more . . .

All Reviews

next »

 
the_author() rating onrating onrating onrating onrating off

THE WANDERING INN

Wandering interest

By sunflowerofice, author of Technically Abroad

Sep 6, 2019: Alright I have currently read all of the first two volumes of this story so my opinions might change after I have read more, and yes i plan to read more and catch up and be someone who keeps up with how it is currently going.

That said here is my review. First i wanted to give it four and a quarter. I’m not sure why but four feels to low and four and a half feels to high. I can’t really verbalize why to well, but it just feels right saying that.

So lets get started. This is the story that focuses on Erin as a young lady who turned a corner and found herself in another world. When she gets there she has no king waiting for her, no god or goddess to gift her with powers and skills well beyond the rest and no book explaining how everything works in this world.

She finds her life and risk and runs for it and doesn’t stop til she finds an abandoned inn and cleans it up just a bit, not because of any big reason (not that i could think of one for this) but because its so filthy that she can’t even go to sleep and when she goes to sleep she gets a level! in being an [inkeeper]

That is one thing this world has. Levels skills and classes and she gains the inkeeping class.

The next five, not including this one, number of paragraphs will have various level of spoilers so if you dislike them skip appropriately.

Erin is just outside of a town that is filled with a lot of people, but not a single human. She doesn’t even meet another human for a long time. It is full of drakes, gnolls, and to a lesser degree antiniums which are.. . . . the best way to describe it i can think of quickly is bug people. The look more like bugs than people so less like furries i think . . . .

Anyway time goes on and she makes friends, she levels up and shakes a lot of things up to a large degree. She fights against a flesh thief, undead, goblins, and an annoying mage named pisces. and she always seems to come out just fine

She is a bit trusting and obliviuos and despite things, like goblins, trying to kill her she hates the idea of killing in a world much more kill or be killed than earth.

Because of this mindset where everyone should be saved, which im not saying is bad, she saves a thief who destroyed a lot of stuff who was banished from the town which was basically a death sentence. Since her inn was outside the town she took her in to work for her.

Because of this the gnolls basically put the crime from the thief onto her. Not really the best thing. And this is the only comparison i will use from another series and mostly because its so well known. the cultural things are very complex and interesting just like the character like how in harry potter (yes i know everyone compares stuff to this but sorry) how goblins and house elfs mindsets are so different than people.

The characters are very interesting as well. They have different thoughts, motivations, desires, likes and dislikes and so much more.

And the world doesn’t have plot armor. people die and so far don’t come back willy nilly easy peasy lemon squeezy. I hate when people can die and just walk back into the story after a week no matter what.

You also get to see the story from other peoples point of view not just erins.

This is great because it lets you see more of the world and more peoples point of view of things. Seeing the world from a locals pov vs a non locals can be dramatically different.

That said this is the only part i feel brings down my level of enjoyment. While having a lot of people you can read their pov you will have a favorite one and ones you look forward too. On the other side it means there will be people you are less likely to want to be the lead. That doesn’t mean anything bad about it it just means the character doesn’t click with you.

I have one such character. She started out as someone I enjoyed reading about, but lately i felt like I had to force myself to read it. Part of me was tempted to just look at the wiki and skip it but the story is to good to do that.

Many chapters have multiple points of view which is another reason. I am hoping i enjoy the character more in the future like I did when I first met her but like i said that is just my opinion not something you should take as a reason to think down on any level.

So in ending should you read it? Do you like fantasy stories with a bit of real world characterization? if yes than read it! if you just like fantasy in general read it. If you hate fantasy.. . . . then why are you looking at this review this far down? you must be curious so read it!

Sure if you are like me your excitement for each update will vary based on who the story focuses on, but you can always look forward to the next chapter starring the character you like best.

0 of 0 members found this review helpful.
Help us improve!  Request an invite or log in to rate this review.

next »

the_author() rating onrating onrating onrating onrating on

MOTHER OF LEARNING

The Best Around

By davidmusk, author of The Lost Redeemer

Aug 25, 2019: Well, I’ve been enjoying this story over the past couple months, and now—at Chapter at 101—I can finally write a review. Minor spoilers ahead.

Mother of Learning starts with a concept that feels fresh to the fantasy genre: a world trapped in a time loop. The mystery aspect of this story is compelling, and every revelation feels like a genuine step toward real answers. This is a tough thing to accomplish when the mystery is so essential to the plot. Not every eriter can pull it off (I’m looking at you Lost and Game of Thrones.)

The main character (Zorian) is interesting too. Like most protagonists, he starts out flawed and grows along the way. But unlike many stories, this growth isn’t shown through his understanding of the book’s central theme, but rather through his interactions with the world and the people in it. By experiencing the same events in a loop, he comes to see the world differently. He sees his friends and family in a light, and he emphasizes with people he barely noticed before. This is a bit different, but the traditional story frameworks (the Hero’s Journey and the three act structure) are only meant to be guidelines. The author manages to pull of a great story without them.

Style

Overall, I would describe the style as simple and straight-forward. You’re not going to find a lot of lyrical prose or poetic language here, but that’s okay. The nature of the time-loop (and by extension, the plot) means that a lot of things need to be summarized in a concise way. Does this mean there’s a less showing and a more telling? Yes. But the book as a whole doesn’t suffer for that. The writing-style does what it sets out to do, so I won’t hold it to a different standard.

With that said, the book’s style is still its biggest weakness. The descriptions are minimal early on, so it was tricky to get a solid sense of the world and what a comparable time period would be. We’re immediately shown trains, which implies either a modern or semi-modern setting. We also get words like ‘cafeteria’ as opposed to mess hall, which implies a more modern setting as well.

Later on (I want to say past the 10% mark) we’re told that firearms are a fairly new invention so we know we’re not dealing with an entirely modern period. We also get more world-building later on such as airships, newspapers, watches, snow globes, ice boxes, and bank checks. By the end, I definitely had a good feel for the setting.

If I could change something though, I would make the setting clearer in the first few chapters. For example, what sort of lighting do the characters use to see? That can go a long way toward establishing setting in any story. I always imagined some sort of light bulb (either electrical or mana powered) but this is never explicitly stated. The world could just as easily use candles or oil lamps, which would evoke a very different atmosphere.

There were also a few info dumps that went on for 500+ words. These were the only parts of the book where I honestly felt the urge to skim, mostly because they dealt with ancient history or far-off cultures. I can see how this information became important. The problem is, most readers won’t remember all the details when they actually become relevant.

On a more positive side, I loved the parts where Zorian gets sarcastic in the narrative and the reader has to figure out what actually happened. In particular, I’m thinking of the part where a character trips and it’s described as "an accident. Or when Zorian gets into an argument that was described as “calm and civilized" in hindsight. Scenes like this were clever and they always made me chuckle. This humor gets also much stronger toward the second half of the book when he starts forming more long-term relationships with other characters.

Overall, I believe that most of the style issues will be resolved in a later draft. I’m confident about this because the descriptions were noticeably better in the second half. It’s just a matter of the author taking what he learned and re-applying it.

Grammar

I won’t say much here. 99.9% of the book is flawless as far I can tell. Sure, there are a few mistakes. Usually, they involve the narrative switching from present tense and back to past. It’s subtle though—something a non-wtier would barely notice. And as with the style, this is all stuff that can be fixed with editing. It doesn’t distract from the story.

Characters

So, the nature of the timeloop is both a strength and a weakness here when it comes to character development.

For one, the fact that time resets every thirty days means that any non-timelooping character loses all of his/her memories. Naturally, this means that no one one else gets a real character arc. As a result, we miss a lot of those epic moments where minor characters overcome their flaws. The kind of scenes we see and expect from authors like Brandon Sanderson or Will Wight.

On the other hand, the time-loop allows all sorts of ways for secondary characters to keep coming back in different ways. Sometimes, a character might feel like a background character in Chapter 7, only to become important in Chapter 70. Sometimes, a character will go on a date with Zorian because a particular instance of the time-loop resulted in just the right circumstances. Othertimes, Zorian will have a heart-to-heart conversation with someone just because he happened to ask the right questions or observe the right things. This aspect of the time loop feels satisfying because we’re seeing the current pieces being played with in new and interesting ways.

World Building

If you enjoy a detailed world, this is the book for you. Despite the lighter descriptions, everything in this world feels alive. Like everytime you pick up the book, you’re transported to this world. There are different continents, factions, cultures, histories, and technologies, and a detailed magic system. Everything you could hope for in a fantasy story.

Conclusion

Overall, I recommended this story to anyone interested in fantasy. I think it will be especially appealing to anyone who enjoys magic school settings or progression fantasy. As a fan of both sub-genres, it scratches all the right itches for me.

It terms of magic schools, this has it all. A library with a restricted section. Interesting teachers. A variety of subjects. And with the time loop, it’s incredibly satisfying to see the main character approach the same situations in different ways. It doesn’t take long for Zorian to pass his class mates. After that, he’s rivaling even the teachers.

In terms of progression fantasy, things aren’t aren’t as clean cut in terms of advancement levels. Not in the way you might expect from other authors like Will Wight or Andrew Rowe, and definitely not like a litRPG. Even so, the magic system has clear-cut rules, and you can always get a sense of Zorian’s strength, knowledge, and skill relative to the other characters.

1 of 1 members found this review helpful.
Help us improve!  Request an invite or log in to rate this review.

next »

the_author() rating onrating onrating onrating onrating on

WORTH THE CANDLE

A Journey Into The Rationally Twisted Mind

By Sharkerbob, author of Graven

Aug 23, 2019: What would you do if you found yourself transported to another world? What if being in this world gave you access to strangely game-like super powers? What if this world spent most of its time trying to kill you, and only your quick thinking, analytical strategy, and a handful of stalwart companions was the only thing keeping you alive as you attempt to fulfill a series of quests in the hopes of gaining answers, and perhaps a way home? And, strangest of all, what if this world seemed eerily familiar, because so much of it was based on the roleplaying campaigns you yourself had designed?

Recently, I had come to the conclusion that so-called LitRPG, or Progression Fantasy, or Gamified Portal Fantasy, was a genre I did not enjoy. While the idea can be fascinating, and some of them could be decently written, all too often, I mostly felt like I was just following some nerd oggling stats and brushing over descriptions of generic fantasy tropes for pages and pages, explaining to me how something as bog-standard as a potion worked as though I’d never heard of a video game before, trying to impress me with how cool their magic system is when it really just boiled down to the standard White Mage/Black Mage set I’ve seen in literally every JRPG since Dragon Warrior. Rarely did the tropey characters hook me, and rarely did their adventures feel like anything more exciting than reading a slightly more narrative take on a strategy guide.

Worth the Candle manages to take this premise and elevate it. It is by far the best-written example of the genre I’ve read, not only from the quality of the writing, but in the sheer creativity of the world and the depth of the character exploration.

The teen protagonist finds himself quickly teaming up with two gorgeous women early on, but their relationships are not anywhere close to the typical harem shenanigans. They feel like actual developing relationships between somewhat sketchy individuals who are trying to work together for common interests, but don’t just immediately fall into their stereotypical roles, and have to learn how to trust one another, organically over time.

The world building is great. I have always had a fascination with stories about authors interacting with the worlds of their own creation in a more grounded way, and this is an interesting take on it, where Jun recognizes some aspects of the world, but the world is different enough he’s still thrown for a loop. Three books in, the world feels large and a live, and definitely distinct from the Standard Fantasy Setting I’ve long gotten tired of. Moreover, their are numerous magic systems at play throughout the setting, and its always interesting to see a new kind of magic, and all the clever magical items that get revealed throughout the adventure.

Another nice touch is Juniper’s frequent recollections of his time with his friends, their DnD sessions, and the tragic death of his best friend months before his sudden fall into this fantasy adventure. These flashbacks act as both a way to expand on Jun’s backstory, but also ruminate on the nature of storytelling, dungeon mastering, and campaign building, and literary symbolism.

I’m having a hard time thinking of anything to complain about. The first Book of the story, about 14 chapters, did actually turn me off a little at first, because it does start off as a pretty straightforward "dungeon crawly" trek through an interesting, but kind of gamey arc. Even here, though, this was about the time I was realizing I didn’t like LitRPGs very much, so that bias was probably sinking in. I’m glad I pushed through and kept reading, because Book Two is where the good stuff really starts to hit.

Otherwise, some people might not enjoy how much the main character spends the story analyzing his situation, and characters discussing how to min-max his gamey level-up powers. I admit that was part of the tough sell for me at first, but after the first Book, I feel like it doesn’t come up nearly as much as in other LitRPG stories, and certainly doesn’t feel as intrusive.

This combination of great worldbuilding, rich characters, and ruminations on storytelling, all written with a literary quality above the usual LitRPG/Light Novel fair I’ve read previously, has elevated this to my top three web serials. Check it out if you like a good fantasy story, and definitely check it out if LitRPGs are your thing.

2 of 2 members found this review helpful.
Help us improve!  Request an invite or log in to rate this review.

next »