Webnovel Story. Genre(s): Romance Fiction — # of Chapters: 164
TQ 3 PD 2 CF 3 || RL 2 CL 3 — Overall: 13
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 164 chapters have been covered.
Characters + Plot:
Hyuk, Gun, Yeo Ri – Right off the bat, all three of these have distinctive characters which only grow more distinctive and polished over time. All three are familiar types of tropes: delinquent with a soft heart, reticent genius, pretty young angel. However, they are described and portrayed astoundingly well. They are balanced characters, so they can’t be completely liked, but still, there’s a strong urge to want to root for them to find happiness.
Min Chae, Jang Mi – Both girls are expressed well, but Min Chae much more in particular.
Da Na, Ha Jun, Jin Ae – Side characters, but they’re memorable enough that readers won’t forget who they are when brought up in later events.
Do Joon – …….The most hated scum of the dirt.
Yeong Gi, Bomi – Poor Gi just wants love, but at this point in the story, he gets no empathy. His flashback is a little long, but seeing how each character introduced has forwarded the plot in some way, I suspect Yeong Gi will too. Bomi is nothing special, but even she has an important part to play.
Jin Goo, In Guk, Heo Woo Seung, Se Jin – These two are the types of friends anyone would want. They have distinctive personalities and balance/play off one another very well. Woo Seung is a little bland, but the way you express his plain character even is done well. He’s plain in terms of the typical guy taken in by a pretty, nice lady, having an affair, but prioritizing his career over loved ones. However this is fine because he’s not the center of events and performs his role well. Se Jin’s character isn’t delved into much along with his backstory with Do Joon, but even despite his somewhat mysterious person, he’s interesting enough and plays his part.
Misun, Dong Ho – This teacher seriously has so little remorse that she ultimately was the one who crushed the small, remaining possibility of hope for the Lee siblings. No matter, it’s good her character is just a stereotypical teacher. Dong Ho is a little better as he’s fleshed out more due to his partiality with Gun.
Technical, Style + Plot:
Your technical writing is on-spot, and your style is perfectly balanced with enough detail and varied use of language to appease a mass audience while being above average compared to the typical mobile novel.
Plot. Yes, here lies your problem. While technically it’s up to reader taste rather than a true fault in plot development, the insane darkness and graphic rendering of Yeo Ri’s abuse in particular, but just of Do Joon’s atrocities in general, is a huge deterrent to the great popularity this novel could have had. All is done incredibly well to induce utmost wrath at Do Joon and sympathy for the Lee siblings in their aftermath displays of vulnerability/breaking down, but in that perfect, realistic rendering of conflicting and excruciating pain, it is quite desolate and disturbing to read.
Of course, the utter sweet moments do counter some of the darkness, but even in those sweet moments there’s a sense of uneasiness due to the beginning assumed taboo of Hyuk’s and Yeo Ri’s relationship. Even with this taboo cleared up, due to them still being youths, their six year age gap creates yet another taboo because she’s a minor. If Hyuk serves his full sentence, this issue also clears up somewhat. But, if he does stay, it would feel like there is no hope for happiness for the Lees. Or at the very least, they will have suffered so terribly that even happiness after seems to pale in comparison.
Disregarding the story’s dark theme, after Hyuk’s sentence, progression of the present circumstances is taking very long due to flashbacks. Although, as said in the character section, Yeong Gi’s long backstory might be important for later events as all characters introduced have played a part in the plot, so I imagine the same for him. But even then, it’s longer than necessary because the insight gained doesn’t outweigh the length. Hyuk’s character is already fleshed out before this point, so the story of how he first realizes his taboo feelings with Bomi isn’t all that necessary. Flashbacks of rather minor characters shouldn’t be longer than Heo Woo Seung’s. Even the length of his wasn’t necessary either due to him not playing any real integral part after the flashback. Yeo Ri really wants nothing to do with him, and he isn’t going to take her in right away. Thus, it feels like that flashback is making us empathize with him and hope for a resolution with Yeo Ri, but it doesn’t.
If it weren’t for how wonderfully written and portrayed the characters were, this story’s dark plot would totally bomb. But even done this well, it’s very risky and almost wasteful of your talents. If this were instead a typical romance story, this novel could very well become extremely popular and contracted. With your abilities, a typical romance story would be written in a fresh and absorbing manner. I imagine that you could do well in other genres too.
But as it is, we have this very well written and captivatingly sinister story that’s heading towards a dubious, but possibly great, resolution. Happy endings can sometimes be overrated, but for all the seemingly endless suffering in this story, it is necessary to have a happy ending to flush that vile taste of wretched hopelessness and defeat.