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 Twenty Four 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 Lion-Daughter Nicole by AtiyaTheSeeker!
This serial is hosted on Wattpad, a platform similar to Royal Road Legends, but less beautiful. The serial immediately benefits from a well crafted website and a layout that is intuitive as well as good-looking. I found myself briefly annoyed at the ads and popups I had to close, but all of them were related to the serial I was about to read and were not too egregious. The only thing here that the author can customize is cover art for their work. The artwork is an illustration of an anthropomorphized female lion. The quality of it is sound but it is not something that would attract me personally to read something. I imagine someone in the anthro community would have no problem with it and would find it appealing.
There is also a blurb describing the serial at the top, and I found that it was prematurely cut of, as of this reading there was no way to expand the blurb or read the rest of it. Though this was not a big thing, I found myself expecting a less professional read.
“In the dimly-lit building of the city-state apothecary, two older folk waiting on their medicine order’s completion went through idle banter in the lobby. The middle-aged man and his wife had a habit of arriving, placing their orders – the husband for backache remedies and his wife for supplemental tonics – and then waiting patiently for their goods to be concocted.” –Lion-Daughter Nichole, Chapter One.
I am not hooked. There is nothing wrong with this opening, and the writing is competent and sound, but I feel like I am waiting in line, and not on an adventure like the aforementioned blurb had promised me.
I have written about openings, and even chapters that are slow to start, and I just wanted to take a moment to say that there are stories near and dear to me where momentum took a chapter or two to build. With a physical book in hand there is often nowhere for me to go but the next page, so this is not a problem. On the internet though, I have every distraction ever invented easily available to me. Without an opening that grabs my attention, it is very easy to move on to something else.
AtiyaTheSeeker has a keen ability to mix lore and story telling in a way that does not feel burdensome. The story surrounds the titular character, Nichole, who is an apprentice at an apothecary. The world building is sprinkled throughout dialog and exposition, and I found this to be a refreshing pace compared to some of the heavy world building I have read in other serials. Though the vocabulary of the chapter feels anachronistic as it often uses older colloquialisms like “lass” and “morn” alongside its otherwise modern prose, the writing is very clean and charming.
The scene in the chapter never picks up pace, however. It was not a long read, but it was one that often felt long.
Lion-Daughter Nichole has no glaring mistakes and the writing is solid, but I found myself struggling to finish it. At the end of this writing I do not have any particularly strong feelings about it. Some of this disinterest may be on me, however, as I do not think that I am the intended audience for this serial. I would not continue reading this, but someone who is in the anthro community will probably enjoy it.
Lion-Daughter Nichole can be found at https://www.wattpad.com/409974208-lion-daughter-nicole-chapter-one
Join me tomorrow for my impressions on Garrett’s serial I killed English, or check out my own serial: