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The internet’s out and we ate all the Ramen

By Admiralmonkeyman, author of Fuji

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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<Part of the System>

By Kraken Attacken, member

Aug 10, 2018: Atmosphere . . . Adrenaline . . . Amphetamines . . . Augments . . . 

Cerebral-immersion . . . Cyberization . . . Chemical Enhancement . . . 

Downloads . . . Digital Environments . . . Decryption . . . Demons . . . 

Signals . . . Static . . .  . . .  . . . .Spicy Noodles . . . 

As I sat before my darkly-lit screen, drinking in the imaginings of electronic vapour and dystopia, these words played across my mind and consciousness. Cyberpunk, dystopian stories, and Grungy digital futures have always been thrilling to me, especially when they deliver on the core aesthetics. I have to say that Shaeor’s work has delivered on this front, and in a way that feels both foreboding and satisfying.

It has become my tradition to give a bit of metaphor, but I fail to see how I can get any more metaphorical than what this story presents. I’ll try my darnedest nonetheless.

In the end, like a famous bald guy in sun-glasses once said, there’s always that rabbit hole for us to lose ourselves in. In a digital age where friends are pixels away, where we look with as much fascination at effects laden videos as we do at the stars above, where rampant criminality can be pursued from a single device, there is yet still further for us to go.

We usually live our ordinary (and sometimes a bit extra-ordinary) lives from day to day, indulging in various activities while we make ends meet and seek fulfilment. Sometimes however, the corner of the page is peeled back, the tiny door to the murky unknown is left ajar, and for those of us who are unafraid of the dark . . . what do we do?

 . . . we take a step closer, and peek.

I think my favourite thing about many a favourite cyber-punk story that I have read or watched, is that average joe we find ourselves following. Not necessarily a regular joe who turns super joe by happenstance, but a someone who stumbles upon something, something which instigates undeniable change in their life, but for the rest of the world . . . it’s just Monday.

The world is made of uncountable layers, and average joe’s struggle is likely to make some waves, but most of those layers will remain unaffected, or at least the effects on the world won’t be sudden and jarring.

Chosen Shackles is a cyber-punk story you can drool over, with all the right tropes in all the right places. Tech is ubiquitous, it’s hard to make ends meet for most, if you aren’t careful you’ll end up as someone’s test-subject, and big brother is always watching. Yet for all of this, it isn’t just the depths that this story manages to reach with short chapters and evocative, sometimes allegorical words, it’s also how ordinary it all seems from the perspective of those within it.

This is life, this is what we know and who we are. Chosen Shackles uses inference and hints to make the extraordinary ordinary in a fascinating and whimsical manner. Frode isn’t some especially woke individual who’s diving down into the core of "the system", especially since we can infer that everything is known at some level. No, Frode just happens to have been chosen by happenstance, in the right (or wrong) places at the right (you get the idea . . . ) times.

It makes the story feel alive, and well lived to boot. I am not Frode, and I don’t share allot of his characteristics, but in spite of the fact that he belongs in some distant future, where dreamers play games and dance in wondrous digitised worlds, I can see myself in Frode, I can see myself in his world. I can breath it, taste it, touch it, and feel its digital haptic buzz.

Sometimes the prose can become heavy and the nomenclature and metaphor jarring, but the narrative, and the texture and mood of the writing, makes up for such signal interference.

If you, like me, are a lover of the rich street-level lore in a digital dystopian age, then Plug-in, Boot-up, breath deep . . . 

 . . . and listen to the static . . . 

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Raw and Gritty Poetry at its Best.

By revfitz, author of Existential Terror and Breakfast

May 15, 2018: Full disclosure: this review is part of a review swap with the author. There may be some pre-existing bias.

 . . . and with that out of the way: This is seriously my favorite thing to read right now.

A year ago I did a mini-review on my first impressions of this serial. There was only a single chapter then but of the 31 serials I reviewed that month this one had one of the biggest impressions in my mind. The website was clean and INCREDIBLY genre savvy and I immediately fell in love with the disjointed and raw style of storytelling. Cyber Punk is a personal favorite of mine and this serial was hitting all of the right marks. I immediately signed up for updates and waited patiently . . . It would be half a year before I got a new chapter, but it was worth the wait.

Chosen Shackles is the only serial I have read that has an essay on the counter culture and genre it is based in. The author has a real passion for Cyber Punk and it shows in every corner of the website. The immersion here is complete. The amount of love and detail that has gone into this platform is a beautiful sight. It won my heart over before I began reading. I cannot say that of many stories.

The prose itself is disjointed, raw, gonzo and gritty. It is more art than story at times and the author has a knack for turning grime into poetry. You feel the protagonist’s sleep deprivation and anxiety in every "page". This is by far my favorite thing about Chosen Shackles. Honestly, I LIVE for this kind of gonzo insanity, and Chosen Shackles delivers that with abandon.

It is not all perfect, however. Chosen Shackles spends too much time in the first act, which might be intentional to give the reader a sense of alienation in the world that the author has crafted, but this was delivered plenty in the first and second chapters. If I am honest, I really did not know what the plot of the story was until I was WELL into it. If the lyrical and highly experimental prose had not won me over I likely would have abandoned this serial. Beyond that, the author can fall into present tense a lot which was confusing and broke my reader flow. If it were not for these things, I would have rated Chosen Shackles a full five-star rating. These complaints on any other serial would be near death knells for me, but the prose and the passion were strong enough to leave a highly positive impression on me overall.

If you are looking for something straightforward and light to read, turn away. If you do not get why spicy noodles are as important to Cyber Punk as murderous androids, Chosen Shackles may not be for you. If, however, you crave madness in your stories and love a gritty sci-fi, Chosen Shackles IS A MUST.

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