Aug 14, 2011: First impressions: Personally I was going to stop at four chapters, not because I didn’t like the story. Quite the opposite. I was concerned with getting this review on time and was just going to cut my losses and get it up on time. But then I just said “eff it” and continued reading just to the first chapter. And when that was over, I found myself wanting to read on.
The story is about four children–quadruplets– Lydia, Andrew, and Karen. Their brother, Daniel, has been left behind. They enter a world similar to Narnia, but much darker, with something more sinister on the horizon. The children must find their Heart Friends, the magical companions of humans from what I understand. The problem is that humans are detested and our characters, even though they are meant to save this world, they are still in danger of being killed. In the first five chapters, powers are discovered, characters are killed, kingdoms are betrayed, and secrets are revealed (especially around chapter 4, that threw me for a loop) and it only goes to show that things will be even more intense as the story continues.
At first I thought it was a little strange that the children aren’t rattled by their new surroundings, but in hindsight, it doesn’t take a long set up trying to explain the world, so we can jump right in with the action, figuring out things as we go along.
Why I would continue reading: The world building is phenomenal with the full creativity and lushness of a Miyazaki movie or Harry Potter. I’m always drawn to a fully fleshed out world and it seems the author put a lot of effort into creating her world. There are many creatures that I had never of heard before and I have fun exploring the world.
Not only that, the plot is exciting and quickly paced. There is a lot of intrigue and questions that I hope to get answered as I make my way through the archives. I’m trying to get a feel for the characters and their roles in the world, it’s interested to see them get more defined as the story goes on.
While I was reading this, I was reminded of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Kids thrown into a multinational war and must rise to the occasion and save the world. However, this story while having hints of various influences, stands alone as its own story. It never feels like a rip off of another story and I’m definitely curious to read the story further and see how it continues to defines itself.
Design and Grammar: The website is straightforward and easy to follow. The story is easy to read both on the computer and on a phone (I read a lot of this on my iPhone). The chapters while daunting with all their parts are pretty quick to read. It’s a fast paced story and it’ll take a few days to catch up in the archives. There are a few grammatical errors, but nothing too serious to mess up the flow of the story.
Why you should read it: If you want a thoughtful YA fantasy with intrigue and fantastic world building, this is the story for you. Especially if you are tired of all the trite and cliched fantasies out there, this story sets itself a part and is better than most of the traditionally published fantasies out there. The good news is that it’s free and comes in quick little chunks that are easy to read. And rumor has it, the author hasn’t missed a single update since the serial has started.
Dec 14, 2012: While searching for online dragon fiction, I ran across this story. Haven’t gotten past the first chapter yet but shared it with my fifth grade class. Writer’s spend way too many hours of their time trying to be recognized and published in order to entertain their readers (and provide some joy). And to possibly make some money. Although I’m not an author, this chapter gave me an excellent example of an up-and-coming writer and the revisions needed to improve. Example one from page one – your body doesn’t react to a strange, unexpected view with a release of bile. Normally that would come from disgust, nausea, or being horrified. In this case, the scenario would elicit a different reaction. Next example also from page one – my readers were confused by the heath’s atmosphere . . . cloudy, but blue sky, but lightning on the horizon. I liked this because students understood how a writer’s experiences and a reader’s understanding have to match through the writer’s choice of words. We discussed and enjoyed this chapter, especially my young writer’s that write from what they know; young personalities and lots of dialogue.