VengefulReaper

Johannesburg

Just an engineering student who writes and reads fiction to get away from writing and reading reports and textbooks!

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A great sci-fi/romance novel so far

This story is certainly exquisitely written. The use of descriptive language and clever narrative devices paint a vivid image of every scene our characters travel to. It's engaging from the first line of the first chapter. It's very rare for me to enjoy chapters that have such minimal dialogue, so for me to say I was thoroughly engaged is the highest praise I can give.

The best part about this novel (thus far), and bear with me on this one, is the exposition. Yes... It's barely noticeable. There's likely one paragraph of pure exposition in the second or third chapter and that's it! The rest is cleverly woven in between and through dialogue. Part of this is due to the narrative being first person. You can get away with exposition dumps easier with first-person than with second or third.

The world is yet to be fully revealed and that's by no means a criticism. The author feeds us the information on a need-to-know basis and links it to certain memorable events so that the reader can remember the tiny details. This is how to do world-building right! It's subtle and isn't spoonfed. This novel respects the intelligence of the reader and leads them on to make conclusions about the world instead of flat out telling us.

I didn't pick up any grammar errors (then again, I'm not the best at grammar. That's why Grammarly exists). The writing style is perfectly suited for the POV and the genre. Romance is generally first-person and sci-fi, I find, works best in third-person limited. Blending the two genres, you'd have to pick one over the other. I think the author made the right choice here.

May I also compliment the pacing of this novel? The romance is so well-paced and given to the reader in small bits which are punctuated by the fascinating world-building I spoke of earlier. Far too many generic romance novels accelerate the romance aspect just to get to a sex scene that would keep the reader engaged. I applaud this novel for taking its time to establish the world and lay solid foundations before leaning heavy into the romance aspect.

Overall, this book has great potential and I am sure it will lead up to one hell of an ending! Can't wait to read more! I definitely recommend it to all those romance readers and sci-fi readers out there. It's a book enjoyable for anyone interested in either of the genres (trust me, I'm not an avid romance reader).

The Reaper sends his regards...

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Good premise, interesting execution

At the time of this review, there are only 2 chapters out.

This might be the most imaginative fantasy story I have read in a while. The author has clearly put a lot of thought into the history of the world and its workings. I like the idea of a utopia created from a blessing that eliminates all evil inclinations.

I can't say much about the plot since the first two chapters don't really establish the plot at all (which is fine). The grammar is mostly fine. I didn't pick up on too many errors. You'll probably pick those up when you edit your chapter later on.

One criticism I do have is the abundance of telling instead of showing in the first chapter. I think I left this in a comment but making the first chapter solely an exposition dump doesn't make it very engaging. The second chapter is much better and handles the issue of showing and telling much better. I think you should try and space out the information in the first chapter as and when needed throughout the novel.

Thanks for the read. As always, this is MY view so take what you find useful and discard the rest. Hope this review helped.

The reaper sends his regards...

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So far, so good.

P.S. to future readers reading this review: there’s only 2 chapters out at the time.

*Spoiler free review*

Do I recommend this story? I would on the grounds that the premise is interesting and the chapters I’ve read are well structured and pull you into a different world. The best part thus far is the setting and the dynamics between the 2 characters introduced. There not much plot since there are only 2 chapters out, but from the summary, it seems things will get interesting!

*Spoiler review and some advices*

Your style of writing is a familiar one which is always welcomed among readers. The grammar requires some work especially paragraphing. A lot of this can be fixed by using a new line every time someone different speaks. This breaks up your chapter and makes it visually more readable.

A second convention you can use would be italics. Instead of using quotes “” for direct thoughts, use italics instead. Most readers know italics either mean a flashback or internal thoughts.

The brother is an interesting character. I sense a family dynamic that has a lot of potential for growth. It poses questions like what happened to Agitha’s parents? How did Luke get into drinking? All things you can explore and can add depth to the character.

You also do a great job of seeding in just enough exposition to make things make sense. And you do it through dialogue which makes it feels less like exposition and more like character interaction (which is where you want to be).

Overall, the story shows potential but there isn’t much to review because there’s only 2 chapters out. I’ll update the review every 5 chapters or so or if major events or character moments happen (whichever comes first)

If you need a site to have your work reviewed just to iron out all those grammar errors and paragraphing, send me a message on my wall and I’ll direct you to some sites I’ve used to proofread chapters before I upload here.

Keep writing and keep well!
The reaper sends his regards…

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A unique and interesting premise!

P.S. At the time of this review, there are only 3 chapters up. (looking forward to more by the way).

Overall, the story is well written and there are very few grammatical errors. Choosing a first-person narrative for this premise feels fitting with the theme of music. The writing of the dialogue and the internal thoughts of Sarah are organic and flow well into each other.

*spoiler-free for those wondering if you should read*

Do I recommend it? Yes. It's a unique premise with a well-written story thus far and a realistic, relatable MC. The first-person narrative really helps you immerse into the main character's feelings and inner thoughts. It doesn't hook you straight off the bat, but it does leave you intrigued even as I write this very early on in the story.

*Spoiler discussion and some advices*

The plot is hard for me to rate since it has barely developed. We've had Sarah go to an audition and meet two angels who she accessed through her music. A very interesting premise but I will have to see where the plot goes from here to give it a fair rating. For now, I'll leave it at the default (average) mark.

Your style is fairly standard and safe, and that is by no means a criticism. In fact, some readers enjoy generic style because it's their comfort zone and they can focus on characters and plot. One thing to note is that if you want to write a direct thought instead of encasing it in 'insert thought' you could just use Italics which is more standard to convey direct thoughts. It's not a huge issue if you don't though.

I'll be honest and say the first chapter didn't grip me as much as I had hoped it would. If anything, the third chapter is where I want to read more. I understand build-up is important and you can't rush Sarah getting to the audition, performing, and revealing the surprise all in one chapter. What I would suggest, is seeding in the discussion with the Angels earlier on.

You could open the novel with Sarah playing some music and then she sees something strange or supernatural in the first chapter. Have it increase in the second chapter and then reveal it in the third. Not only do you give an incentive for your readers to keep reading, but it also is a huge pay=off early on to know that the reveal was seeded and didn't just pop out of nowhere.

A good start that can be made into a great start with some tweaking here and there. It has a lot of potentials and I'm looking forward to following Sarah on her journey with...uh... the angel of death I guess?

Keep writing and keep well!
The Reaper sends his regards.

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Overall Rating
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The Fantasy version of Assassin's Creed

At the time of this review, there are 11 chapters out.
A Queen's Bargain is a fantasy novel about a highly skilled assassin known as the Terror of Metaire and her journey to unravel a series of kidnappings and murders in her town.
This is probably one of the best works I've read on this site. Not only is it beautifully written, the author has a real knack for visual storytelling. They have the ability to immerse you into their world (crucial for any fantasy novel btw) with vivid description appealing to all the five senses. It's hard to nitpick this book, honestly. The action is gripping, the characters are enjoyable and most importantly, the conflict is there.

Characters

What can I say? I do love a badass protagonist. There's really only one thing I love more. That's a relatable one. Ness happens to be both of those. She's not a person without flaws (one of them being her reluctance to apologize), but that is what makes her real. From what I've seen of her, she's only at the beginning of her journey but I believe she has the potential to be a very interesting character with a profound arc. The side characters are present but with the story still in its infancy, they don't get much attention. I'm looking forward to exploring their characters as well.

Setting and Tone

I really like the grounded feeling this world has. Not everyone is fully bad or fully good. They're people who have made good and bad choices. Every person Ness meets feels like a real person living in a real world with real struggles. This really helps with the immersion especially when its a fantasy novel. This novel also strikes a great balance with tone. It's not dreary and dark ALL the time but it's not sunshine and rainbows either. Sometimes it can get a little too political for my liking (I'm still getting a grip of who's the king of who xD).

Plot

Since this is a review, I'll hold off on the spoilers. To briefly touch on... The plot is fairly simple. Nothing convoluted or intricate. There's a lot of intrigue and alot of setup but I believe the plot is juuuust about to pick up. For now it's really about cementing the characters and conflicts before the plot ramps up. I'm sure it will get better and I will be more invested as the novel progresses but as of right now, the most appealing aspect of this novel are the characters and the world; not the plot.

Overall

I really enjoyed reading this novel and had I had more time on my hands, I would've binged all of it in one sitting. It's slow and sometimes confusing but you turn the page because you care about the characters and I certainly turned the page. I'll be following Ness on her journey and this will be one of the few books I plan to stick with after reviewing them. The author is incredibly gifted and I look forward to reading their works in the future. If you're looking for an Assassin protag with a hint of mysticism and some shady political figure, boy do I have to recommend you A Queen's Bargain. Happy Hunting!

The Reaper sends his regards

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Review for invisible ink book awards

I have very little to no experience when it comes to fan-fic (I’ve just never really liked reading them) but this one is really well written.

The characters have great chemistry which is borderline necessary for a romance work. The prose is spot on and dialogue flows very naturally.

As for characters…it’s hard to say much considering it’s this early on. I like the way the novel is structured. I’m still getting used to the rapid POV switching. I think as the chapters release, I’ll get used to it but it can be quite jarring.

A suggestion I would put forth is either make your individual chapters longer or have 2 or 3 chapters back to back with the same POV. That way, we spend enough time with that character before switching to another.

Something to note as well would be your use of Uppercase letters. If you add a “she screamed” tag and an exclamation point, using all caps doesn’t anything other than take the reader out of their Immersion. A better device you can use to emphasize words or phrases can be italics inside dialogue.

Overall, this is a good start and even though it’s well-written and has good, likable characters, it’s just not my cup of tea. I would still recommend this book to avid fan-fic readers. I think it would be right up their alley and they’d enjoy it.

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The Night's Bride

I'll be honest here and say I am not an avid romance reader. It's just never been my genre. But I do love fantasy (which is my favorite genre). I think the author has given equal attention to both these genres even though the romance is more dominant (as it should be, duh).

I think that a key to making a romance novel believable and not just a lust fest with graphic content is the presence of likable and flawed characters. This novel does this quite well and is part of the reason the romance sticks the landing.

I think I enjoyed Aeneas's POV more because of the more fantasy-oriented side as opposed to Nemesis which was mostly romance with an undertone of fantasy. But that is of course just personal preference. There isn't anything in the writing that makes one more engaging than the other objectively.

One thing I would suggest with your writing style is adding more dialogue tags. Sometimes there are long stretches of dialogue (with 2 people it's easier to follow but there are a few with 3 speakers and then it becomes hard to keep track of who's speaking) without dialogue tags like "he said" or "She remarked". One or two sprinkled in a dialogue can help refocus the reader.

Another nitpick I have is the lack of descriptions between dialogue, particularly ones that are heavy in exposition. One way I try and break up dialogue is to incorporate it with movement or body language. People react physically to certain moods in a conversation and that often can reveal hidden emotions that you don't have to explicitly say as the author. It's just something that will add to making realistic dialogue. (I tend to make this mistake too lol)

The strongest part of this novel (as far as I have read) is the naturally built chemistry oozing from every character interaction. As I have said before, good chemistry is key to a believable relationship (whether platonic or romantic). The author has a wonderful way of conveying emotion through dialogue without saying "I am mad" or "I am happy". It's a great way of showing instead of telling which I, and many other readers I am sure, will appreciate.

As always, everything here is simply MY view of the novel, so take what you find useful and discard the rest.

The Reaper sends his regards...

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Distant Lands

Distant Lands is a must-read for all fellow sci-fi lovers. The author does a brilliant job at throwing you into a new world with so many different moving parts without making you feel overwhelmed or bored by exposition dumps. There's a lot of 'showing' and very little 'telling' which is something that most new to intermediate authors struggle with. I think you've done great there!

All the characters are quite likable and those that aren't are clearly written that way purposefully. Even though we see the world through Liz's eyes, the author does occasionally switch POVs to the other side/main characters. Usually, I'm not a fan of this but it's done in this novel really well because it actually serves the purpose to build the world and characters. As far as I have read, I think Liz has gotten the most attention (as she should at the beginning of the novel) and she is very relatable with struggles of her own and an interesting dynamic that I will not spoil...

As for the nitpicks, The initial chapters fluctuate in terms of engagement, There are some chapters where I'd love to know more and others where I lose interest halfway through. But I think It's definitely binge-worthy once you get past the first 3 or 4 chapters.

I think the greatest strength of this novel (as far as I have read) is the worldbuilding, the plot, and the clever use of the author's writing style to convey emotion, symbolism, and organic/fluid dialogue. I'm interested to read more and immerse myself in this world I've only dipped my toes in!

The reaper sends his regards...

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Great idea, enthralling plot

At the time of writing this review, I have read about half the book.

'The Gourmet Gladiator' has a unique premise where eating foods at specific dinner grants a person power. Our protagonist Toby, is the one who eats the entire table and gets a unique power (that I will omit due to spoilers). Toby, a boy once bullied, now possessing great power takes the reader on a journey of conflicting emotions and tragic events that make you sympathize with him as a protagonist.

The plot is action-packed with several chapters in a row sometimes having fights back-to-back. The action is engaging and early on showcases Toby and several side characters' powers. The novel also does a great job of integrating the power system into daily life including ways people abuse or enhance their powers. Sometimes, however, the pacing does feel too rushed and the author tells more than he shows. I'm not entirely against telling (there is room for that) but showing is far more effective and allows the reader to have a connection. The 'telling' parts of the story are most prevalent in the initial chapters which make the prologue read like a very big exposition dump. Past that, the road smoothens out and the author finds his stride in showing his story unfold.

Toby's character is an example of a victim who is given power and the opportunity to use it. The psychology of Toby is one that highlights the nature vs nurture argument subtly and makes him shift between a dangerous, daring, and confident teenager and the old timid, vulnerable, and nervous teenager. The character is one the reader can get behind and root for and that is really important in a story.

The side characters play their part to further the plot and Toby's character but are in no way the highlight of the novel. His relationships with them however highlight facets of his personality and how they grow over time.

Given that this is part of a trilogy and I've read half of the first book, I won't judge the plot or pacing too harshly nor will I judge the character growth. It's all fleshed out and the story is engaging. The world that has been partially built has some gaps missing in it and I'm hoping the world shapes up nicely on a larger scale than just a school and a gang. Other than some minor complaints I have about the power scaling of the protagonist with regards to his powers, I thoroughly enjoy the chapters I read.

Unfortunately, the biggest criticism I have for the novel is the writing style and grammar (though this can easily be fixed with some editing). The structure has overly long paragraphs that sometimes can be a turn-off for readers or make them lose interest. To be honest, I am often guilty of this mistake as well and often need to re-edit many of my chapters.

Overall, this story has a unique premise and thus sparks an interesting plot. To those who enjoy a refreshing book that pulls you away from the tropes of action, drama, and fantasy, this book is for you particularly. It boasts a strong protagonist that is well-written and grounded as well as an intriguing world with limitless possibilities.

I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
The Reaper sends his regards.

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