Title: Monillas: Human Garbage
Genre(s): Adventure, Horror, Mystery, Psychological
Tags: Anti-Hero Lead, Grimdark, Male Lead, Multiple Lead Characters, Strategy
Audience: – (contains Profanity, Sexual Content)
Main Lead: Male
AVB Assessment Score: PDE 1 CDD 1 SWB 1 || TQ 2 SV 1 || Overall: 6
Number of Chapters: 43
Chapter Length: Short
Reading Level: Medium
Date of First Release: February 2, 2021
Date of Last Update: March 8, 2021
AVB Reviewed? No
Available on Platform(s): Royal Road
Number of Views: 2,393
Number of Reviews: 9
The mountain of trash… Some people already spent almost all of their lives living, walking, running on trash. With or without any dreams to have in the future. The family of Monillas is no exception. Trash scavenging every day and night. Will they just accept this horrible fate or strive and struggle to achieve a future for them?
This story isn’t my usual reading fare, but I decided to take a chance on it. The first 25 chapters introduce a Phillipino family and their lives as they scrape together their basic needs from mountains of trash. This story has a lot of really unique ideas, and a good presentation of the vicious cycle of poverty. I really enjoyed how the author presented these issues, and the way they escalate in very natural and logical ways.
The writing style is very simple, and the short chapters are fast to read!
Up through chapter 25, End of the Road, I really enjoyed the story. At the end of chapter 25, the author changes tone somewhat, going for a JoJo feel and telling the story of the whole family. True to the author’s promise, the next chapters about the son are much more evocative of JoJo. Personally, I’m not a big fan of JoJo, so will not be continuing onward, but I know a lot of people do like JoJo. This writer has creative ideas and a very straightforward style, which is promising for folks who do want to read something like JoJo!
This is the weakest aspect of this story, by far. That being said, the writing is still clear and it’s easy to understand what is happening.
The characters are one dimmensional and not very well fleshed out. Still, they are unique and the reader conveys their struggles as they strive for better lives, a real living, and a future for themselves and their children.
Razzmatazz: It’s a really quick and interesting read. The story is fairly fast paced in its narrative and is constantly accompanied by a rather excited narrator’s voice. If you’ve ever seen ‘Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor’ it’s a lot like that, in that the main focus of the story is money. The necessity of money and in so, the pursuit of it through dangerous, all or nothing methods; like gambling with your lifeline.
The characters are relatable in that their desires to succeed seem to be fueled by kind motives, but as the topic of money becomes more and more present in every chapter you kind of notice that it gets its hooks into them and makes them lose sight just a little of why they started this to begin with. Interesting dynamic between the currently two biggest characters Allaine and Jose.
The story is set in what appears to be the ‘real world’, specifically in the Philippines. As a native European I don’t know as much as I should about this place, so I am glad that the author goes out of their way to explain certain cultural nuances that would otherwise have been lost on me.
The grammar seems to have been proof-read a few times at this point, judging by the other reviews it used to be awkward before. It can still seem very stiff honestly, and the author uses a lot of ellipsis, almost too many every now and then. There’s definitely a lack of ‘flow’ in that the early writing, but that’s more of a taste complaint than a legitimate one and it’s a ‘problem’ that seems to get better and better in the later chapters. I suppose it makes sense as the author is warming up and getting more into it =)
All in all, if you’re interested in a real-world, nitty-gritty story about gambling, money and desperation you should give this one a fair shot!
English is not the author’s first language, and they make a LOT of grammar mistakes. I will say that despite this, what is happening in the story is usually pretty clear.
A very sparse style. Environments and people are rarely described. (Although this probably helps with keeping the action in the story clear, since the author might have struggled with a more dense style.) Chapters are short and bite-sized. The author has a very dramatic, excitable style of writing, using multiple exclamation marks. Sometimes they make odd choices to break out of the story to explain things. I will say that, at the least, the story was CLEAR – I wasn’t confused at what was happening in it, or WHY it was happening.
So far, the story has followed the father of a family of trash-pickers and he and his friend try to desperately come up with the money to pay for his wife’s hospital bills. Since each of the chapters is so short, not much has happened yet – they decide to gamble with what savings he has to try to come up with the money, against a shark that plans to essentially turn them into slaves via a rigged game of poker. Each round of poker is very dramatized and given a cliffhanger, so this poker game has so far consumed the vast majority of the action. It’s definitely a motivating hook, so I give points for it, but honestly very little has happened yet.
Jose has realistic and sympathetic motivations – wanting to take care of his wife and still hang on to money to provide for his son’s future, even if he isn’t the brightest of guys. His friend Antonio seems a little inconsistent – at one moment chiding Jose for taking a risky bet, and the next, wanting to make a risky bet himself. Yanlei comes across as a believable, not over the top, sleazeball.
I think it’s definitely an interesting plot hook. However – putting grammar aside – the author’s stylistic decisions to make every moment of the poker game super dramatized and full of tension has caused it to drag on for a little bit. They seem to want to end every chapter on a cliffhanger, but I don’t know how this is sustainable once we move past the poker game, especially at the chapter lengths we’re given. The short lengths and clarity do mean that, at least, the story is easy to digest. Overall, the plot is this story’s strongest point, and I think the characters could be compelling as well once we see more of them, but the style really hurts the telling.
Akata: Overall 3/5
The story is really good. The premise is great. The writing however needs work. That’s okay though! I see so many stories with great plots, characters, etc, but the writing falls flat. Some more work on grammar and POV would be the first great step.
I truly want to recommend this story but so far I cannot because of the major issues in grammar. If you however change the major issues, this story could shine and I would be more than happy to change my review!
Another aspect holding back your story is style. I will be reading your story, enjoying it, but suddenly something jarring in parentheses will explain something that doesn’t need to be explained.
Or a giant use of capitalization LIKE THISSSSS is put in there. Please don’t do this. Please.
Grammar 3 /5
Your grammar is truly holding back the story. I am quite sorry. The issue is that your word choice feels a bit limited. I myself struggle from the same and always keep a dictionary and thesaurus on hand to help with this issue.
Your story however is easy to read. I see a lot of writers on here don’t space their dialogue out, but you don’t seem to have that problem. That’s good!
Your story has a lot of potential, but I see a huge thing lacking.
There are no descriptions of settings so far.
In chapter one a great improvement would be describing the heaps of trash. You could describe how Monillas hurts himself while sifting through it all, or the techniques he uses to find valuable items. You don’t describe Monillas ‘house’ he hates so much. It’s a huge chance to create more sympathy for the main character but… It doesn’t happen. It needs more in depth. Like is the door rusting? What color are the drapes? What time of day is it? Etc.
You can get very descriptive with it.
You can understand the characters personalities and their plight. Unless you’re lacking a soul there’s no way you couldn’t be invested in someone trying to work their way out of extreme poverty. The only thing I would suggest is more working on the dialogue to make it seem much different from characters that re-appear frequently.
Sara Mullins: Something about this story feels important. There are hints of wanting to show off the ins and outs, ups and downs of a vastly underrepresented culture, and there’s a fascination to that that the description of the story could rise up to more, I think. But, that plus the short chapters mean that I was able to binge the story in a day. This story is definitely worth taking a look at, even if it’s to turn your mind off and skim something dramatic but tiny and readable.
Style: Yeah, there’s a sense of over-the-top dramatism that I think works. It could be taken further as an option, to create the sort of character of a godlike narrator to suit the way the story is being told, or we could go for a style that’s more in the heads of our protagonists, but it’s fairly effective as is. Part of me wishes for more sensory details and scene description, as these are things that, for me, make a story come alive.
Grammar: So, I’m of the opinion that, so long as grammatical issues do not directly and flagrantly impact the understanding of a story, then it’s all good. No story on this site is going to be perfectly grammatical (mine certainly isn’t), and even people who have English as their first language will have the same struggles. Essentially, we’re all English Language Learners until the day we die. Five stars for comprehension and consistency. However! I’ll say that, to most readers, it’s probably a turn-off. The story could benefit and probably leave more readers happy from the author maybe finding a writing partner with a good grasp to help them edit.
Story: Interesting so far, and I want to see where it goes with the author’s promise of a multi-arc story focusing on the plight of an entire family. I think connection with the characters will be very important going ahead, and that’s worth considering when thinking about the narration style as well. What can the author do to make us feel as tied to these people and their battles as possible? To make the story keep popping, that’s what I’d say is a priority.
Character: There’s not too much to say yet. This is a slow story, as the author stated. The character spoken of in the story description has barely been featured, so I’d consider changing the description itself to advertise that the story focuses on many characters throughout the journey of a family unit, not just one perosn’s attempt to rise from their circumstances. Just a thought. The characters have got to drive this home, so keep pushing yourself. You’ve got this, author!
Story Post Last Updated: May 7, 2021