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Editor’s First Look – Mystery/Slice of Life/YA

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

Oct 21, 2018: The author of Unusual Florida does a good job of setting her scene and place. Readers are treated to possible memory-inducing descriptions of long, sweaty car rides to get to a vacation destination, and scenes where a number of teen or pre-teen kids awkwardly try to get to know one another and explore the somewhat mysterious resort they’re vacationing in. The mystery begins to be built on the fact that about half of the kids seem to be there with (or because) of their wealthy families, and about half through some sweepstakes or something that they won, and the fact that there seem to be some parts of the resort marked out as forbidden for no discernable reason.

The website is well-designed for reading through the story and paging quickly to the next chapter, and the story was edited well throughout, so that I could avoid being dropped out of the story as I noticed an error.

One thing that I’d like to see is a little more story progression; thirteen chapters in and we’re still seeing new characters be introduced into the mix. There was a brief dig into something that seemed to deepen the mystery, but that was a couple chapters back and the author hasn’t returned to it.

All in all, I’d recommend this piece to people who like slice-of-life stories mixed with mystery in a YA scenario. I think you’ll enjoy what’s there so far, but I do encourage the author to start unraveling more of the mystery soon.

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Well written but familiar

By Sharkerbob, author of Graven

Oct 20, 2018: Inheritors follows the challenges of Gabe, the only successful clone of the world’s greatest superhero, Megajoule, now deceased. As such, Gabe struggles with an inferiority complex as he tries to be his own hero, but is haunted by the fact that he is less powerful, less charismatic, and less skilled than his progenitor. Likewise, he has to try and conceal his identity, lest his origins make him a target for trouble with both heroes and villains alike, and influence how people percieve him. Likewiser, he tries to stick to the ideal of being a vigilante superhero unchained by government control, in a world where superheroes must be sanctioned by the government or be considered illegal.

Inheritors is a solidly written story with well-realized characters. Characters all have their own issues to deal with from past tragedies or tragic revelations, but work to overcome them. They all have good chemistry with each other as well. Most of the chapters follow Gabe, but there are the occasional bonus chapters that give us the perspectives of other characters to help round things out.

Likewise there is plenty of action. The powers are fairly straightforward, but there is some creativity through limitation going on that lends itself well to classic superhero powersets with a bit of a twist. Gabe, for example, has the ability to redirect and convert kinetic and heat energy in various ways; its a power that isn’t overwhelming, but has plenty of useful applications that Gabe must suss out as he trains his abilities.

I can’t really think of a particular negative for this serial, other than that, from my perspective, it doesn’t really do anything novel in the genre. This isn’t really a bad thing; the universe of the Inheritors doesn’t stand out much from your typical supers universe, but I don’t think it’s supposed to. The setting is a familiar backdrop upon which to tell the story of this main character and his struggles.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve read this sort of underdog hero struggle many times before. It’s a solid read, but it’s old hat to me, and might be for anyone who’s already well familiar with these kinds of underdog young hero stories.

Overall, I’d recommend it if you’re looking for an action-packed, character-centric story with an emphasis on one hero’s personal growth.

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The internet’s out and we ate all the Ramen

By AdmiralMonkeyman, member

Oct 17, 2018: Best read at 4 a.m with a 90¢ cup o’ noodles in hand. Overall score, 4.7/5.

Reading chosen shackles has been a trip for me, starting off with the benign task of finding a running noodle vendor, to slowly building up the suspense and rot lurking beneath the city.

chosen shackles biggest quality is in its aesthetics and characters, the way that the protagonist interacts with the world improves upon its immersion tenfold.

The antagonist’s of this world take their merry time to show, leaving Frode to wander the city in more realistic pursuits, rather than saving the world.

But this story isn’t all about Frode, the supporting characters all feel three dimensional, with their own desires, motives, and emotions without being pulled along by the protagonist, unlike some other serials.

The biggest hurdle to go around is in Chosen shackles pacing. Although the story is top notch in building suspense and tension, Chosen shackles doesn’t force feed you what happened in between chapters like other serials. instead, it leaves you to tie some of the links yourself. I would say that this is neither good nor bad, but could be confusing for some readers.

I think Chosen shackle’s smaller chapters actually work in its favor. It leaves every entry into small, bite-sized bits of story and aesthetic. Making it perfect for reading between shifts at work or whatever break you may have.

In conclusion, Chosen shackles is one of the best Cyberpunk serials out there, and does its setting perfectly. It well deserves its high ratings, and it’s characters that make the setting feel so like so much more, having these people written in such a realistic and meaningful way, then putting them in this living nightmare of a city brings you so much deeper in.

Shaeor has hooked me once again, good work, man.

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