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One of the best, but i’m dropping it.

By L Nimbus, author of The Minotaur Paladin

Jun 5, 2019: The Wandering Inn is something I love. It’s something I admire. I have followed it for a year, and never regretted it. I jumped in every Tuesday and Saturday, gorged myself on each paragraph. And now, I’m dropping it. Don’t take this as a statement of it being bad, or even getting bad. The Wandering In has proven to be nothing but pure quality.

When I talk about it, I hold it to the best of the best. I compare it the like of A Song of Fire and Ice and The Wheel of Time. Because it is. When people argue with that web serial authors aren’t ‘real’ authors, I trot out The Wandering Inn. When they say we aren’t getting money like ‘real’ authors, I point them at PirateAba’s Patreon. They shut up.

I hold nothing but love for this amazing story, and will always remember it. But now, as I finish Volume 5, I close the proverbial pages. Why? That’s something that will need explaining. Not right now, but at the end of my usual review section, I’m going to include a special section dedicated just to that.

With that, let’s move on.

Table of Contents.

  • 1.1. Opening.

  • 2.1. Story. 2.2. Pacing. 2.3. Dialogue. 2.4. Action. 2.5. World building.

  • 3.1. Style.

  • 4.1. Grammar.

  • 5.1. Characters. 5.2. Main Characters. 5.3. Side Characters. 5.4. Antagonists.

  • 6.1. The Wandering Inn’s Impact.

  • 7.1. The Reason.

  • 8.1. Closing.


    Hey Yo, it’s all love, but love’s got some thin lines, L’s giving you two big nines, Respect the time, especially when it reflect mine.

    The first book of The Wandering Inn will be what tests it’s readers the most. It’s not too bad, but doesn’t shine like the rest of the series. In terms of the examples I hold the rest of the series to, it seems a bit lacking. Don’t mistake me, it’s still better than a solid 90% of the content on RRL, but it lacks what makes TWI, well, TWI. It had plotholes, mistakes and erorrs. Even some hardcore fans I’ve spoken to have admitted that it needs to be rewritten.

    But, make it past that first book, and the story blows you away. In terms of web serials, there is only a single one that can compare to The Wandering Inn, and that’s A Practical Guide to Evil itself. The world building is huge, phenomenal and so wonderfully done. I’ve heard tell of professional authors saying it’s too large and too much of a challenge, but Aba never falters under the monumental world they have made. That alone should speak for something.

    The Wandering Inn doesn’t rely on gimmicks to tell it’s tale and keep readers occupied. No, it gives you quality, pure and simple. That isn’t even beginning to scratch at anything else, just the story telling itself. All of you have heard of the Isekai genre. Some of you are sick of it. Of the tales with so much potential being wasted.

    The Wandering Inn is an Isekai story done RIGHT.

    2.1. Story:

    The Wandering Inn follows a cast of characters, some from Earth, others natives of Innworld, as I call it. It starts with Erin Solstice, a young woman from Earth, as she stumbles into a foreign and alien world. But, instead of running off and going on a grand adventure, a story we’ve all seen before, Erin becomes an Innkeeper. And the adventure that follows is far, far more satisfying than running around hacking poor dragons to pieces.

    The adventures, and at times, misadventures of this single innkeeper resonate and are more satisfying to me than some epic quest to do some random stuff and save the world. And Aba is a master. Her plotlines weave together seamlessly, small, large and unnoticed all culminating satisfyingly. It comes to the point where you hang on to every word just to see if you can guess when something will happen.

    And when something does, it ALWAYS invokes whatever Aba wanted you to feel. Happiness, sadness, regret, hate, a good laugh. She gets her point across and in the best ways. The story doesn’t hold your hand or throw you off the deep end, it hits that comfortable medium and let’s you cruise on through.

    Aba goes out of her way to make you feel this experience, make you care. My good lawd, any author that can take a race, make you abhor it, then turn around and slowly, without you realizing it, make you love them over time deserves some sort of medal. An author who can make their horror segments good enough to give even Hideo Kojima the shakes deserves that medal. An author who can make you laugh whenever she damn well pleases deserves that imaginary medal as well.

    And an author who can make you cry is something special. Make you cry for a character that you’ve known for only seven – eight chapters is a master.

    The Wandering Inn is what can be referred to as a mostly light story with moments of darkness. Don’t take this as a statement that everything’s going to be fine or that anyone has plot armor. It ain’t and they don’t. Instead, TWI comes off as almost life-like. Not in the sense of EVERYTHING being bad, but yes, the world can be fucked-up at times. If I have one thing to bitch about, it’s that it’s been too dark in recent chapter. More about that later.

    This isn’t a bright, happy romp through a smiling world. No, the world is very much a dark place, and the brightness in the story is generated by an endless fountain of positivity named Erin Solstice. Erin and her impact on this world is one of the reasons I read TWI. Seeing how she slowly wins over people, fiercely stands for her ideals and hosts games of magical baseball is one of the many reasons TWI has earned a special place in my heart.

    Take a look at The Wandering Inn. As I write this review, the word count proudly sits a 3.2 million words. NONE of it is filler. ALL of it is plot. And all of it was worth it.


    Many of the people who read this might assume that The Wandering Inn is a slow story. Indeed, wars and the like can take entire books to come around, and the plot doesn’t rush about for anyone. But that’s looking at it wrong. Instead or running right to what to most people assume is the ‘important stuff’s, Aba makes EVERYTHING ‘important’. She makes the small plotlines leading to bigger events important. She makes the conversations you would usually race over important.

    This is something to be respected. It’s something to be admired and praised. When every last piece of dialouge makes you drag your eyes across it. When every description is meaningful. To those who say that The Wandering In is ‘too slow’, I disagree. See, TWI isn’t about this grand quest and getting to the end, it’s more about the metaphorical journey and characters you meet along the way.


    This deserves it’s own special section. Aba has gone out of her way to give each character unique dialogue patterns and ways of talking. This is something not taken lightly, and, done right, can help distinguish a story even further. Now, If I threw your headfirst into one of the later books, you would be lost. But, since this is slowly exercised throughout the whole series, it slowly grows on you.

    While she doesn’t go all out an expect you to fully remember each and every character’s speech patterns, she doesn’t go with ‘he said’ and ‘she said’. Oftentimes, you get clues as to whos talking if you can’t keep up. You just need to put them together.


    I’m kind of on the fence in this one. On one hand, The Wandering Inn has many great action scenes, many gripping ones too. But, here and there, there are some I’m just tempted to skip through a scene. Because I’m starting to recognize patterns. Not obvious one, but I’m starting to get confident I can predict when something will fail, when an enemy will make a reversal, so on and so forth.

    For the most part, the action scenes have impact, an air of danger and tense moments. But sometimes, you can see an outcome when you shouldn’t.


    Straight-up phenomenal. There is no other description that will fit this story. The world outside the walls of The Wandering Inn is enormous, amazingly fleshed-out, tantalizing with how deep and rich it is. It’s one of the largest I’ve seen so far, and it’s not just well constructed, it’s a masterpiece. Every corner, every nook and cranny holds another story, another culture. Another variable. And it makes you want to KNOW all of it. Not just the lore-nuts, but even casual readers will appreciate just how expansive and fascinating this world is. The different races, continents, cultures, interactions, racism, sexism, rivalries and outright emnity. It’s all there, and it’s done right. More than right. The LITrpg elements of the story are done better than anything I’ve read online, being unique in their own right, with their own lore and history. They thread the fine line between too many numbers and not enough, striking the correct balance.

    Hell, the adventures of the characters in the side chapters are so good you would be perfectly justified in giving them their own series. The SIDE CHAPTERS! These stories, set far away from the Floodplains of Liscor, are fascinating and enrapture you on their own. While, at first, they’re largely unimportant to the main cast, ripples are starting to be felt.

    The, ahem, Innbuilding itself is also done very well. Very well. The slow growth of Erin, her Inn and clientele feels right, in the best sense of the word. She doesn’t make big breakthroughs and spread her fame worldwide in an instant. Instead, the steady build-ups, pay-offs and failures feel like they’re spaced just right, but are never really predictable. They’re also impactful and important to the reader, and, honestly, never get old.

    I do have a few little complaints. These are strictly personal preference, and as such, aren’t too important. BUT, here they are. I’ll keep it short. We hear some of events like Flos, the king of destruction and the the Demons of Rhir. They’re very obviously important, things the story is building towards being something like the endgame content, but we get so little of them. Why?

    Final Score: 99/100.


    Yo these haters can’t breathe when Aba come through, hung too, some boos, Gotta be hundred man, it’s not even funny man, they can’t breathe. Their clothes look too tight, the left looks too right, you know what? You right.

    If my little rhyme above didn’t give you the idea, here it is. Aba’s style is breathtaking. A master at work. Every sentence, every paragraph keeps your eyes firmly glued to the screen. At no point was I tempted to skip so much as a sentence. Take this seriously, because I don’t give this sort of praise lightly. Aba is among my favourite writers in style alone. Her flow is smoother than oil, her vocabulary astounding and her plots good enough to spark debates on the smallest chapters.

    She focuses primarily on the characters and how they interact with the world, but can easily switch and smoothly transition to almost anything.

    POV shifts are never jarring, instead smoothly transitioning from one character to the next when needed.

    Final Score: 100/100


    Nothing less than flawless, at least to mine and your standards. What few typos manage to slip into the story are hunted down and exterminated with extreme prejudice. To me and you, that’s all that needs to be done. Periods in the right place, quotation marks in there, commas right, and no akward wording.

    There is, however, something I have to bring up. A while back, I showed TWI to someone, talked about it, an he was poking holes in it, saying stuff like ‘improper sentence structure, a sentence break that didn’t feel right’, all sorts of stuff. Said TWI was terrible from an editor’s standpoint. He compared it to ‘vomitting over the page’.

    I won’t lie. I completely went ‘lol fuk wut m8?’ on him. We debated on it for a while, ending with me asking ‘When did writing fantasy become more about perfect sentence structure than actually telling a story?’ I didn’t get a reply.

    So, to some, TWI’s grammar might be less than perfect. But, not to me or, for that matter,more or less any reader on RR. If you care about your periods being right, sentences flowing smoothly and having an author who actively fixes her own mistakes, then you’ve got it.

More does not need to be said.

Final Score: 100/100.


Aba two-steps with hearts, and ever since she started dancin, She’s walked a fine line between Einstein and Charles Manson.

The Wandering Inn is second to none. I do not say this lightly. In terms of it’s cast, TWI blows past everything and everyone. The cast is gigantic, no two ways about it. They make their impressions felt, from the biggest MC to the lowest shopkeeper. They’re diverse, brimming with complexity and depth, simple moments that you can’t help but enjoy, and complex chemistry.

The cast covers all races, character types and archetypes. In a good way. They’re fascinating, rich and stand out from even each other. Aba’s true talent shines here, writing believable and fascinating character interactions, hateable villians (understatement, that), hundreds of people you have little to no trouble recalling.

Let’s put it this way. The side characters have more life and depth than the main characters of most stories on royalroad. No exaggeration. Freaking Dawil could go off and be a main character in his own series and no one would bat an eyelash. An entire serial could be centered around and carried solely by Klbkch. Giving a dragon a iPhone and seeing the aftermath? Genius. Forming a picture about what to expect from the cast about now? Good.

5.2.Main Characters.

The series is carried along on he shoulders on Erin Solstice. Nobody argues with that. At times, the load is passed to Ryoka, and even less often, another character. But for the most part, Erin does the heavy lifting. And she succeeds in every sense of the word. Some people might not like her, her character or general mindset.

I disagree. Erin has accomplished more with her stubbornness and attitude than any brooding, angsty protag could ever hope to. Her successes feel impactful, real. Her failures hit you hard. Through her own unique methods, she brings light to Innworld. I’ve heard people say she’s too naive or somesuch. That she’s not the suitable protagonist for a world as dark as Innworld.

Take a look at the story. Erin is exactly what this world needs. Someone who cares nothing for bias and racism. Is willing to forgive and sees the better in people. Any mopey, nihilistic protag could have been conjured up and slapped into this story, but instead, we get Erin. She doesn’t plot to overthrown kings or find a supa-dupa powa up to boost herself past 9000. No, she’s concerned with running her inn and helping people. This is a gigantic variation from the usual, and it works beautifully.

Her growth as a character over the series has been fascinating to watch. Yes, she has her flaws, and they aren’t swept under the rug. She might have ticked off readers a time or two, but her growth more than makes up for anyone bitching about her actions.

Ryoka on the other hand . . . .

I liked her, for some reason. I really did. I looked past her flaws and saw someone awesome. Someone strong. Oh, she brooded and worried. With good reason too, but I felt she overdid it at times. Still, she more than came through. She had her moments and then some. Her relation with Ivolette was something I was pleasantly surprised with. Over time, you really grew to like her.

And then the last two books happened. Let me be frank. Ryoka became plain unlikeable. Her attitude started rubbing me all the wrong ways. I mean, I understood her reasons and all, but she got too negative to like. Her response to Liscor especially. Thinking that she was glad she wasn’t there to make it worse did her character no favors.

You seem to have redeemed her some in the first few chapters of Book 6, but throughout most of 4 and 5, she was downright unlikeable.

5.3.Side Characters.

As I said before the side characters of The Wandering Inn are fleshed out to the extreme. And with a cast that is hundreds strong, that is no mean feat. Aba has clearly invested a great deal of time in this, meticulously drawing up personalities, histories, quirks, races and the like. These characters aren’t just fleshed out, but on the same level as Erin and Ryoka. Watching them interact with not only each other, but with the world around them is one of the biggest draws of The Wandering Inn.

But it’s not just Erin’s clientele that’s fascinating to watch. It’s also those I refer to as the ‘Side MCs’. These characters, most of whom are from Earth, are, like Erin, stuck in an alien world, trying g to survive, and for the most part, not let anyone know they came from another world. While they get less screentime than Erin and Ryoka, they appear to be just as important, with their own plotlines and impacts on the world around them.

Some directly affect the world, in the case of the twins meeting Flos. Some don’t. All are fascinating to read about.

I have some small points of critique though. Another reviewer might have said this, but I feel it merits bringing up again. During the Winstram Days side chapters, Pisces and Ceria felt like the same characters that they were PRESENTLY in the story. As in, the ‘post-Erin’ versions of themselves. They didn’t feel like the characters we were first introduced to when they made their first appearances. Rather, they felt like the characters we knew, despite Winstram Days taking place far earlier.


The antagonists of this series are by and large memorable. Very much so. In my years of reading, I’ve seen villian’s come and go, and only a few have left any sort of impression on me. All three of the ‘Big Bads’, as I refer to them, have managed to do so.

Not only because they are excellently developed, fleshed out and unique in their own right, but because their actions have impact. They actually get shit done and make waves. You have to respect that sort of thing. They rip through plot armor like tissue paper. When fighting them there’s the very real danger of characters you love dying. And they do. And not in ways you would see coming. Out of the three, Az’kerash is probably the deadliest. The one to watch out for. He’s proven more than capable, cold and deadly. When he or his minions appear on the scene, you know someone is going to die. It gotten to the point where you start to actually fear his name whenever it comes up.

Veltras is second in line, being responsible for what happened in recent books. He’s not only calculating, ruthless and efficient, he’s also driven by a very understandable desire for revenge. Oh, he’s an asshole through and through, and not a likeable one either, but you see his reasons, and you can’t help but wonder. If this story had taken place a few hundred miles north, if Erin had appeared near Invisiril instead of Liscor, would you be rooting for him instead?

Flos makes the least impact of all three, despite being universally known as the King of Destruction. While his awakening is a event that shakes all of Innworld, we haven’t really gotten anything of importance from his since, despite several entertaining interludes.

Final Score: 100/100.

6.1.The Wandering Inn’s impact.

This is actually a somewhat important topic. The Wandering Inn isn’t just a web serial, it’s proof that serial authors are just as legitimate as ‘real’, published authors. It shows that an author can build a fanbse online, get just as much respect as any published author. Even more, perhaps. While Worm was what first legitimized web serials as a format, TWI proves that web authors can be just as respected and recognized as physical authors.

Whenever the argument inevitable comes up that ‘real’ authors make money and web ones don’t, I smile, nod along, and then post a link to your Patreon. Whenever someone says that they can or have posted stories online as well, but that doesn’t make them authors, I simply mention the fact that you have a bigger fanbase than a lot of published authors I know. That this fanbase actively supports you. That your personal discord is larger than a lot of author based ones I know.

I mention that you did all this in less than two years. I point to your word count. Over 3 million words, and no filler. 3 million words and an actual fucking plot. 3 million words and one of the best worlds ever fictionally created.

Worm might have given the life to the web serial community as a whole, but TWI is one of the pillars that holds it upright.

This is a true story. Recently, at a local library, I was talking about web serials with one of the librarians. She had never even known the genre existed, and was amazed when I showed her The Wandering Inn. I got her to read it, and went about my day. A few weeks later, I came back. The first thing she asked me is if I was willing to hold a little . . . talk, I guess, to tell other people about web serials and the advantages of publishing online.

I was actually shocked. While I did have to turn down her offer, due to a very tight working schedule and being sort of mic-shy, I was extremely surprised. After talking a little longer, we parted ways again, and I was left to think about a lot. A person who I had known for quite some time had just asked me to tell others about web serials, because, she, an experienced librarians and avid reader, had seen the advantages and opportunities of publishing online and recognized the potential there. If a story could come from literally nowhere, with no editor’s to check and see if it would be successful, and nothing to promote, could go and gather such a huge fanbase in little under two years, what was stopping more people from going and doing the same? Nothing.

7.1.The Reason.

So, despite all this, despite The Wandering Inn being one of the best serials ever written, why am I dropping it?

That’s not easily explained, but I’ll try anyway.

It’s TOO good at what it does. Or, in essence, Aba is too good at making you care. This might sound ridiculous, but to me, it’s not. Aba does too good of a job at connecting you to these characters, making you give a shit about them, invest in them. You come to like them, love them, even. You start to cheer for them, remember them.

And then they die. Just like that. I have no problem with character deaths. Heck, I loved GoT for that. But not this. This is too much. I can’t bring myself to invest in another character only to see them die the way they do. For pointless, futile causes. If you wanted to prove that Innworld is dark, and that not all deaths have meaning, fine, I’m cool with that.

But why is almsot EVERY character death like that then? Why is every one of them an empty, meaningless death that we know will never be avenged? You spent two entire books making us see the Goblin’s point of view, making us like then and care about them. Then you turned around and slaughtered them wholesale, by a character that will never be brought to justice.

That’s just one instance.

So, I ask this.

Why should I bring myself to read further, meet more characters, invest in them, because your writing gives me no other choice, only to watch them be brutally killed off? And watch whatever antagonist does the slaughtering skip off untouched. Despite me saying, and you trying to prove that the cast of The Wandering Inn has no plot armor, it seems to me that the villians do. Throughout 5 books, they’ve suffered only minor setbacks and at most list a single important minion. If anything, it seems like THEY have plot armor.

Should I go and start rooting for the villians? Because where I’m standing right now, that might actually be the safer choice. The characters you love all seem doomed to die empty, pointless, heartbreaking deaths while the antagonists you loathe succeed at every turn.

Give me a reason why, Aba.

8.1. Closing.

With this, I close the pages of The Wandering Inn. Do note that this review was by personal and professional opinion as a reader and author, but still my opinion. It also applied largely AFTER Book 1. Perhaps one day, I’ll come back and read this again, once it’s completed. For now, however,I can’t bring myself to read any further.

If you haven’t read The Wandering Inn, however, I urge you to do so. It’s one of the single best pieces of Fantasy literature ever created, in my opinion, and deserves all recognition as such.

I wish you nothing but the best, Aba.

Cheers, L.

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