Return of the Elves Series Review

Return of the Elves Series Review

This is my book series review for the Return of the Elves Series.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said… Spoilers Ahead




Return of the Elves by Bethany Adams

Reviews

Soulbound

Sundered

Seared

Abyss

Exiled (Novella)


What I Liked:

Ralan; Best character outside of his daughter. I will not fight on this because this is my opinion. I just love reading characters with foresight and his execution was beautiful. There is something about his execution that captured me. Even his book, told from his perspective, was excellent because of his perspective.

Eri; She is the best character for me, outside of her father. She is a child with a powerful gift. She acts like a child. She acts like a child who has the gift of foresight and thinks herself capable because of it. She is innocent, and yet so knowing. I love everything about her and how others react to her.

The other Main characters: I liked them, and their perspectives.

Culture, bonds, etc; I could go into this but I  think I talked about it  enough. The bonds are amazing as a cultural aspect. The different cultures of the Fae are defined and explored in their own ways. The fact that when a Fae of another culture, or even the dragons,  interacts with the  main cast the distinction is clear.

Language; There are distinctions between the languages  of the fae, even if we don’t go into it  all that much.

Side Characters; All of the side characters were charming in their own ways.

Formatting; The shifting perspectives starting from book 1 only aided with the entire story. I tend to be thrown off by the fact that book perspectives switch, but when there are shifting perspectives from the first book, I’m on board.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

Cora; She was just my least favorite female character. I really can’t explain why, I think this has more to do with a personality clash than anything else. Plus I really liked Ralan, so her reaction to him, his backstory, and his power irritated me.

Relationships; In general, while I did like the bonds themselves  I found the timeline for all the relationships to be so fast. The bonds was a great device for the culture but acted as a way to be like: they are perfect for each other, the end. I didn’t really see much development at all for the couples (besides the couple of the last book) that had more than, since the bond exists between us nothing else matters. I would have liked the relationships to have more substance and time.

Why You Should Read:

It is a good series for readers who want romance and fantasy, as well as culture but none of the excessive detail. The plot is pretty quick and linear. The shifting perspectives are easy to follow.

Time Taken To Read

9hrs 21min

Rating: 4/5

Abyss Review

Abyss Review

Final book in the Return of the Elves series. For all see here.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Abyss by Bethany Adams

Synopsis From The Book

A mage out of her element

After five hundred years as a magic teacher, Selia thought she’d seen everything. But nothing prepared her for the chaos of her assignment at Braelyn. Assassings, rogue princes, and a grown half-human student — all had caught her off guard. Now things have settled down, and her life has begun to take on a sense of normalcy. Until her seemingly dead husband reappears astride a dragon with a dire warning about Earth.

adventureer far from home

For seven years, Aris was held captive on  the isle of dragons, hidden so well that only his captor knew of his presence. But when a dragon claims him as her rider and flies him away on an urgent mission, Aris isn’t certain he wants to return home. Tortured and scarred, not even thoughts of his lost family renew his desire for life. Unfortunately, death isn’t on the table — not with danger threatening multiple worlds.

A widening abyss

Life might have settled on Moranaia after Prince Kien’s death, but the rogue prince hasn’t gone to his death as quietly as his people believed. As poison seeps into a crack in Earth’s energy field, a greater catastrophe looms. Now a dragon, a broken adventurer, and an uncertain mage are the only ones who stand in the way of disaster.


Short Synopsis By Me

Synopsis


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

This is the last book of this series, and accidentally I read the Novella out of order. I don’t know what to expect with this book. It makes place from a perspective not touched in the first novels. I still am a bit intrigued. Estimated time is 2 hrs.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

I liked how this book was in many aspects. It was not a bad conclusion but it did leave me with a few questions. In truth my mind is mostly blank after reading it, for good or for bad.

Plot Overview:

Aris is saved by his bonded dragon, Kezari, from the would be soulbound Perim. She saves him to save Earth. They find Lyr and the others at his home. Aris sees his family for the first time. The Earth is confirmed to be having a massive magic leak. Aris’ body and mind are healed, from the seven years  of torture, and they save Earth.

What I Liked:

The dragon are very other. This is to say they don’t act like elves. They don’t act like Fae or Humans. Kezari was perfectly dragon and perfectly other when compared to the others. As is the dragon culture: so other.

Selia and Aris are really cute.

I liked how we got a glimpse at some of the perspectives from past books once more.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

Mental Trauma; In the books Aris has sever mental trauma. He was tortured for seven years and over the course of a few days this trauma is healed by magic mind healing. Now there was already healing, and I knew that this was a possibility. It just rubs me a bit in the wrong way because his trauma was so real and justified but everyone just wanted him to get better — magically better. Personally I just didn’t like how he got better.

Why You Should Read:

You really don’t have to. The series is over with the first three + novella. This is just an added bonus that isn’t completely necessary. It adds a lot in terms of dragons and relationships on Morania, but that’s about it.

Time Taken To Read

1hr 56min

Rating: 3/5

Notable Quotes:

None

Exiled (Novella) Review

Exiled (Novella) Review

I made a mistake! Whoops. This comes between books 2 and 3.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said… Spoilers ahead.




Exiled by Bethany Adams

Synopsis From The Book

A willing exile

For a hundred years, Delbin has lived on Earth, voluntarily cut off from his birth land, Moranaia. He’s learned to hide his elven nature and use his mind magic without getting noticed. Until he accidentally wields it on the Moranaian scout sent to check on him.

A hesitant ally

Though Inona has good reason to mistrust exiles, part of her job is to make sure they aren’t causing trouble. She sets out for Earth with one goal—get this annoying mission over with. But from the moment Delbin tries to use his power on her, she can tell he is different. As more of his story unfolds, she learns that some exiles might not be what they seem.

An unexpected enemy

When a rogue Moranaian prince tries to recruit Delbin, Inona’s mission becomes anything but standard. Now Delbin and Inona must work together to hunt down the prince and uncover his latest plot.

Delbin might not be able to return to Moranaia, but he’ll do anything to save it.


Short Synopsis By Me

See Above.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

Here I am reading book three and  trying to  figure out who these new  characters were. Five pages in I really didn’t care much. I bought it like, maybe I missed them being roughly mentioned in  book 2. I didn’t.  They are the focus of the Novella. Well… Whoops. Time to learn about these characters that I  cared about in book 3.

Also,  if  I feel like commenting on the extra side story in the Novella, I will. It’ll be at its own section at the end if I do.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

Quick, cute, short story on the characters Inona and Delbin. I loved them in book three so figuring out how we got them and the vile of Kein’s blood was nice.

What I Liked:

Short sweet intermission, that would have made the book series that much easier to follow. If I had read it in place.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

More? I like these characters and I would have liked more about them than the 100pgs had to offer.

Why You Should Read:

It is not required for between books two and three but I highly  recommend it because it explains so much to what is going on in book three for the beginning.

Time Taken To Read

20min

Rating: 4/5

For a novella I may need to change rankings, but not for now.

Notable Quotes:

“And forgive my play on  words. I couldn’t resist. Master is the technical term for the person in charge of an apprentice, after all.” –  Ralan to Delbin

Bonus Story Thoughts:

It was a cute but really quick short story, tale of a girl running away from an oppressive marriage  to save magic for her people. It was cute, for what it was. I am interested in more.

Seared Review

Seared Review

Book three of the Return of the Elves. Let’s go! (This is about my favorite character so even more hype)

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Seared by Bethany Adams

Synopsis From The Book

reluctant prince

After more than three hundred years on Earth, Prince Ralan has finally returned to Moranaia. But with his wicked brother Kien on the loose, the homecoming is a short one. A dire vision sends Ralan back to Earth to save his soulbonded  from his dark brother. The problem? Ralan’s Sight grows more erratic by the moment eve as danger closes in on every side.

A woman far from home

Ever since a failed alliance ruined her family, Cora has lived on Earth. Far from discontent, her days are spent running her clothing shop and helping newly arrived fae adapt to mundane life. Then a golden-eyed prince strides into her store, trouble stalking  his heels. Big trouble.

A fate foretold

Ralan’s sight might be broken, but one thing remains clear — stopping Kien will mean Ralan’s death. So how could the Gods choose now to introduce his soulbonded. A Ralan  and Cora  search for Kien, their relationship grows stronger. Unfortunately, so does the threat. Now Ralan must choose between his own life and the fate of all their worlds.


Short Synopsis By Me

See above


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

Book three and its supposed to be about my favorite character thus far? Count me in. I am super excited to have more of a focus on Ralan. Also, he loses his sight this book. What will that make him? I’m not sure but I’m excited to find out. Also, new formatting.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

I liked this book the best thus far and hated it at the same time. I loved it because sassy goddesses, Ralan’s powers, and Eri (perfect cinnamon roll Eri). I hated it because of Cora, which is a shame because Cora is Ralan’s bonded. Whatever though, we win some and we lose some in terms of liking characters.

Plot Brief:

This book takes place immediately after 2. Ralan must go to Earth to find the one thing that can stop his brother: his bonded Cora. When Cora’s friend and half-elf Maddy, gets kidnapped, Ralan and Cora find  themselves trying to find her and drawn to each other. Only, Ralan’s history and Cora’s past come to reveal that they are deeply connected in a way neither new. Ralan rejected to marry Cora three hundred years ago, sending her family into ruin and leading to her having to run from her own kingdom. Her pain was the cause of him, and Kien, Ralan’s brother is the one who reveals it. Ralan must figure out a way to kill Kien, knowing he will surely die himself, all without the use of his powers.

What I Liked:

Goddess of Time her sass; I didn’t think that all caps lock screaming goddesses would make me laugh so much but it did. The Goddess of Time does just that. She’s sassy, and over bearing. I love it.

Eri and Ralan’s relationship; Is there a better parent child relationship? I’m not sure, but I love this one. Eri is perfection and Ralan is a fantastic dad, for what its worth. I will protect them at all costs.

The way the power of sight works; I find it to be the best case, seeing all, but having to follow, only knowing with the Goddess allows for them to see or know. Foresight can always either be bad or good. This time I am resolute  in believing it was good.

Continuation of expanse; The culture is built more, as are identities of the exiled fae and the world surrounding it all.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

Kien’s death to be more dramatic; You’d think after all the time that was spent getting to him and his evil, that his death would be more dramatic. Although, I suppose  it is irony that it was not.

Why You Should Read:

Ralan. Eri. Goddess of Time. Enough said.

Time Taken To Read

2hr 10min

Rating: 4/5

Notable Quotes:

“Finally, Ralan reached out, hoping to connect with the only one who’d been consistently ignoring him — Megelien, Goddess of Time and Seers. She Who Hid and Revealed. She who was blocking the fuck out of the things he needed to See. There was a time he hand’t had to search so hard for the answers he needed.

Hadn’t he atoned enough?

NO.’ ” – Ralan trying to make up with the Goddess of Time and for her to tell him he hasn’t done enough for her forgiveness yet.

“Megelien says I’m feisty.” – Eri to Kai

“But fear and logic were far from friends.” – Ralan’s thoughts about his own inability to use blood magic without becoming his brother. (i.e. evil)

Sundered Review

Sundered Review

Judgement for the series is with this book. Can book two hold up my energy as book one did? Sure, three and four can still fail but direct sequels are always the hardest.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said…




Sundered by Bethany Adams

Synopsis From The Book

A life in shambles

Lyr might be a powerful elven lord in charge of thousands, but his personal life is a disaster. Just the month before, a daughter he’d never known existed arrived from Earth, giving  him news of his lost love’s death. Since then, he has been betrayed, captured, and almost murdered. And though his enemy was defeated, Lyr’s wounds never seem to heal. He certainly doesn’t need more conflict.

A perilous journey.

Amid the glittering perfection of Alfheim, Meli is a dismal failure. Haunted by visions of people and places she’s never seen, she struggles to find her place. So when her king orders her to lead and expedition to another world, Meli is caught between shock and terror. How can she navigate the Veil between worlds with no magic of her own? But with Algheim threatened by strange, dark energy, she has no choice.

A threat that spans worlds.

The last thing Lyr expects  is the arrival of the Ljósálfar; the reclusive Norse elves of Alfeim. More surprising? One among them, Meli, is  a possible soulbounded, a link he’d believed lost with his previous love. But wounded and besieged with problems on every side, he can’t let himself be distracted. Poisoned energy is flooding into the closely connected realms of the fae, causing  sickness, and Lyr must rush to find the source of  the threat. Only Moranaia remains untouched — leading  Lyr to suspect one of his own people might be to blame.


Short Synopsis By Me

Can I do better than above? Probably not.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

After reading book one, I am thoroughly excited for this book. I want to know more on Ralan, Eri, and Lyr. Arlyn and Kai I care for, but I liked those three best.  Will we learn more about the culture of their country versus other elven countries? Will we learn more about their world than the briefs we got in book one? I’m looking forward to it.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

It was a good sequel and I’m itching to read the third. Even though I knew that Meli was a reincarnation, that reveal hit me hard due to how the others reacted. We most certainly did get more information on the rest of the world, which was nice.

Plot Brief:

The fae worlds are dying and Meli had left Alfheim to seek out their Elven brethren for help. Meli is considered an undesirable, with no magic to her existence, that is until she is picked to lead the group to speak to their distant cousins. She discovers she has a gift for traveling  in the Veil between the Fae worlds and Earth.

Not much time has passed for Lyre, Arlyn and Kai and the arrival of Meli and her group is surprising.  The groups must navigate what the dark energy is doing to other Fae cultures, and how to help those of Alfheim. Additionally, Lyr must face what it means to be connected to Meli’s soul.

A few assassination attacks and fighting later. We discover Kai’s father is a Lord of the Sidhe (Another type of Fae), that Meli is the reincarnation of Lyr’s first love and Arlyn’s mother, and that Ralan’s powers seem  to be acting oddly.

What I Liked:

The elaboration on the other types of Fae. Thus far other than the Moranaias we have the Ljósálfar and the Sidhe. The Moranaias are all about nature. Ljósálfar all about their towers and buildings. The Sidhe seem to be more violent. Each race is judgmental to the other with their own cultures that they abide by.

Language Barriers; We continue the trait of having barriers of language between the types of Fae. It makes sense. I appreciate it.

Time Barriers; Between Earth, and the different countries there are different time. I buy into this perfectly.

New characters that were introduced are interesting. The perspective shifts to them were nice.

The cringe lines of human words to Fae, is actually a bit hilarious in my opinion.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

The love between Lyr and Lei did seem really quick to me, but I understand it is a part of the bond. Still, I would like more time. Though, I suppose they are elves what does it matter to them?

Why You Should Read:

Its a good sequel to book 1, but leaves you wanting book 3. Would I say read the series on book 2 alone? Probably. Its pretty worth it.

Time Taken To Read

2hrs 20min

Rating: 4/5

Notable Quotes:

Of course they did. Meli was coming to realize that Moranaians took their trees quite seriously.”

Soulbound Review

Soulbound Review

New Series here I come! There are four books to this series and one Novella. Wish me luck.

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target  audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said… Spoilers ahead.




Soulbound by Bethany Adams

Synopsis From The Book

A deathbed promise.

Arlyn’s  quest is simple: find her father and let him know her mother is dead. After all, Aryln had promised her mother she’d go. The problem? Her father’s people are myths and legends, and he doesn’t even  live  on Earth. But despite a long journey through the mysterious mists of  the Veil, finding him turns out to be the easy part.

A dream long buried.

After five hundred years, Kai has given up on  finding his soulbond. So when he stumbles across Arlyn after returning from his latest mission and recognizes her as his mate, Kai starts their bond in haste. But he never could have imagined that his bonded is his best friend’s newfound daughter. Whoops.

A hidden conspiracy sparked to life.

Though the sight of Kai makes Arlyn’s hear pound, she isn’t sure she can forgive him for starting  their bond without her permission. But her love life is the least of her problems. Her father is an elf lord, and his sudden acknowledgement of a half-human heir reignites the same conspiracy that took  him away from her mother in the first place. Now Arlyn and her family must face iron wielding assassins, bigotry, and her newly awakened magical abilities if they hope to come through in one piece.


Short Synopsis By Me

When Arlyn met her father, out of a promise made to her late mother, she did not expect to be thrown into the world of magic. Exploring another part of her heritage had never been so difficult, especially being bonded to a man she had only recently met. When strange assassination attempts rock her new home, Arlyn is thrown into a world of chaos bigger than she imagined.

I think the one for the backs does it better.


Initial Thoughts Before Reading:

I am… going to be honest. I picked up these books at Penned Con because of the cover and that they were about elves. Magic and nice covers? Worth the chance? Right? I did go through and add all of the synopsis for the series to their separate reviews before reading this one, so I have an idea of two things.

One, where the story is going.

Two, each book is focused on two different people of the world.

We will see how much I like this. Good luck to me.

Initial Thoughts After Reading:

One, I am correct in knowing where the story is going, but that doesn’t mean I know how it will get there. This path was an adventure that is for sure. Two, the book might focus on different stories, but if book one is evident on how that will be sign me up! I liked how this story flowed and found myself laughing at loud at points.

Brief Plot:

The book starts with Arlyn meeting her father. After testing her lineage, her father accepts her into  his home and Arlyn meets Kai. Kai, in his delusional – haven’t slept for a week, nor do I have magic — state, bonds with Arlyn without  her knowing. Arlyn’s father (Lyr) flips out because Lyr and Kai are best friends and it is wrong to do without permission. When Kai is healed and rested he is sick to his stomach with it, and Arlyn just decides to make the best out of a bad situation.

The book follows as Arlyn learns Elven customs, and trains her magic. We get more on the world building and a simple plot of failed assassinations, than a massive arc plot. This is good. The massive arc is mentioned, and brought up, but the shorter plot ties into it and helps  the story move forward. In the end everyone is saved but there is still  a dark cloud that hangs over the world.

What I Liked:

We jump right in, to when she meets her father. There is no time taken to watch her mother die, and her try to figure out how to get to the elven world. She’s done it. She’s been there. She is in the Elven world and not looking back ready to tell her father what happened. I like this. I like getting thrown into worlds and having to find my footing. It makes the experience more fun for me, and it works because Arlyn’s trying to figure it all out just like I am.

Language cuss words and language in general;  Along with  being thrown into the world,  we get thrown a language that makes no sense but to the people that speak it. I appreciate this.  I have no clue whether or not Bethany Adams has worked out the entire language of the elves, but I am happy she has worked out enough of it to give it substance. Additionally she gave the Elves a reason to speak in English, one that I accepted easily.

Culture and Customs; This goes along with the Language, but the usage and length of names is beautiful. I like how the culture of this specific Elven family has been explained. I like how the gods are such an important part of their culture, as is nature. It is a beautiful world already, simply from the attention to these details.

Soul bonding; This is a part of culture, but the soulbond is an important and powerful one that is explored in depth through this novel. I know it will become a powerful thing through later books and with such a simple plot we were able to explore this bond in enough  depth to believe it. I believed it.

Soft magic; I feel like this system will adapt to be more middle ground  than true soft magic, but when it comes to Elves I am okay with the magic being soft magic more than rule based.

Perspectives; Perhaps my favorite part of the book. We are focused on Arlyn but get Lyr and Ralan’s  perspectives. Lyr and Ralan are focus of book two and book three. Getting their perspectives now, helps to ease into he shift of focus for the nest few books. I was not expecting this to happen, and ultimately above everything else, this fact is what made this book score high for me.

Characters; In general I just love them. I also love that Arlyn is technically 23 at the start of the novel. The characters are all nicely developed with their own goals, and histories that I can’t wait to see fleshed out more. Currently Prince Ralan and Eri (his daughter) are my favorites.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

Insta love; Is it the bane of my existence? I’m not sure. See, I liked how the soulbond worked and how Arlyn and Kai had to overcome it. I liked that Arlyn knew she needed Kai but wasn’t sure she loved Kai. With four more books, I suppose I would have liked a bit more time for her to decide if she loved him or not. Finishing the bonding could have been a matter of necessity over love, to aid each other. These are Elves and yes this is their most sacred ritual, but I wanted Arlyn to have more time than a month.

Cringe lines; This part has me rolling in laughter. They were in particular for when Kai was turned on by Arlyn or when Arlyn and Kai decided to finalize their bonding with “consummation.” In context the lines aren’t that bad, if not a bit jarring. I didn’t care that they were there, or that the themes were  touched. I just found the specific wording of a few lines in general to be a bit cringe. Like “Light filled the room as they exploded together.” Just saying.

Why You Should Read:

Interesting world.  Interesting characters. Interesting take on  a relatively simplistic plot. The first book was simple, well written, and pretty witty to get me laughing out loud (or as invested in the characters as I was). Judgement lays with book two.

Time Taken To Read

2hrs 35min

Rating: 4.25/5

Why a .25? Shifting perspectives. This fact helped me accept the transition between the next few books.

Notable Quotes:

“Excuse me… I have no clue what you just said. Was my name somewhere in that mess?” – Arlyn to her father about her full name and title.

“Which of the nine gods have you offended, Lyr?” – the guard Norin to Lyr. This is actually a pretty ironic line in my opinion, considering later parts of the book and the fact that the gods  can  speak to the elves if they so wish.

Praise the Orc Review

Praise the Orc Review

Before I start… This is a review of a webnovel. This is important because I have found that I really don’t know how to speak about this series other than in this manner. This isn’t perfectly edited, is long, and may be repetitive but I needed this for me. I vented and ranted about this series for days to my friends and in truth, I think this may be the only way I can give it justice. 

Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a series; sometimes I am. If I do not like a series, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a series or simply like a series, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.

That being said… Spoilers ahead.




Praise the Orc by Lee Jungmin (Translated by Rainbowturtle)

Synopsis From The Series

Praise the Orc! is about Jung Ian, a cafe owner with a dark past, jumping into the world of virtual reality in order to protect his sister from any predators. However, things may not be as simple as he first believed them to be. Witness as he explores the lands of Elder Lord as an orc, a species labeled as the “game creator’s mistake”, defeating any and all before him!


Short Synopsis By Me

Jung Ian knows death; he has seen destruction and horrors that most can not even imagine. Despite this he is kind, and wants to protect those that he cares about especially his younger sister. In order to protect her better Ian joins the game of Elder Lord, a Virtual Reality game that has taken the world by storm. He decides to become an orc, a species most users disregard and loathe, mostly as a joke to his sister. However there is much more to being an orc than what first meets the eye, and there is far more to Elder Lord than he ever imagined.


Initial Thoughts After Reading:

I read this series after seeing a comment on another webnovel that I read. Everyone seemed so… enthusiastic? (They were saying “Bul’tar” over and over again.) I wanted to know why and some guy said it was because of this story. I decided, “Why not. I’ll try it.”

Best. Decision. Ever.

I felt a sort of hype and adrenaline rush as I read this series especially starting right before the second half. There are so many things I want to talk about in specific and why they work for this series but I am going to try to generalize.

If you don’t want to get spoiled I recommend stoping here. You want to know my final review points? 5/5. It is a story about a game and virtual reality. Only it becomes so much more than that as I will explain below.

Plot Overview:

[SPOILERS] Jung Ian is known as a renown assassin Raven, who was a hired hand to do missions. He has saved people and he has killed. His initial decision to take this job was in order to save his younger sister and himself from debt; he decided to do it at a young age, seven years before the story starts. Upon returning to Korea he opens a cafe and begins to work as the boss. The story begins here. His sister is playing the game Elder Lord and gets harassed so he joins the game to help her. Note that she quits the game before he ever meets her because it was so bad. 

Ian joins as an orc, and learns of the orc way. He is so taken by their culture that he can’t help starting to act and think like them. He is what many would call a role-player, but I would call this high assimilation and high empathy (but yes role player too). In the game there is an assimilation percentage and the more you take the world as to be real, the higher that percentage becomes. Ian has a high percentage from the get-go and accepts it all as a highly advanced game, but with its own merits of truth. Either way, he takes his role as an orc very seriously.

When many orc NPCs he cares about are massacred due to the betrayal of another orc user, he vows revenge on the user and the clan backing the user. Clans are groups of players like guilds. Most, however, have an extremely high disregard for NPC life and go as they please killing all that they do without a care. 

Ian, who has taken this role as an orc very seriously, follows the tenants of  being an orc warrior (see below in excerpts) vows revenge. He takes on the name Crockta. (Shall refer to him as Crockta from now on)

Most of the first third of the story follows this revenge. Crockta travels to a city defeats those of the Clan that destroyed those he cared about, saving the city and moving on. He then travels to a bunch of villages to save them and starts a war. After the war his enemies have disappeared and it becomes harder to find them so he begins another route. He reforms those who harassed his sister, and later saves a city from demons. He then continues on his travels, gathering companions moving to the north to liberate the north and stop the Northern invasion of the south.

It is while in the North, just about less than half way in, that Crockta learns this game is a real world. The people– users, gamers, whatever you want to call them — are in fact in another world, with their minds in new bodies created for them. Their identities as “those cursed by the stars” is a real curse because they are actually inter-dimensional travelers. Why have they been brought to this world? Only the Grey God, and master of the game, knows. 

However this also means that every “NPC” killed? It was a real, living, breathing, individual of another world. 

Crockta has to face this and strives to become stronger so he can stop more senseless destruction. This leads him to conquering the North and becoming a Hero class being. He then travels to the South to stop players who are helping a Human “NPC” become Emperor. These players are the remnants of the Clan that destroyed the orcs from the first half. Their goal is to ravish the world so badly that the game makers have to reset the game. They do not know this is a real world and simply want to destroy.

Crockta, with the help of all those he has met, destroys this faction. With the knowledge of a player who they captured from the other side, the Clan members are persecuted in the “real” world (i.e. Earth) for illicit drug activity. Immediately after the Gods declare war on Crockta saying he is trying to destroy the world, and that all people must destroy the orcs and Crockta. They battle the gods, and win.

This is where the Grey God declares the end of the game, but users do not log out and are stuck in the game. Die in the game, die in real life sort of thing, and quite a few people actually die. Crockta has to stop the Grey God in order to save the world. Now, the Grey God wants to reset the world to ultimately save the universe. The universe is dying and she hopes to reset it to let life begin again, but doing so requires her to erase all life in this dying universe. Crockta stops her, all users are sent back to their home world.

Throughout all of this Crockta was thought to be an NPC, but only at the very end did people realize he was truly a user like them. When returning to the real world, they know him to be the number one player in the game but no one knows his identity. When the dimensional rifts, caused by the Grey God, allow for monsters to enter Earth. Ian reveals himself in order to save the world becoming the world’s savior. This is where we end. At the beginning of a new story.

What I Liked:

Ian/Crockta; His justice was important especially as a medium for the themes to be told for the story. I really did empathize with him and my shock with all that happened reflected his own. He was a beautiful character with an interesting backstory. Typically stories with dark back stories like his own, are dark characters. He is a light character, kind and charming, and all the stereotypes (strongest character, girls love him, people adore him, he is their savior) of the hero, but somehow it just works. It works because the plot and themes make it work. He is the protagonist for this story and his journey is a mental journey of conviction. For this I only have praise.

Secondary Characters; For the secondary characters that exist, there were few I’d call true secondary characters. Of these were Ian’s companions Tiyo and Anor. They are the two who stick by Ian through the majority of the story and the two who have a back story. Based on the fact that there are “extra” chapters after the true end of the story I can not be disappointed that Tiyo’s back story was not completed. He was searching for his father, and some of that led Ian in specific directions. His father was never found, but the extra chapters allude to the meeting going to take place. Anor was relatively static to some, but I’d say he grew and changed over the progression of the story. He went from being a pitiable outcast, to accepting his powers and being foul mouthed, to being revealed as still  shy and using the “tough guy” persona to save himself, to accepting his shy nature and still fighting with his cursed power regardless. He is strong and I will protect him.

Tertiary Characters; Now there were many tertiary characters from orcs to groups, to individuals (like Rommel who was number 1 for the longest time till Ian passed him up). These characters had their own stories and a bit of development, but what surprised me most was that they kept coming back in times of crisis. They were there to help and move the story. They created the army from the beginning and were the army in the end. I appreciated this, for even if their motivations changed they were true to their beliefs.

Troupes and Execution; This is where it gets long so good luck. I am bolding due to multiple paragraphs incoming.

The troupes of this series are bountiful. Let me see if I can name some. MC is loved by all the girls. MC is the strongest. MC grows pretty unimpeded. MC is the hero. MC has a tragic back story. MC is the nice guy. MC is followed by strong companions. MC never fails. MC clears the game. MC saves the world. MC is loved by all those that he meets. Where ever the MC goes justice follows. The MC gets full revenge. The MC is merciful. The MC can’t die. The MC gets stronger when he fights for those he cares about. The NPCs are real living creatures. Oh no it’s now a death game (you die in the game, you die for real). … I could go on. 

Often times these troupes are just that, troupes. They are easy roles that can be used to explain something. They are easy to fall into and at some point they become less of stereotypes and troupes and more of what we expect in a main character. Its when the plot armor is so strong that these troupes tend to annoy. 

What Praise the Orc does so well is that each one of these troupes and stereotypes is used to push the themes of the story, which I will get into in a bit. The themes need the troupes to work properly. However Lee Jungmin is not lazy about how he incorporates them. He makes the MC kind from the  beginning. His tragic back story as an aspect of his decision as a kind character. Ian became a mercenary because he was kind and trying to save those he cares about. He has always wanted to save those he cares about. 

When Ian first joins the game, his real world skills are analyzed and then applied to the game. His assimilation rate allows him to become stronger  because he accepts the teachings and sees the world for what it is. The system rewards those who have high rates, this is explained from the beginning and is the same for all users Ian just abuses the system more. Ian is super empathetic so his rate is high, he is susceptible to it all and thus becomes strong. 

Now for the aspect of him being loved by all, its because he truly cares, understands and tries to help. The people reward him for this, despite him being an orc. This is tied to the themes. The most important for me is that he doesn’t die. Now Ian is a user, he can die. He just never does. This is directly tied to the themes of the story, his beliefs, and ultimately is what saves the world. He doesn’t die, because he can’t die, and that saves  everyone. 

Each one of the troupes ebbs and flows throughout the story, but not once was I annoyed because it made sense. Perhaps this is because the story is told from his perspective. Regardless, I believe that this is an important feature. If someone reads this story, through to the end, and sees the troupes of the story as a nuisance. Who were you rooting for? And what does that say about you? 

For me the troupes were filled in and expected of the character, but I was never once irritated by them because I needed him to be loved. I needed for him to win. I needed him to save everyone. And if that is not good writing, I don’t know what is.

Plot Progression;  We move to the plot progression. I have read many gaming webnovels and that is to  say i know the progression: the character faces an enemy everyone’s like “how strong” and then he faces the next stronger opponent. That is how this story progresses, but its the human elements and the call backs that matter. Those side characters that didn’t mean much and were off handedly mentioned, come back. I mentioned the groups that come to war to help Ian? They show up three times: the first time they are introduced, the second for the Empire war (to stop the players), and the third time to fight the gods.

Other characters show up between those times, of people Ian met, and they help him. When the gods are recruiting people to help them kill him, the people refuse because of what he has done for them. The sword that he got at the beginning for helping a trader? The sword creator comes back and makes him a sword capable of killing gods. The girl he helped sell with selling food? She saves him by not supplying the enemy army (for the gods) with supplies. Characters return, and move forward. The World Tree even comes back to help him after asking him, his opinion on the world. (Ian saved the World Tree in the Northern Conqueror arc). Tiyo’s father, who they hunted for and the hunt led them to different locations to meet people, is what allows Tiyo and the others to travel to Earth. 

Each interaction that was touched on meant something. Each person he touched meant something in the end. Each story helped lead them to where they were at the end. What characters said to him kept coming back and the progression as a whole is solid.

Events from the beginning are finally concluded in the latter half. The story progresses in a way that says, “of course this will happen next.” It is a progression that follows the path of a small trickle becoming a roaring stream or a small bit of snow fall becoming an avalanche. Learn to fight. Get a quest and save some people. Almost fail a second quest? Vow to get stronger. See loved ones die. Vow revenge. Revenge leads to city. Save the city. Revenge leads to more villages. Save the villages. When the group breaks apart help sister. Follow the words of a strange man who surprised you in the earlier war? Save a town. Follow words and save the north. Follow teachings and reveals in the north to save the south. See where I’m going? 

It was a forward plot. Most plot points got wrapped up in a satisfying way. The story ended and a new began.

Themes; We are going to break this down into three themes: Meaning of Life, Butterfly Effect, Being a Hero (warrior).

I begin with The Butterfly Effect. As people know, the butterfly effect is a theory that states that minute changes in the past can have great rippling effects in the future. Or, your actions no matter how small can have profound effects on the future. This is to say that every life saved comes back to help you. Every kind word, ever small gesture, every person helped, can come back to help you. Every bad thing, ever person hurt, every bit of negative energy, can come back and hurt you. I would say this is Karma, but in the case of the story it is clearly the Butterfly Effect. 

This is defined when our main character, at the end, is reflecting on what made him join the game in the first place. Yes, he wanted to save his sister. However, he only came up with the idea after hearing a woman speaking about the game on the side walk as her voice was carried on the wind towards him. Ian also reflects on what made him become what he was, and thinks back to his orc teacher who died. His orc teacher died and sent him on the journey for revenge, but its what the teacher said that had the effect on the entire story. “Are you alive?” and that just because Ian was breathing didn’t mean he was alive. This. This fundamental thought is what set Ian to strive for more power and to become the strongest. A little moment, of wind on falling leaves left such a lasting impact that changed the entire world. This theme is show in the progression of the story the best. The story is written to show this off, bringing every action back and every person into importance. It is Ian’s interactions that save him, and the interactions he has with others that save the world. 

Being a Hero (Warrior); The tenants of the orcs are below, and its in these seven tenants that you will find true chivalry. The orcs are the chivalrous ones and it is this idea of what it means to be a warrior that really sets the story into motion. It is through these tenants that Ian is kind to NPCs and saves peoples lives or shows mercy. It is through these tenants that the others are compared and we see what is like to see through the eyes of a true hero. He does not question these ideals. We do not question them. This is the way it should be, but we understand why the others don’t care. 

They see the world as a game. Why does it matter to treat people kindly in a game? Have fun, be ruthless, go crazy. Only, Elder Lord is not a game, it is the real lives of people in another dimension. Were we expecting the people to be noble and kind? No. But it only hits harder that Ian was, especially after we as an audience, and he, learn the truth. He was kind. 

It also helps that this theme ties into why people like Ian, and Ian as a person. Before Elder Lord, he was selfless. He gave his everything for his sister, and did awful things for her sake. He joined the game for her. He takes a girl off the streets and gives her a job to save her. Ian was built for these ideals and takes  so strongly to them because he already believer them. When he learns the truth of the world,  he can’t simply quit the game. He thinks about quitting the game because he wants to turn a blind eye to the horror but he can not. This is already shown with his character, backstory, and taking to the tenants. He can’t do that, especially not when it  actually matters. 

In many ways this theme is pushed and pulled to say: just because the life is not your life, does not make it worthless. All lives are important, and you should not hurt others simply for the sake of hurting others. Additionally this really pushes what it means to be a true hero. We often hear that heroes are selfless creatures and by seeing Ian’s story that is only exemplified. Only it is told in such a way that you want to be a hero too or, in the case of what the tenants say, a true warrior.

Lastly we have the most important them: The Meaning of Life. I had  difficulties with deciding on the simple title for this theme, but I think this encompasses the entirety of the story. This theme is introduce with the orcs who say “I am alive” as their customary greeting to each other. This is not, hello, hi, I am here, it is “I am alive.” They say this because they are living, they have seen another day, and they are continuing to live. They wish each other life, for life is the most important thing. 

Secondly, we get Bul’tar. For the definition of Bul’tar see below in excerpts, because there is in no way I can define this so beautifully. Bul’tar is everything, but the theme extends so far that I’m not even sure I want to use such a beautiful world to exemplify it. For all intents and purposes Bul’tar is this third theme and I’m using more simple words to explain why. 

We continue on with the plot and themes, seeing as the story progresses and the people struggle. Often times, mostly in times of trouble, Ian is brought back to the question “Are you alive?” He has learned from the orcs that to be alive means so much more than just breathing. He has learned, from the orcs, that to be alive means so much. He has learned to care for all life and question his own. This question leads him to more power and his acceptance of the world for what it is. It is also this question that makes sure Ian never dies. He acts like he only has one life and never dies (even though he can as a user, until the Grey God locks the world). He treasurers life. It is why so many think him an NPC. It is why he accepts his assimilation rate becoming so high. He accepts it all, and lives the way he must with no regret because he is living

It is this question of what it means to be alive that is the crux of the plot. The Grey God wants to save the universe even if that means destroying the life on the planet. Ian wants to save them all even if that means the ultimate end for them when the sun comes out. Both he and the Grey God learn that it is not the end, but it is this struggle for life that enraptures the entire story. Each battle that he fights has to do with life: life of the citizens, life of those in the north, saving the npcs, saving the world. Each time he is faced with a life crisis he resolves to get stronger, and it is by doing so and accepting this life as his own that he is able to (plus help by the system).

The entire plot revolves around this. When we learn that the NPCs are real beings, I had a panic attack just like Ian. For what does this mean? How many people have died in the fun and games of these ignorant humans? When you see the end, and perfectly logical goal, of the end boss, you understand why. You also understand why you have to reject it. You reject it because you are alive, all the people who are in the world are alive. They are alive, not just because they are breathing but because of so much more and they matter. 

This theme constantly asks what does it mean to be alive? What does it mean to dream? What does it mean to hope, to survive, of pain, of sorrow? What is the meaning of life? The answer is never made, but you know that by struggling with the question, you are alive. Thus, Bul’tar.

Each one of these themes comes from the beginning and falls together. We have the Butterfly effect that leads the plot in a fluid manner, bringing back points people, and effects. We have what it means to be a hero, helping you strive for a better world. Then we have Bul’tar, the Meaning of Life, and suddenly those troupes, that simple plot, that simple world? It gains a whole new meaning. It becomes that hope that swells inside your chest leaping out and making you scream along with the character because you care.

What I Would Have Liked or Changed:

I want more. Is that so much to ask? I want more on the world and how things go. There are extra chapters after the end and I want more of them. I need more of them just to wrap up the few loose ends that there are.

Why You Should Read:

Themes. This is a beautiful example of themes, sticking to them, and really pushing for them. Lee Jungmin expertly crafts a world and story around the concept of being alive and life, from the very beginning. You want a master class course on how to take stereotypical troupes and masterfully write them to include the themes you want to press? This is your story.

Time Taken To Read

2 days (there are 228 chapters, plus 6 extra chapters currently)

Rating: 5/5

It’s going on my recommended list. Thanks

Excerpts:

“I am an orc, a warrior.”

“A warrior doesn’t forsake faith.”

“A warrior doesn’t persecute the weak.”

“A warrior doesn’t attack unarmed people.”

“A warrior doesn’t yield to injustice.”

“A warrior doesn’t shame the gods.”

“A warrior pays back any favors or vengeance.”

“A warrior protects the powerless.”

“I swear to the gods, I will abide by these laws as a warrior.”


Bul’ta.

The more accurate pronunciation was Bul’tar.

It is a word familiar to the orcs in the present time. It seems that the ‘r’ ending has been omitted, and has now become the present form, Bul’ta.

The ancient orc word Bul’tar has both the most complex and subtle meanings. In universal terms, it refers to survival and life; however, in contextual terms, it sometimes symbolizes the most important thing or something of high value that the orc must fulfill in life.

It isn’t easy to interpret this word in the continent’s language, because it has a variety of meanings. In the case of the former, it is possible to replace the word with ‘life’ and ‘survival’. However, the problem becomes more complicated in the latter meaning. This is because there is no word to describe it in the official language of the continent.

It is a word that collectively refers to life, morality, goals, dreams, and the most important things in life. Understand this word is the most critical and difficult task when studying the culture and philosophy of the orcs.

I have met countless orcs. As I moved among them, I could feel the true meaning of Bul’tar. Despite the gap between the two different languages, if there is a way to express it in our current language, then I would like to do so.

In the ancient orc language, Bul’tar is life. Life is ‘honor’ to the orcs.

For them, life is the process of realizing honor, and honor is the sum of the most important values of their lives. This orc belief is solemn and religious. Therefore, Bul’tar is life, and is separate from the will of survival.

-Elliot De Pontian (The Cultural Philosophy of Each Tribe’s Ancient Language)

Notable Quotes:

“No matter what, we have to survive.” – Hoyt (an orc NPC) to Ian

“Are you alive?” – Any time that this comes up in the story.

“Bul’tar.” 

November Review Archive

November Review Archive

A complete Archive of all reviews from the month of November (2018):

Total Number of Reviews :

Books : 9

Novellas : 0

Series Reviews : 2

Poetry : 0


Misadventures of a Virgin – Meredith Wild

Violin – Anne Rice

Going Down in Flames – Chris Cannon

The True Story of Rapunzel – M. Lynn

Golden Curse

Golden Chains

Golden Crown

The Legends of the Tri-Gard- M. Lynn and Michelle Bryan

Prophecy of Darkness

Legacy of Light

Mastery of Earth

Happy Wednesday

Happy Wednesday

Happy Wednesday all! I know I haven’t had many blog posts recently, mostly because I don’t know what to write with them. ^~^

Recently, I decided that I am going to be revamping the style of my website. When I created this baby three months ago, I did so for me. It was more of an archive for myself, so that I could review. This is not to say that in recent months I have gotten a ton of likes or follows. This is more of a: I just want to do it to make it nicer. I essentially just picked an easy theme. I’ll be adapting it within the week or month.

I also realize I’ve missed a few weeks for reviews. They are in my queue, I just forgot to post them so there will be a dump this upcoming Monday.  This upcoming Friday I will be posting a special review of a webnovel. I wasn’t planning on reviewing a webnovel, but I finished this one through to completion in two days and I figured I should. It’s not going with my typical Monday posts because this is a treat for you. It would actually be out today  if it weren’t for the fact that I want a bit of time between writing the initial review and editing it (especially in this case where it had me so emotional).

Thank you all for sticking with me, and following (for those 20 some of you who have followed). You are amazing. Truly.

MM