Webnovel Story. Genre(s): Romance Fiction. # of Chapters: 35
TQ 3 PD 1 CF 1 || RL 2 CL 3 || Overall: 10
Important Note: There is a big difference between a webnovel–a story of the internet and mobile world–and a published book. Besides straightforward editing, published stories are constantly polished to be more engaging, meaningful, and clear. So a successful webnovel doesn’t equate to the same caliber of a published novel. This is due in part to an online writer typically being a one man/woman show. Thus, reviews will be given as if regarding whether this could be a published print or e-book.
All 35 chapters were covered in this review.
This follows the train of thoughts from the beginning of reading to the end.
Yukio, Urufu – These two together are funny.
I started listing out all the names to keep of character development, but I forgone it soon as there were just too many characters brought up, and not all of them, at least initially, are important to the plot, yet. A little over a dozen chapters in, and there are well over a dozen characters.
Why does Yukio know Urufu is 50-years old; what’s their backstory on how Urufu divulged his past/who is/where he came from.
Ryu is interesting; not for his Prince of the school status, but for his darker side that’s revealed/touched upon a couple times. His sister in the beginning is also rather funny recounting his popularity in accordance with her status as siblings.
I realize this is a mystery, but perhaps the clues are too subtle. The idea of transitioning and restarting in a new, similar world is understood. But the plot isn’t clear in terms of what’s exactly happening and why is it happening. A single moment/short event in chapter is understood, but then the rest of the chapter, as well as from chapter to another, the string of all these little events in each are hard to follow.
I noticed in the comments that work has been done to make the beginning less confusing. The very beginning when Ulf is waiting on the transit and conversing about bits of his past life, it makes sense. But then the frequent swapping from/mentioning of the different worlds 1, 2, 3 in snippets, gets confusing. But this wouldn’t be all that bad if there wasn’t also swapping of character perspectives throughout the story.
Now, this isn’t in first person but third; however, the story’s events move from what’s happening to a group of characters to then another group and then back again to continue the former group’s events. Attempts to string all these events together is not always successful, so only certain portions of the plot is understood. For instance, in the beginning when it focuses on the siblings from the sister’s perspective of Ryu. Another instance is Urufu and Yukio when they are first together. The best instance was in chapter 32 when Christina and Ulf were together. This was one of the clearest and best described scenes where insight into how each felt and thought as well as bits of their past was given. These three instances were the clearest just in that very moment in the story. But the connection of all these is too haphazard and unclear because of all the switching.
If just a few “perspectives” were chosen, such as Ulf, Christina, and Ryu/someone else, then it would make storytelling much clearer and easy to follow. As it is currently, there are too many characters introduced at once to follow, and the mysteries are too mysterious in terms of what are the main characters seeking in these new lives? At least a little something dropped would be helpful to establishing a foundation for future character’s motivations and actions. It’s school life, rom-com, but even the crushes are hard to follow. The main ones of Christina, Kyu, and Takeida are understood, but then there’re more confessions coupled with threats and a few more crushes. Less is better.
Very briefly before final wrap up thoughts, your technical writing is good from grammar to punctuation. The only real error that stood out to me was in chapter 34, “She drank the last of her punsch.” Your style in terms of language is also good. It’s not too fancy, but it has some great word choices such as skulking.
So, this is probably one of the harder stories I’ve reviewed. I’m sure this is apparent by my confusion in the character and plot comments. A good mystery always has a tangible string that entices and centers readers on a cause. In centering on one prevailing connection, other threads can build up on it and reveal and create an even greater twist and final resolution. At times, it felt like there was a thread, but it disappeared and was replaced with another, leaving one to try to connect all these dangling fragments to no avail. An analogy of this would be Tantalus’s predicament. In one moment, it felt like something was grasped, but in the next moment it was lost because another set of events was occurring to a different group of people. If this is done a few times, it’s ok, but in this case, it happens almost as frequently as from chapter to chapter.
This story has such great potential because of your ability to create realistic characters that are differentiated from one another, although a few are less memorable due to lack of information given in comparisons to others, and your ability to describe current events and actions. It’s merely the inundation of all the characters, both minor and major, being told their stories on an equal level that makes it frustrating when considering everything you have going for you.
It’s ok to not expand on every minor character, but it felt like the events almost put all the characters on par, and it was the frequency of events being told through a certain group or person that made that person become the main character(s). It took about 30 chapters before Christina’s and Urufu/Ulf’s characters, who seemed to be the main two, were engrained in the mind.
In short, the events are too entangled and esoteric in their significances to make enough heads or tails of it for readers to start formulating theories and guessing where everything could lead to. A mystery is clear in its mystery. All these dangling threads, swapping and switching, and array of characters early on without grounding the personalities of the main characters into the reader are the sole source of the novel’s storytelling difficulties. Everything else is very well done, so once the confusions are resolved, this could turn into something truly amazing.