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WOLF, OWL, & BLACK APPLE

It does a good job of throwing you right into the world

By Oniwasabi, author of The Monster They Deserve

Oct 3, 2015: We enter this serial ‘in media res’ (thanks for teaching me that one, Order of the Stick! ^_^) aka in the middle of something. In this case that something is the whole ‘main characters have been kidnapped’ that is mentioned in the descriptive blurb for the story!

In my opinion (and experience), this is a tricky way to start a brand new story with brand new characters, and I think this author pulls it off quite nicely. We get immediately focused on the main characters and their predicament (and a bit on the antagonists as well, of course), and the world starts to be built in naturally occurring details that filter in as part of that attention-grabbing narrative instead of in the forum of infodumps or random exposition. There is one minor infodumps in the ‘Case 0’ section of chapters, and it was a little jarring, but the details given are relevant and to the local area of the setting that events are currently unfolding in, and it probably would have felt forced to try to exposition it in some other way, so I’ll chalk that one up as neutral and ‘a necessary evil.’ So good news so far, this is a story that hits the ground running and keeps moving at a fairly brisk clip, even as we transition from ‘kidnapping and life or death situations!’ to ‘slice of life and character development in a new town.’

Notable pros: The characters all feel well fleshed out. Enough contrast the it’s easy to tell the characters apart, and almost none of our protagonists have a super cliche/overdone/tropey feel to them. That one caveat is one of the characters mentioned in the description (Forseti) does feel a bit cliched in some of her interactions, but it also feels (at least to me) that this is meant to be an intentional character quirk (She is an ancient, immortal being of great power and knowledge after all. It makes sense that she would do the things she does to amuse herself to a certain level). Additionally, the writing was very clean, mechanically speaking.

Notable cons: It’s a bit early in the serial’s life for this one, but it’s something that did jump out at me right away. While the protagonists are decently varied and seem to be fully fleshed out characters, all of the antagonist characters (in the Case 0, the only place where we’ve MET any real antagonists so far) were practically stock cardboard-cutout bad guys. I don’t know if this was because they’re only real purpose was to get the story rolling and get the protagonists all introduced to each other (I really hope so) or if the writer is just not spending as much time on the villains as on the heroes (it would not be the first time I’ve seen it, especially in something like a detective show/serial/series where you go through a new bad guy for every show/book/arc/case, which is why I’m worried it might be the case).

The other notable con (that might be soon and swiftly remedied) is that the serial is currently on hiatus. Specifically it went on hiatus at the end of August with the stated intent to resume posting on September 30th. This review is being written on October 2nd, so far no updates. I will be happy to remove this portion of the review as soon as the story DOES start updating again, and I really really hope it does so! I’m not going to recommend it at present, though that will also likely change if the author resumes things.

In short: It’s a good story, it hits the ground running, the protagonists are interesting, watch out for the possibility of stock badguys being used!

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