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ENDLESS STARS

Excellence

By Thedude3445, author of Rainbow Destructor

Jul 18, 2019: Endless Stars is why web fiction needs to exist, needs to be fostered and supported. In a traditional publication situation, this thing is a really tough sell—a fantasy story starring non-anthropomorphic dragons, with chapters that go on for 30, 40 paperback pages, with a story that mixes grand world-spanning struggles with small-scale adventures and slice-of-life character moments, focusing on such small details that the story’s barely begun after over 500 pages . . . Web fiction is where this kind of story works best, and we should be very glad to have it.

As of the end of Book 2, I will go ahead and say this is the best web novel I’ve read by a huge margin. I’ve still got a ton of the Greats left to go, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that Endless Stars is a cut above most everything else.

In this web serial, we follow Kinri, a young, mysterious dragon who follows Hinte, a young mysterious dragon, who is following her alchemical pursuits into dangerous lava-infested territory. As the adventure unfolds, as these two journey through discovery and peril, they grow emotionally close to one another, and we slowly watch themselves unfold before us. Both of these characters are great! The duo starts off at first glance as that kind of "jaded loner meets eager newbie" dynamic you’ve seen plenty of times. But as their characters are unveiled, as they grow closer together, this dynamic shifts considerably, and adds so much depth. Kinri and Hinte are both really good characters.

This adventure our heroes go on quickly turns into something much bigger than they had expected going in, but the story always keeps our two heroes front and center, making sure their journey, and their growing friendship, is never lost in favor of action, romance, or intrigue.

And as for those things . . . well, there isn’t any romance, but there is a lot of action and intrigue. Especially the intrigue. Kinri and Hinte have stumbled into some machinations of the highest order, and are essentially pieces in some greater game trying to figure out what’s even going on. I’m not a fan of excessive intrigue, and I usually avoid "dark fantasy" stories because they overindulge in throne room backstabbing nonsense, but Endless Stars does so well that I actually stay engaged in the story. As far back as I can think, this is the first web fiction that takes itself largely seriously throughout and I haven’t hated. How crazy is that?

Of course, and you may already know this if you’re reading this review, the REAL selling point for Endless Stars is the prose. This is Good Prose. This isn’t Good-for-web-fiction prose. It’s just plain good. Every sentence is packed with intention, every image vivid, every bout of introspection by our heroine Kinri solid. Outside of maybe a few one-off short stories or novellas here and there, you aren’t going to find a story as well-written as Endless Stars.

The "drawback," if you’ll call it that, is that this is not a fast-paced story. This is not for the binge-reader type to consume in one sitting and forget about a week later; it’s meant to be read, not skimmed, and it’s going to take some time to get through. That may turn off some people, but it shouldn’t.

If you want to get absorbed in some real good stuff, if you want characters worth following, if you’re tired of the endless repetitive grimdark fighting stories or shallow anime regurgitations, you’ve got to look at Endless Stars.

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