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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.

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TOUCH

A story to Touch your soul.

By L Nimbus, author of The Minotaur Paladin

Nov 11, 2018: Anger. Fear. Happiness. Excitement. Desperation. Euphoria. Disgust. Awe.

All the emotions i felt while reading Touch, broken down to eight words. And they can’t even begin to express how much i loved this read. How much the characters matter to me. How real they feel. How . . . amazing this story is.

I’m not going to blab on too much here, just get down to the nitty gritty.

Story:

Touch tells the story on three young adults in the modern day world with superpowers. Seen this before? Well, think again. There are no superheros or supervillians here, at all. Powers are hidden from the world, any evidence of their passing carefully written over by the well aware governments of the world.

These powers are only manifest through trauma and stress, meaning that more often than not, those that receive them are not the friendliest of people. James, our primary MC, receives his after being raped. Sounds disturbing? Well, it damn well should be. Rhytmn doesn’t gloss any details over, realistically portraying Trauma and it’s effects on the human psyche. I won’t go and spoil the other characters, but all of them have had horrible things happen to them in the past, and this makes them so much more interesting then many of the blatantly fake ‘revenge MC’s" you see by the dozen on RRL. This isn’t some event that happened and turns the MC into a ruthless killing machine, this is horrors happening to children, events that scar them for life.

This might turn off some readers who want generic power creep MCs or glorify this, but i applaud Rhythm for the the way they portrayed this. RRL needs more stories that research this sort of stuff as much as you do.

Style:

Lets be honest. I like Rhytm’s style and have absolutely no critique for it. The dialogue is presented well, the action flows much better than most stories i’ve read and the plot moves at just the right pace. Everything just clicked for me when reading this. A story, no matter how epic or emotional it might seem, is nothing without a good writer to convey it, and Rhythm does that beautifully.

Grammar:

Again, the grammar in Touch is FLAWLESS. Nuff said. Either Rhythm is the God of Grammar or it has an entire editing team on standby. Don’t know which one is sacrier to me.

Characters: ( WIP Will expand this later. )

I’m not going to mince words, Touch’s cast is amazing. Small at first, but steadily growing. Spread out and varied, it’s downright amazing.

9/10

Conclusion:

A challenging read, one that constantly asks you if you have the balls to turn the page, or just run back to your normal weebo reads. But is it worth it? Five hundred pages in, and i say YES.

Touch was worth every page, every minute i spent reading it. And i WILL be back for more.

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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.

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