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DIVISION BY ZERO

Tidal Wave

By Megajoule, author of The Warlock Ruthless

Oct 3, 2018: I gave a/0 a read through as it was new and it got a pretty good review right off the bat. I’m afraid that review feels unearned, and misleading as to the quality of this story.

Don’t get me wrong, the writer does have an impressive command of sentence structure and vocabulary. They are clearly well read, clearly a very thoughtful and verbose person. However, they would benefit in revisiting the rule "Show, Don’t Tell." The first chapter is a huge swath of tell, tell, tell. The main character/narrator tells me that she’s very smart, tells me that she has all these skills and accolades, but I don’t see it, I don’t observe it, I don’t draw my own conclusion that she’s a smart girl. She tells us about her relationship with her dad is sour instead of demonstrating it through scene work. In fact, there are over 4000 words of monologue before we get to an actual scene of dialogue. The actual scenes aren’t safe, either, bogged down by massive paragraphs of monologue as well.

To the point of making the MC seem smart, a lot of jargon is thrown around, but the actual mechanics of her being smart seem off. There are some names of theories and some rough explanations that feel like they were googled rather than coming from extensive knowledge of the field of physics. The writer presents science as this magical adventure of discovering flowers and alien worlds, and it feels very pop-science (as opposed to the lonely nights and long hours of tedious lab work I’m familiar with). There’s not a problem with hyper intelligent characters, but Kohana definitely feels like a Mary Sue who doesn’t demonstrate actual intelligence, she just spouts the names of theories and a few jargony sentences someone could find on the AskScience reddit or some other source.

As another user mentioned, the fetishization of Asian culture is . . . problematic at best. However, I would definitely read a serial, about, say, Asian Gordon Ramsey trying to get his Magical Girl daughter in on the family business.

I’d say the story would benefit with a generous edit, focused on grounding us in scenes rather than Kohana’s head. Using scenes to demonstrate how intelligent she is (I don’t mean just correcting a teacher on the differences between Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Field Theory, either, I mean demonstrating a thorough understanding of QM and QFT, which Kohana never does on screen)

The site design was pleasant on the eye, and I actually quite like the chapter titles and the character art.

I have picked two stars because that said "A Tough Slog" and that’s really what this felt like. The author writes fluidly, but so much that her words become a tidal wave, and I’m left slogging through the aftermath trying to find the debris of story in the standing water.

5 of 7 members found this review helpful.
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