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DIRGE

Draws you in from the beginning

By WolvesOfCalla, member

Sep 30, 2018: From the first prelude this serial is written in a captivating, page-turning way. It’s darker and spookier than I anticipated, and I’m a fan of all things dark and spooky.

The characters have a breathing three-dimensionality to them that leaves you thinking about them even when you’ve closed the window. Their reactions to the unthinkable terrors they are eventually presented with feel realistic and human, yet their personalities also feel grounded in the dark and tragic world they inhabit.

I admit I was glad to discover this one had finished by the time I started reading it, because it meant I was able to blaze through to the end without waiting on pins and needles.

Of all the web serials I have read, this is the one that has built the most alarming crescendo and reached the most satisfying climax.

I am glad the author is still out there bringing more stories into the world. About to check out their next one!

5 of 5 members found this review helpful.
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DUNGEON QUEST ONLINE

It’s like watching a painting dry

By Kraken Attacken, member

May 10, 2018: When I first took a look at this story and realised it was heavily influenced by TTRPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, I was quite eager to dive in and start reading. As I paged through the story, however, I found that I was having a hard time resonating with the words I read. I could identify any number of issues the story had, but none of them seemed to explain the dissonance I felt.

At length, after giving it some careful thought, I finally came to realise what is wrong with this story, or more precisely, what it lacks; personality.

I’ll get into the specifics of what I mean, but first, as with all of my reviews, I’ll paint a picture of my thoughts with a bit of metaphor, but if you have no interest in that, then you can skip over the next section.


You watch bleary eyed as the scenery rushes by outside the window of the tour bus. Everyone else in the bus had been just as animated as you had been a while ago when the tour began. You know very well that the lush environments, historical landmarks, and resplendent architectures should be drawing much more excitement from you and your fellow tourists, but this is not the case.

You groan loudly as you glance at the tour guide, knowing this dreariness won’t end until he stops talking. His voice, his intonations, everything about the way he is speaking makes the sensational become dull, and what should be fascinating ends up feeling empty. You are pretty sure that reading from a phone book would be more exciting than listening to his dull keening.

He drones on from interesting historical factoids to the cultures and peoples of the locales the tour bus is visiting, but it all sounds like a man reading definitions from a text book to you.


The story starts off with a stilted and flat description of the main characters being engrossed in a table top rpg session in progress, and you might think it might just be a slow start, but you’d be wrong.

From the descriptions of the characters lives and desires, to the tedious and droning descriptions of events leading to the present, everything is presented in a rote way. I could buy the explanations behind the science of what the main character is doing in the very early chapters, if it wasn’t for the fact that said explanations feel either rather quotidian in nature, or conjecture is used without a solid foundation being given.

Beyond all of this, the plot itself is less than satisfying, since it takes several chapters to actually get to the subject of the story. In the mean time, there is a painstaking level of very flat exposition of a stilted narrative.

The flow of the writing is so banal and without flavour that the author might as well be transcribing text from a dictionary or a user manual, which might literally happen from time to time; there are a few instances in the story of an entire sentence being the literal equivalent of a dictionary or encyclopedia entry, explaining something from the previous sentence.

But like I said, all of these are just symptoms of a larger problem. The author of this story doesn’t seem able to write any flair or allure into the story. Even when the plot ACTUALLY begins to plunge into the fantasy theme, it can still feel mostly like a chore to read. (the only reason why the definitions and flat descriptions of things in an RPG are fun to read is because you actually get to use them, while such things in writing should be more intuitive, less rote)

All in all, if the author were to readjust this story to give it more life and appeal than an animated corpse, then perhaps it would be worth further reading. As it is now . . . I feel exhausted by the time I reach the end of a page.

5 of 5 members found this review helpful.
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53 GANYMEDE

Charming Urban Fantasy

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

May 5, 2018: 53 Ganymede is an unwinding tale told in vivid snippets of a young woman’s life as she starts over after a devastating personal loss. We follow Claire as she moves to a new city, and I was struck first by the way the author establishes a strong sense of place and feeling for her readers. She not only does so thorough a job of describing the city that I feel like I’m there with Claire, she is able to convey a lot of the feeling of being there through her words.

I also really like the way the author slowly teases out the details of Claire’s life, and the lives of the other people she ends up living with at 53 Ganymede. The way the author makes us feel at home, yet curious about the story’s surroundings, while unraveling Claire’s story, as well as those she meets is masterful.

At first, I’d only intended to read enough of the story to give a First Look review, but it sucked me in and I’d gotten to the end of the available chapters in short order (currently in the middle of its second season). Along with the things I liked above, I think the other way the author got me involved was the way Claire did – somehow stepping into a place where subtle magic exists, and where there are fascinating mysteries behind every street corner. One of the things I liked in particular about this series was that it flouts a lot of the urban fantasy convention of often having some pretty dark things going on. Somehow, the author has made the story feel comforting and inviting while still adding elements of magic and mystery that urban fantasy thrives on. I have to admit, I’m hooked and looking forward to more.

In general, my hat’s off to this author, and I’d recommend this story to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy, or even fantasy in general. I also think those who enjoy slice-of-life types of stories would enjoy this one, too, as well as anyone who enjoys good storytelling with loving attention to detail on surroundings, especially.

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