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Old 04-27-2017, 05:37 PM   #141
Koalas
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Nah, I don't think so. Scribe has her own thing going on being the ultimate spymaster. Plus that takes away from the fun of guessing when we have seen Assassin, because he's shown up onscreen twice. We just don't know what the disguises were. If anything I'd love an Assassin interlude to see his point of view.
Disguise aspect so powerful he can fake another Name :P
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Surely an intelligent person wouldn't play so suspiciously if he was mafia?
You've obviously not played much mafia here, have you?
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:32 PM   #142
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It's more that Tyrant just decided "fuck it, I'm going to fully embrace the role because what else do I have to do" than any sort of active gamesmanship.
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:47 AM   #143
DvorakQ
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Hot damn folks. Patreon goal had been hit, and now this story is on a new posting schedule.
Every Mondays + Wednesday.
Extra interlude early each month.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:50 AM   #144
Nemrut
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So I burned through this in 4 days or so and yeah, there is a lot to love about it.

Guess the initial similarities in its premise to Worm can't be denied, what with being a teenage girl who joins the villains in the hopes to do good and is pretty ruthless in order to reach her goal, while she befriends people on the side of the villains where some aren't that unreasonably while the people on the side of good aren't necessarily all nice or good either. Still, it does its own thing.

The concept with the Names is just fascinating and really, really cool. The way the rules of storytelling influence the world and characters and the different ways the various characters have found to interact with them is really creative and interesting.

I love the setting. It's a fantasy setting that I love, with the familiar faces that I want to see, like Roman legions, orcs, goblins, dwarves, gnomes and so on but also given a creative fresh spin that it doesn't feel like an unimaginative D&D or LotR rip-off. The fact that the dwarves and gnomes seem to be by all accounts the heavy hitters of the setting with whom no one dares to fuck with is a nice change, for example.

The geopolitical snippets that we see where the different nations, cultures and coalitions clash and unfold has been one of the stories bigger strengths. The racial and cultural clashes between characters hailing from different nations and social classes has also been explored in a rather good manner.

It also has a certain anime feel to it, in a good way, that just makes it even more enjoyable to be me.

I also love the fact that gender barely plays a role in this. Whatever role, job, class or function, in all facets in nearly all cultures, everything basically has a roughly equal split in terms of genders, with the goblins being the sole exception with their matriarchal society, which in turn was already alien enough, being goblins and all. No token girl or token boy characters in anything and no "you can't because you're a girl" story line either, it's rare to see it like that. Just enjoyment of the journey the character is on.

Same with sexuality, it doesn't matter to anyone in the setting which way you swing or if you swing at all, so various things can be explored without taking over the plot.

One of my favorite things have got to be the quotes at the beginning of the chapters. They can be hilarious and many of them have this distinct Magic the gathering flavor text feeling to them. I love them.

Quotes like
Quote:
“Always mistrust these three: a battle that seems won, a chancellor who smiles and a ruler calling you friend.” – Extract from the personal journals of Dread Emperor Terribilis II
Quote:
“I’ll be honest, Chancellor – revenge is the motivation for over half the decrees I’ve made.” – Dread Empress Sanguinia II, best known for outlawing cats and being taller than her
or

Quote:
“Now kneel, fools, and witness my ascension to GODHOOD!” – Last words of Dread Empress Sinistra IV, the Erroneous
They generally crack me up and I am genuinely impressed that the author managed to come up with so many of them that are honestly lough out loud funny, well, at least to me.

The dialog and witty banter has been consistently funny and energetic. I have laughed countless times and a lot of the side characters are loveable because of it. The good lines are not reserved for the main character alone but virtually everyone gets at least a few, it's rather balanced on that account. And it never becomes muddled enough that it makes the characters indistinguishable from each other, even if they share the same type of dark humor. By seeing when and on whose accounts they make the jokes, their characters still shine through. The fight scenes are decent, and the quirks and strengths of the setting and the dialog allow them to punch outside their weight-class.

The meta aspects of the story itself are worked very well into the scenes and I believe that that is a very difficult thing to do. Here is a scene relatively early on:

Quote:

“We can get to that later,” I dismissed. “Evidently you’re the gritty type, but how far up the antihero scale are you?”
“As far as I need to be,” he responded gravely.

I pushed down my urge to make something out of that. Crossbow Tamika had already finished reloading, and the pair of them seemed to be considering their next target. I really wasn’t liking the way Spear Tamika was beginning to angle towards me.

“Are you the kind of gritty that works with enemies?” I probed. “You know, for the greater good and such.”


A lesser author would have made me hate this but he pulled it off and made this fun.

The side cast is funny and interesting. The 15th legion has some fun characters who are likable and enjoyable throughout. When talking about the Calamities and some others, things become downright amazing. The way they are introduced and then explored in their interludes on how they've built their legends meshes wonderfully with the more intimate and casual moments they share with each other when they just bicker and enjoy their company.

I always hated the "if you lose you are dead to me" kinda villains and even though they are all very much villains, they also love and care for each other and generally having a personality allows for characters to have more depth, to have them care for more than just power. The Calamaties are larger than life, fun and epic.

Which kinda flows into one of the not so much strengths of the story. Heiress is, as far as villains go...not exactly top notch. It doesn't help that while I do believe that she is a serious threat and annoyance, and that her plans are appropriately “oh shit” level, I still can't respect her because in her core, she is the stupid kind of villain, the short sighted backstabber who, as a character archetype, just isn’t that interesting, at least to me.

 
The clash of ideologies that very much defined books 1 and 2 between the Lone Swordsman, the Heiress and the Squire suffered under the fact that both the Lone Swordsman and the Heiress upheld positions that, well, sucked. It wasn't a matter of who was right because it was abundantly clear who was and that's the main character.

The Lone Swordsman was a partly mindfucked/brainwashed zealot with few redeeming qualities and the Heiress just wants to be properly evil and hates all this efficiency, stability and success that the villain faction had for a while now.

What is there to ponder? I guess I would have preferred antagonists who also had good paths/plans rather than just being flat-out wrong/evil. Heiress especially, who at all times has been the bigger danger simply because she cares only about being evil in the right way and is unable to prioritize anything else. Still, she isn’t terrible, she has interesting/fun aspects, it is fun to hate her even if I roll my eyes a lot and her dynamic with her father is fun, even if only for the inevitable scene where Cat will do something horrible to him in order to punish the Heiress.


Catherine is a character who has some weaknesses but in general she is fun to follow, entertaining and someone who knows how to end a fight. She has good lines, one gets a good feel for her as the story goes along and it’s interesting if a bit frustrating when her own, culturally biased morals shine through. Like her inherent dislike and condemnation of human sacrifice despite the fact that she has about committed nearly every atrocity but since she is from Callow, that kinda thing is a no-no. It’s the arbitrary if not contradictory moral position of a true person.

I enjoy her journey and character and appreciate the way she deconstructs several conventions that are typical to the "want to save a society/nation/people" archetype.

The story contained several digs at other stories, like this quote when they learn that the Heiress set her slave soldiers free.

Quote:
Nominally granting the Stygian war-slaves their freedom meant absolutely nothing, when they’d been indoctrinated from birth to obey their orders of their owners without fail.
Which is basically the biggest "take that" I've seen in a while, directed at Dany's freeing of the Unsullied who in turn then moved by her actions chose to follow her nonetheless. And of course, Cat is absolutely correct. That one act of liberation probably didn't really mean that much to those who, in her words, had been indoctrinated from birth to obey and fight.



Later on, when the Lone Swordsman comes upon them, he is also aware of this dilemma. His solution was to not ask them to fight, to give them that freedom but that more than anything was what convinced them to fight for him anyway, and thus he unwillingly manipulated them into doing it anyway.

I really loved that touch, especially since it was a plot point that was well set up in advance, touched upon over several chapters and then had a rather satisfying resolution.

Or the general theme of the shonen protag/hero of the story taking umbrage with the lesser methods of his enemies and saying that's not the right way because it's wrong. It's a conversation that that crops up all the time, and that the hero will find a better way, only never saying what that better way is, mainly because he hasn't one until he pulls unlimited power out of his ass.

 
Cat isn't like that and hates people like that and this inherent struggle against story conventions, especially with regards to the Black Knight is fascinating to me. Having the Calamaties and the Empress scheme and work around these inherent story elements is just cool.


The romance in the story was rather lowkey which isn't bad per se,
 
but Killian didn't exactly leave a big impact so far but I'm hoping this will change with the recent developments. Either strike out with someone more interesting or have Killian become more interesting and defined. So far, it was pleasant and cute but not exactly much substance.


One more minor point of complaint would be the relatively steady amount of typos, missing words and the like, which happen about once or twice per chapter. Nothing tragic but definitely noticeable. Author also uses adverbs a bit too much, especially the "-ly" modifiers for the verbs instead of showing it through action and dialog how they feel but it works for the most part.

Think that’s about it. The writing is overall rather good and I enjoy the story format, what with the interludes and all. So yeah, really loving the story. Story got its hooks in me and I powered through and it was a blast from start to the latest available chapter. Supposed to be five books, and we're in the first third of the third one so, this story will be going on for a while and I'm looking forward to it.

4/5
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Last edited by Nemrut; 07-17-2017 at 11:56 AM.
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