Jan 15, 2022
I’m glad you had a good experience! Writing this was for the contest was a lot of fun!
Jan 12, 2022
Yeah! It was something I instantly thought of when I thought of her heat meeting the nice cool water, so I thought it would be neat to add.
Oct 28, 2021
Thank you so much for this review! This was a pleasant surprise, and I'm glad you enjoyed it! This really made my day, especially after not getting much homework done and having to attend so many extra meetings. Thank you! And the fact that you noticed Emiko's gradual change and Uris as Emiko's foil is blessed, because I loved writing them. Again, thank you so much, and I hope your story makes it in to Prompt 5!
Oct 27, 2021
A Review and a Case for “Heir of the Dragon”
“Heir of the Dragon” by FuzzyRabidUsagi is an epic fantasy of high caliber, entered into the “My New Life as a…” prompt. A short synopsis is quite frankly, impossible to do, if I wanted to encapsulate the scope of Fuzzy’s work, but I will try my best. “Heir of the Dragon” has an all-star cast, with many characters receiving some amount of page-time and the story being told from multiple perspectives. Principal among these characters is Blake Harker, a cold and short-tempered boy whose sole purpose throughout the majority of the novel is to protect five precious dragon eggs and avenge his family. There are other characters important to the plot, but overall, this story is an amazing read, but not for the faint of heart. Hopefully, this review will encourage you to consider taking on this novel, because it will reward you. Overall, I would give this story a 9/10 for it’s amazing prose and world-building, as well as the character dynamics and general plot itself. Here are the reasons why!
[Minor spoilers ahead]
“Heir of the Dragon” sets us off with a rustic setting and a gentle background that is already able to convey a sense of wonder in its descriptions and world-building in its exposition. Then tragedy strikes, and Blake is carted off by a mysterious girl in white, who we never see again (though I’m fairly certain we will in future volumes). We are then introduced to Elly, full name Elaindra, a half-elf who is full of insecurities about starting life at Rem Magic Academy. She meets Blake on the train there and she eventually makes an acquaintance with him, where they have a somewhat distant relationship throughout the novel, but both Blake and Elly still take care of each other. Two other main characters are Reed Rivers and Trevan. Reed Rivers is a third year Sky Crest (a prestigious title for exceptional performance) and proficient in dimensional rift (portal) magic, who takes a particular interest in Blake’s dragon eggs, and does senpai things. She’s pretty amazing. Trevan is of Estval, and is similar to Blake in many aspects, and has his own few spotlight chapters.
Other characters, while not focused on explicitly, also have their chance to shine. We are introduced to is Sabine, a red-headed hot-head high on her nobility (and an initial tormenter of Elly); Lancelus (Lance), a prince of Saekoria who has a mysterious interest in Elly and a bone to pick with Blake; Eve Moonshadow, who appears to be watching over Blake; And Damien Darkflame, a somewhat aloof professor at Rem Magic Academy who still tries to understand his peer, Rio Saleigh, a fellow professor.
With many scenes focusing on interactions between characters and the growth of Blake and Elly as characters, there is little wonder that the first third of the novel is focused on getting to know these characters, as well as the world that revolves around them. Intimidating it may be, Fuzzy does a spectacular job juggling these many characters throughout the novel, and it is very sweet to see the character progression both go through; especially Elly. Blake eventually grows as well, a gradual arc that takes the majority of the novel to do, but with characters like Reed Rivers and Elly, it is as entertaining as it is fantastic to experience.
Another key player to the novel is the nation of Estval, the Estvalians, and Trevan himself, seen as the “antagonists” of this novel. Estval in general, as they were the ones to burn down the legacy of House Harker, and because throughout the novel, themes of oppression and resentment echo, but the same themes visit Trevan as he speaks of and against Saekoria, where Blake resides. They treasure their sacred tree, Eldrasil, and also hold anger against Saekoria for their maltreatment and their lack of concern for their lands, or their people.
All these things come together in a spectacular hot-pot of amazing world-building that leaves you wanting more. With its own version of a sports festival arc, and tons of action in the later chapters of the novel, Fuzzy sweetly wraps up most of the novel’s events in a neat series of epilogues featuring each of the main characters and many other students we are introduced to, and leaves room for more. In general, this novel is an amazing show of dedication and love, and I am grateful that I was able to read such an amazing work of fiction from a great author. The only thing I would say is holding this novel back is a few syntax errors, and if Fuzzy were able to polish this further than what he was able to do for this contest, it would be a 10/10 for me. As it stands, a 9/10 is still fantastic, and I hope you are all able to read it!
[MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD]
I loved this novel. Fuzzy, you did amazing with this. Coming from Love Bites (I know you don’t like it but it’s good all the same), I can definitely see the difference in passion, the level of effort, and care that was put into “Heir of the Dragon.” While I’m sad it didn’t make it into the roster, this was an amazing read. Speaking of reading, I believe Reed Rivers is the standout character of this novel; The third main character that we never get the perspective of, but who gets all the screen time, and has you guessing her true motives the entire time, what with Blake’s own distrust and Eve Moonshadow’s suspicions. I especially love her bubbly nature (who doesn’t love a bubbly character?) and am grateful and pleasantly surpised (insert Senator Palpatine meme) at the level of depth she has as a recurring character. Reed, in general, is also just a character we all live vicariously though as she enjoys her time with Blake and Elly and tries her best to win over Blake with her dragon enthusiasm, which she does.
Elly herself is just precious and we need to protect her at all costs. Her progression from skittish, insecure, and meek, to a more brave, resolved, and courageous persona is gratifying to read, and the fact that she eventually is able to make a cordial relationship with Sabine is icing on the cake. Though she is brutally bullied for a majority of the first half of the novel, experiencing a heavy beatdown and her face being burned off and starting a relationship with hospital bed-kun, she is somehow able to bounce back stronger and better than ever; And the fact that she becomes best friends with Reed, reconciles with Lance, and realizes her own potential, is amazing.
Sabine is a truly interesting character that explores the mindset of a bully very well, as she herself is being bullied into submission by her family and takes out her own anger and lack of self-worth on Elly. Eventually, she is traumatized by the actual hatred of another student who destroys Elly, and she ends up ignoring Elly as she realizes what she has been doing, and when Elly tries to save her (and proceeds to save her again even after being injured), I was smiling so hard. Lance, while not explored very much (though I’m interested to see where his story will go), is also interesting in his true intentions as Elly’s brother, wanting to protect Elly and just be a good brother.
Blake himself is not to be outdone by any of these other characters. When we next see him, he is cold, uncaring, and aloof, but this is because he never wants to experience what he experienced again: Losing all of his loved ones, and everything he ever had. I love how Fuzzy is consistent with how Blake takes care of his own, his eggs, and even his new friends (though he doesn’t consider them as such), Elly and Reed. His progression throughout the novel is mirrored by Trevan, their hatred for the other side too, and I LOVE how he eventually is able to see his eggs hatch, have a closer relationship with Reed and Elly, and has the strength to question his own anger and hatred when he is faced with the reality of Estval.
Gotta say, I knew something was sus with Rio but the whammy Fuzzy pulled is insane. I didn’t see it coming at all!
I also love the reality of the action scenes present within this novel. They are students, they are still learning, and while some stand out, they aren’t OP, and Fuzzy writes this brilliantly. With the Chess Games they both win and lose, and when the final fight happens, there is no clear winner; In fact, it seems as though Treyvan and co. has all the right cards and would have no problem beating our protagonists. The fact that Fuzzy was able to keep us guessing even throughout the action is a feat indeed.
The world-building itself is fantastic. I loved the magic system Fuzzy came up with, and Eve’s own specialty of Real Illusion Magic is such an amazing concept. That Reed was able to shrug it off was just as impressive, and honestly very very hot (haha, read the novel to get why this is funny)! Fuzzy doesn’t hold back with giving us everything we need to see a bigger world, and the scope he attempts to portray. It isn’t overbearing and it isn’t all exposition; Fuzzy is able to build the world through the way the characters move through it, and is something that takes skill to do, something Fuzzy executes very well.
In conclusion, “Heir of the Dragon” is a read that is worthy to be its own full-fledged novel series (in my humble opinion). It’s impressive enough as is, written for a contest, but also impressive in that Fuzzy was able to write this in two months. If any of you were able to slog through this review and enjoy it through my eyes, READ THE NOVEL. This is a read you do not want to pass up! If you have the time, savour it, love it, and get invested, because I can’t say enough of how much I actually enjoyed this book. There is so much more I want to say, with so little space to say it, and I hope you enjoyed reading my review of your book, Fuzzy! Keep writing!
Oct 27, 2021
A beautiful ending, and a beautiful afterword. You really outdid yourself with this, Fuzzy, and I can see why it’s your pride and joy! I’ll have the review up soon, and thank you for the read!
Oct 25, 2021
I like the contrast in awakenings! Very cool!
Oct 25, 2021
Love the description of Soulfire awakening. Imbued sentience is always an interesting concept! And Reed. Reed supremacy, lmao
Oct 12, 2021
“The Swordmaster and the New God” by otkrlj is an interesting isekai novel in the “Who Needs Plot” writing prompt. However, this novel does have have a plot, and an interesting one at that. Upon finishing the novel, I had many questions as to the nature of the main character and the world otkrlj has crafted.
The story of “The Swordmaster and the New God” starts off with a shocking scene that immediately throws the reader for a loop before rewinding the story. The main characters are Austin Huber, patriotic and fully American, and Kazuma Sato, a compassionate Japanese student; Two best friends and students at a Japanese high school. They are whisked away by an odd book written in ye olde english and sent to meet the goddess, where they are told the classic story of defeating a Demon Lord, and are given classes. Kazuma receives the never-before given class of “god” while Austin gets “swordmaster,” and they begin to riff on the cliches that come with being isekai’d as they are placed within the world of Enfar. They meet Evelyn Iluzja, the love interest, and Emilia, the gallant knight, which rounds out the main cast.
All in all, despite its syntax errors and short nature, “The Swordmaster and the New God” was an enjoyable read that had me guessing as to what might happen next and how the story would progress from certain points, and otkrlj fulfilled every expectation. It has a great cover art that captures the sussy nature of the story, and it fits right in with the progressive content of the story. Read this novel if you want an isekai that deconstructs the genre and has you guessing what might happen next! I rate this story an 8/10 (especially if it were an anime), and read on for a more comprehensive review.
Otkrlj certainly had me going for quite sometime with how he intentionally placed the content in the Prologue. Placing the end before the beginning can be risky, but the author performed it admirably. The first-person perspective certainly helped with the novel’s intrigue, because by the end of the prologue we already one of two best friends is going to perish; It subsequently contracts the curious reader into reading further. The contrast in tone between the prologue and the first chapter is expected, but still jarring, and equally ominous. I won’t lie: I totally guessed the bait-and-switch that otkrlj put within the story, but it still had me reeling when I found out I was right.
Story-wise, otkrlj delivers with an awesome punch to the typical isekai, where Kazuma and Austin (mostly the latter) questions the cliches they are encountering within their isekai adventure, and Kazuma rolls with it, often being ribbed on as the typical “isekai protagonist.” The story itself holds up well, and there are many things to notice upon a second read-through that hint to what eventually culminates in the ending, and the author does this particularly well, putting in the seeds of doubt that not everything is as it seems, but brushing it off with the stress of a new world and unusual circumstances.
Kazuma is the chad of isekai protagonists as he typifies what it means to be an isekai protagonist. He starts questioning his own progress and comparing himself to Austin as well as falling in love with the first girl he meets that wants to join his party. His abilities are shockingly overpowered if used right, but otkrlj interestingly puts a limit to his ability, while Austin seemingly begins to outpace Kazuma. Emilia was an interesting character to be introduced, because she seemingly walks into their party without another word and seems to just be another generic party member until the end, and I’ve gotta say, it was truly refreshing to see a female character with an ultimate goal and no room for any shenanigans. Evelyn was sus the entire time. Austin, perhaps knowing the trend with red-haired women (*cough* Malty *cough*) immediately suspects something wrong when she joins their party, oft-times being caught with a frown and disappearing at odd times to “grab quests,” until we get to the point where Evelyn is completely ousted as a fake, but Kazuma’s chad energy wins the day as Evelyn is allowed to stay, and they quickly realize that she was never real at all.
The way otkrlj writes characters and their interactions is interesting, as the characters are translated literally through the page; Their reactions to the world around them feel genuine, and though Kazuma seems to be more of the “roll with it” kind of guy, even he agrees with Austin that the world they’ve landed in isn’t all that it seems, and that something is afoot. Just as well, the setting and theme progress along with the story. At first, it is all fun and games, with typical isekai quests and tropes, but that slowly begins to change. We already had a taste in the prologue as to what the story might eventually lead to, but to almost palpably feel that change as the story progresses is impressive in its own right. More and more things don’t seem to add up, until it reaches the climax where Kazuma is the one who dies, and Austin was the true protagonist the entire time. Even then, the inklings of lore and world-building otkrlj writes into the story makes me feel like Kazuma’s death isn’t as final as it seems, and really makes me feel like there could be way more to the story than just what we got.
The epilogue is certainly the final kicker of the story as it time-skips to the point where Austin has hardened his heart and apparently become a cold-blooded demon slayer, but it makes me think that there is, again, more to it than just what Austin has now become. It also raises the question of who the goddess at the end was, Emilia’s own competency and her role in Austin’s progression, and where the story might eventually lead, making it an excellent choice to win the “Who Needs Plot” category as it definitely leaves more to be explored.
While there were a number of glaring errors in the text as well as interruptions in flow and immersion, it didn’t deter me from the overall enjoyment of the story. After all, I’ve read other famous LNs that have worse grammar or flow than otk’s story, and I may be based, but “The Swordmaster and the New God” definitely feels more structured than it has any right to be for being an entry in the “Who Needs Plot” prompt. It definitely could have been longer, but considering the restraints this contest put on time, it is well-written for what we have. Restating my 8/10 rating; This is because it was enjoyable, and I liked seeing an interesting twist and a casual deconstruction of the isekai genre, whereas most isekais that try to do this usually go for a more comedic effect, while otkrlj’s story is one that effectively makes the reader question what this isekai is entailing, and asking the questions that normal isekai protagonists quickly forget about. If this were an anime, I would definitely have loved seeing the back-and-forth that this novel contains, and the twists that otkrlj skillfully writes in.
TL;DR: Read this story! It’s enjoyable, mysterious, and its story is compelling. A good contender for a semi-finalist placement, and just a good web novel all around!
Oct 04, 2021
Dedicated to Fuzzy:
Let me preface this by saying that this is the first Impossible Romance novel I have read, and that I went into this with the author’s assurance that it wasn’t written with any amount of passion or love.
I would like to wholeheartedly disagree with Fuzzy’s opinion.
Love Bites has been rostered as a semi-finalist in the “Impossible Romance” prompt. I believe this to be with good reason. Firstly, the cover art and the synopsis. Fuzzy successfully intrigues the reader with a confusingly dark and ominous cover, yet the synopsis runs with brilliant rom-com energy, introducing Daisuke Oishi, your classic lovable average protagonist, who is thrust into the least desirable outcome of romance one could ever ask for. I really liked the pacing and episodic nature of this story, and the twists and turns it threw me for. “Love Bites” is well written, and exudes an insane aura of dark humour and wholesome romance which had me guessing what would happen next, from paragraph to paragraph, and chapter to chapter. This story fully deserves its semi-finalist spot. If you weren’t thinking about reading this story, think again.
Now, for the spoilery review.
Daisuke Oishi is the epitome of average, and follows similar tropes to other rom-com titles with a protagonist of this caliber. This is where those similarities, for the most part, diverge. A nobody who watches the madonna of the school, Kuua Ueda from afar; Daisuke one day finds a chance to present himself as something other than average to her. This is where Fuzzy’s great storytelling begins. By the end of the first chapter, I was smiling and laughing in disbelief at the misfortune of Daisuke, and the wicked twist that Fuzzy wrote in, setting the pace and tone for the rest of the novel.
Kuua Ueda, at once a perfect and capable student with the fabled status of the most beautiful being in the school (which is in no small part drilled into our minds with Daisuke’s ceaseless praises), is quickly revealed to be something from your nightmares: A Famine-Beast, or faminean, as it were; A species that lives to feed off of humans. Luckily for us, they have rules (arbitrary as they may be), and Ueda, in exchange for keeping Daisuke alive, ropes him into her ridiculous “Breeding Program,” where she admits that his genetics are delicious and wants to keep him alive while grooming a new generation of human livestock. Daisuke, understandably, is extremely upset about this, and retaliates with roundabout arguments for the majority of this web novel. By the end, something happens that mellows him out to the idea of famineans (more on this later), but to see this character development is fairly nice, all things considered.
Next, we are introduced to Mochida, the gentle princess-like figure, and the first person Daisuke really falls in love with after being disillusioned by Ueda. This arc, which lasts for the rest of the novel, is honestly my favourite part about this novel. It’s sweet, it’s awkward, and it’s funny. Put simply, it’s real. I honestly felt like I was watching a couple of weirdos finally dipping into the love scene, and apart from the “Breeding Program” hanging over Daisuke’s head, it was sweet to see them progress from mere acquaintances to potential lovers. I love the mysterious aura Fuzzy has created for Mochida, because it really made me question whether Mochida was really human or not. Daisuke’s passive observations paint a wonderful picture of the person Mochida is, and it truly is a treat as sweet as Mochida’s name to see their relationship progress, and to see Daisuke become more confident in being normal. And who was the one who pushed them into this direction? Who had a direct hand in this relationship? Kuua Ueda.
Ueda is the secret heroine of this story (even though she is very much one of the main protagonists). Her persona as the madonna of the school is quickly overturned to a grisly faminean (because we aren’t xenophobic), and Fuzzy does a great job of showing her multifaceted personality. She has a very sadistic side to her bubbly school-girl persona, and underneath it all, an honest heart, and an intelligent manipulative mind. With the impressive ambition of becoming Japan’s next president, we are amazed at her tenacity and horrified at her “true” intentions, with Daisuke being our very own mouthpiece of disbelief. But that all changes when we are introduced to Ueda’s family. While it almost feels like it came out of the blue, this sequence in the story was a very refreshing taste of “the other side” of the equation; The lens by which Ueda sees the world. We see the family dynamic, the hints that Ueda cares about Daisuke in her own roundabout way, and that there is a reason for Ueda’s twisted, sadistic personality.
As much as the family visit is shoehorned in at the end, it is the perfect way to end off the novel. It puts a light on all of the actions that Ueda has committed this entire time, and also shows the care she has for those she considers as people (that is to say, “delicious food”), but is that really how she sees Daisuke, and now Mochida? Why would Ueda go out of her way to persuade Mochida to consider Daisuke? Why would she plan Daisuke’s dates with him? Why would she pay thugs to give Daisuke an opportunity to play the hero? And why, of all things, would she willingly sign up to be the big bad in a play about superheroes? Finally, why would she care about Daisuke enough to not only save him from Tora (a throwaway side-faminean), but expertly cut him free, ask him to step aside, and then go toe-to-toe with another faminean?
Well, her experience with a childhood friend also being taken and eaten would most certainly force her to act, so that she can protect what is hers; That is to say, to protect those she cares about. Because, even though she is a faminean, even though she is wholly capable of handling herself, and even though she knows she is messed up, Daisuke somehow finds the will to keep up with her.
I think this is what makes Daisuke so compelling. For all that he is a normal guy, he is able to keep a secret, and able to withstand the raging storms that are famineans. While it is true his family is threatened, and he feels obligated to follow Ueda’s plan to save them, he also contemplates the events of his relatively new life. “That had been a week ago, but it felt like a lifetime,” Daisuke says in regards to the start of the story, and though I feel that time span is a little bit too narrow to have the events of this story occur, it also shows the ability for humans to adapt to the wildest of factors, and Ueda was his catalyst to become something more than he already was; Normal, but as normal as any other human being could be.
This is where Fuzzy’s writing truly shines. The novel builds a foundation of crazy characters, and then shows us the many aspects of their lives and the masks they make. Daisuke goes so far as to ask “Was that just another mask?” when thinking about Ueda and what he learned of her. And while the novel ends on a somewhat flat note, it shows promise of a future where Daisuke might just be able to convince Ueda to his side; And his impossible romance might finally bloom. Just seeing him go from arguing against Ueda at every point, to accepting Ueda as a flawed being (who eats humans), it shows the great character progression of Daisuke, and a yearning to learn more about how Ueda thinks, and why she does things the way she does.
As Blip also stated in his review, however, this story felt very short. If there was more time (and I understand he had also been writing another story), this story, polished and refined, would be worthy of a manga or anime regardless of the contest, due to its lovable characters, unique setting, and dark humour. As it stands now, I would like to once again say that I believe it definitely deserves a top ten spot as a semi-finalist. Short it may be, but everything one might need to enjoy a good read is there.
In short, “Love Bites” is a great story filled with whacky characters that had me smiling with laughter and eventually brimming with wholesome energy. It was able to balance the dark humour and perilous situation of Daisuke with wholesome romance and a power-dynamic that was as compelling as it was terrifying. All in all, I would give this story a solid 9/10. Why do I give such a high number? Because if this were an anime, I would probably have been gasping at the horror, laughing at the ridiculousness, and smiling at the wholesomeness that Fuzzy so readily portrays. Especially with Ueda’s friend. I was actually very sad to read that, and it may just be because I finished bingeing Gakkougurshi, but a wholesome-dark novel like “Love Bites” is just what I needed to have a good day.
Good job, Fuzzy!
Oct 02, 2021
Thanks! I really did try to set up that tone so anyone reading can get a grasp of what the story will be like!
Sep 11, 2021
I’m not saying anything, but read on! And thank you so much for your comments!
Sep 11, 2021
I will admit that I am Canadian, and it was something I thought would seem very mysterious and would lead to future events😅
Sep 10, 2021
Thanks so much for sticking to it with me! Daiki was definitely one of the things she constantly thought about when she was on her journey, and her wagon has been with her since she started her journey. I like to think she still has things she wants to collect, and places she needs to go before she finally leaves even her wagon behind, but I guess that’s for the future to decide!
Sep 02, 2021
Thank you so much! I’ve really tried to capture the feelings of the characters and show, instead of tell, what Emiko is feeling!
Sep 02, 2021
Thank you so much! I’ve really tried to capture the feelings of the characters and show, instead of tell, what Emiko is feeling!