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Complete Triumvirate by Renaerys - M - Pokemon

Discussion in 'Other Fandoms Review Board' started by harryphoenix, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. harryphoenix

    harryphoenix Squib

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    Title: Triumvirate
    Author: Renaerys
    Rating: M
    Genre: Adventure/Romance
    Status: Complete
    Library Category: Pokemon
    Pairings: Ash/Misty, Ash/OC, Gary/Green
    Summary: In an untamed world filled with monsters and beasts, four young people discover that true horror lies not between gnashing jaws, but within the hearts of men and women just like them. [Realistic Pokemon AU] [Mangaverse w/ some anime and game influences]
    Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11266745/1/Triumvirate

    So I've been on a Pokemon kick recently, thanks to Let's Go and updates to Traveler and searching for something to fill the hole left behind by The Game of Champions.

    This is not that story.

    But it's still halfway decent. The characters are aged to adults, and they all have superpowers (of course), Team Rocket is true evil, Lavender Town is Haunted, blah, blah, blah. But where the meat of the story lies is, as always, with the Pokemon. They are true Monsters here, and their scope and danger isn't to be underestimated.

    Pros:

    Well written violence

    The blood flows, the humans are living, moving parts of a fight, the chances of injury and death feel real. I may have an overactive imagination but I could see these battles clearly in my mind. The characters practice and work towards their skill but it doesn't spend 16 chapters on it (a mild, clear time skip happens, and is good)


    Solid writing

    The author avoids most of the traps and pitfalls that fanfiction falls into with regards to grammar, sentence structure, etc. This is clearly not their first work.


    Unique and interesting gym battles

    The reason for gym battles with the Leaders and the fights themselves are well done (it all has to do with the threat of Team Rocket). I especially enjoyed Surge's gym being a fight surrounded by deadlier Tesla coils.


    Well plotted

    Foreshadowing, strong character presence throughout, clear lines of story leading to the conclusion, with enough mystery to keep you invested.


    Doesn't attempt to rationalize and explain every tiny detail of the world

    While certainly an enjoyable aspect of some Pokemon stories, we have plenty of that elsewhere and the author knows it. What rationalization and exposition that does exist is within the context of the plot and well done.

    Cons:

    Super-powered protagonists everyone

    I haven't dived too deep into the chaff of the Pokemon fanfic world, having stuck mostly to our library and a handful of personal recommendations, but it feels like "Aura" is a prevalent part of the more cringy fanfics.

    This story has some version of it.

    But from what i can tell, it's relatively well done. Simply explained and well executed. I only included it on the con list because it can be a deal breaker for some.

    Dialogue can get a bit odd at times

    The dialogue feels a bit slang-y and extremely casual at points. While fine, it is enough for me to notice and frown a bit.


    The story also has a sequel called "Elephant Graveyard" up on AO3 that I haven't started yet, but that story is not yet complete.

    Give this one a shot. While it's not perfect, it's definitely at least a 4/5 from me.
     
  2. KaiDASH

    KaiDASH High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    This is a good set of stories from Renaerys, with others set in the same universe following characters and storylines in different regions.

    She posts all her work on AO3 now, with only the two finished fics (at the time of the switch) still remaining on FFN.

    Triumvirate & Elephant Graveyard are Kanto focused, following Ash/Red through his quest to save the world or whatever. Elephant Graveyard is a very different story to Triumvirate, and I'd say Ash's part is weaker than the other half of the story which is really good. Both are complete, though Elephant Graveyard is only on AO3.

    Wanderer is set in Kalos (X & Y) and fleshes out how Mega Evolution works (Spoiler: It ditches Mega-Stones/other catalysts and makes it personal), along with the Fairy type. It's a redemption story of sorts for the main character Alain who apparently featured in the Mega Evolution special movies. This is completed on FFN & AO3.

    Clash of Crowns is a sprawling epic set in Unova (Black & White) with the region being grouped loosely into 3 sets of antagonistic city states based on the rivers seperating them. Only on AO3 & a WIP.

    Tartarus is set in Aloha (Sun & Moon), Lusamine goes crazy and her kids want out. Gary shows up too, and he's the best. Only on AO3 & a WIP.

    Chronologically, Triumvirate happens first, then Elephant Graveyard. Clash of Crowns happens during & after Elephant Graveyard, as does Tartarus. Wanderer isn't really involved with the events of the other stories so it could be read anytime, though it happens after Triumvirate.

    To be clear, it's not aura - Certain people have an affinity (of various strength) for a particular type, allowing them to more easily use & command pokemon of that type. Keeping in mind that in this universe pokemon are more similar to super powered wild animals, and using a force of nature like a Charizard or Tyranitar is no small feat. The affinity gives some benefits to the person as well, so Fire type affinities are more resistant to fire and have a limited ability to heat themselves up, Fighting type ones have enhanced reflexes and physical strength, that kind of thing.

    Overall, I really like all of these fics and would recommend if you enjoy realistic-ish Pokemon stories.
     
  3. MonkeyEpoxy

    MonkeyEpoxy Heir DLP Supporter

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    So, I thought this was magnificent. I blitzed through the first story and I'm half-way though the Black/White 2 one now and I'm enjoying every minute of it. In Triumvirate you can easily see how much the author as influenced by The Sun Soul, but Renaerys, thankfully, toned it back a bit. It's still a violent world, but it's not as comically, absurdly over the top as TSS.

    The pokemon are depicted very well, each of the characters was interesting to read, and even the Tamer stuff was cool. I'm against the aura cliche as much as the next reader, so I'm glad this is different, and it makes for a very interesting world. Tamer blood literally being the key to mega-evolution is neat too

    I'm not usually a fan of stories based on the manga what with the evil E4, but this was great

    An easy 5/5 and I enjoy it more than The Sun Soul, if not as much as the epicness of Game of Champions or the charming nostalgia of Traveller

    I'm not enjoying Clash of Crowns quite as much as Trimvirate since i'm not as invested in Black/White as I was in the OG games, but it's better written and I'm a sucker for super-Villain Ghetsis. It's impressive how almost every protagonist is unlikable in at least one way. Rosa's dumb, Iris is a cunt, Hugh has zero redeeming qualities and Nate is a pussy, but it makes sense for what is essentially a pokemonized Song of Ice and Fire. I haven't read Elephant Graveyard yet.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  4. Stealthy

    Stealthy Seventh Year

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    Granted, I want to read some more chapters before I post an official rating, but I'm finding Triumvirate to be a complete slog to get through. When Renaerys opens with an apology for the mediocre writing it's deserved. I'm simply not enjoying it, and it's boring. The characters are painfully flat (Ash, you've had some traumatic shit going on, but you're still as cheery as ever. What the fuck). The plot is not engaging and rather uninspired. The prose passes spellcheck but otherwise there's nothing going for it.

    Then a big thing is the world, which doesn't really hit "realistic", as much as it just does "violent". I'm fine with some deadliness and violence in my pokefics. Cranks up the danger and whatnot. But it starts off rather absurd here, to the point where it breaks realism because it begs the question of how this society works. I question how every trainer battle doesn't end with multiple casualties like some universal Nuzlocke. It's similar to why I could never get into Sun Soul, though I'll agree with Monkey that it's better here.

    What worries me is that even if the writing and characterizations improve, I'm not sure about the plot. Project Chimaera makes me groan. The portrayal of the Rockets needs serious work. Ivy and Silver's "plan" is laughable. It all feels quite immature; not as in childish, but more like inexperienced. I'm not feeling this central conflict, and that is hard to course-correct.

    Haven't encountered much of the psuedo-aura cliche (though I'm seeing the beginnings) and it doesn't bother me too much. Part of this may be because the first good Pokemon fic I ever read was Regret by Crukix, and he had a similar deal to what this seems to be. I think he handled it rather well (with one particular exception), and so the trope isn't an immediate turnoff for me. From what you guys are getting at I don't think it'll be a problem.

    I'm glad Kaidash linked later works; I read the first scene of Clash of Crowns and it was good, and is probably why I haven't dropped this fic yet.
     
  5. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn Auror DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    That's interesting, because its a high 4 or 5/5 for me.

    So, review: Ash, Gary and Ivy are the main trio, based on Red, Blue and Green from the manga (which I've never read) and when an unexpected catastrophe hits pallet town, they leave to seek help. Along their way they tangle with a fucked up Team Rocket, and gradually find out what's going across both Johto and Kanto.

    I liked this, and mostly because of the strength of the characterisation. Bear in mind, that's not necessarily saying that I liked the characters. In the same way that I love Snape's characterisation throughout the series, but he's not got a character which I would hold in high regard.

    I should lead into this with the fact that in written form I'm quite a fan of the 'realistic' pokemon vibe, which Sun Soul most brought to the fore. I agree that this cuts out some of the ridiculous craziness of Sun Soul.

    Plot:

    You can tell this has had the advantage of prior planning. All the major elements of the conclusion have been seeded throughout from the very beginning and the conclusion relies on what has been introduced and built on all the way through. Personally, meticulousness is something I really value in a story. I need to have the author's authority stamped quickly and adeptly, I want to be convinced that we're not going to get lost in waffle. In Triumvirate, we definitely don't get lost, it never settles on a section that it could truthfully skip. There's no training montage, there's no plot irrelevant sub-adventures.

    I enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot, and this is having never read the pokemon manga so I can't be completely certain what was original and what was canon, apart from some of the most famous things.

    It had a good inciting incident, and the reason for the character's journey and the gaining of badges was really interesting to me. I like how it combined what we see in the games with the reason for the heroes' quest. It also made it quite organic. We knew things were gonna go a certain way, but it seemed believable from the main character's perspective, and actually built in the background of the world.

    The climax relied a lot on Tamer abilities, which I didn't like too much. The idea that tamers gain specialisations I'm down for, but reducing it to a mystical ability rather than an innate thing (when there's no functional difference to the story) just made it feel less special rather than more special.

    Its pacing was good, and as a complete work I feel like it had the right sequences and beats at the right moments. From Cinnabar to the conclusion, it didn't drag its feet, but with such monstrous chapter sizes, I feel as if it was shooting for a specific word count rather than trying to be brief where brevity was possible. Although I can't identify one bit where I think 'that's filler', it feels bloated, even if I can't tell where. I think breaking it down into smaller sections would make it more readable. Otherwise, although each individual action sequence is good, just making the battles nearer the end quicker would be better. Everyone gets their turn in the spotlight, but maybe it wasn't strictly necessary even if it would perhaps make some of the effort that went into other characters unneeded.

    The weakest part is probably the ending. It was really good and significant for one of them (the non trio main main character who becomes more prominent halfway through). However, for the three, once they achieve their [blank] it kinda goes on, and the final battle doesn't coincide with any significant moment for them. They overcame all their shit just a smidge before the climax, and it denies it some heft, even if I'm always down for [blank].

    Characters:

    It's a big story, but ultimately, by the end there are a lot. Part of this is undoubtedly that the whole time the author knew that it'd be a big universe, that this was just the beginning. These other main characters will lead other stories, I'm sure.

    So that's the first flaw, that by the end the cast list is a bit bloated. For the vast majority, that is not a problem at all.

    The second is that they're not always all that likeable. This is kind of a strength though, also. 'Cus they all start off likeable. I think there's a level of verisimilitude with the main characters that is rarely seen in stories. They let their little shit get in the way of their big shit, they have varying levels of interest in the main pot when side plots compete for their attention, they have bad days and they have good days. I really like that quality, it reminds me of A Dragon from Ash, in that regard.

    Ultimately, they all grow, and they're all different people by the end. Some of their arcs feel protracted so that they resolve or complicate at the most appropriate main plot moment, and therefore their character development can seem a bit prolonged. But on the other hand, it could just be 19 year olds figuring out how to be good at adult problems - cus that shit don't come easy.

    Ultimately I have to rate it highly. 4.5/5 rounded up, for me. I'd recommend reading it, if you can do pokemon in the written form, and you don't mind violent pokemon adventures.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  6. MonkeyEpoxy

    MonkeyEpoxy Heir DLP Supporter

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    I feel the need to change what I said earlier. Clash of Crowns is superior to Triumvirate. @Stealthy was correct when he said chapter one was more well-written and that continues. What I said earlier about unlikable protagonists was true at the beginning, but hot damn character growth throughout a story is beautiful. Normally I would talk about pacing - I'm at chapter 27 (of 35 that's been written so far) and it seems like we're just now getting into the true meat of the story, but it's so tightly plotted that it's not a problem.

    I'm confident in my 5/5 for Triumvirate and CoC

    BRB, gonna do an Imago run in PKMN Y. Or maybe a Crystallos
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  7. Jarizok

    Jarizok Professor

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    I’m on chapter 7 right now, and a bit miffed about how fast we’re catching/getting pokemon and how those additions seem to be pretty much instantly tamed and great in battles.

    Story’s plenty enjoyable so far though. Will rate when I’m further into it.
     
  8. sildet

    sildet Third Year

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    I posted this fic to the Other Fandom Almost Recommendable: Barely Readable to Almost Good [Volume Two] in April of 2017. I remember that I finished it and enjoyed it, but had no idea about the author's other works. Will start Wanderer and Clash of Crowns soon.
     
  9. Imperial

    Imperial Squib

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    For what it's worth, the author has stopped updating on FFN and updates exclusively on AO3 these days.

    https://archiveofourown.org/users/Renaerys/pseuds/Renaerys

    The most entertaining part about her Pokemon saga isn't any one thing Renaerys does but seeing her growth along the way.

    Triumvirate is the first in the series and easily the worst of the bunch. That's not to say it's a total waste of time. It steadily improved as it goes on. It's just the most predictable, playing things safe as a pretty straightforward almagamation of the Pokemon Gen 1 and 2 saga with a veneer of higher stakes and slightly more emphasis on characterizations that aren't particularly engrossing. It's not until the sequels and spinoffs that she really starts to go off the beaten path and get creative with her lore and her story beats. All in all, I'd give that one somewhere between a 2/5 and a 3/5. Not terrible, but not yet great.

    Once she gets more comfortable with her style and the kind of world she wants this to be (heavily influenced by the Adventures manga though not exclusively), she really hits her stride. By drawing such strong connections between the Pokemon and their trainers, as Ren's big lore thing is humans gravitating toward certain types of Pokemon and taking on certain traits similar to them, the human characters start adopting an almost tribal mind set of their own. And given the emphasis of Us vs You that plays very prominently into the likes of Clash of Crowns, the saga starts to read like a magical feudal war story more in line with Lord of the Rings than the kid-friendly franchise full of mascots.

    If Triumvirate isn't sucking you in, I dare say you're better of jumping ahead to Clash of Crowns or Wanderer. Wanderer is the most self-contained of the bunch, as most of the other spinoffs are seeded with plot hooks for other installments. I really enjoyed Elephant Graveyard, but it's a pretty direct sequel to Triumvirate. It might blow by new readers. I can't comment quite so much on Tartarus, as I've never played the Sun/Moon/Alola saga, and it's still pretty early in its run. It does seem like it's off to a good start, though, and it is probably the most straightforward continuation of Triumvirate since Elephant Graveyard.

    Does it veer forward edgy darkness a bit too often sometimes? Some readers might say so, but the Pokedex entries have always had a few entries that seem really messed up for a children's franchise. Would I go so far as to say as it's the new Game of Champions or The Sun Soul? That's for you to decide, but if you like either one of those, then Ren's "Realistic Pokemon AU" (her title) is for you.

    But even if Poke-stuff doesn't instantly pull you in, the steady upward curve of her writing is worth the price of admission. It's fascinating.

    All in all, I'd give the bulk of her universe a 4/5.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
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