Title: For Irision
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Psychological, Sci-fi
Tags: Anti-Hero Lead, Artificial Intelligence, Cyberpunk, Dystopia, Female Lead, High Fantasy, Post Apocalyptic, Progression, Soft Sci-fi, Space Opera, Strategy, War and Military (excluded non-tag)
Audience: – (contains Gore, Profanity, Sexual Content, Traumatizing content)
Main Lead: Female
Status: Ongoing, Complete (Book 1 only)
AVB Assessment Score (?): PDE 2 CDD 2 SWB 2 || TQ 3 SV 2 || Overall: 11
Number of Chapters: 127
Chapter Length: Medium
Reading Level: Medium
Date of First Release: March 25, 2021
Date of Last Update: October 20, 2021
AVB Reviewed? No
Available on Platform(s): Royal Road
Number of Views: 30,950
Number of Reviews: 18
Labeled as both traitors and heroes, Aries and her Space Corps trainee crew try to reestablish their lives after being imprisoned by the Council after disregarding their orders and trying to rescue the inhabitants of a doomed planet.
Forced to leave the place they once called home, Crew 761 must now come to terms with their own losses and try to rescue the person they left behind. Once more, they’ve been labeled both traitors and heroes but this time, they plan to earn the titles.
Inkysparrow: This story is interesting enough to please most Sci-fi fans. The chapters move along at a good tense, and the progression of events are stellar.
There are a few grammatical errors, such as punctuation errors and sentence fragments. As some have pointed out, there needs to be a bit more description to make the world and the characters more vibrant. For example, it would be nice to know about the different serv-bots. The settings also need a bit more. I would have liked to have known, for instance, about the building they were in, and why they were eating in the kitchen instead of in a mess-hall, since it seemed as though they were on a military base of some sort.
That aside, the story and the characters are gripping enough to overcome this flaw. I enjoyed reading it.
DrBuller: I don’t have much to say about this story. It’s good. Above-average even. While there might not be much going on throughout the first couple of chapters, the build-up shown throughout it is more than what any reasonable person can ask for.
Kudos for the initial start. Personally see it as a grand thing, showcasing just how much it would develop itself to be. There has been rampant use of Chekov, and I love it very much. Would recommend outright from that.
But the characters need to be mentioned as well, hence why the title itself is about them. They are teens, they are young, and… they have survivors guilt. They have survived a traumatic experience and have become physically and mentally because of it. Yes, that’s not the most original plot line. But this story does it realistically. I can read about the problems that they have from their experiences and believe that an actual person can have the very same reaction. Sure, it might not be entirely accurate to reality, but it’s accurate enough to draw you into the story.
Overall a five out of five. The setting itself might not be my cup of tea, but I can see the creativity put into it nonetheless.
Fiona Fair: If you like coming of age stories that have young people going up against corrupt government and dealing with the horrors of war and a broken society, then this is a story for you.
A crew of drafted teenaged space soldiers disobeys orders to rescue the population of a planet from a catastrophic event. Traumatized and viewed as both traitors and heroes, the crew has to navigate the murky waters of governmental cover-ups and dystopian politics in order to prevent the same thing from happening again. Certain factions will give anything to see that the truth stays buried, and this crew with it.
At its heart, this story is one of coming of age in a society that uses propaganda to hide a dark underbelly of rampant corporate greed, oppressive class divide, over-glorification of wasteful war, and stolen futures. In an age of technology that should allow for ease and luxury, the darker nature of humanity continues to exploit the disadvantaged for cheap and expendable profit. This is a plot that can resonate with the disenfranchised youth of several modern countries and can be used to show the importance of holding true to morality in the darkest of times.
Trauma, violence, and loss are major themes, as are the bonds of friendship and of forging your own path.
Given how important the setting and politics are to the story, I would have liked to see them explored more, especially early on to establish the core conflicts.
The author uses a framing device of recounting the story from some unknown future point where everything got worse yet and then does time skipping based around the earlier incident that led to the cover-up in the first place. There are a few places where that leads to confusion about the chronological framework of particular statements and also why certain times are chosen to be focuse on, but overall, it’s a cool effect to build tension.
Overall, the grammar is fine, except the author has a tendency to miss commas mid-sentence, especially in dialogue. This can lead to some confusing run-on sentences.
The crew is introduced en masse and at a point in time where they are very closely bonded as unit. It took me a while to sort out who was all in the crew and what their character traits were, but once I did, I liked all of them. Hopefully, each character gets their own arc focused on them to explore them as individuals more.
parkertallan: For Irision is a wonderful story filled with well thought out details and emotions which make the world and characters feel so real. The way the author weaves all this so seamlessly into the story makes it a joy to read.
Style: The story is written in first person POV which surprisingly works very well here. Often in first person POV you get to know a great deal about the narrator, but little about the other characters. That isn’t the case with For Isirion. Through conversations, events, and back story we gain an intimate understanding of the other dominant characters. The only real issue I have with the story is an initial lack of description. This does improve over the course of the story however.
Grammar: The gammar is uniformly good. Only found a few instances where the work choice was a little odd.
Story: The story begins in the aftermath of events which have made the members of Crew 761 traitors and they try to reestablish their lives. The actual events are slowly revealed over the course of the story providing a strong sense of mystery and character development as we see how each member of the crew deals with the ramifications of their actions. The book is represented as a means of telling their side of the story and revealing the lies told about them. There are time jumps within the story which might at first seem jarring, but they end up making perfect sense and are consistent with the book’s purpose.
Character: This is where For Irision really shines. Through conversation and events the backstory and personalities of each character are revealed. In the process, we also learn about the world which shaped them. The five members of the crew are represented as unique individuals and the interaction between them rings true to their individual personalities. It’s these interactions that reveal the emotional consequences of their actions and how their lives have changed.
Overall: Although I did give Style only 4 stars, my overall rating for this story is 5 stars. I think the exceptional performance in the other three categories more than makes up for the lower mark in Style. If you’re looking for a unique sci-fi story with a wonderfuly detailed world and characters, then read For Irision.
CookieCrumble: Underpromise, overdeliver. That is my motto, including but not limited to when I write a review for swaps. But sometimes, there are instances that I couldn’t do just that, and here is one of them.
For Irision is a story of Aries and her space corps team. It’s captivating, teasing, and punched me in the stomach with thousand butterflies just by the half of its opening. The author know how PTSD work. Know know.
It haunt your dream, it color your perception, it made even moment of levity, of fun that should be spent with friend, with families in joy, in happiness, and in content, filled and filled with dread. And you couldn’t help but notice a question repeating in your head ‘what bad thing would happen next?’(see chapter 5)
Reading the story made me remember my bad days, not that because the story isn’t written well, opposite of it, because it’s so well written, it trapped you inside with its immersion. It told and reflects in all honesty how those dark depressing days passed for us who had the misfortune to experience it. Which is apt since the main character and her team were involved in a planet-scale calamity. And instead being rewarded for saving who could be saved, for exhausting all available avenues that consent oneself to conscience, they were forgiven instead. As if the row and row of saved souls, innocent and begging, worth less than a sliver passage of unflexible law.
The characters, the style. For the main characters there are no question about it. The author thrice triggered me when reading it, The only reason I managed to finish until chapter 7 is because I read it in three sitting and for the last sitting, I just woke up. And the bad emotion in my mind still being kept checked by after sleep glow.
For other characters though, I found it a bit difficult to parse. Mostly because the author introduced several speaking characters at once with minimum description. Since until the end of first arc (2 weeks after) we mostly given perspective of the MC inner thought, the fragment of personalities that could help identifies one character from another felt a bit short.
The story. What I love the most about the story are the details. The bits and bobs that shown little by little to give shape to the world. Like the intake days, the ‘Draft vs Volunteers’. It didn’t feel forced and showed the author’s control of show don’t tell. The only nitpick I have for the story aspect is the pacing, and that really stretching it. However, in my opinion, while the first chapter is nice for setting the mood, the second one seems to me just a tad bit extending the inner turmoil too long.
Grammar as always not my specialty. I noticed one, two typo or missing conjunction, however it’s nothing major and just need a fresh eye for proofreading.
To summarize, the story is gripping in the right way and of course recommended. Just word of caution, warning tags exist for a reason.
ArthurScott: IT’S NOT EVERY DAY that you see stories on Royal Road with as much life and attention as the likes of dreams, or perhaps farfetched fantasies we all wish we could slip our tiny banana fingers around. Alexa Lee’s For Irision is the closest I’ve come to see of these spectacular dream-esque worlds. The world Lee creates hosts the more imaginative concepts of literature and sprays them out in a jumble of colourful supernovas. By the beginning, this setting is borne into existence through the process of characterisation, a minimalistic writing style, and a connection between the future and the past. It’s a diverse, sprawling dystopia, and rich with life beyond reality’s reach.
I can’t help but recognise the tropes of anime and pop culture when reading this story; it is an exaggerated version of the world we’ve come to know, with certain controls that limit the characters. With this in mind, the issues encountered were notable but not without connection to the intended purpose of the prose (as far I recognised).
STYLE – 4/5
There was that sense of minimalism permeating the prose. Lee sacrifices bulky description and/or psychological passages for a quick beige narrative. This style starts off great; it has flavour, it places everything in an order of interest, it develops the main character’s foresight, as well as her attention to little details which may or may not foreshadow future events. And it is this same piece of foreshadowing that conjures that level of suspense one looks for when diving into Science Fantasy, and perhaps most other genres, as well. Something I could compare the style to is Karen Rose: bullet-fast, astute attention to small details, and a focus on themes. The themes of suffering, friendship, and perseverance are no doubt a large part of the style and shape it into something more powerful in the long run.
Later on, I couldn’t help but feel that it lost that sense of suspense, and this could be for multiple reasons. I think that some chapters are too heavily dominated by dialogue to grip the readers’ attention and steer them in a solid direction. Of course, this isn’t so much a problem earlier on, but in a way, the later chapters feel rushed and without purpose, as though they were written to bridge the gap between two important events. This process does not dwindle as the narrative goes on, which in my opinion, is a direct result of speed-writing. Now, the author is editing the chapters one by one from what I can see, so it’s not something I feel needs to be turned into a massive issue. Nonetheless, there are moments where the pace loses its composure: each description (paragraph) is composed of mostly two extremely long lines, a lot of the time including “and/but/yet” etc. At times I want the author to slow down, take each process step by step as though it were cinematic. This would not only make the prose more composed, but it would greatly improve the overall readability and pacing. Likewise, words like “as” (I think that once an author removes “as” from their vocabulary, they become 10 times better) could be substituted for more exact descriptions. Paragraphs could be made into multiple lines to slow some areas down, and for the areas that need that extra speed, they could have lengthened sentences. A lot more chapters could be prose dominated instead of dialogue dominated; it can become tiresome to have the teenagers take the spotlight all the time. It eventually takes away from their overall attractiveness.
The style of dialogue is mostly just a mistake. At times I don’t know who’s talking because there are no dialogue tags. Sometimes I can guess by basing it off of who spoke last, but there are times where the response doesn’t match said character, which made me believe it was someone else, and that made everything a puzzle to unravel. I recommend adding tags in most instances or descriptions. They don’t necessarily all have to follow the same layout, but it is important to clear things up and make things as easy to read as possible.
An aspect that I loved about the style was its ability to run like a dream. The scenes that I could imagine felt like something I would experience in sleep, a resplendent aura of images. They segue from one to another in an indirect fashion, which helps in that feeling. It reminds me of one of the older stories I wrote, where the stars and sky held a sort of poetic essence; and wouldn’t you believe it, that came from a dream.
I suppose what the style lacks, in general, are descriptive adjectives. Throw in a couple of fancy words; no one will complain, and it may just contribute to the dream aesthetic.
GRAMMAR – 4/5
It should not be a surprise that a quickly written story has many typos. There’s not as much at the start, but there are a lot later on. Most of which are the same mistakes, or a different strain of the same mistake: misplaced dialogue tags, run-on sentences (ones that could be split into multiple [Check Style]), occasional spelling error, incorrect placement of dialogue (they tend to have no speakers sometimes [Check Style]), and strange sentences. The strange sentences I let slide because sometimes that’s the natural shape English takes. I’m not sure some sentences meant what they conveyed, and sort of just assumed that they were trying to say something else because the initial idea didn’t register with me. I think I’ve pointed most of these out in the comments section. I don’t think there were any misused words apart from “laid”, but my memory isn’t always accurate, so I wouldn’t quote it.
As a recommendation: seek editing help from writing Discord/Guilded servers (I know one with traditionally published authors if Lee would like to join). I don’t recommend Grammarly since it can mess up writing quite easily, and Hemmingway doesn’t even correct anything, just points things out that aren’t necessarily mistakes at all. A set of human eyes will be best, but of course take everything with a grain of salt, since there are pedantic eyes among them.
This would be a strong recommendation since there is only so much one author can do with their own work. They might even help with stylistic issues if you ask, but grammar should be a priority.
Another recommendation is to continue what you’ve already been doing: re-read. Something I used to do is print work out on a Google doc since it’s much easier to spot errors on paper than on a screen.
And if you do all that, it’ll be divine. Not right away, but eventually.
STORY – 5/5
The story itself has some nice tropes. As I said it’s like a dream. There is a clear air of Science Fantasy billowing across the pages. The beginning especially holds a special place in my heart: a group of believable teenagers, a distant dystopia, a world where great advancements in technology had been made. It truly takes a while for the main juice to come, which is fine. I don’t mind a slow burn in science fiction.
The events that follow seem to cut from one to another like a movie or TV series. The only hiccup this brought about was Aries’ early nightmare, which didn’t seem to fit or have its intended effect.
I think the story’s sequence of ideas could be sped up quite a bit; I don’t see a need for some scenes to happen, at the very least they could be summarised in a paragraph, and then some of the more interesting ones can arrive faster. And that should be something Lee thinks about: how can I bring this interesting idea quicker? Sometimes, we have to kill the soft moments for the sharper ones, because pieces of dialogue (in this case large amounts of) will eventually run out of steam. You can achieve the same effect of characterisation by cutting back and adding more prose. You can add a summary paragraph at the start of a chapter and include dialogue from there onward. There are so many different ways to skin the cat. Choose what works best for you, but have that level of diversity that people look for when reading.
This is more of a personal take, but I think a prologue would be very powerful. A short (emphasis on the short; do not make it too long) prologue to hint at a powerful event. Some books like to start with a dialogue piece from the ending, some the middle, or some just quarter-way through. I think the prologue would not only make the beginning more gripping but it would complement the following chapter very well. You would show the threat, and then show the threatened. Just my opinion.
CHARACTERS – 4.5/5
I was torn between 4.5 and 5 stars for this one. While each character is clearly interesting, vivacious (apart from Aries), and down-to-earth, there’s nothing to really separate them except for some tropes I never really expected any of them to have to begin with. Mannerisms are your friend in this case: they should be used in every character interaction. One might scratch their head when nervous, one might laugh at every awkward statement, one might bloody well bite their nails. Whatever it is, it should be used as a magic weapon. You could even weave character descriptions into the interactions to emphasise their differences; it will help make the scene more imaginable and believable, and when coupled with the suggestion of adding dialogue tags/descriptors, will make them smooth as butter. I didn’t like how all the characters seemed to talk the same way, but that could be because they each had similar backgrounds and education; nonetheless, I strongly believe mannerisms need to be put in place.
I enjoyed the mechanic of the group being able to communicate with one another through telepathy, even though it caused a great deal of confusion at the start. I eventually began to love its effect. It can most definitely act as a solid plot device.
Although I’ll probably not be continuing the story for dyslexia reasons (I can only finish books that have a polish of mastery as from the likes of best-selling authors, which nowadays seems to be rare on writing sites), I can see it going places with guidance. How long that will take, I have no clue. It entirely depends upon Lee’s willingness to make it the best it can be.
OVERALL – 5/5
As I said, while I’m dropping it for personal reasons, I can only recommend it to fans of Science Fiction. The story is solid, and with polish, can metamorphosise into something spectacular. The writing style helps greatly in adding that spice of dream to its bones, establishing a sense of wonder within the readers, and the possibility of what might be.
For fans of the stars, of space, of open skies with tremendous flying objects, this is a must-read again and again. You will love the lifelike personalities of the characters, the verisimilitude of the prose, the story that seems to write itself. It’s a wonder for those that look to the future as a means of escape.
[omitted other reviews due to length and enough content shown above]
Story Post Last Updated: October 22, 2021