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ELF LIFE

Fantasy Parody

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

Jun 10, 2013: I’ve been struggling with the idea of writing this review for a while, and putting it off as I read more and more chapters, hoping that I’d finally be able to connect with this story. I finally came to the conclusion that it’s just not my thing, but it may work for others.

The story follows three elves, the nominal main character Baughb, the nerdy and courage-impaired Airek, and Airek’s best friend, Filis, who is in most ways the opposite of her friend. The story itself actually starts out as a web comic and goes over to a web fiction in the 87th chapter, which caused me a bit of confusion when trying to navigate the site (link goes to most recently published chapter, rather than the beginning, so when I clicked on the ‘begin’ link, having a text story that starts as a webcomic made me think I kept ending up in the wrong place).

Elf Life reads like a fantasy parody, in my opinion. Airek and Filis are elves in a more modern village, living in a time of peace with their neighbors, while Baughb is an old hero from the more warlike past that got thrown forward into the future due to . . . bad luck, sort of.

As the story developed, it felt to me that the characters seemed to be there mostly to be mocked, which made it hard for me to connect with any of them. The numerous enemies Baughb gained during his past exploits keep showing up to carry out plots against him, but they all appear to be just as inept as Baughb, who’s something like a bull in a china shop no matter where he goes.

The names of the characters should have clued me in, I guess, since in the main they’re puns (the elves’ being essentially different spellings of common American names, and the bad guys’ usually being a pun on how inept they are – such as ‘Phoeble’ or ‘Ozmiander’). It was a bit funny at first, but after reading more than ninety chapters of Baughb bumbling around, Airek following shrinkingly behind him, and Filis trying to save the day, and the same jokes over and over (Baughb’s ineptness, the villains’ buffoonery, the attempts to kidnap one or another of the party that go awry, and the attempts of the others to get them back) just wore thin for me.

Technically, I have nothing but compliments for the story. The art that the story starts off with is excellent, and the writing that the story continues with is fairly polished. For anyone that has fond memories of Bored of the Rings, I would definitely recommend this story for you, but unfortunately it’s not really my cup of tea.

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THE WATCHMAGE OF OLD NEW YORK

Editor’s First Impression

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

Apr 3, 2013: I enjoyed reading the first eleven chapters of The Watchmage of New York, and I’m interested to see where this series goes next. The story is set in New York City of the 1850’s, and we follow Nathaniel Hood, a 150-year old mage whose duty is to watch over the otherworldly citizens of the city, helping or dispensing justice as the situation dictates.

The writer’s take on the non-humans inhabiting the city is fascinating in its own right, and I found myself wanting more information on the various races – trolls, ogres, sidhe, and pooka alike. The way the author presents magical workings in the story is also appealing, and I look forward to finding more out about it as the story progresses.

Another of the things I liked especially was the way the author made the New York City of the past come alive in this story. I could get a sense both of what it was like in the 1850’s, as well as previously, due to the main character’s span of history, which he seems to have spent much of in the same town. For lovers of historical dramas, take note, because I think you’ll especially like this aspect of the series.

My hope as I read through the first story in the series was that the author would come up with a way to actually challenge the main character. Nathaniel is presented as old and powerful enough to conquer just about any challenge that comes his way. Although that’s what I’d expect for someone who was named the magical watchdog of a large city, I had trouble seeing that many of the opponents that he came up against in the first story would actually be a match for him. Chapters 10 and 11 are part of the second story in the series, however, and it seems like the author is rising to the occasion and bringing someone (or maybe a number of people) who can give Nathaniel a run for his money. That’s definitely what I’d like to see more of as this story progresses, in order to keep things interesting.

The only other thing I can think of to add is a request to the author to get another set of eyes before you post; most of the text is fairly clean, but there’s the occasional typo that set me on my ear, often one a chapter. For example, “wonton woman” definitely set my imagination spinning, since it sounds like something you might find on the menu in a dodgy Chinese restaurant, but I’m guessing that’s not what the author was going for in that sentence. Another note for readers – reading more than the first chapter requires a free registration with Jukepop Serials.

At any rate, I found the story entertaining and the recent developments hopeful, so I can recommend reading it, especially if you like magical fantasy or historical adventures.

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THE WATCHMAGE OF OLD NEW YORK

A bit stilted, but not -that- bad.

By Rika Covenant, member

Apr 1, 2013: A bit stilted, but seems to be a good read nontheless. Seems to be in the same general concept vein as Dresden Files, but over in New York instead of Chicago, amongst many other smaller differences.

The flow of the reading is a bit stymied at times, getting interrupted by a plethora of periods chopping each paragraph into a multitude of shorter sentences than one usually expects to see, It feels like the world-building is a bit too dry and technical, eschewing the emotional atachment that the characters might have for things in favour of giving a technical description to set the story as quickly as possible.

If you don’t mind going through the (free) registration process and enjoy stories of magic in mundanity, and can bear or enjoy the style (At least give the first chapter a read to get a feel for it) then I’d recommend at least giving it a once-through. If you can’t find yourself enjoying the style, then you might want to give it a pass.

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