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The Eagle's Flight by Quill - Original

Discussion in 'Other Fandoms Review Board' started by soczab, Feb 3, 2021.

  1. soczab

    soczab Groundskeeper

    Joined:
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    Title: The Eagle's Flight
    Author: quill
    Rating: T
    Genre: Adventure, Drama, Political
    Status: Complete, sequal In-Progress
    Library Category: Original Fiction
    Summary: The king is dead; his heir is too young to assume the throne. Jarl Vale wants to become Lord Protector, spurred by his ambitious brother Konstans. Jarl Isarn likewise seeks this power; he is aided – or thwarted – by the return of his brother, the knight and war hero Athelstan, whose squire, Brand, hopes to restore his family’s fortunes, cost what it may. Through all of this, an enigmatic traveller makes plans with jarls, scribes, and priests for his own purpose. Abroad, powerful forces sense division in the realms of Adalmearc and make their own plans. It is only a matter of time before schemes clash, plots collide, and conflict erupts. War is on the horizon..
    Link: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/9500/the-eagles-flight


    Don't think ive seen this up here. I'd be curious what people on here thought of this fic. Im not 100% sure it belongs in the library but I think it is worth reviewing. Well. It probably belongs in the library but its not perfect (but then what is).

    So what is this? IT is a *sweeping* political and adventure story with a complex plot, an amazingly detailed world, and a huge cast of characters.

    That is both its strength and its weakness. What this fic does well, is it is clearly planned *meticulously*. The plotting is well done, the agency of the different characters is well done, and the world building is *superb*. If you like fantasy politics and maneuvering and world building, this is for you.

    The biggest weakness is also that it is so complicated! I had a feeling I would like this based on reviews and recs but it took me a while to start because the first two chapters was just confusing. The author could have benefited from making the names of his supporting cast not so similar. Or some sort of list of dramatic persons. While a few of the main characters (Brand, Quill, etc) stood out easily most of them were a jumbled mess early on. It didn't help that while realistic from a world building perspective all the similar names (due to regional similarities) and tittles made me go 'blah!'

    The author also throws you into the deep end which is both good and bad.

    I basically had to trust the author was consistent and throw myself into it and just assume I would pick things up. Which definitely lead early on to some chapters where I was like "ok this guy is who again?" "And which one is the lord and which is the brother again?" and so forth.

    Eventually you get the hang of the cast. There's still a bunch of marshals etc I cant keep straight but ive got most of the cast down.

    And I should temper the above in saying that the world was clearly consistent and detailed. It was more just being thrown into the whole giant tapestry that I had a hard time adjusting to. Someone better with that sort of thing might like it more.

    So TLDR: This fic had a high learning curve for figuring out all the interconnecting relations. Which is the main reason I could see folks not liking it and not getting into the library.


    The actual story, world, plot, depth, etc I started to really enjoy. And it actually has some of the best political intrigue ive seen in any web serial or fanfiction.

    I'm very curious what DLP will think of this. Just do be aware the "your just thrown into a world with hundreds of characters and nameS" bit at the start. IF you like super complex webs of characters and worlds that probably wont phase you.

    But its very clearly NOT a "one person adventure" its 'focus' is the entire world.


    Edit to add: What this actually reminded me of as I think of it, is in some ways the web serial combination of Malazan and GRRM. Obviously not as good as GRRM and its more low fantasy elements than Malazan. But I think it reminds me of it because it has the political maneuvering and gray characters of GRRM and the obsessivly complex world structure of malazan that sometimes overshadows things.
     
  2. soczab

    soczab Groundskeeper

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    I'll just update this to say that now that ive nearly finished all the content out there my rating goes much much higher. The biggest downside of the confusion faded as I read on and then it just turned into a very good complex fantasty/military/political story thats well crafted. And even some genuine mysteries ive not figured out yet (Anyone else who read this and has some guesses on goodfrey id like to compare notes and see if mine are correct).

    Also some solid not falling into trope patterns. A lot of times where im like "ohh of course they are setting X up for Y" only for something completely different to happen?

    Very good. Would love to hear the thoughts of others
     
  3. Jack-O

    Jack-O Second Year

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Nothingtown
    So I've read the first chapter and honestly, it's looking pretty rough.

    The story starts out by unloading a massive amount of information about the setting which was... Not very engaging.

    We're about 12 paragraphs in before we get to the first of many POV characters, the Quill, who is the King's official scribe. I can't describe him any better than that because there's nothing memorable about him.

    There are a dozen named characters introduced in this chapter alone (I almost definitely missed a few), and about half of them get a POV.

    The story is told in 3rd person omniscient POV, which made it even harder to connect to any of the characters. The author also has this awkward way of shifting POV characters where character A walks past character B and then 1 paragraph later we're following character B. Also we get another couple of paragraphs describing the street that they're both walking on.

    There appears to be some sort of plot in there somewhere, but it's buried underneath all the explanations about the setting.

    Personally I think that the story is in dire need of some trimming. It's possible to create a detailed setting with multiple interweaving plot lines and many POV characters... But not like this.

    I've not rated it since I only read 1 chapter, but if I find the time I'll see about reading further and dropping another review.
     
  4. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

    Joined:
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    So what are the problems with this story at a glance?

    1) Walls of Text / Bland Description / Poor Prose - Quite literally, walls. It opens with at least ten paragraphs of description and not even particularly interesting prose at that. It is a very dry, overly complex, spelling out every possible detail type of descriptiveness that does itself no favors. In fact, this appears to not just be limited to the first scene, but every scene / PoV change we encounter in Chapter 1 begins this way.

    I have skipped to later chapters (80), and this appears to be somethign the author gets much better with (though I fear the damage is already done, and the best advice I could give this author is to revise his earlier chapters into something more readable).

    The prose and descriptions do not improve though. It goes from being overly descriptive, to not descriping anything at all and instead just trying to use dialogue to bludgeon its way through.

    2) Multiple PoVs, single chapter - A case of too much, too soon. We're subjected to multiple different PoVs in chapter 1 alone (which expands to I think a total of 6 by chapter 2?). While wide-sweeping multi PoV narratives can work (ASOIAF, Stormlight Archives to name the most recent fantasy examples), they never do it this way, and for good reason. Each time the PoV shifts, you are losing a bit of the immersion you must carefully cultivate. Far superior to keep one PoV per chapters, and even to follow one thread or character for a few chapters even to "ground" the reader and give them time to invest.

    This is not something that gets better after skipping ahead. In fact, it gets worse, because the chapters are now much shorter BUT we still have like 3-4 POVs, making each segment following a character like... a couple hundred words?

    3) Said-Synonym overuse / Dialogue tag errors. (This does not get better).

    This is... rough. Like really, really rough.

    I'm hard pressed to think of a worse way to start a fantasy story then how it was executed here. It begins with a lot of worldbuilding that do not, it appears, matter immediately (and thus will likely be forgotten before they do become relevant). By the time it does decide to describe someone who seems to matter, what we get is an infodump paragraph listing down his physical characteristics which is maybe the worst possible way to get people to remember how he looks like, short of flat out not writing anything down.

    (A quick look at his patreon earnings confirms my suspicions: this isn't an economically successful work, esp considering he has been writing for three or four years now.)

    Now, I don't want to get too caugh up on economics as an indicator of success (or even quality literature), but I would not be surprised if a look at his metrics shows a huge bleed off / lack of retention between the first and second chapter. That would be a huge mark against the story's quality (the primary purpose of any story, after all, is to be read).

    I am being very harsh on this story for its early failings, but I do not think that's undeserved. What authors so often and so crucially forget is that readers have no obligation to keep reading. In fact, it is the author's very job to keep the readers engaged, and at so critical a juncture as the introduction this is even more important. This dictates the relationship the author will have with the reader moving forward, and how much trust they can extend to him over rockier moments in the story.

    And ultimately it doesn't matter what strengths the story might have later on in the story if we, the collective readership, give up on the story before it gets there.

    I am not voting officially as I have not read enough of this to give it a rating, but from the opening alone this would be a 2/5 to me.