Original Action Adventure Fantasy Psychological Anti-Hero Lead Female Lead Grimdark Magic Strategy Strong Lead
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Profanity

I loved reading.

But the world didn't. Books flew off the shelves, not because they were being bought, but because they weren't. Eventually, I was left with empty bookcases and a tiny room in the back of the public library. But one day, I came to a new world, a world where people loved to read, and where books formed the fabric of society.

Illustair wasn't perfect. It was a magical world, but the rich and powerful kept all the best magic to themselves, letting the poor fight for scraps. Corrupt governments maintained the status quo through murder and subterfuge, while rebels set fire to the very people they meant to liberate.

In Illustair, knowledge was power, literally, and power fell to those who controlled the books. Thus, the biggest variable in the planet's future, were the Wonders - ancient libraries from another world - which could bring unrivalled power to whoever managed to obtain one.

Like me. I had The House of Wisdom. It was my love, my obsession. It was everything I had ever wanted, and then some.

It took me a long time to realize why Shakespeare was wrong, humbug was creepy, and why too much of a good thing could spoil it.

My name is Jean V. Forster, and I say this with a heavy heart:

I love to read.

Season One is about to end, catch Season Two in the winter! Like the story? Vote for it on TopWebfiction!

If you would like to follow it on my website, please click here. Additional genres: Drama, Tragedy.

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sinkingship
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Excellent story - hooked me right away

Before we begin - this review written 7/4 when the story has released up to Episode 4 Scene 4 so that is as far as I've read. Haven't wrote many reviews but I did enjoy this story it has a very intriguing premise. Probably in one of the top ten or so I've read on this site. I'll just do a bullet point list since that's simplest.

Style - The style is very consistent throughout, the author has a very solid grasp of the langauage and makes constant use of very apt similies and metaphors. It really helps set the stage and only very rarely feels like an overuse of flowery language. The first person perspective is rock solid all through the story - never slips into third person or has any unintentional chronology errors.

The only (very minor) flaws I came across were I thought that the very first chapter might be better called a prologue and divorced from the main story entirely - it's so different in tone and setting from the rest of the work. Also in that first chapter I thought there was slight overuse of purple prose alongside some literary references I didn't get which just sort of dragged it down. It's my fault for being too stupid to understand the references of course - but that's not a fun feeling.

Story - really enjoyed the story. The level of effort put into the worldbuilding is phenomenal and since we're all readers here I think the basic premise will appeal to everyone. The story also really drew me in, getting to the end of each chapter I always wanted to click to the next one right up till the very end (it's on a cliffhanger I'm eager to see resolved right now). The story feels very "a hero goes on a quest" written in an interesting and engaging way and set in a surprisingly deep world.

The only issue I had in this department was that it did at times feel that "the hero is going on a quest" and we're gonna keep the gas floored until we get there. The time from when Jean wakes up to when she's thrust out into the world on an epic journey feels a bit to short. Plus (so far) the story is all the characters around Jean know about how the world works and she doesn't - but she pretends she does - which can lead to some frusturation as a reader wondering what exactly is going on but the exposition has be being doled out slowly so as long as that continues it should be fine.

Grammar - No noticable issues at all, the story is supremely readable. The author certainly has a bigger vocabulary than I do because I didn't spot any noticable or inappropriate instances of words and phrases being recycled. And I complained about the purple prose a bit earlier so you know there's no skimping on descriptions happening.

Characters - I said in the 'story' section I felt that Jean got going on her journey perhaps a bit too quickly - conversely the relationships don't feel very rushed at all. The cast is interesting and varied, all the characters have distinct personalities and also moments of character development that flow very naturally out of the story. But it's also a bit too early for me to say concretely - the cast hasn't broken ten named characters yet and the main group is only five plus the antagonist. 

That stuff said I could really use a physical description of the main character at some point. Maybe I somehow missed it, but I remember noting when I hit Episode 2 Scene 1 I still wasn't sure of her gender (figured it out by reading the blurb or I'd probably still be unsure). And then considerably later there a bathroom scene where she sees her reflection and mentions her hair color? But that's all I've got. I feel like I must have accidently skimmed over it or something but if not - well yea.

baronblackwell
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Disclaimer: This is part of a review exchange.

Overall: I enjoyed this piece. It was a well-written journey into another world, where books can give you power. The main character was likable bibliophile who you can’t help but root for, and I personally can’t wait to find out where else her story goes. In an environment where every other RRL writer has a magic system that relies on mana or qi, the author managed to create a truly unique magic system, which added depth to the story and world. The mysterious nature of the magic system was by far my favorite part of the world.

Style: This is not the work fledgling author, it stands head and shoulders over most of the writing on this site, yet I had a few issues with the style. As I mentioned in one of my comments, the start of a few scenes were a little jarring, and sometimes the details were too sparse.

Brandon Sanderson had a great analogy; he likened writing to a tree. A good writer moves up and down the tree during his/her novel, the lower you go, the more detail you add to a scene, which pulls the reader deeper into the story. But you can’t keep the reader there every second bc that becomes a chore to read, yet the opposite is also true. With too little details for too long, the reader floats away. That’s what kept happening to be during some parts. For example, the part with the witch’s cottage could use some more detail. That part would work much better with more setup.

Story: Good, but I think the mystery was sometimes taken too far. I believe the time-traveling Ben plotline was unnecessarily confusing. And Ben’s unwillingness to answer any question on why he had kidnapped Jean made me want to punch my computer screen. It all seemed like a sick trick on the author’s part. Especially bc there were already so many unanswered questions, adding another just turned it into a confusion/irritating mess.  

Character: No complaints here, only that it was hard to envision the characters sometimes bc of the lack of detail.

Grammar: Great. I didn’t notice any problems here.

ei83mon69
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A Quick Review - Imma Go To School

This thing is great.

From the no-tell descriptions from the protagonist's point of view to the detailed dialogues, this thing is great. Grammar: no flaws whatsoever, or rather, no noticeable flaws (I'm a Filipino). The protagonist is already characterized from the first chapter, a good thing. And the writing style - reminds me of Rick Riordan - of Percy Jackson fame - for some reason.

Just, the numbers - writing small numbers as words is better, in my opinion.

Bukiyou
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I THOUGHT THIS WAS AN ACTUAL NOVEL

Part of WC's Mutual Reviews until episode 5 scene 6. I'm an amateur so forgive me if someone thought otherwise. 

Overall: A great read. The show, don't tell really showed itself in the early chapters and gave the feel of reading an actual book. But, I felt the dialogues dominate in the latter chapter( around chapter 5), which didn't give me the feel of the surrounding. Well, it's not entirely bad because of the characters' interaction.

Style and Grammar: I don't find any problem here. And, my grammar is worse so who am I to judge?

Story: It was original and interesting. The pace was fine, not too fast or slow. Characters' motivation was also clear.

Character: It was great and the characters felt alive, but sometimes I wondered about Jean's character. She felt too 'protagonist-ish' for a bookworm, but she IS the protagonist. So, I don't think that much of a problem. The only actual problem I have is the lack of attention to characters' costume. I know it was explained at some point, but I forgot about it because of the low frequency. For example, Eleanore's glasses. I forgot that it was sunglasses.

The only actual problem I have is the lack of attention to characters' costume. I know it was explained at some point, but I forgot about it because of the low frequency. For example, Eleanore's glasses. I forgot that it was sunglasses. I might just miss it, but that is all.

Venom 1309
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I FEEL LIKE READING AN ACTUALLY NOVEl

As the title said... It feels like reading an actual novel and that a good thing. before i start this review, I've read until episode 3 scene 1because i didn't have the time and i haven't written many reviews and this is going to be a short one so bear with me! :V.

Style: The writing style in the story is fantastic, i was so impressed and was very focused on the detailed dialogue i was never bored.

Story:  The story is really great and i rarely find this kind of story in RR.

Character: The protagonist is interesting, unique and the rest of the cast have a vast of personality.

Grammar: I find little to none grammar mistakes, although i did have to reread some line to get a better understanding that rarely happened.

Overall this novel is impressive and it deserves more praise!

Jabariadandikovu
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  1. The only real issue I have is the jump in the story. I'm not sure if it's on purpose yet but times where the characters would go from not knowing or remembering an important piece of information to making a decision based on the information they're not suppose to know yet