The old adage goes that “you should not judge a book by its cover” and though it is a virtuous sentiment it is not one that is typically followed. Welcome to day Fifteen of my 31 Days of First Impressions Challenge! In this challenge I will be reading the first entry or chapter of a different serial (or web fiction) and then give my first impressions on them be they good or bad. In short: I will be judging a book by its cover.
For today’s serial I read Paladins of the Archipelagos by ChrysKelly!
Author’s Note: As I have already read the first chapter to ChrysKelly’s other serial, Sanctioned, there is a slight bias and expectation I had starting this one. I found it hard not to compare the two.
The site for Paladins of the Archipelagos has the same layout as that of ChrysKelly’s other serial, Sanctioned. As such I will not be going into much more detail about it. This site does not have any images like the other serial’s site though. The site could benefit from a well made header, but this site did not suffer from the confusing image pairings of the other site.
“I gasped in a breath of air and opened my eyes as life and consciousness bloomed, seeing only blue sky. I was flat on my back, and the ground felt soft beneath me. A musical chime sounded, and words faded into view, floating just overhead.” –Paladins of the Archipelagos, Chapter One: Who Am I?
This hook is already working much better for me then the softer one in Sanctioned. I especially love the phrase “consciousness bloomed” here and the rest of the hook left me curious as to the circumstances that brought us here. There is nothing particularly urgent here, but the hook seized my attention and hinted that the danger the character was in had just passed. Overall I thought this hook was an improvement to the opening of Sanctioned.
If I am to be completely honest, the rest of the chapter was not as interesting to me. The main character finds themselves in a totally convincing virtual reality game, so whatever sense of trauma I perceived that the character had just went through immediately faded. No one seems to be in any real danger (this may change in a later chapter) because the world is fake. The chapter and the game’s world is, however, very imaginative. Though I did not find the stakes to mater, I did appreciate that the main character is a live streamer as many science fictions did not foresee their prevalence in our culture, and it adds a tone of relevance.
As with Sanctioned I found that the prose was very clean and well written. The only complaint I have is that many of the exposition is repeated as the character goes over much of what was already told to us. It felt redundant, but this is a small complaint.
I am not as compelled here as I was with Sanctioned. I think the best part of that serial was the interaction of characters, of which this first chapter has not had the benefit of. It was hard not to compare the two serials, and I am left wondering what my Impression on this would have been had I started with this one first.
I was reminded a lot of “Ready Player One” where the physical world is as interesting, if not more than that of the virtual one. I understand the decision of jumping the reader straight into the game world, but the stakes do not seem to be that high and there is none of the duality between virtual and physical like in “Ready Player One”. This may play out later in the serial, and the stakes could get higher, but I’m not sure if I would stick around to find out.
Here is where my bias comes into play. After reading Sanctioned, I really want to give the author the benefit of the doubt. I will probably come back to this one, if only because I enjoy the writing, but if I had read this one first, I probably wouldn’t.
The Paladins of the Archipelagos can be found at https://paladinsofthearchipelagos.wordpress.com/
Join me tomorrow for my impressions on Unice5656’s serial Eterna’s Source, or check out my own serial: