Serial Saturday: Azeal Neralum by Kazi

This week for Serial Saturday I’m back with another series I got asked to review by it’s author.  It’s Azeal Neralum by Kazi.

Plot: Let me get this out of the way, I would normally have never bothered with reading this series, and I must have either missed the Grimdark genre tag or it was added after I had bookmarked it as a potential series to read. Either way I find the overly dark nature of the “genre” usually makes stories I tend to despise. Azeal Neralum isn’t an exception to my distaste. I honestly don’t enjoy the overly dark fantasy epic craze that’s seem to come up in the past decade. Even one of my most adored series, Mistborn, is a bit too dark for me. While I’ve read the entire thing once, I probably won’t ever do that again due to that darkness.  However other than the tone there are other serious issues I have with Azeal Neralum. Mainly the constant switching of points of view that is happening, and the lack of forward progress with regards to the main character. I don’t care about some random fort getting slaughtered, what does it have to do with the main character? If the answer to that question is “nothing” in the next 30 chapters I’ve just wasted my time reading extraneous world building that could’ve been experienced through the main characters point of view instead.

Characters: Azeal is a mediocre main character, he’s got nothing extremely likable about him that makes me interested in him as a character and the rest of the cast is just as bad. It’s even worse with the most recent chapters that the author wrote. I don’t give a rat’s ass about some “hero” or gallant general that is dying if he’s being introduced out of the blue and has no noticeable connection with the protagonist. If I had met that character 100 chapters before and grew attached to him I might feel a bit of sympathy over his death, but the way the author the author brings up these characters out of the blue is more than a bit annoying.

Grammar: The grammar is okay, but the writing itself seems off. I can’t put it into words much better than it feels just a bit wrong when I read it. Either the way the author writes is grating on my internal sense of how a book is supposed to read, or the issue is something else, but I just find it’s “flow” to be not pleasing to the eye.

Overall: If for some reason you love dark fantasy, Azeal Neralum might be up your alley after a few editing passes have been done by the author. Otherwise steer clear of this.

For those who like: Fantasy, Grimdark, LitRPG.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

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Serial Saturday: Siphon Chapters 1-36 by Jay Boyce

This week for Serial Saturday I’m back with a series that just had it’s first volume published. It’s Siphon Chapters 1-36 by Jay Boyce!

Plot: The plot is pretty great, and while it’s nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary it is a fun read. It reminds me of series like Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, in that it’s more Slice of Life than anything action oriented. That isn’t to say there aren’t action parts, but they are few and far between. The plot starts off a little slow, and Jade our main character is apt to break out in song which can be a little grating, but given her background I don’t find it super annoying.

Characters: The entire cast is pretty awesome, but Jade our lead is definitely the star of the show. My favorite side character is either Camille or Stephen, but I’ve got a hard time choosing which.

Overall: A fun and lighter read than some of the LitRPG series out there in the English market so far. If you enjoy Slice of Life Siphon will be an awesome choice.

For those who like: Slice of Life, Isekai, LitRPGs, Fantasy, Magic, Female Leads, Excellent Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, but you should give this a try.

Serial Saturday: Arcane Emperor Chapters 33-39 by Aternus

This week for Serial Saturday I’m back with more in Rainer’s journey. It’s Arcane Emperor Chapters 33-39 by Aternus!

Plot Synopsis: Having ranked up to the second tier and become an Archon, Rainer is now much more powerful than before, and just in time as Kara and Gunthar were being attacked by Fae assassin’s sent by Luna’s mother to retrieve her….

Plot: This is an excellent set of chapters. I could say more, but that would be so spoilerific that it’d be a shame for those who have yet to read this series.

Characters: We get to meet quite a few new characters, but my favorite is probably Theodore. And that’s not just because he shares the same name as my favorite historical president.

Overall: An incredibly solid set of chapters. If you haven’t started reading this series, you ought to do so.

Bookish Wednesday: Desire by Cameron Milan

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’ve got another LitRPG. It’s Desire by Cameron Milan!

Plot Synopsis: An all powerful entity bestows individuals with a powerful brand in the form of a tattoo. Using the system that is controlled by the tattoo, you can learn supernatural abilities, acquire knowledge unknown to man, and acquire objects that would only be found in fiction. The world is changing… and it has yet to be determined if it is for better or worse. Two friends who grew up together, Ace and Vincent, have been chosen. Ace lives for physical improvement. He loves the feeling of breaking his records and growing stronger. Unfortunately, he has plateaued in recent months, discouraging him greatly. Vincent is plagued by little to no desire in anything he does. Good grades? Successful life? He feels nothing. Except, perhaps, the feeling of pain and fear. Sadly for him, modern day society is a peaceful one.

Plot: The plot isn’t that amazing, in fact it’s a bit stereotypical. That being said it’s helped by the fact that Vincent is a lot more cynical than Ace. That being said it’s not a bad story, but it could probably go through a couple revisions of editing to get some kinks out.

Characters: Ace and Vincent are the main characters, but the entire cast is pretty interesting, but not entirely original.

Overall: A quick, but fun read. That being said if you are looking for originality you will be disappointed somewhat.

For those who like: Urban Fantasy, Magic, LitRPGs, Drama, Action, Adventure.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

 

Bookish Wednesday: Forever Fantasy Online by Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach

Happy Independence Day for those American readers, I’m back for this week’s Bookish Wednesday with a LitRPG from an author I’ve reviewed for before. It’s Forever Fantasy Online by Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach!

Plot Synopsis: In the real world, twenty-one-year-old library sciences student Tina Anderson is invisible and under-appreciated, but in the VR-game Forever Fantasy Online she’s Roxxy—the respected leader and main tank of a top-tier raiding guild. Her brother, James Anderson, has a similar problem. IRL he’s a college drop-out struggling under debt, but in FFO he’s famous—an explorer known all over the world for doing every quest and collecting the rarest items. Both Tina and James need the game more than they’re willing to admit, but their escape turns into a trap when FFO becomes real. Suddenly, wounds aren’t virtual, the stupid monsters have turned cunning, and death might be forever…

Plot: The plot is pretty good, with most of the story alternating between Tina and James points of views. It’s an interesting take on the genre of Isekai and games turning real. Honestly it makes me appreciate that I don’t treat NPCs like shit like most people would. That being said there are some huge influences from games like Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft. In fact WoW is a signifcant influence from my impressions of the book.

Characters: The entire cast is pretty awesome, with Tina being one of my least favorite characters. She is incredibly single minded and it leads to her taking actions that to a reader look really stupid. James on the other hand is an amazing character in that he grows over the course of the book incredibly. Tina doesn’t do that. My favorite side character is probably Fangs though.

Overall: A fun read, and an fresh take on the genres.

For those who like: LitRPGs, Action, Adventure, Drama, Good Plot, Fantastic Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: Space Knight by Michael-Scott Earle

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with another series from an author I covered a couple weeks ago. It’s Space Knight by Michael-Scott Earle!

Plot Synopsis:In a universe where technology and magic co-exist, Nicholas Lyons desires one thing: to serve his queen as a Space Knight in the Royal Trident Forces. But when his final mission as an Academy cadet goes horribly wrong, Nicholas discovers he possesses illegal magical abilities that grant him power far beyond that of a normal man, knight, or mage. When a clandestine assignment lands Nicholas on the worst starship in the kingdom’s fleet, he finds a motley crew of warriors hiding their own terrible secret.

Plot: I couldn’t stand this book, and I actually enjoy most of the author’s series that I’ve read thus far. The problem lies with Nick as a character more than the plot itself. The plot is okay, but the way that Nick interacts with the plot is just so stupid that I wished I could strangle the character.

Characters: Like I said above, Nick is a huge problem with the series. Honestly he’s a huge dumbass, who willingly signs himself up on a ship with the supposed worst reputation because he is under the mistaken belief that his father wants to find traitors. A fact that is blatantly a load of bull and incredibly obvious to the reader. Honestly I hated Nick, he’s probably one of the dumbest characters I’ve ever read and that’s truly saying something.  The fact that he is even torn over some decisions is so unbelievable that I couldn’t continue listening to the book after more than 6 hours.

Overall: Skip this book and read one of the author’s other and much better works.

For those who like: Terrible Books.

Not for those who have: A standard of quality they’d like to uphold.

Bookish Wednesday: Ritualist by Dakota Krout

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m back with another LitRGP. It’s Ritualist, Book 01 of the Completionist Chronicles, by Dakota Krout!

Plot Synopsis: The decision to start a new life is never an easy one, but for Joe the transition was far from figurative. Becoming a permanent addition to a game world, it doesn’t take long to learn that people with his abilities are actively hunted. In fact, if the wrong people gained knowledge of what he was capable of, assassins would appear in droves….

Plot: The plot is pretty good, but it’s not absolutely amazing and I could see some of the plot twists coming from miles away. However there have been worse books I’ve read and for a LitRPG in a genre that is quickly becoming stuffed with plenty of poor attempts at writing, Ritualist is actually pretty decent.

Characters: Joe is a pretty decent main character, he’s neither stupid nor arrogant which is a nice reprieve from some of the stuff I’ve been reading recently. I might have done some things very differently though if I were in his place. Some of the things that occur would make any gamer worth their salt know how to react instantly. The fact that some of the cast are supposedly said gamers is just a bit annoying.

Overall: A decent read, and a fairly good LitRPG. It’s not the best, but it’s better than a lot of the crap that is online now.

For those who like: LitRPGs, Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Magic, Decent Plot, Good Cast of Characters.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.