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WIP A Practical Guide to Evil by Erraticerrata - T - Original Fantasy

Discussion in 'Original Fiction' started by DvorakQ, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. DvorakQ

    DvorakQ Seventh Year DLP Supporter

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Title: A Practical Guide to Evil
    Author: Erraticerrata
    Rating: YA
    Genre: Action/Adventure
    Pairing: None
    Fandom: Original Universe
    Chapters: 50+
    Words: 150k+
    Updated: April 13, 2016
    Published: April 18, 2015
    Status: Work in Progress

    Link: Table of Contents +Prologue

    Author's Summary:The Empire stands triumphant.

    For twenty years the Dread Empress has ruled over the lands that were once the Kingdom of Callow, but behind the scenes of this dawning golden age threats to the crown are rising. The nobles of the Wasteland, denied the power they crave, weave their plots behind pleasant smiles. In the north the Forever King eyes the ever-expanding borders of the Empire and ponders war. The greatest danger lies to the west, where the First Prince of Procer has finally claimed her throne: her people sundered, she wonders if a crusade might not be the way to secure her reign. Yet none of this matters, for in the heart of the conquered lands the most dangerous man alive sat across an orphan girl and offered her a knife.

    Her name is Catherine Foundling, and she has a plan.

    A Practical Guide to Evil is a YA fantasy novel about a young girl named Catherine Foundling making her way through the world – though, in a departure from the norm, not on the side of the heroes. Is there such a thing as doing bad things for good reasons, or is she just rationalizing her desire for control? Good and Evil are tricky concepts, and the more power you get the blurrier the lines between them become.

    Updates every Wednesday.

    --------------------

    I'm putting this up for review since book 1 is complete and book 2 is getting to the good stuff. This has been an awesome read so far! The world is pretty fleshed out and I find myself poring over the maps + author comments in the blog. It's been heartening to see this novel slowly inch its way up on the topwebfiction polls.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2016
  2. Nemrut

    Nemrut The Black Mage Prestige

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    Looks interesting, thanks man, will definitely check it out.

    Wordcount so far, around 100k or so or longer?

    I imagine there are quite a few good web novels coming out of the woodworks the last couple of years, Wildbow and Asynca being the two that I know, although I'm not sure you can count Asynca since she did publish them in book-format once they were finished. Heretical Edge is another one I have my eye on.
     
  3. zoxabels

    zoxabels First Year DLP Supporter

    Joined:
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    im loving the story so far, the character development has been great and I can't wait untill the next update.
     
  4. Mutton

    Mutton Auror

    Joined:
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    Quite enjoyable. There are some plotting issues in the first book in terms of the order where things happen and the way that some Names are Evil coded is still a bit awkward (Squire is always Evil? Really?), but definitely a worthwhile read
     
  5. D.H.

    D.H. Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    This was pretty good, I read it in two days. It has the best technical writing of any web-serial that I have read so far.

    It has echo's of Malazan in some ways, but none of the purple prose and it is YA. 4.5/5
     
  6. Lamora

    Lamora Definitely Not Batman

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    This reads like a good novelization of the Evil Overlord List.

    This is fucking incredible and everyone should read it. 5/5.
     
  7. Francis D. Saber

    Francis D. Saber Second Year

    Joined:
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    I religiously follow this, i thought it was already in the library... Man where did i find it?


    anyway, this is amazing.
     
  8. goldenwolfeye

    goldenwolfeye Seventh Year

    Joined:
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    Location:
    A tree, not a closet
    This was fucking dope. The concept of Roles for heroes and villains is awesome, and I'll be checking this every Wed forever.

    5/5
     
  9. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros.

    Joined:
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    Fucking A+ work. Characters are incredible, world is interesting and the humor is spot on.

    5/5 easily.
     
  10. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    I'm about 8 chapters in, and I'm definitely enjoying it. Lamora's review hooked me more than the summary, heh.

    I'll probably leave a longer review when I finish, but there's an interesting aspect to this fic that I kind of wanted to comment on.

    It's almost too streamlined. This is basically a criticism I level at non-professional stuff never. Almost every single bit of amateur fiction, ever, swings too far the other way.

    But with this, the way it unashamedly leans on fantasy tropes to connect you to the world immediately is almost taking a good thing too far. I mean, Catherine is so Dangerously Genre Savvy that it's borderline Leaning On The Fourth Wall.

    I mean, it's a really really useful technique in moderation, because it's a shortcut to understanding a character - like Black, you really get a sense of what that guy's all about, very, very early. And that example works because you connect him to that trope, but you also see him Do Stuff, like the confrontation with the corrupt official early on.

    Interestingly enough, the one character where I'm a little skeptical is Catherine herself. When she starts thinking about her choice (I forget which chapter) and her plans and everything, it really seems like it's coming out of the blue. I mean, I was prepared for that kind of thing because of the summary and because of the lampshades the author had hung about "what kind of story this is", but like... it was too much, too fast, IMO.

    It's 0-100 real quick, Call To Adventure-wise (and "Defining the MC-wise"), and in a way that almost but doesn't quite work for me.

    This would actually be the single time I can remember ever thinking "man, the author needed to add like 250 words of texture/color there" instead of the exact opposite.

    On the other hand... it's still really, really fun. The author's got a talent for snarky dialogue, for sure. (The Catherine / Evil Catherine Role Dream confrontation was just fucking dynamite.) Although, as in all things, moderation is key.

    I think to sum up my main critique: the author hasn't done enough to get me invested in the MC in the early chapters. The voice is there, but I don't feel as if I really know her, and there are times when it seems like she's defined or has goals via authorial fiat, and not really in an organic, in-story way.

    Continuing for sure. On a pretty solid 4/5 trajectory for me; we'll see how I feel once I get a bit deeper in!
     
  11. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    All right, I just read ch. 12, 13, and 14.

    The hype train is leaving the station.

    I stsnd by my critique that Cathrine is too much of a weathervane - like, I buy her emotional state in 13 reacting to the hangings, and I buy her committal to no holds barred evil with her confrontation with Heiress in 14, but I don't buy those things happening so close together in the narrative.

    Still. It's not nearly enough to back me off my enthusiasm here, and Chapter 12 with the confrontation with the Lone Swordsman and the awesomeness of Catherine's self-necromancy has me fully invested in her as a character, so #nobrakes, this is great.
     
  12. George

    George First Year

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    I've been following this a while and really enjoy it, so it can be a little hard to review it objectively. I think the author does an excellent job at executing the concept, but that the concept doesn't readily cough up objectively good literature. However, if it fails to scare you away then it won't fail to suck you in and it's definitely a 5/5 for me.
     
  13. Nazgus

    Nazgus Death Eater

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    There's another thing going on there there that gets addressed a little further down the line Newcomb, spoilered below for those that want to know/already read it:

    In letting the Lone Swordsman go after he spared her she set herself up for a redemption plot line. Even if that wasn't her intention since the world is governed by what is essentially tropes it is what happened, so her Name is out of whack and her entire mental state gets a shock because she accidentally backtracked without fully realizing it.
     
  14. Newcomb

    Newcomb Headmaster

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    Addendum - ch 15 and 16 go full on Ender's Game for literally no reason. Wtf this is the most schizophrenic book I've ever read.

    Still hugely entertaining though.
     
  15. Mutton

    Mutton Auror

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    Yeah, the plotting is a bit of a mess. The author wanted a wargames arc, but for some reason it happens after the coming into her own arc and just massively breaks the flow of the story.
     
  16. Ceins

    Ceins First Year

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    Update.

    Unfortunately(?) an interlude, but interesting to get a bit more insight into Heiress. Pretty much a old-school Villain with all the problems, and the inevitable downfall, included.
     
  17. Lion

    Lion Denarii Host DLP Supporter

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    The second book looks to be winding down now. The last few chapters were great. They fought a demon and devils, which I enjoyed the author's take on, and now Black is back.
     
  18. disposablehead

    disposablehead Seventh Year

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    Yeah, this continues to be the best web fiction I've found. The fallout of the latest battle should be fun to read.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  19. Nazgus

    Nazgus Death Eater

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    Yeah, things are heating up. Kinda want Black to just cut Heiress in half, but I recognize it probably won't happen anytime soon...

    But hey, at least her mansion suffered an unfortunate 'accident'.
     
  20. George

    George First Year

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    She's Cat's nemesis, so he'd potentially lose the fight if he tried, I think, with how things work. Or else it would in some other way be bad for Cat. There's also the nobles throwing a fit if someone that high up in the regime assassinates the villain they support