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for The Zilos Chronicles Volume Three: The Vengeful Inferno

3/12/2023 c21 7Eytha
All finished with the trilogy now. The last chapter is a more proper epilogue than the previous chapter. This should have been after and the other moved elsewhere. It's still too long, too talkie and ends up feeling like there's a lot of filler in it, but it's doing more of what the other chapter should have been.

As a whole, book 2 and book 3 are significantly better structured from a plot point of view. All three have the same issues that I've brought endless. Book 2 and Book 3 suffer from significantly more grammar issues making it far more difficult to read. In spite of how preachy and speech heavy Book 1 is, I think Book 2 and Book 3 double down even harder on these making them hurt even more for it. Anytime someone starts talking in the middle of a fight, everything slows down. That's just the nature of talking in a fight. It's even harder on text because you can't do two things at once. You have to have talking or action and so you need to measure yourself with it. Pacing completely dies because your characters just stand still for literal I think minutes in scene to just argue about who has the moral high ground. You need to completely rewrite every single fight scene to solve this. You also need to learn to write snappier dialogue. You're leaning too hard into the Lelouch and similar anime style where they're super talk heavy, but as I said your inspiration has the advantage of being able to do two things at once. You don't so you need to simplify your speeches and remember you're a book, not an anime and I don't believe you want it to look like you one. You just are using that as inspiration, not the way you want it to be read.

The concept of Zilos isn't bad. It's a fairly safe and well used story that mixed Batman and Code Geass. However, a solid idea can be hurt by execution, which is what happened here. Richard could be an interesting and likeable person, but he doesn't stop talking. Most of the character could be fun and interesting, but you've written them all the same. It's really curious, you make sure to give them unique voices with accents or ticks in how they talk, which is important and great. However, after that, they all just monologue endlessly regardless so all of that good work you do to give them a voice is then immediately buried because you have them all talk the same. So everyone literally ends up looking and sounding the same in spite of them having widely different personalities and accents.

Of the trilogy, Book 1 is the one in need of the most work. It has power scaling problems all over the place. Richard gets into situations he really shouldn't be and plot convenience happens around every corner for him. But Book 1 is also the cleanest on grammar. However, I think you may also want to think about if you want this to just be a webnovel rather than a book, at least for now. Given the volume of content you already have and some mindful cutting up of chapters. You'd probably fair better as a webnovel. However, Zilos isn't written with an internet reader in mind. Which is the biggest hurdle you have with increasing your readership. You need to think about the internet reader and what they want if you want Zilos to succeed here. It has a chance, it's power fantasy enough to succeed in that market. You just need to evaluate what you want to achieve with it.
3/12/2023 c20 Eytha
Reached part one of the epilogue, though this chapter spends a heavy amount of its time doing politics and bouncing around to a lot of characters including the other national leaders. The one that seems like the Russian analog turned really hard into a caricature. Most characters in the story are extremely anime already that they're already unbelievable, but he literally just stops remembering that he's in an international meeting. The guy is supposed to be a skilled at maintaining himself and his true agenda in public I would have thought otherwise how he manage this long.

Nearly the entire chapter though felt more like it belong in the next book rather than this one. So my recommendation would be just cut all of this and move it on to the future book 4, it's not really helping close out this story arc. You get off this begin action climax and then spent most of the chapter politics and giving speeches, something you do on repeat in even fight and chance any two characters that have slightly differing opinions. Give the reader the reward that they want, the pat on the back good job to the characters and minor victory lap. Hint at future plots, tease future plots, don't spend the whole chapter just being the future plot.
3/11/2023 c19 Eytha
The battle ended a lot sooner than I expected, which means there is going to be two chapters of epilogue. Does make me wonder what remains now at this point to settle. But went with the power of friendship ending to finish things. It certainly had that JRPG final boss or end of the anime arc sort of setup.
3/10/2023 c18 Eytha
Apparently the last minion was still around and there was the added distraction of going back to the royal family. Honestly, the opening scene could be cut, I know you were just wanting to show their reactions to a person that should be dead, not, but there wasn't anything new with their reactions. Each was predictable and just wasted pages.

A lot of the chapter oddly felt like a filler chapter since the Ares mostly amounted to stalling until the dragon showed up. And there was a lot of philosophical debating as always that's been done by every other character on repeat by now. I'm not sure if you were attempting to humanize Ares with his back story or just explain it, but it ended up feeling the exact same as everyone else. Once the debating about how wrong his view is I already had shown it before and I became completely disengaged with the characters and story.

The end is close.
3/9/2023 c17 Eytha
The last minion fight went a little faster than I expected, but now it's focused on the two remaining plot points. I guess it's the theme of the entire three books, but the whole keeping purity argument that several of the fights/bad guys have is getting pretty repetitive at this point. I think it almost would have been a better fight if we didn't know his motivation. Especially since you're not really doing it to make them sympathetic, but just to have a philosophical debate about politics in the middle of a fight.
3/8/2023 c16 Eytha
The chapter concludes the two fights between the minions leaving one minion left. With how many chapters still remain, it does make me wonder how much things will be dragged out over the course of these chapters. There remains 3 plot points to resolve, so I'm not sure where things will be go to take up this much volume.
3/6/2023 c15 Eytha
More continued setup for the fights to come. The first two slowly begin, though they carry over into the next chapter maybe more. Richard repeats a lot of his past conversation with the woman as they argue their points once again. For a comparatively short chapter very little still happens in it.
3/5/2023 c14 Eytha
A long slow burn to the start of the final arc, given the number of chapters remaining this probably is enough to be a book by itself as well. Though there's a lot of filler in there padding out time to the primary events. The two key plot beats are the attempt to bring a united front and Ares doing everything to approach and unseal the evil dragon.

I'm going to guess there's at least 5 major fights given that there's 4 bad guys plus the dragon. At this point I'm more curious what the plan is beyond this given that things are largely looking to wrap up outside of the larger political things. So I'm not sure what the future big bad will be for the story. Or even the direction this plans to go.
3/2/2023 c13 Eytha
I will admit this is the first chapter that made me interested in wanting to read it after I finished the previous one and then it starts immediately with the bad guy rather than the lore cliffhanger of the last chapter. This disengaged me almost immediately and stalled the interest to read on. I'd recommend keeping the scene from the last chapter going at the start rather than ignoring it for literal pages.

The rest of the chapter played out about how I expected it would. The reveal concludes with the bad guys storming the place and stealing the item and getting away to lead into the final arc I'm guessing, which looks to be nearly half the size of the book.

You engage deeply into just having a lengthy conversation rather than fighting completely halting any of the pace of the chapter. It goes from having high stakes and quick movement, quick for you, to completely stopping everything. And it feels largely like a repeat of any sort of conversation Richard has with bad guys. You already showed their motivations and background before, I think Richard is fine being in the dark about it since the reader already knows.
3/1/2023 c12 Eytha
Given that the entire chapter's purpose to get the trust of these new people, it's a very long chapter. It only really starts moving something forward near the end leaving the next chapter to carry the cliffhanger. Though it seems a little odd that Ares looked into the place and just accepted that they didn't have anything and then Richard thinks they have something and is right.

Otherwise the chapter needs to be split up into multiple ones. There is all the stuff with the mercenary, the meeting the villagers and the stuff leading into the cliffhanger that make for easy splitting up. But there is also just a lot of time burned to get to the heart of the matter. So could just cut a lot of it and not be out anything.
2/19/2023 c11 Eytha
A very long chapter that opens with a fight that sort of just feels like it's a fight for the sake of having one rather than achieving something. It was a returning character, but it felt like a fairly empty fight with little in the way of development for the characters involved. The Detective fight fared better, though it dragged on a really long time taking up a lot of the chapter.

The ending of the chapter moved quickly for this story, though the outcome felt fairly inconsequential in the terms of the plot. Given that the plot is moving towards what Richard remembered I'm guessing, the intelligence gathered from the Don seemed to be leading no where.

The entire arc despite the speed at which it went through the plot felt like it went on as long as any other arc and I think that's mostly because it felt like a filler arc. I know it's not, but very little happens in the arc that advances characters or the plot. It felt like it was meant to be a world building arc, but you need more than just world building to carry an arc. And given that after the opening minutes of the political debate it just repeated itself until they finished the world building ended up being very short itself. Which I think contributes to the over slow pacing of the entire arc.

Given what happens in the arc, your probably better off having Richard remember the two people in the epilogue of the last arc and skipping this completely. And backstory that the Detective gained here could be handled in future chapters.
2/16/2023 c10 Eytha
Felt like there was a lot of pages with very little happening. A heavy amount was spent on political posturing, which after a while felt like it was just going in circles rather than revealing anything new about either side. Most of the moving plot looked to be with the Detective and Richard remembering the two strangers from the first book. Feels like a lot of it could have trimmed down as I don't really know where it is going.

But there is a lot of splitting up that should happen. There is the stuff with the Czar that should it's own chapter, the stuff with the Detective that should be, the stuff with the betting and anything Richard doing outside of the rest.
2/12/2023 c9 Eytha
I don't pay a lot of attention to chapter titles, but you really did just combine two 007 movie titles into one. It felt like a really big non-sequitur to see a random movie reference in the title. Oh and a Gundam Wing Endless Waltz reference as well. A little on the nose this chapter it seems.

But the new arc begins now and the Don is back. Given his lack of use in the last arc, I definitely agree with completely dropping his presence from the previous arc and just move anything from there that you feel remains important up to here. This is where he's important I'm going to assume, future chapters will tell, but this is where he should be re-introduced rather than in the previous arc.

Like with most chapters, the usual matters overly long conversations and too much for a chapter. The divide is a little more awkward, but I think the before all the political talking and after are good breaks.

And I didn't mention it in the last chapter, but Kristen is going full Flay it would seem. Still unclear where the sliding scale will fall for her. But it felt a little shoehorned in that the idol event that she is now going to be a part of is just conveniently happening at the same time as this. It feels like you needed her in the plot around Richard and invented a reason for her to be there rather than it being natural. Suddenly, the monarchy as a figure head position that has never been mentioned before?

Don't know where the arc is currently headed, but you've cleaned up most of the relationships at this point and unified the groups. So it's going to be a little less infighting. But unclear what new chaos will occur.
2/6/2023 c8 Eytha
The epilogue of the first arc of the book. Given how tightly contained the whole arc has been this would be the natural point to just end the book and start up fresh on the next point. The only situation is that the chapter is longer than any of the previous ones for a wrap up. A lot of the scenes over stay or doing really move much of anything. There are 4 different scenes in this chapter all which should be different chapters if you want to keep everything. Though as a epilogue, it should be a lot tighter in its wrap up rather than the wandering it does.

This has been a reoccurring theme since the first book, but sort hit a critical mass point with the enemy that is basically naked but using magic to cover themselves up. I know you're often going for the femme fatale with women, but it's getting to be troubling how you present your female characters. I think nearly every single prominent female character or combatant (royal family excluded) has been naked or nearly naked at least once. At least two of them I believe have intentionally fan service designs maybe a third. It's becoming very uncomfortable to read scenes with female characters in them.
2/4/2023 c7 Eytha
This chapter honestly felt like the end of a book. It just lack a little more of an epilogue, which the aftermath will probably happen in the next chapter and this is a perfect place to just stop. Obviously, this is the end of an arc and you're moving into another one. However given the scale of the book, chapters 1-7 are just a book. It has all of your pieces for a book even if it is sort of a continuation. It's the ending of one part of the things Richard has been trying to solve.

Like with any chapter, this needs to be split up into a lot of chapters. It's a little hard to decide where But the real father coming out is a whole part. The fight with the Cell clone is another. And there's a lot of in between.

The only thing that's a little odd and seems like a plot hole is that Richard goes into great length to explain how over powered his father's eye is. And given what it is described as being able to do, he should have easily been able to see what Ares was going to do and stop him.
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