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WIP Daybreak on Hyperion by Aorii - Original Fiction

Discussion in 'Other Fandoms Review Board' started by throwaawy, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. throwaawy

    throwaawy Fourth Year

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2014
    Messages:
    118
    Title: Daybreak on Hyperion
    Author: Aorii
    Rating: unrated
    Genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Genderbender, Action, Military (Strategy), Politics, Romance (Slow)
    Status: WIP
    Library Category: Original Fiction
    Link: https://krytykal.org/daybreak/
    Summary:
    Born into noble prestige and gifted with genius intellect, Pascal was a promising officer cadet who rose to national fame before even graduating. At the mere age of nineteen, he had everything a young man could wish for...

    Except his habitual arrogance had destroyed every opportunity of a close friendship outside his political marriage.

    Seeking another companion that would meet his protracted list of requirements, Pascal decided to craft the 'perfect spell' for the upcoming familiar ceremony. If those in his world were not fit to accompany his brilliance, then he would summon a best friend through his own hands -- one that was mature, intelligent, knowledgeable, bright, and cute to boot.

    He received far more than he bargained for... and in turn, so did the entire world.

    This is the story of how three wills -- adviser, commandant, and royalty -- joined to forever alter the geopolitical power balance of an entire continent, and in the process, usher society into a new era of civilization.

    The dawn of Enlightenment is upon Hyperion.

    -----

    tl;dr — It's an original story that starts with the premise of Familiar of Zero (barring a few alterations) and runs with it.

    -----

    A land locked in medieval stasis for generations. A school of mages undergoing a familiar summoning ritual, where a standout loner summons a human rather than a magical beast as their bonded companion. A familiar whose appearance heralds the shattering of the status quo as war tears out across the various nations, with corrupt religious leaders quietly fanning the flames from the shadows...

    Sounds... familiar (badum-tsh).

    The series is actually a western fic written intentionally to mimic the common isekai tropes and does, in fact, actually have entries on aggregate/translation sites like baka-tsuki. That said, while much of the initial chapters mirror the development of FoZ (the summoning, the outcast student, the familiar, the first-friend!Maid), the details around these differ in non-superficial ways.

    The summoning: Pascal intentionally rewrote the summoning ritual to fit his needs, rather than it being an accident.
    The outcast: He was able to do such a thing because he is one of the brightest and most accomplished students of his year, but he's isolated because he's an arrogant twat.
    The familiar: Kaede is the female familiar... only because Pascal wanted 'someone cute'. He got genderswapped as a result and is not happy about it.
    The Maid: ...is actually a plant for factional/political assassins seeking closer access to Pascal.

    There are so many such parallels that are played around with that I can't help but imagine most of them were intentional, but the story grows beyond that fairly quickly. The early plot is a mix of slice-of-life and setting expansion, then shifts into political intrigue and a bit of military fiction. Some of the developments are rather abrupt, but that feels more because the pacing itself is much faster than similar web novels.


    Good:

    I've been on an isekai LN binge recently and what struck me first (other than the FoZ parallels at the beginning) was that neither Kaede nor Pascal were overpowered. I've started to get really tired of overpowered protagonists solving everything that came their way with ease, with their most immediate concern being how to avoid the attention. Within the setting they're fairly average, or below average in terms of 'power levels'.

    Kaede practiced kyuudou prior to being isekai'd, but her new body basically killed all of her muscle memory so she's not exactly capable sniping people from hundreds of metres away. She's rather understrength and unathletic anyhow, due to the parameters of Pascal's summoning criteria, so the only thing she has going for her at first is her familiar bond and the durable nature of the body she'd been implanted into.

    Pascal is up there in the academy's student rankings and actually has a military rank, but he is severely specialised in tactics and runecraft, which means he is routinely beaten in magical duels by other students who are more martially inclined. In fact, his own fiancé is one of the stronger individuals in the setting, yet even she is merely one of a number at her level.

    There are many cliches common to some isekai stories, but what caught my interest was that much of the usual tropes seemed to have a bit more thought put into it.

    • War breaks out, but it has nothing to do with Kaede, the familiar and everything to do with political machinations that have been years in the making. In fact, the primary setting isn't even the active party, they were simply pulled in because one of their allies were invaded. The cast joins the war because the school is a military academy.
    • Pascal is described as one of those socially retarded prodigies that has no true interest in 'mere physical dalliances', yet demands a 'cute' familiar? He initially dresses her in lingerie yet somehow their relationship remains completely chaste? Well, he has a betrothed who adores cute things and somehow he thought he was being considerate. To his fiancé. For summoning a girl to be his bonded. (Socially retarded indeed)
    • When Kaede accidentally slips the existence of gunpowder, those around her point out that their world had come across it centuries ago, but the technology never progressed because it was far too simple to render it useless, either by exploding enemy caches with basic fire cantrips, or dousing them with equivalent water spells. Kaede herself is not well-versed enough to rattle off the chemical compositions of TNT or C4 from the top of her head. Other such 'uplifting' technologies she can think of either already have fully workable magical equivalents or countermeasures.
    • Kaede being genderbent itself is, according to side notes, an exercise in psychology for the author. A bit more thought is put into Kaede's mental process as well as re-acclimating herself to her new body. Which, unfortunately, did not come with OP powerups that let her be the next River Tam.

    A lot of thought is put into the nations of the setting, with inspiration drawn from various cultures that create distinct tones for each country/nation/empire involved. Culture clash is very much in effect as well, with each country having their own prejudices and slurs for the others which is even amusing when we get to one viewpoint and one of the first remarks by the pov char is along the lines of, “how the fuck did they butcher our name that badly?”

    Meh:
    Speaking of magic, perhaps its because I'm not a particularly technically-minded person to begin with but the 'system' feels somewhat all over the place. In my head I've put it together as a weird hybrid of naruto-style chakra manipulation with keyword-focused verbal components—manipulating mana/ether through a body's channels and rattling off chained keywards to determine a spell's effects, output, range, and other modifiers. So while there's no 'fireball' vs 'siege fireball', there is something like 'Fire/Mist/Condense/Field/Ignition' to set off a large-aoe explosion. Sounds very technical and complicated.

    Then you have casual mentions of flying spells, multi-layered barriers/wards, incantless self-transfiguration, portal networks and long-ranged telepathy... all with nary a keyword beyond an single-line incantation.

    As mentioned before, the story is fairly fast-paced. I'm not sure how many words it is, but so far there are three volumes/arcs, with a fourth started but incomplete. The author has also recently come out of a hiatus, with plans to rewrite the first three volumes with a tentative deadline for the end of 2020, so who knows how much of this might be invalidated.

    Bad:
    Now, I've said that I don't like OP protagonists. Part of that also has to do with the facts that most stories do them poorly, with everyone that is set against them so very obviously in the wrong. Daybreak falls on the opposite side, with severe Grey-on-Grey morality issues. Various chapters will have viewpoints from other characters, many of them from opposing sides. The author does do a good job of humanizing them and keeping them from being shallow caricatures. That said, the end result sort of appears to villify... pretty much everyone.

    Oh they all have their reasons, but aside for a very few individuals, everyone is pretty much an asshole for all the right reasons. It makes it somewhat hard to decide which side to root for.
    Pascal is hated by everyone but he's really just misunderstood and regrets his past actions. Except he's too prideful to admit it, much less apologise to anyone, with a kneejerk reaction to defend himself when confronted.
    This nation is inciting war with another nation. But, well, that nation did some pretty dickish things to them in the past and it took them so long to recover that the world kinda forgot what the 'victims' did.
    This guy acts nice on one hand but is plotting character assassination with the other, followed by actual assassination. But hey, it's okay! Because that guy's target was acting all shady by quietly sneaking his men into various administrative positions and he probably was preparing a violent takeover. Except the guy organising a coup wasn't really doing such a thing, he actually thought he was halping the country by removing idiots and sycophants and installing competent people in their stead.


    Also, gender dysphoria aside, some of Kaede's internal monologues made me squick.

    -----

    I don't know if I'd keep up with it when it restarts. But it's not nearly as long as some of the other currently-running web-novels and i feel like it's worth at least a casual read-through if you're a fan of the genre.

    3.5/5
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020