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TOKEN

Three Episodes In

By Wayne Basta, author of Seraph's Gambit

Nov 12, 2018: Token by Desmo is a story about four college kids who enjoy playing games. After a round of Axis and Allies turns sour they all discover a mysterious card in their hands. These cards are list of increasingly poor behavior with a set of points next to them.  Each card is tailored to the individual.

None of the boys can figure out where they came from and they magical appearance gets starker as they discover that when they do one of the actions on the card, or fail at them, the card is updated. By the end of the third episodes, the boys have realized the situation they are in has gone from weird to serious. Any attempts to reach for help are stymied.

So far this is a pretty mesmerizing piece. The concept feels fresh if not entirely original. People sucked into a deadly game without realizing it isn’t new. But mysterious cards with point values appearing in your hand stands out.

The characters reaction feels realistic so far. The narrator finds it strange but assumes some kind of prank at first. He gets into it as a form of competition, focusing only on the levels of the card that are relatively free of consequence. It’s not until unexplainable events, such as the card being updated before their eyes and a voice speaking in his head, that he starts to freak out.

If I have any criticism so far it’s with the author’s website. I have no idea who the author is as the website doesn’t say. The Web Fiction post lists the author as Desmos. It’s only digging into a blurb about another piece of fiction listed on the site, that I found the authors name. But that really doesn’t have anything to do with the story. 

What does have to do with the story is a real lack of navigation. There’s no table of contents for the story. So I have no idea how many episodes are available so far. But the first three episodes are worth reading and I am curious to learn more.

3 of 4 members found this review helpful.
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SHADOW

Super Engrossing!

By TypingRebel, author of Natonus

Nov 10, 2018: Shadow pulls you in just like any good space opera—with compelling characters and an engrossing, mysterious plot. The reader is dropped into the story from the perspective of Vai Ma’amaloa, who has only recently been awakened from an 80-year sleep. He quickly realizes that something is amiss: a mysterious drug that led to an intergalactic war from before his long sleep has reappeared, and threatens the (now-peaceful) galactic community.

The author surrounds Vai with other strong characters, such as Owen (a chocolate smuggler who has his own fair share of POV chapters), the mechatronic Warpaint (who has some hilarious lines and running gags), Vai’s father (who is the source of a good deal of interpersonal drama and conflict with Vai), and various classmates and friends.

The series shines for a variety of reasons. The author’s writing style is quite strong; Nova clearly demonstrates a good command of the written word, and the text is edited well. The worldbuilding is well done, with an abundant array of interesting alien races and planets. The author does a good job giving the reader information about their world’s history through Vai’s eyes—we see his emotional reaction to the war from 80 years ago, rather than just having it explained to us. And the story does an excellent job using mystery to drive the narrative. There certainly comes a point at which you won’t want to put it down.

It is difficult to find much wrong with Shadow. The first few chapters might be a bit overwhelming to some readers—a lot is thrown at you at once, including new technologies, alien races, and fictional events (a tip: the author has conveniently provided a glossary in the blog’s menu bar to make the initial plunge into the story relatively painless). And at certain points, the story can tend to bog down a bit.

These are all relatively minor complaints, however. Readers who enjoy mystery, rich worldbuilding, and good character drama will be well-rewarded by taking a look at Shadow.

2 of 2 members found this review helpful.
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THE LAST SCIENCE

Magic From The Ground Up

By hhhhhaaaa, member

Nov 10, 2018: This wonderful tale has been enjoyable to read. The numerous amount of well-built characters and their perspectives, the setting and seeing magic growing from the ground up, and the writing itself all add into the mixing pot of awesome that is The Last Science. Seeing the politics of a secret society, built upon the founding of magic, is a sight to see, as persons do what they think is best for themselves and this society.

I believe the origination of magic within The Last Science is a fresh and unique idea, and I fully endorse it. I would go further into it, but I personally believe it is something better experienced first hand.

The characters themselves are plentiful, and each have been complexly written, seeing Rachel’s transformation into a leader, seeing Alden discovering this town and it’s inhabitants develop an entire community without those not "Awakened" knowing. I myself quite enjoy seeing each person’s perspective on the goings on about the story.

Rallsburg and the setting in which this fiction takes place is another great facet. The business within with their own sense of busy-ness, the forest that lingers nearby, enticing the Awakened to practice there, and the streets themselves, which act as a nice background to the stories that are told between the residents, are all major players that work incredibly well together.

Etzoli’s writing itself is bountiful and keeps one wanting to to continue on, which is wonderful as there is quite a bit to read! As I previously stated, the perspective style storytelling really helps us to understand each character’s thoughts and wants, and helps propel the story forward exactly where the author wishes it to go.

To summarize, I believe the Last Science is quite an amazing fiction, and I believe that, if you find the time, you should read every wonderful word.

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