Therein lies the problem. The story jumps around at random, often visiting four separate scenes with different characters per chapter, and adding a new character perspective at an average of one per chapter while lovingly describing the minutiae of their mostly mundane lives.

Most of these characters are reasonably interesting, some not nearly as much, and the story spends its efforts establishing each of these characters while hinting at some grand event behind the scenes that they’re building toward. Which consumes (I won’t say ‘wastes’, but certainly ‘consumes’) huge amounts of time showing us these people, most of whom don’t seem to matter yet.

If you have the patience to read through the purple prose and constant jumps to dozens of different people and scenes that may come to mean something in the future, then this story may be of interest to you. I think this story has a lot of potential, once it blooms and reveals all that mystery it appears to hold, but we’re over 40,000 words later while still waiting for the story to reel in a hook that was cast in the first 500.

For everyone else, I’m afraid I can’t recommend a novel for ‘future potential’. Especially when I don’t know how the Big Reveal will be handled, and in stories like this one, that’s a critical factor.

For now, I think the best course of action is to wait for the author to finish this draft and come back to carve off the excess in the editing process.

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THE LEGION OF NOTHING

An Old Favorite

By Malacai, member

May 2, 2016: I’ve been reading this web serial for a few years now. It was the first, or close to the first, story of this format that I’ve read, and it’s still really entertaining. I’ve even gone and reread it a couple times, and it continues to intrigue.

Style: The story is written in 1st person, which works mostly because the main character is analytical yet spacy. He does go into detail about people’s powers, some wondering, but a lot of stuff that is really nuanced, like emotions and descriptions, he describes them succinctly and matter-of-factly. He does seem to have a slight problem empathizing, but it doesn’t seem to be debilitating. And he doesn’t seem inhuman, just slightly detached.

Story: We’re following the lives of the grandchildren of some WWII superheroes. Thus, we go into having to deal with old villains, creating an identity with respect to their predecessors’, as well as typical teenage stuff of figuring out what they want to do. There’s lots of action, but also fiddly stuff about the structure of a team and how to decide what to do without depending on just heroic instincts. There’s lots of fun, and lots of serious parts without much death or gore. When there is death, it is dealt with seriously and not really dramatized or downplayed.

Grammar: Not much to say here, other than the author doesn’t have many grammar errors, and responds to reader comments on them.

Characters: The characters are very well developed, even if that isn’t that obvious at the beginning. The main character’s lack of introspection and awkwardness in social interactions leads to a slightly slanted view of others, but everyone’s motivations, goals, and personalities shine through their actions and words. Also, they remain consistent, even where they grind against others’.

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THE LEGION OF NOTHING

I had a blast

By Whyknotzoidberg, author of Hotfoot

Nov 11, 2015: This serial is fantastic. It brought back memories of great shows like Avengers Assemble, or Justice League Unlimited. Like them, it knows how to have fun, but it still have some mature themes and solid action. It also was reminiscent of the Marvel movies of recent years, but still had its own distinct feel to it.

Anyways, lets start with the pros: The characters are great. The story has a wide cast of memorable, fun, and compelling characters, and does a great job at keeping everyone in the spotlight, and not putting older characters on the sidelines when new ones show up. The fight scenes are pretty good as well. They are usually intense, and some of the best ones really give you a "back against the wall" feeling. One of the strongest parts of this serial however, is the narration itself. Nick, the protagonist, is snarky, and genre-savvy which really really ads to my enjoyment of the other strengths of the serial. I don’t laugh out loud when I’m reading often, but this series of novels has managed it multiple times a chapter.

Now, for the cons. At a certain point, I felt that the silly level had skyrocketed and it annoyed me. I felt the main character wasn’t taking life or death situations as seriously as his teammates, and I began to lose interest in him. Thankfully this changes, but still there is a significant portion of the book where I wanted to slap Nick as hard as I could. Also, like the marvel movies I previously mentioned, the story struggles with villains. You don’t really get a chance to know them, and they get replaced so quickly that you just stop and go, Why should I care about Baddie of the Month? He’s only got a few chapters left in his lifespan anyway. There are some exceptions, but they are few and far between Honestly, I only really like a few villains and I constantly finding myself hoping they DONT get killed or stopped just so the story can have better quality enemies.

Now, those complaints were very minor, and didn’t really keep me from devouring updates nonstop for a few weeks until I was caught up. They also dont keep me from eagerly awaiting each Tuesday and Thursday, and falling into a deep melancholy when I know that I have to wait five days for the next update at the end of the week. In short, read if you like your superheroes fun yet human, your fight scenes stylish and intense, and your dialogue snarky, The Legion is for you.

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