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UNDER DARKENING SKIES

Airships, Magitech and Ghosts

By TanaNari, author of Price

Nov 16, 2015: More than solid story, although you will probably experience a lot of turbulence in the jump from arc 1 to arc 2 . . . it hurt my overall enjoyment, and while I’m still watching the story and recommending it, I wouldn’t be surprised if it costs readers. I had it pegged as a 4.5 before, dropping it to a 4 now. Still very good, but not amongst the top of the class.

Writing: 4

Solid, a few grammar issues, the lack of inner dialogue italics occasionally draws me out a little. Does the -hyphen gives information- thing a bit, which some aren’t a fan of but I didn’t really mind since it’s rare.

Also suffers from the occasional lack of clarity. I was forced to reread portions of the story- usually action sequences- to figure out what I misread the first time that led to confusion. It’s not painful by any stretch, but it means I can’t give a 5 to the story.

Pacing: 3.5

Shockingly good for what appears to be a first-timer. Characters and motivations are quickly established, personalities are shown, and the story moves from one event to the next without ever feeling rushed or bogged down. Chapters are cleanly in the 2-3k range and it feels shorter because I’m so busy reading I don’t even notice the words going by.

I do have a problem with how quickly the story jumps from ‘nothing’ to ‘here’s an airship’, however. The protag seems stupidly unrealistically lucky, it’s stabbing SoD in the face repeatedly, far too early in the story for that to be a good thing.

There’s a (roughly) year timeskip that replaces most of the characters at the end of the first arc, and it really does damage to the overall narrative. Not as bad as a certain other web serial, but painful. Reduced to 3.5

Characters: 4.5

Effing. Beautiful. Characters are interesting, varied, make sense and are generally fun to read. None of them are exactly "nice people"- the ‘antihero’ label fits quite well.

There’s a lot of alien, inhuman personalities in the group. I can only approve. So good I am functionally ranking this a "6" by adding a point to the Worldbuilding section. These characters are mirrors that reflect a world not yet revealed in the story.

EDIT: as of the second arc, a lot of this quality has been hurt drastically. A lot of the interesting characters removed, the replacements aren’t as solid, and the story’s losing its character driven edge.

Plus the main character is coming out as "too lucky, too smart, too good at what she does", which is never a good sign.

Reducing it down to 4.5.

Worldbuilding: 4

Good. Really solid, again without going overboard with cramming lots of info into a teensy space. Is willing to describe the setting as it becomes necessary to the plot, instead of ahead of time.

It hits every point it needs to hit, but lacks any real twists or hooks. If you enjoy magitech and airship settings (of which there’s hardly a shortage), then you will enjoy this story.

If you hate the genre, this probably won’t be your exception. If it is your exception, it’ll be because of the characters as mentioned above.

EDIT: This is now its inherent four, as the characters showing the world through their eyes features I loved from the first arc is functionally nonexistent.

4 of 4 members found this review helpful.
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