Jonathan DeLacuso

A writer in the beginning searching for inspiration where it may take me.

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It shows a lot of potential so far.

This is really my type of fantasy. The style it is written in, the attention to detail you put into the whole story and the way your world-building seems to be taking off really have all the right elements of a magnificent work of fantasy. There are some things, mostly technical in nature, that I think you should take a second glance at, but overall this is a fantastical piece of work that I am glad to start reading.

Without further ado, let's get into the criticism portion of the review first:

There were some misspells and grammatical errors in this work. I tried to make a mental note of them, but the work was quite engrossing enough for me to forget the exact place where I had seen them. I would suggest a quick read through to catch them all.

You could stand to shorten your paragraphs a bit when posting here. Maybe try to break some of the larger ones in half so that they are easier to read on the site. None of them were "a wall of text" bad, but I still think it would be serviceable to the overall flow to shorten those that you can at least.

This one is more of a personal preference, but I would have halved the first chapter. It seemed slightly too long which can be an issue for something that a reader that is starting off with the story. THere was a bit too much happening in it and the reader does need some time to process all of that information. Personally, what I would have done is to have the first chapter be the meeting between Siofra and the warden, him showing her his family heirloom and then stop the chapter as she goes into a trance so that the two memories she experiences are in chapter two. It builds up the memories and makes the first chapter easier to digest a bit.

Now onto the praise portion of the review:

We don't know too much about Siofra yet, but from what could be seen in these two chapters she seems like a very interesting and powerful character. Her physical and mental strength indicate a very powerful warrior combined with a mind of a clever strategist as she clearly does hold a high position within the ranks of her group, as indicated by the second chapter.

While I cannot comment a lot about the other characters as I need more of this story to make my feelings known about them, we do have really interesting hints about their roles in this wicked world. Same goes for the whole world building as I still lack more information about it (though, there are some great hints of a really interesting world. I especially like your take on the Siren's mythos and where that could take us).

My biggest praise goes to two things in this story that I found so far: the memories (more so the ones pertaining to the three siblings) and your writing style.

The scenes with the mirror and the music box were clever and very well done which is why I think they deserve to be their own chapter. They gave so many hints about the bloody past of tied to them and Sofria's ability to unlock these secrets made her own past and power seem very high.

The scene with the Siren song of the music box and the interactions between Arthur, Noline, and Aleta were interesting to read about. The way the box skipped around was also cleverly done and very vividly explained and the transitions flowed effortlessly. Same with the mirror. The Siren music box also gave me an insight into your world building capabilities, capabilities that I wish to see more of going forward with this story.

Your writing style is really what makes me want to read more. You have a very vivid and colorful imagination and you have a firm grasp of the English language to express these imaginative images into words. The level of attention you pay to each and every single scene really makes it a spectacle to read. However, as I too use a similar style, I must warn you: Your style can be a double-edged sword. If overused, the descriptive style can become tedious and you can get yourself lost explaining things that aren't important to the story. This has not occurred yet and it may not occur ever in the story, but it is something to keep in mind.

What I really fell in love with in this work were the subtleties you used to describe the surrounding. This was especially evident in your description of the warden and his treatment of the women around him. Slight bruising that spoke louder than their screams or stories spoke in hushed whispers about him ever could. It was delightful and if I am being brutally honest, refreshing to see. An experts usage of show don't tell.

So after all this, why did I give you only four stars?

The main reason for this is the fact that I do not have enough of a story here to give it a proper five stars. Same reason for the plot being four stars. I don't have enough to go off on here for that rating. This is not my final review of this piece. I do plan to return to this review once the story is finished and to add more to it, depending on how the story goes.

I do, however, believe this is a five-star work so far. It has everything I like for it to work. An interesting mystery, a potentially kickass MC and a world unknown to me. It is writting on a very professional level and it shows a lot of potential for future growth in its early stages. It has earned its spot in my "Beautiful Fantasy" reading list for these reasons alone and I intend to follow this story as closely as I can.

Good luck, keep writing and keep being awesome! You have a truly wonderful gift here and I hope you cultivate it into something great by the end of our journey.

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Ambitious journey through time and space.

Science fiction has always been one of my favorite genres. The vastness of space and the different races that exist within it can be a gigantic well of inspiration and, in the right and capable hands, they can lead to epic stories that span several books. Stories that just make you crave for more. This is one of those stories.

I really didn't find anything that I did not like in this book. Sure there were some grammar mistakes that I informed the author of (hence the four stars on grammar), but other than that I found no errors that warranted the removal of a star. One thing that might turn off some readers is the length of the chapters as they can be pretty long, however, there is a reason behind such lengths as every chapter is filled with new information and exciting battle scenes. I found myself glued to the screen whenever one of them would pop up and they took my breath away each time (but more on that later).

The first thing you will notice upon reading this book is the level of description the author has. From the vivid scenery of the swamp to the amazing detail put into every weapon, every ship, and every character. The shapes and colors of the ships are so varied and so unique that it makes it really fun for the reader to see what other design the author has in mind. The level of description of every single one of these vessels goes so deep that I am pretty certain that the author has thought of the exact type and shape of the bolts used on the ships. Hell, I wouldn't even be surprised that he even thought of a backstory for the manufacturer of said bolts.

This is something I love to see and I wish more authors would implement this level of care and thought into their creation rather than recycling what we had already seen before. While one might draw loose connections to some other works, this work is really original and holds a universe that we really want to see more of. Heck, even what we get in this story is but a fraction of a fraction of what this universe can offer. It clearly shows that this work is a labor of love and hard work and I am truly excited to see what more this universe has to offer.

We have mentions of many alien races (and some even hinted at) however the main two that we have here are the Puwandese and the horrifying Xith Kai. Both races follow our protagonist through each part of his life and they represent different difficulties that he has to face.

The Puwandese are a very interesting specimen, to say the least. These creatures, on the surface, appeared to be very simple-minded and quite brutish to the point where you question how they even became a spacefaring force. However, as you read on, you quickly learn that these creatures have indeed managed to make a barely functioning space vessel that is falling apart as it flies. There is some sort of ingenuity in their simplicity and their low intelligence is what makes them so frightening. There is no reasoning with a Puwandese for they only live to fight. They are massive behemoth that tower even the Pillars themselves and they can cause massive destruction through a combination of their recklessness and their brutality. When they are first introduced they are a huge menace, however, over the progress of the story, they are overthrown by the horrific Xith Kai.

As scary as the Puwandese could get at least you COULD kill them. At least when you blew the Puwandese into smitherines they would stay dead. The Xith Kai are not that easy to kill. These organic horrors that wouldn't be out of a place in a Lovecraftian horror (especially when combined with the horror known only as Skrauj) are resilient, numerous, and nigh impossible. Their horror is very easily felt in the story as numerous victims fall prey to the decaying soldiers. The usage of bone fragments and flesh in their design makes them very interesting as creatures and the conglomeration of the flesh into larger monstrosities makes the akin to a Lernian Hydra where when you cut one down, two more show up (or hundreds more in the case of Xith Kai). And the real kicker? They have specialized anomalies with rune infused spears that are essentially eternal warriors. One of the most memorable scenes is when one of these Xith Kai spear wielders impaled a young mechanic running away for her life. Also, the way they look at their victims is especially unnerving and the guttural scream of "Xith kai Skrauj" they produce sent chills down my spine. Gotta give it to the author for making such horrors.

As far as the story itself goes, it is really separated into two parts (represented by the two aliens listed above): The Coming Of Age part and The Bregu part. Both of them focus on Killigan Ghor and his exploits.

Reading about Killigan throughout this novel you really see his growth, his rise to power and the somewhat tragic fall he has during the awakening of The Xith Kai. In the beginning, you meet Killigan as nothing more than a child who stumbles upon some strange artifacts in the swamp. Through his own ingenuity and hard work, Killigan manages to make these artifacts (golden gloves) work and uses them to first smash a crate and later barely to save his father from the invading Berserkers of the Blood and Bone Marrow God Blumarak.

These event later on sets on a chain of events that lead Killigan into becoming first a regimentary recruit, then a Pillar Scieldan (a super soldier with an enhanced genetical make up) and finally a Bregu. In the beginning, we get to see Killigan's struggles that range from him witnessing the death of people he was supposed to call comrades to the destruction of a whole city by the Puwandese. He serves as our eyes in these situations as we witness the true madness and danger of the universe we are put in. He is also surrounded by very colorful and interesting characters such as the doctor that turns him into a Pillar and, of course, chief badass Prosecutor Zenith.

While as a child he is not that much charactarized as a bregu Killigan earns a lot more characterization. As he becomes older his views mature and he is able to create a new Foundation to protect his own system.

One of the most touching scenes in the entire novel was the meeting scene between Killigan and his father Barlatan. In that scene, we see just how much Killigan had matured and how much his home planet hs changed as well while he was away. The contrast between an old Barlatan (who was a well built and mighty blacksmith at the beginning of the tale) and his gigantic son really paints an interesting picture and gives us a symbolic passing of the torch so to speak. Barlatan's lament about not achieving his dream was also very touching. It also created a sort of dramatic irony where you have Barlatan who had not achieved his dreams but had achieved peace and Killigan, who had achieved his dream, but peace was far from him. It really does relate back to the whole say "be careful what you may wish for, you just might get it".

Furthermore, in his Bregu days, Killigan was also joined by very interesting characters. Eerie stood out the most to me as she was someone Killigan knew from his beginning and she was a very interesting character to follow with her dream and only goal being to build the biggest Titan possible. She was mostly portrayed as a slightly cold character, but whenever the topic of a Titan would come up, she would become as giddy as a twelve-year-old. It was quite entertaining to see that.

Outside of her you also had the laid back Oodravos and the firebrand Fodr. At first Fodr seem to be somewhat of a rival to Killigan, however, during the final confrontation with the Xith Kai in the novel, his true colors showed and he became something of a badass. I loved it!

There were many other characters and foundations that came to prominence such as the afore mentioned Prosecutor Zenith, the entire Crimson Gaze foundation that was so proud that they even turned down the God of Pride out of their own pride and their massive Titan (which gave us one of the most memorable scenes in he finale and one of the best dying words), the incredible Veruus and his badass fight with the spear wielder Xith Kai, old man Barlatan and many many more. The book itself is alive with characters and you want to know more about each and every one of them.

I could go on and on about the incredible things in this book, but I think I have spoiled enough so far. Sufficed to say this story gets a five star rating from me for the incredible world building, wonderful characters and an incredibly brilliant and bittersweet ending. It's a work I feel that does not get nearly enough attention and it was a wonderful journey throughout. I wish the writer all the best and I wish that they continue to make such quality content.

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A true diamond in the rough.

This story has me a bit split up. A lot of things within it are things that I like and want to encourage in other authors. A unique setting, interesting and lively characters and an element of political intrigue are all elements that just make me fall in love with a story. This one has all of those elements and then some which are what I adored reading through. It is what kept me going through the story and allowed me to see that there is a beautiful gem hiding here. However, it is quite rough and requires a little bit more of a polish to make it shine like it truly deserves. In this review, I will try to point out what I consider to be some major issues with the story that hold it back as well as explain why I feel this is. To do so, I will start this review with the criticism portion first, before heading into praise. So let's begin.

Talking Head Syndrome: this is the most benign issue and it really bothered me only a few times in the whole story, but it is an issue nonetheless. This issue occurs when we don't know who is saying what in some segments. The conversation just keeps going and we are not given clear indication as to who is saying what. Yes, we can infer such information from the context, but this isn't the point. The reader should know exactly who is saying what at any given point. This issue is especially annoying in the chapter where Wren is talking to Malfic and Felsic as at one point we lose ourselves completely. I had to reread that section three times just to find out who is saying what. Furthermore, this issue also robs us of character behavior. We don't know how they said certain lines and thus we don't gain some emotional investment that we could have gotten. It is quite the missed opportunity to put some weight behind the words said. Always think of how a character said certain lines, what were they feeling at that moment and how do these feelings externalize themselves on the character's posture, facial expression, hand gestures, etc. It adds quite a bit.

Grammar: I decided to give you 3 stars for the grammar because of two main reasons: 1) there were quite a few grammatical errors throughout the work. Certain words were misspelled or downright confused for other words (one that reappeared was the mix up between since and seen) and similar. One case had a word ending very weirdly which I believe I sent you in the feedback email. I tried to catch as many as I could, but I lost track at one point. To fix these issues I would suggest you reread the book one more time and that you also utilize either an online free proofreader or reread the chapters yourself and try to catch all of the misspellings and such.

The major issue that dragged your grammar down was the tense swapping. This is something I have noticed in a lot of new authors (I did it too at one point) and it's an issue a lot of people who write in the first person POV tend to do. The switch up usually occurs because the writer is unsure whether the character is retelling these events or are they living through them right now so it gets jumbled up in the finished product. Since the majority of this novel is written in past tense, there is no reason for you to use the present tense. Even in chapters in which you switch to first person POV you have to keep your tenses consistent. The jumping between tenses tends to give off an unprofessional vibe and can be reminiscent of some poorly written creepypastas rather than an intricate piece of Sci Fi like this (keep in my mind this work is miles above such stories which is why I do urge you to fix this issue as soon as possible).

Writing Style: I decided to give your writing style 3 stars because of two reasons. As I read I noticed that certain sentences were written very awkwardly and that they ruined the flow of the story. Just as well, there were repetitions of certain words or descriptions that felt more like placeholders for something else (if that makes any sense). The majority of these have occurred in the first few chapters and could appear sporadically throughout other chapters as well. I would suggest an edit to this story be made and that you reread it to catch as many of these as you can. I tried to find as many as I could and send them via feedback mail, but, just like with grammar, I couldn't find them all.

There were also some scenes in which the characters told us about certain events unfolding while we did not see them. One that comes to mind specifically is when Verza said to Wren what the Great Raven was doing. Like I mentioned in that chapter, we should have seen the Great Raven doing these things and have Verza comment on its actions rather than having Verza tell us these things. This issue was not a common one in the novel, but I would suggest you look out for it.

The major issue in the style and one of the things that really weigh this story down is the POV issue. The POV issue has been my major gripe with this story since chapter two. The constant switch between the third person to the first person was jarring enough at first, but then it really reached its peak annoyance for me in chapter 12 when you added Mazan's POV into the mix. Unlike Wren who is one of the main focuses of the novel, Mazan is a character who has a major role in two chapters. Her perspective was not needed. She is not a minor character I will give you that, but it is kinda jarring to see yet another POV just out of nowhere.

The worst offense in this regard was in chapter 4 where it switched from first to the third person in the chapter itself. It was incredibly jarring.

The switch between first person POV than to the third person then back to the first person gets annoying quite easily, however, they both have their good points. The first person does make it easier to connect with Verloren (Wren) and it makes it easier for us to see inside her mind while the third person lets us focus on events outside of Verloren's feathering.

There are three roads you can take here from my perspective: 1) go, full third person, while sacrificing some of Verloren's emotional struggles 2) go full first person while hiding away a lot of the information or 3) try for a third person limited approach.

Third person limited is a POV in which you can use third person descriptions while solely focusing on the emotions of one character. Who that character is can be dependant on the chapter, but essentially the idea is to pick one central figure in the chapter and show the world and people around them through their eyes. It is somewhat more challenging to write and I do suggest looking up some videos on the issue. Of course, the problem with this one is that you will have to do a major rewrite to make it happen. Which is a huge deal in and of itself. I would suggest sticking to regular third person for the novel.

Overall whatever you chose, just chose one and stick with it.

And that would be the criticism portion of my review. There is a lot to unpack, but I tried to sum up my main negatives about the work. Now onto the positives.

One of the things I really like with this story is its uniqueness. The world you have created seems to be post-apocalyptic and very fascinating. We don't know what truly caused the world to be the way it is, which builds an interesting side mystery as well, though we know that the world is now occupied by bird-like humanoids and freaky mutations in both the flora and fauna. The passion you have for this alien world you built is not lost on me at all as intricate and detailed imagery permeates throughout the story.

The set up between different tribes as well as their overall contribution to the Avisland is definitely fascinating and there is an amazing bit of lore regarding each tribe and how it is structured, what function does it serve and how susceptible it is to corruption. Also, the way that corruption is expressed is different for every tribe which is also a very interesting note of world building.

The world building in this story is very well done as it reveals information in bits spread throughout the story rather than clumped into one place. It makes it so much easier to follow and you easily get hooked into this world.

You have a really vivid and powerful imagination to come up with such different gadgets, weapons, castles, and character designs. Really the descriptions are a huge saving grace for this novel in my eyes.

The characters themselves are another big saving grace. Wren is an interesting girl to follow and her emotions are very well explored throughout the novel. Verza is another character I easily fell in love as she is both wise and an adventurous free spirit. I adore characters like that. Nadel is amazing in her nutty behavior and her relationship with Goldfaust is beautifully demented. Who knew that someone as clean as him could fall for someone as crazy as her? It's always the quiet ones... (I know he fell in love with PAvise, but still). Goldfaust is another very interesting character and I really enjoyed his knight in shining armor schtick as well as his badass moments in the final battle between the traitors.

The political intrigue between the tribes as well as the final battle is also what kept me on the edge of my seat and it kept my full attention. I loved it!

Finally, why I rated this four stars? To be honest, after reading the first two chapters I was leaning towards 3 stars initially. However, later developments and stunning revelations, as well as my personal engagement in the story itself, made me reconsider my decision. The story has a lot of potential, but it desperately needs to be reworked. It is unique, fun, exciting and it was a blast to follow, but ultimately it has some issues that weigh it down. With that said, if you ever do write a sequel, do let me know. I have really enjoyed this novel despite its flaws and I truly wish to see you succeed in writing. You have talent, you have potential and all you need now is the experience and the realization of it. And I truly believe that you can do it! Keep up the good writing and shine on ever more.

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Have you considered turning this into a play rather than a book?

I want to start off this review by saying that this book has something interesting behind. I liked the idea of two characters born in a shitty place to rise above and lead a better life is relatable. I can see Boris easily as the grounded type while Jack's head is in the clouds. He truly believes there is something out there, beyond the hellhole they were born in while Boris clearly doesn't see it that way. It is an amazing concept and one that is actually much more suited to a play than a book.

The reason I gave this book three stars is because it needs quite a bit of work to make it better. However, and please don't get me wrong for saying this, I have a feeling that you are writing in a completely wrong format for you. You may not see it, but do hear me out on this one.

The majority of these four chapters has so much dialogue that keeps telling us about the characters and their plight. We don't see some scenes that we really should see but we are told more about them. I think Cynthia really put it best in her review about this issue, but it really does grate a bit. In the third and fourth chapter, this is much less of an issue though so I am glad to see you are improving. I would honestly advise you to take her advice if you want to continue this as a book.

However, in my eyes, this would make for a spectacular play if you wrote it as such. The way you write is much more suited for that style. The usage of dialogue and the issue of you telling us the plot would be mostly excusable since that is how we are seeing it. The characters would be more than allowed to talk about their world while quick descriptions would be placed to just give us a feel for the setting. I would suggest you take a look at Hamlet or Plautus' Pot of Gold (Aulularia) to get a feel of how your story may proceed. A play focused on this type of fantasy could be done rather well.

The play within a play angle could also be done with the kid actors you had and the mysterious narrator. I think you could easily adapt it as a play by focusing more on the dialogue and adding some descriptions to the scenes just so we can see where this is happening around and such. Also, the reason I mentioned that you should read those two plays is also to see how a play is structured as it might help you to bring this in that light. Plautus has a more traditional setup, though Shakespear has a more dramatic angle.

If you want to continue making this a book then you will need to do a lot more establishing at certain points. You will need to slow down your pace in the prologue and the first chapter and add more descriptions to the certain scene. And I would advise you refrain from using words like "crappy" if you are going for a medieval theme. They just make it sound very juvenile.

Either way you decide to move forward I would suggest you get wither a proofreader or someone who can help you clean up your grammar. There were quite a few grammatical errors and misuse of the comma. I would suggest you look up some articles on that issue as I too had a big problem with it. Also, you tend to say "your" when you mean "you're". Your is if something belongs to the said "you" while "you're" is an abbreviated form of "you are". Also, there are some confusions I noticed with "their" and "they're". Again "their" is a possessive noun while "they're" is an abbreviated form of "they are".

Oh, and refrain from saying "then this happened, then this, then that". It gets somewhat repetitive and I have seen it happen in chapter four when it was used three times in a row.

Overall, you do have something interesting here. I know I was a bit harsh in my review and that the rating probably isn't as good as you may have hoped, but I do think that this has somewhat of a format issue. Like I said, if you want to proceed with this as a book you should take Cynthia's advice fully to heart, because those are the same issues I have found while reading this. However, on the off chance you decide to change this into a play format I would be happy to expand on what else could be done to make the transition (though it would most likely come through as an email).

Have fun, take care and continue on writing. You do have talent here and it is through practice and constant trial and error that you can be better.

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A passionate and lustful journey through the land of the vampires

I shouldn't like this novel. In essence, this novel is not something I should be enjoying. A romance tale focusing on vampires with soft erotica? Sounds like something I would avoid like the black plague. And yet, here we are. The eleven chapters that I have read so far have blown my expectations out of the water and showed me that every story should be judged on its context and the talent of the author rather than on the idea alone. So let's begin this review with the things I found could be improved.

The grammar in this story was mostly clean (apart from a few mixed up tenses), however, there were some awkward phrases and run on sentences that ruined the flow of the story. The author has been very receptive to criticism so far and has made improvements to fix this issue. However, since it was an issue while I was reading and it is an issue that occurs later on a few times, I felt I should bring it up in my review as well. Sometimes shorter sentences can make it read better and they tend to improve the flow of the story by a large margin. This is why I have decided to give you 4 stars in this aspect.

The other 4 stars are due to the POV issue that happened in chapter 8. You could have (and should have in my opinion) kept that chapter as Alexander's POV rather than shifting it. This was very jarring because 1) this never happened before or after in the story 2) it felt odd to take us into the castle and then out of it before going in to the castle again and 3) it lead to the biggest repetition problem in the story where we saw the whole scene of Celeste go off at the royal vampires one more time (which looks more like filler which is something you do not want to have in your story). I felt like I was being dragged all over the place while reading that part. An easy fix to the issue would be to keep us in Alexander's POV (without announcing it of course) and have us experience all the events that follow through his eyes. It was a one time issue and combined with some awkward sentences it brought down the Writing Style to 4 stars.

An issue I kept seeing in the comments here (and in some reviews below me) was the issue of Celeste's and Alexander's design (or lack thereof). After reading the whole story I can confidently say that the author has either rectified this issue immensely or it wasn't an issue in the first place because both of them have rather large descriptions dedicated to them. These descriptions are woven into the tapestry of the story and they appear naturally when they are relevant. I actually found that to be an excellent use of description rather than dumping it all in one place.

Also, as a suggestion, avoid use words like "bitch" or "butt" since they have a more modern feel to them (in the case of "bitch") or are simply too comedic to take seriously (in the case of "butt"). This was not an issue worth docking a star for, but it's something I would personally suggest to you.

Now, with all of that said, there were a lot of things that I really enjoyed in this story. It felt very refreshing in a genre filled with Twilight/Vampire Diary clones and as it keeps going there is so much more to find out. This as much of a mystery as it is a romance. However, I am getting far too ahead of myself.

One thing that I must compliment the author is for having a unique voice. The way she writes and expresses herself, the way her descriptions feel is very unique and not often seen in this genre. It carries a vibe very reminiscent of the romanticism era (some descriptions even teetering on a baroque feel) which give the story this gothic allure that is simply irresistible. The verbiage is filled with passion and vigor so much so that even I felt at a loss of breath at some scenes. It shows love and dedication to the craft which resonates with the reader on a nearly subconscious level. It is truly wonderful.

This entire story feels to me like a version of Beauty And The Beast, but on more ways than one. In fact, the characters themselves are both the beauty and the beast just in different contexts.

The beauty of Alexander is mostly superficial, at first glance. He is the charming macho lead, the irresistible alfa with a natural addition of charisma that comes oh so naturally to a vampire such as himself. He is a charmer a character that, at a first glance, you would believe to be a noble of the highest degree. However, he too has that beast side. His beastly side comes in form of his lust and his inability to handle rejection. He is a very aggressive character deep down in his core that, in all honesty, would be more akin to a werewolf than a vampire. When denied, he will do anything in his power to achieve his goals. This lustful beast is given the front and center stage in chapter seven where it comes to full fruition. However, once satisfied, that beast seems to revert back to his nobility showing that there is something salvageable in his heart. There is a glimpse of kindness, a sliver of good will and at least a hint that he truly can care for someone other than himself. He is a product of his surrounding and after chapter 7 he becomes a kinder soul (combining with his revelation in chapters 8 and 9) capable of caring for someone he has grown fond of. It shows an interesting dualism of the character which makes him somebody whom I want to see more of.

Celeste is also a dualistic character in that sense though in her case it is much more apparent. Her animalistic and feral exterior is very well shown from her first introduction as she is seen slaughtering one of the king's men and later on his soldiers as well. This beastly and primal side also comes to play in chapter 7 as she is on the verge of giving in her control to the beast as well as her primal urges. It's a passionate flurry of maddening emotions that quickly spiraled out of control in that chapter and served as a stone that crashed into a lake sending its waves throughout the other chapters as well. P.S. I like how that chapter connected well with others as well and that it wasn't just a one-off thing that did not affect anything. However, there is a beauty inside of Celeste and on her outside. Physically, Celeste is described as very attractive especially when she is not covered in blood and she does have a beautiful and caring heart. Whether by intent or accident you made a very powerful dichotomy there where her surface is very rough and battle-torn, but beneath it all lies something truly beautiful. Both physically and metaphysically speaking.

All in all, this is so far a great work filled with passion and an excellent author. I have to compliment the author on her mature attitude towards criticism and the way she is improving the story bit by bit. She does have a lot of natural talent and a huge well of potential which, combined with more experience and this healthy stance towards criticism, will certainly bread an excellent and powerful voice that will, hopefully, bring new life to the vampire genre. Keep up the good work and shine on ever brighter. I will be following this story closely.

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Sheer brilliance.

For the last half an hour I have been sitting here, thinking of a proper way to start off this review. I waited for my emotions to settle after that last chapter and still I feel them creeping up on me as I write this. The journey this novel has taken me on was more than exhilarating. It was breathtaking. I have been a huge fan of mystery novels and crime dramas. They were my third literary love (right next to fantasy and horror) and they were a genre I treated with respect, due to the hard work that authors must have when writing them. In my opinion, they are the most difficult genre to write. To see one written so expertly and topped off with a human touch really makes me stare at it in awe. I saw that one commenter wrote that he felt guilty for reading this for free. I think I am feeling slightly guilty myself after finishing this. However, more on that later.

In these reviews, I tend to deconstruct the work to showcase all the things I liked and disliked in order to show the author all of my thoughts about the piece. I will do so here, though I already feel that this will be quite the lengthy review. We have a lot of ground to cover, so let's not waste any more time and let us venture forth.

One of the few things I really like to criticize in my reviews is the usage of grammar. Every work I have read seems to have some grammar mistakes that do become grating enough for me to remove a star (my work is not an exception to this). However, what mistakes I did find, I quickly forgot as the story engrossed me fully. There were some misspells by they were soo few and far in between that it wouldn't be worth even removing half a star for. I would suggest a quick read through to straighten them out.

The language you used in this novel seemed very easy to understand. You were not over verbose, quite the opposite actually. Your style was very down to right and even a bit cheeky in some parts. Given the narrator, the style fits splendidly well and it really brought a sense of realism to the story. It felt like I was reading private memoirs that Phil kept.

As someone who has a slight aversion to first person POV stories, I was slightly hesitant when I saw that you used it as well. I have noticed that first person POV seems to be a somewhat preferred style of writing here (or maybe it's just the stories I have read that make it seem so). It's not an easy style to pull off and many do seem to stumble with it, so it always makes me precautious when I read a story that utilizes it.

Your story, on the other hand, makes the POV integral to it. Third person (even if it were limited) would not be good enough for this type of story. Phil's emotions, charm, and quips would be quite lost on us if it were written in any different way. I love how we get to experience this exciting tale through his eyes and we feel every moment as he does. We have a permanent residence within his mind and it draws the reader in as if he were a Yithian possessing Phil's body while his mind was still there. It's not an easy thing to pull, but you managed to outdo every single one of my expectation by the time chapter two ended.

The literary devices on display here were great. The most predominant ones that I saw were: symbolism, Chekov's gun, and similies. I will leave symbolism for the last part since it will lead to my next part of the review.

The similies Phil has really help to bring this book to life and show off his quick wit. There were a lot of ones that had to do with spaceships and spacecrafts which, for a realistic story like this one, really made me laugh. Others helped to accentuate Tyrone's horror and helped to really set the tone for the story. It was enjoyable to see what Phil would come up with next to describe Manny or Mackie or any other character and I have to give credit to you on that front.

The usage of Chekov's gun in this work was unbelievable to the point that around chapter 9 I had to stop and write this down:

"The usage of Chekov’s gun in this story is
simply marvelous. The number of callbacks and tie-ins is rather large and it
rewards avid readers and even encourages a reread just to see if you can spot
them all. One of my favorite jokes was when Phil was talking about how rich Tina was and he says “for fuck sake- her parents bought her a pool for her birthday” and right on cue in chapter 9 we see that party take place. Seriously, I would suggest that people take notes when writing callbacks because this was pretty clever. You never know what’s going to be important in the story so you better keep your eyes peeled and you better memorize as much as you can when reading this because chances are it’s going to come back."

I still don't think I did it justice because there are even bigger scenes that come into play and all the puzzle pieces come along. The smoking gun was always there, we just needed to look a bit harder. I think that if someone were to reread this they would be slapping themselves silly with all the clues this work used to convey its message. That is a sign of a great mystery novel right there. The mention of Hercules Poirot also served as somewhat of a hint since in Agatha Christie's stories the reader is capable of resolving the mystery as they read them if they look hard enough.

And finally, the use of symbolism in this work was spectacular. The ripples that repeat themselves were quite powerful and we see how far their waves truly reach. The title itself is one great symbol for the whole work as one can see it as they read on.

From this point on I will be using spoilers for the story. There are some things I want to discuss and if anyone is reading this review before reading the story itself, I would suggest they stop at this point. Because the first impressions hit the hardest in a work like this. Now let's discuss the plot of this work.

The plot is surprisingly complex and yet very easy to follow. You may not understand the full scope of the whole situation, at first, but as it goes it starts to fall in place and you are left with your mouth wide open by the end of the ride.

The story is separated into two segments and two mysteries. These segments I like to call: the kid segments and the JAYDEE segments. The kid segments are highly important to the story as they provide us with context to it all.

Stevie's death, which occurs in the kid segments, and its true cause are hidden from us at first. They are the stone tossed into the lives of these characters. They, alongside with some other events in the past, are the progenitors of the ripples that travel throughout their past and come crashing down on the shores of today. Tyrone's evil is also explored here and his revenge represents the waves that are catching up to Phil, Wayne, and Tine. It befits his nature which I will explore later.

As far as the main mystery goes, it is amazingly interesting. As the story goes on more and more parties are introduced and it just becomes a larger and larger deal reach the ex-mayor, councilor and the incompetent MP. The deeper it goes, the more danger arises from it and Phil is caught in the middle of it all. Just because he got caught up in Tyrone's sick game. Truly bone-chilling.

Speaking of all these characters, let's discuss the brilliant characterization that you have going on here. I wanted to shorten my list as much as I could (as I wanted to originally give every character a paragraph) so I will focus on seven characters so far (starting from the ones I have the least to say about to the ones I have the most): Simon, Slattery, Erin, Alasdair, Tina, Phil, Tyrone and Wayne.

Simon Walsh is a very interesting character that has my feelings split. He is a terrific rival to Phil in every single way and, as much as I don't like sensationalists, he does possess a certain courage that Phil simply lacks. This courage leads to him ending in a body cast, but even then he does not let up. And any man that has so much passion has at least some respect from me. He is arrogant and a sleaze, but man is he tenacious as well. He very well deserves his position and SOME of his arrogance.

DI Slattery is one of those characters that has done a double flip in my eyes. The way he was introduced, his love of greasy food and easy women, really made me slightly cautious of him. His suspicion of Wayne was founded though, and even back then he showed some signs of his ultimate moment of redemption. his germophobic nature made me laugh and his tender moments made me believe that he was not such a bad guy after all. His meeting with Mackie proved to me that this was a man to be feared and revered. Slattery is something every detective can only dream of being and he has earned my respect. I could go on and on about him as I truly grew to enjoy his intellect, his cynicism and his harsh delivery of truth. All six that I have mentioned before are characters that have impressed me in one way or another, but Slattery has blown me away.

Erin was a character that I too fell in love with at first. She seemed to be kind, curious, and generally a wonderful shining beacon in Phil's light. After his disappointment with Tina, I truly hoped he would have hit it off with Erin and that I would be witnessed to a double wedding by the end of the book. Unfortunately, that is a fairy tale ending and this is not a fairy tale after all. Her motives were ultimately good, but we do not live in Machiavellian times where the ends can justify ANY means. Playing with Phil and with Simon like that was a rotten way and I could completely understand Phil's rage with her. Her father was a blind fool that let all this chaos happen. Sure, he wasn't evil, but you know what they say: all it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing. Her character as a whole was wonderful and wonderfully dubious to read about. Flawed human beings are my favorite after all.

Alasdair Riley was an interesting character that also invoked quite a bit of sympathy from me. He was also a good character for social commentary, representing a consumeristic lifestyle that wishes to portray themselves as the best, even if it means that they have to sign their souls over to the Devil (or Tyrone in this case. Same difference). His stupidity and extensive greed remind me of a couple of characters I saw in a show I am currently watching. These people were nobles under an old rule, but the new King chased them out of said position because he saw them as useless. Even impoverished they kept buying things to show off their nobility which only served to drive them deeper into depth and lead their daughter to Death's door as she tried to save her sisters from that fate (unfortunately that story did not have a happy ending). He has the same mentality as they do, though he comes off as much more human then these guys ever did.

Now onto the main trio, and who better to start off then Tina.

Tina was a very welcomed ray of sunlight in this novel. The way she behaved in her childhood indicated a very strong person with a strong moral compass. You really can't pull the wool over her eyes as she seems like the type of a girl that can easily peer into the hearts of anyone that surrounds her and see if they are a friend or a foe. She has also proven herself to be quite strong as well, remaining brave even when Tyrone stared down at her. Her loyalty to her friends is also very well expressed in her past as she stood by Wayne's side no matter what happened. She was his rock and not even Tyrone made her waver. She truly was made for Wayne as much as he too was made for her. Quite the uncanny couple, yet they make so much sense.

Phil was an interesting narrator. I loved the arc he took in the novel and how he slowly became braver and braver as the story progressed. He became a stronger character with the same level of sharp wit and funny quips that he always had. He was a blast and a half to follow and his thoughts provided a great insight into the whole situation.

Tyrone was a perfect villain for this piece of literary brilliance. A total psychopath, a criminal mastermind, and a horror that truly feared no man. Much like a tsunami, he was a destructive, malevolent, force that left nothing but destruction and misery in its path. Unlike a tsunami, he relished this misery and destruction. He drew excitement from the daily torment he inflicted upon Wayne and he was utterly amoral as a human life was worthless to him. He even tried to mess with the shady Mackie, which ultimately led to his demise. He was bound to crash eventually and I suppose he couldn't have found a better shore to wash upon.

And now, for my personal favorite character in this entire novel, Wayne. Wayne was something I did not expect to see. He was a man followed by misfortunate. Misfortune by being born in the worst house on their street. Misfortune to have a tormentor like Tyrone as his brother. And misfortune of losing his best friend at such a young age. This misfortune leads him on a dark path which even followed him into his adult life. And behind all that misfortune, behind all those shady things he did, lied a truly noble and loving heart capable of caring and protecting his friends. As annoying as he could be, Wayne had such a laid-back facade to him and such a wonderful heart behind it all. A heart that only wanted to stay home, watch rugby with his friends and be happy with the girl of his dreams. Tyrone's evil followed him like a shadow and he never truly escaped it until the very end of this novel. He was a character I was rooting for the most and I am happy o see that his bad luck had come to an end. He earned the trust of Thomas Oldfield as well as the love of his life Tina. It made me really happy to see that.

And with that, my review has come to a close. I mentioned in one of my comments that I feel slightly empty to finish this. Perhaps that was not the right word to use. It's more a feeling of melancholy, a certain happiness mixed in with a hint of sadness that it truly is all over now. I feel like I have just watched a great movie and that a lot of other things will pale in comparison. I truly believe that this deserves to be in the bookshelves today and I believe that a lot of authors can learn so much from this work. Lord knows I have learned quite a lot.

I thank you for providing me with this amazing experience, Barry. It was truly an exhilarating journey and I wish you all the luck with your career. I truly hope to see this work in my bookstores one day. Keep it up and never stop! You have a wonderful gift here.

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A tale of revenge that would make Lovecraft proud.

Well, well, well. This is quite delicious so far. I must admit I adore horror stories like this. Vengeful spirits brought back by a mistake combined with their powerful emotions. It's quite the set up you have here and I would be excited to see more of it.

When I write a review I like to begin it with either criticism or praise. For a work like this, I'd like to start with the criticism first since there are only a few things I would like to note in that portion.

First off, you're beginning was very interesting, however, I feel like you could have set the mood slightly before letting the priest speak. Maybe describe the atmosphere a bit to ease the reader in before hearing the preacher's booming voice. Just something I would have personally liked.

Your punctuation in this work needs a bit of work though (which is why I have deducted a star there). There were some misspells as well (most of which I have sent to you in my feedback mail), the most egregious one being the confusion of jugular and jugglers.

Saying that he "sliced jugglers" of his foes makes me think that Beren sliced in half a small man juggling balls on their neck and that's not the image you want to envoke in a horror story.

Try to work on your comma usage as well. It's something I struggle personally with as well, so I would suggest looking up its usage in literary works more. And please watch out for run-on sentences,

I know I had quite a few things corrected in the feedback email, but they were mostly minor mistakes that I know a lot of writers make. They did add up though so that's why I removed a star on that front.

Now that we have that cleared out of the way, let's get into the praise portion of the review. And boy oh boy is there a lot to praise this work for.

First off, let's talk about Scorn. Scorn has got to be one of the rare beings that I can fully call Lovecraftian horrors. The term itself is thrown around a lot these days, but Scorn actually feels very much like a Lovecraftian creation.

Scorn is an entity that may or may not exist outside the dimension of life and death. He is represented by dark tendrils coming from a bright tunnel or at least that is what we are lead to believe. The possibility of something like that existing far beyond our knowledge, far beyond our dimension, removed from the world we know is terrifying. We don't know what Scorn truly wants nor what his ultimate goal is, but we do know two things 1) we know that something like it exists and 2) we know that it cannot be good (considering all the blood sacrifices it requires).

A creature like that is what made Lovecraft's works truly terrifying and maddening to read and to see such a being reappear after all this time is truly refreshing. Many claim his title, but rare authors actually capture his essence especially in the monsters they create. Scorn has the potential of rivaling Cthulhu with his description and I truly hope you keep him in the dark and maybe add to his power as the story goes.

The cult surrounding him only serves to testify to his brutality and horror and we fear this creature that lives beyond our mortal plain. A true cosmic horror like that deserves all the praise it can get.

Your style of writing is very beautiful and highly descriptive. Every image appeared right before my face, every foul, wretched, stench of blood and gore oppressed my nostrils. Just thinking back on it gives me goosebumps. It really was a marvelous job.

I have to give you credit as well with your usage of gore. While this work had enough blood for a blood bank, it never felt out of place or jammed in to make the work seem grittier than it truly is. It was used sparingly and at the right moments, making it fresh and gruesome each time it appeared. It was quite impressive and I loved it!

The characters themselves were very intense and interesting. I liked the description of Beren's backstory and especially the second chapter. it really felt depressing and dark and I could feel my heart break as he watched his desolate village. It was truly beautiful in the most macabre way. The pygmy was also an interesting addition as well as her decaying steed. Really sets the tone for a dark fantasy.

Overall, I really liked this piece. I think if you continue you could make it even more terrifying as his vengeance consumes him whole. As it stands it is a wonderful piece of dark fantasy mixed with cosmic horror and I would really wish to see more of it. Best of luck to ya mate.

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Very promising, though it requires some work.

I would like to start off this review by saying that this book has a very interesting idea behind. A maze, like this, offers many creative turns and rooms that could exploit both the physical and psychological strength of the characters. It is truly something that can get the reader's blood pumping and make them excited as they follow Kadence through the story.

You have quite the interesting cast here. Kadence seems very competent and quite intelligent, even if she can be a bit of a hardass at times (which is understandable for the context of the story). Pascal seems like a very humorous and likable character and he does well to balance Kadence.

You also seem to have a good grasp of the descriptions and it can be very imaginative and beautiful. I advise you to use more of this style and to pace yourself more.

Unfortunately, there are some problems that weigh this story down. These issues are rather common in new authors and, with a little more practice, I think you can make something great here. You have a strong base you just need to work a bit more on the rest of it.

There were some grammar issues I noticed with certain words being misspelled and some of the words you used tend to be slightly clunky. These issues can be fixed with a quick read through. I would advise that you proofread or get something like a Grammarly extension (which I use and it has helped me in my spelling) to help you out with grammar.

I have mentioned the formatting issue in my comments, but it bears repeating: shorten your paragraphs! A wall of text can be incredibly jarring on the eyes, especially when it isn't necessary. Some key points on paragraph separation to keep in mind would be the following:

1) Whenever someone speaks, separate it in a new paragraph. Even if you described that person, you should separate their speech in a new paragraph always.

2) When describing someone, try to separate their description. In one paragraph you could describe their look, in another, you can describe how others perceive that person or you could say something about their history, personality etc. It makes it easier to read.

3) When you want to emphasize something it would be good to separate it into a new paragraph because it visually represents the importance of said something.

The other much bigger issue that I have noticed is the pacing, particularly in chapter 2. You really need to slow down when you are introducing new characters so that we can feel for them. This issue is mostly seen in chapter two where you introduced four new characters in rapid succession (I am technically counting in Hale as well though you did give hints about him in chapter one). Which brings me to the biggest issue: a larger portion of chapter 2 is very hastily written.

You introduced all these characters and gave a small description of them and just glanced over who they are and hints to their personalities. The time skip really hurts you here as 1) it is quite the long time for no one to talk to anyone 2) it basically reads like "nothing happened and nothing of interest was done" which can come off as lazy and 3) you miss out on so much characterization.

You tell us Hale "made out for an uncomfortably long time" with the goth chic (which, minor side note, I think you should give her a bit more of a description rather than just "the goth chic". She is important to one of the big players in this maze and so that description doesn't do her justice), but you glance over it. It is an incredibly big part of Hale's story and you just mention it in passing. There is no emotional investment for the reader there and thus we don't care about Hale or gothy since we don't see how strong their relationship is. Yeah, Kadence tells us they cry holding each other, but it's pointless less we see it and feel it for ourselves.

Kadence tells us something, but it seems like it is just brushed off. If you don't show these moments, we feel nothing and thus we are incapable of connecting with the characters. If we don't care about the contestants then we slowly stop caring about the story as well and that leads to a lot of issues.

I am sorry if I come off as too harsh, but it just disappoints me because there was so much potential there for us to see another side of Hale and we just didn't.

You also said that Arisollia commanded that they call her Aris. Again, hearing this from her muzzle would be so much more effective as it would show off her character and gives a hint to her personality.

Instead of a time skip, which damaged the story more than helped, try to give us some character interactions in there. Show off Arisollia, Hale, Frost, and Gompers. give us a peek into their personalities from themselves. Play them off with Kadence or Pascall, show us the scene where Gothy and Hale say their tear-filled goodbyes. Build up to the Maze itself rather than going Leeroy Jenkins into it. Really I think you should rework this chapter a bit more.

You do have an interesting story developing here, I can see that. And I have a feeling that you are rather new to writing so I want to offer you as much help as I can. You have quite the imagination and I like that you deviate from the usual fantasy races and that you mix it up a bit. I can see glimpses of a unique and interesting world forming here and I want to help you achieve that in the best possible way. The only way to improve is to keep on writing and keep finding new ways to express yourself. Good luck and may the star smile upon you evermore. You do have a wonderful gift and I hope you keep working on it.

Keep it up and stay strong.

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A Different Kind Of War

I have to preface this by saying that I am not the biggest fan of romance. The genre can be appealing, but it, unfortunately, suffers from cliches that I cannot stand. I suppose I am of Morana's opinion when it comes to such genres. However, this story has managed to capture and hold my interest through and through. It is a story that starts good, gets better and by the time the last chapter hits, you begin to wish there was so much more. So, let's begin with the review.

First up, the criticism portion: there were a few misspelled words and some grammatical issues in the first few chapters. I have also noticed that at some points some words were repeated, which is a common mistake when uploading stories, so just look out for that. These mistakes were minute and they seemed to only become scarcer as the story progressed which is a great plus.

Now onto the praise and let me tell you, there is a whole lot to praise this beautiful story for.

One thing I really like about the plot is that you do treat like an actual war which is why I fell in love with it. The grueling battle between the princess in order to get to a higher status or simply to win the affection of a handsome prince is truly interesting to see. The cast system between different races adds another bonus element to the world we see and adds hints about the world in general which is amazing for a world building fanatic like myself.

The descriptive style is fully on display here, even more so than in your other novel. The amount of detail you put into describing every dress is incredible and it is even better when you place it in the context of the story, However, your strongest point was definitely the scene where Cael showed the winged horse to Liliya. I really felt her emotions at that moment and it just left me speechless. Truly you have a gift that you need to cherish and make it grow as you write more.

As for Liliya, I could not have asked for a better narrator. Seeing the way her mind works, how calculated and intelligent she truly is, just makes me like her, however, her bravery and resilience and her passion to save her kingdom makes me look at her in awe. She is truly an amazing creation.

As for other characters, Morana was awesome. I like the way her mind operates and how great of a strategist she truly is. She would be a most formidable foe and a most useful ally. Jelena is adorable, though I think she is unprepared for this kind of cutthroat competition. She still has too much of her innocence and I fear it may be taken away from her too quickly. Both princes seem interesting and yet I can't shake the feeling that there is something twisted in their design. Daneel seems a bit too aggressive and dominant, not to mention possessive, while Lian seems a bit too withdrawn. Which is interesting to see.

Mare really does terrify me and as a villain, she is very calculated. Someone like that should not be taken lightly.

Overall, I loved this. It is a fantastic read for all romance lovers and it is quite unique. I cant wait to see what else the author has in store.

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Are you truly happy?

Where do I even begin with this beautiful work? Seven chapters and I am already quite hooked. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest as I read and I really have to applaud you for that. So let's get the criticism out of the way first:

There were some spelling issues in the story which I believe could be cleared by a quick proofread. Recently, I have been using Grammarly as an extension to my chrome browser and it has helped me to clear out some of my own mistakes. It doesn't get rid of all of them, but it is a good tool to find misspellings quicker. +

And that's about it for the criticism portion because this story really has a lot of things going for it.

Firstly, the intrigue. Now, as I have mentioned in my comments, I love these types of plotlines. A beautiful, glimmering, radiant paradise, built upon corpses is one of my favorite subgenres of fiction and you have executed it marvelously thus far.

Secondly, your descriptive style. You have an amazing way of describing everything in such a dynamic and exciting way. I really felt like I was leaping across the rooftops with Luca, chasing down the Phantom and I could almost feel myself choking on the horrid smog that filled the streets. My heart was racing quickly during the action scenes and I could feel the oppressive aura of the black fog in the last paragraph of chapter 5. Truly it was an exhilarating experience.

Thirdly, your usage of the first person point of view was excellent for the story. It really added to it and I am glad you didn't use it as a cheap gimmick for the story.

And finally, the characters. I simply adore Hop and her interactions with Luca are absolutely adorable. They act like genuine friends and their antics provide a small moment of relief in a world as bleak as theirs. Felix was also an interesting addition, a mole that managed to slip under the vigilant eye of the Nox Knights, and Phantom was incredibly fun with her appearance. Her cocky attitude really reminds me of Ayla from my own stories which made me like her that much more.

Overall, I had a ton of fun reading these 7 chapters. I can't wait to see more of the story. Wonderful work!

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The Puwandese truly are he embodiment of the old saying "One man's trash is another man's teasure". These hulking war were a huge threat in Lux Locus, but seeing them here makes them even more terrifying. Their scrap metal ships truly can give even the humans a run for their money, because of the war hungry mentality they possess.

The fight between the two ships was truly exciting and it left me glued to my screen. The level of detail that author provides is breathtaking and you can see the two ships, clear as day, battling it out right in front of your eyes. And the ending of the chapter hit hard like a brick.

Marvelous work! Well done!

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