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WIP Pith by MadWhiteSnake - M

Discussion in 'Other Fandoms Review Board' started by bsm, Mar 4, 2021.

  1. bsm

    bsm Squib

    Aug 26, 2017
    Title: Pith
    Author: MadWhiteSnake
    Rating: M for harsh language, graphic violence, and general dark, mature content.
    Genre: At base an epic fantasy, with some notes from psychological horror and cyberpunk.
    Status: Book 1 complete, book 2 WIP.
    Summary: All humans possess a Pith, the essence of a mind where consciousness, reason, and emotion reside. Those who study its power can control their surroundings, move from body to body, and alter the very fabric of another’s thoughts.

    In a dying empire surrounded by enemies, two rejects from their city’s magic academy become mercenaries:

    Ana, an idealistic girl trapped in a body with a terminal illness.

    Wes, an arrogant noble exiled from his family, his name wiped from his memory.

    As they fight for their lives and face moral quandaries, they must forge their identities in a world where the human soul is a tool, a canvas, and the deadliest weapon of them all.
    Link: https://pithserial.com/2019/05/27/1-a-the-caterpillars-dilemma/

    Pith is a very strong piece of web fiction. As a basic draw for many here it seriously considers the social consequences of a secret wizarding society that maintains its secrecy by memory alterations. The setting is one in which this secrecy has recently collapsed as a result of an escalating wizarding war, and which is struggling to deal with the resulting tensions. As the headmaster (from a clear Dumbledore/Xavier tradition) laments, the days in which an invisible school sufficed are long gone.

    There is a reasonable but not excessive focus on the actual use of magic, which generally results in coherent and satisfying fight sequences and problem solving. Some of the earliest action is a bit rougher but I think it improves steadily.

    The setting allows for body swaps and replacement. This is where the cyberpunk influences are clearest and also where the second major theme appears. Both protagonists and many other characters are, by circumstance, in bodies that are not ideal for them. This provides a decent part of their motivations and emotional drive. I'd say that if (trans)gender and identity related themes are interesting to you, you would be mad not to read Pith. If they are not interesting to you they are unlikely to put you off.

    Overall 4/5 for me (in the webserial category). I enjoy it as much as I enjoy wildbow at his best, and generally prefer it to PGtE, if this is a useful calibration. First submission etc, yell at me below if I have done it wrong.