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SYMBIOTE

Clever heroes, bloody good action, and a premise tight as a drum.

By Patrick Rochefort, member

Jun 26, 2015: 4 out of 5 stars

The Good: I love a story with genuinely clever protagonists, and this is a story about a man’s cleverness first, and the superhuman powers his nanotech symbiote give him, second.

Both the protagonist and the symbiote have their own agendas and clever personalities, and they function as a team through tense and exciting conflicts.

The Bad: Early on, the dialogue is a bit stilted and the premise glib, but by the end of chapter one, and certainly by the end of Chapter 2, I was hooked hard. At times, some of the lucky coincidences and moments of cleverness by the protagonist strain credulity.

The Ugly: None to report. I’m six chapters in and haven’t noticed a single spelling or grammar error yet. If you can’t handle violence or gore, this might not be the story for you, though. There’s a rather clever (and well-executed) orgy of self-amputation that happens very early in the story, for in-story logical reasons. The gore isn’t dwelled upon, though.

Overall: This just made my must-read list. What a bloody hell of a fun read so far.

5 of 6 members found this review helpful.
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SYMBIOTE

A entertaining read, ambitious and compelling

By lifesharpener, author of Man of Last Millennium

Jun 10, 2015: After perusing the listings for something that I would be interested in, I stumbled upon Symbiote. It didn’t have the most reviews or ratings, but the premise was interesting enough for me to make it through the first chapter, and from then on I was pretty hooked. (Up until the 4th book.)

The things that turn me off the most about a lot of these online web serials is that sometimes the author dumps you in the middle of a world, and throws out a whole bunch of words and terminology that the character knows and understands, but the reader has no clue. Then the author does one of three things: 1. Have the unknown elements cut open and explained right there on the spot . . .  2. Don’t bother explaining, and just keep on with the story, hoping that the reader will understand via context or via further elaboration later . . .  3. Completely just throw caution to the winds and just add some kind of index explaining important details in the site . . . (I am not a fan of option 3)

Symbiote is a great blend of option 1 & 2, and done with subtlety, so as not to disturb one’s reading. A lot of things are not answered right away, but the important things are, and answers to other questions are found later on. The writing pace is kind of sporadic, things progressing extremely quickly one moment, then slowing to a long dialogue and explanations the next. Mostly, though, you will find that the story moves rather quickly, and is action packed with exciting developments.

FarmerBob1 does an excellent job of creating a setting. As he writes, the surroundings become more clear; each action that the character takes paints a vivid picture of what is happening. The world that he creates is very realistic and believable. The plot premise itself is a very ambitious project, traversing into the realm of science, and although it is a bit convoluted, the Author does a great job of making the symbiote mechanics seem realistic, (which reduces the unexplained fantasy elements that tend to jar a reader.) The author touches upon a wide array of topics, and wields them in his story with only the slightest bit of wobbliness.

The characters themselves are interesting, but also difficult to relate to. The main character is very logical, and thinks through every situation very thoroughly, that aspect of him is very clear, but at times he is inconsistent. In the symbiote’s case, at times he seems a bit too much like the main character . . . one always spoke italics, but sometimes it just felt like a clone of the host.

I read up to the 3rd book, after which there was a time skip, and I completely lost track of what was going on, and lost my motivation to find my way back. 🙁

But definitely worth a read! I enjoyed it very much, thank you farmerbob1.

3 of 3 members found this review helpful.
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SYMBIOTE

It Grows On You

By Unillustrated, author of Citadel

Nov 24, 2014: Let’s get a couple of quick issues out of the way first. This story is no longer updating, it’s complete. It’s also pretty good sized, so don’t try to do it in one sitting unless you’re willing to give up a weekend, give or take a bit (reading speeds vary). The fight/action scenes are decent but they aren’t the point of the story, so if that’s what you’re looking for I’d say you should pick something else. The story is not connected to Spider-Man’s symbiote in any way and Venom does not appear in its pages.

Now, the real review. Symbiote is the story of Bob and Frank, two nice guys that share the same body. One of them is a relatively normal guy, though a bit of an introverted loner, the other is a perfectly nice synthetic life form with the ability to modify its host’s body and a bunch of built in imperatives. They meet when the symbiote is first able to make contact with the human (in his 30’s ? my memory’s poor in that regard) despite having shared the same body for their entire lives.

I don’t want to give spoilers, so I’ll just say this. This is a modern setting with hidden sci-fi elements. Bob and Frank don’t get a lightsaber but do have a pretty impressive set of superpowers as a result of their bond. It makes way more sense in context. Like some of the better sci-fi, there’s little sense of direct danger or physical challenge to the main characters. Their real conflict is in matters of self identity, priorities, uncovering mysteries, choosing who to trust and planning. There’s also a snarky sense of humor and a lot of body mod stuff / munchkining that can be really engaging if you like that sort of thing.

So, if you want a story about two people working together to destroy their common foe while trying to prove that they’re the real hero, go read spider-man. If you want a story with lots of intrigue, some neat bio-tech elements, multiple secret organizations and a rapidly changing idea of who the bad guy and who the hero is, I’d give Symbiote a shot.

3 of 3 members found this review helpful.
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