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AKA

Also Known As…Quite Promising

By Hejin57, author of Music Masters

Mar 16, 2019: It seems the age of web fiction is a sea of superhero stories these days. It becomes more and more difficult to separate various stories in settings that seem to melt in one another.

On today’s agenda we have the aptly named aka, a pretty clever title if I may say so.

The story of this ongoing tale revolves around one Nathaniel Thomas Peterson, who lives in a world where metahumans, or metas, are a known and accepted fact of life.

This particular setting though, goes all in when it comes to government involvement with supers, sort of echoing what might have happened if Iron Man had won Civil War. Laws on metahuman activity are strictly monitored and punishments for using ones powers unsanctioned are quite severe.

Nathan, however, has no desire to use his powers, opting instead to live a simple life as a janitor at the well-known Daedalus Technologies.

Like many stories, the story is told in the first-person point of view. It does a good job of portraying Nathan himself, but I lament not getting to know more about other characters such as the Eagle, Anarchist, and his liaison James.

Speaking of Nathan, he’s perhaps not the most unique character, but he gives off at least a likable vibe comparable to Peter Petrelli of Heroes fame or Will Hunting. Nathan’s power, when finally shown, is at least interesting enough that the story keeps you wondering how it may develop and grow as the story goes along.

While the supporting cast isn’t anything mind-blowing, there are some highlights in some later villains and in the interesting relationship between Nathaniel and his liaison James.

Beyond the idea of metahuman parole officers being pretty interesting, I think something that sets this story apart is that it focuses on Nathan’s unwillingness to confront the idea of being a hero, as he’d much rather live a simple, mundane life than face the stresses that heroes have to handle in this day and age.

As mentioned before, the first villains shown so far, the aptly named Gold Diggers, show a lot of potential in particular from what we see of them in the most recent chapter.

My only really complaint with the story might be its shaky beginning, which can come off as little bland and has some minor spelling and grammar mistakes. The narrative and voice definitely gets a lot stronger as the chapters go on though, and based on recent developments, seems to be going in a very promising direction. I feel the setting itself isn’t necessarily bad per say, just needing maybe an extra bit of flair to separate it from so many other superhero settings. Not so much the author’s fault though, it is hard to stand out with so many superhero stories these days.

All in all, I think the best way to describe this story is vanilla: it’s not bad really, but it’s a flavor we’ve tasted time and time again. A pleasant one, but lacking some uniqueness.

That being said, I think the mundane angle works really well when it’s used, and the story can only grow from here.

Final score: 3.5/5

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AMBER SILVERBLOOD

First Impression, Fun

By LadyAnder, author of Edict

Jul 5, 2018: This review is written in the perspective as a dyslexic reader as well as a first impression review. If you don’t know what that means, I’m basing my review off the first several chapter of a novel. Normally 5-10 chapter. This time I read to ch.12 because I have no self-control.

I like to mention I have a dislike of urban fantasy. Of all the fantasy sub-genres out there, urban fantasy annoys me the most in that is has to adhere to the same handful of conventions that are checked off a list. This goes for both adult and YA urban fantasy. That’s being said, I didn’t mind this story.

The story itself is about Amber, a high school student and recently turned werewolf who gets taken into magical custody by wizards wielding magical scepters to keep her away from a demon. Why the demon want her . . . shrug As of chapter 12, this bit of information wasn’t dropped, but I’m sure it has to do with her being a silverblood or werewolf who resists silver. That’s why the wizard want her though any more details than that isn’t shared either. And that’s about all I can talk about before I get into too much spoiler territory.

The writing is very consistent and the story moves along. However, I do have a slight nitpick in that there is an issue in the first two-three chapters where descriptions are a bit too sparse. It’s missing some atmosphere I suppose in places. Things just happen and I didn’t get a good picture of the surrounding in my mind. When you cross into chapter 4, that’s not a problem anymore. Maybe I got used to the minimalism but it felt as if the writing got better after the ground work chapters have been place. The only time pacing bothered me was chapter 10 and 11. Chapter 10 kind of felt it needed to be part off 11 because chapter 10 is short and the end just hangs there and then chapter 11 starts right up.

Let’s move to our main character and narrator.

Amber reminds me of Harry from Harry Potter in that she’s passable. That meaning that there isn’t anything bad about her character construction it’s her depth, it’s simple. Becoming a werewolf hasn’t been easy for her and clearly affects her but, it’s given as much depth as it needs to for the type of story this is. The story is simple and I don’t mean that in the bad way. Not all stories need to be told the same way and need to approach in the same fashion. Weighing it down with complexity might ruin the fun because this is a fun story to me.

As a dyslexic, I really appreciate something easy to follow. Something I can keep turning pages and enjoy. It something you read between tedious things because your mind needs to rest a bit. I did read this by listening to it using text-to-speech and it reads rather well. There aren’t too many errors present. There are some but they are minor and few. If there were some visually, I missed them.

That being said, my rating for this story is indulging in comfort food/10. And if you want stars, 3.5/5. It’s a fun read like eating junk food. But if you are looking to read something complex to go along with gourmet tastes, this novel isn’t it. If you’re like me, don’t mind the simplicity and straightforwardness of it, of then you will enjoy it.

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THE LEGION OF NOTHING

An Old Favorite

By Malacai, member

May 2, 2016: I’ve been reading this web serial for a few years now. It was the first, or close to the first, story of this format that I’ve read, and it’s still really entertaining. I’ve even gone and reread it a couple times, and it continues to intrigue.

Style: The story is written in 1st person, which works mostly because the main character is analytical yet spacy. He does go into detail about people’s powers, some wondering, but a lot of stuff that is really nuanced, like emotions and descriptions, he describes them succinctly and matter-of-factly. He does seem to have a slight problem empathizing, but it doesn’t seem to be debilitating. And he doesn’t seem inhuman, just slightly detached.

Story: We’re following the lives of the grandchildren of some WWII superheroes. Thus, we go into having to deal with old villains, creating an identity with respect to their predecessors’, as well as typical teenage stuff of figuring out what they want to do. There’s lots of action, but also fiddly stuff about the structure of a team and how to decide what to do without depending on just heroic instincts. There’s lots of fun, and lots of serious parts without much death or gore. When there is death, it is dealt with seriously and not really dramatized or downplayed.

Grammar: Not much to say here, other than the author doesn’t have many grammar errors, and responds to reader comments on them.

Characters: The characters are very well developed, even if that isn’t that obvious at the beginning. The main character’s lack of introspection and awkwardness in social interactions leads to a slightly slanted view of others, but everyone’s motivations, goals, and personalities shine through their actions and words. Also, they remain consistent, even where they grind against others’.

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