Unbroken

a Fantasy by ninjapitka

Commended by mizal on 3/16/2020 11:51:06 PM

Player Rating7.14/8

"#45 overall, #1 for 2020"
based on 103 ratings since 03/16/2020
played 4,152 times (finished 153)

Story Difficulty5/8

"run through the jungle"

Play Length6/8

"It'll be a while, better grab a Snickers®"

Maturity Level6/8

"I'll need to see some identification"
Some material may be inappropriate for persons under age 16. If this were a movie, it would probably between PG-13 and R.
There is no escaping our nature. It simply exists. The voice within me, the one that causes me to commit terrible deeds, burns a low ember. Still, it remains, always present, always looking for fuel to burn. It wants to escape. I feel its lust. It wants to devour. This day is no different. I must battle the darkness within. Author's note: In various sections, you will be given the option to view a simultaneous event happening in the story. While not directly affecting you, the reader's path, they may create a more cinematic feel to the story. Originally written as the last page for Sixteen Words, I hope you enjoy my full adaptation of Contemplation.

Player Comments

This was an excellent piece of writing, by one of the best writers on this site. The story describes an intriguing world, and it populated with thoughtful characters. It does borrow a bit from Star Wars mythology (there was a scene that I couldn't help but compare to Palpatine seducing Annakin over to the Dark Side, down to the physical description of the Palpatine-equivalent character) but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

If I had an observation to make, it would that I didn't get a strong sense of the central issue of this story -- i.e., the Big Problem that everybody wants to resolve.

There is a protagonist with a mysterious origin story, there is an Empire that everybody dislikes, apparently even some of the people who act as its agents (the Empire struck me as the embodiment of mediocrity rather than evil, BTW), there are powerful spirits that are by turns deceitful AND helpful, there is a king I want to like... but he seems to be a chronic drunk, and at any rate when his pride is wounded his first instinct is to banish me, so I guess it wasn't heart-wrenching when [CENSORED TO AVOID SPOILERS].

But for me, these elements didn't quite gel together into as compelling a story as this could've been. The Protag's virtues struck me as a given, and nothing seemed to be at stake for him. With few exceptions, the choices weren't that weighty, and as a result I didn't feel as engaged in the story as I should be something of this caliber.

Still, this is a high-quality story, deserving of its featured status. Good work!
-- Bill_Ingersoll on 4/28/2020 8:49:41 PM with a score of 0
Let me start this review with the fact that this is one of the rare novels I’ve not skimmed through at certain parts, both on the site and in more conventional reading. Also, I’d like to point out the fact that this review will probably contain spoilers, so just read the darn story first.

Alright, with that out of the way, I’d like to start with the writing style. It’s not flowery, serves as a supporting pillar where the plot and pace rest on. It’s a solid work where the words give way to the story, unobtrusively allow you to paint the picture yourself. I like that a lot.

It’s also clearly been proofread and edited multiple times. There’s been two little spelling mistakes, both on the Seth path. That’s two little mistakes in a 63k word count, impressive. Much like the plot, the sentences themselves flow really well. It gives the story the pace it needs to make those words fly you by.

The protagonist at times reminds me of Ender. He’s shaped by the monks through brutal discipline to become a lethal weapon. And much like Ender, he becomes a solitary figure, not allowing himself to get to close to any other character, save for his childhood friend/sister/love, Kassi.

The other characters are thus relatively flat, something that fit within the narrative. The protagonist counters that with an internal struggle. The curse in his blood gradually builds up as the story progresses, with most branches ending in a choice you make in how far you are willing to go to resolve that. The struggle between discipline and urges is made fantastical and personified in this story, but something that on a smaller scale exists within all of us.

It is made fantastical because it is a fantasy story. From the first page, you are confronted with the fact magic, and other scary beings exist in this universe. The world expands in a seeming cliché of an evil empire invading the good kingdom, complete with dragons and all. Yet on certain paths, you’re confronted with those beautiful shades of gray. People are struggling to survive and no ruler is untarnished.

I also really enjoyed the way magic was handled. It was present enough to make it feel it had an impact on the world. Most spellcasters themselves felt like forces of nature. Yet it didn’t overstep its bounds. The story progressed without some sort of deus ex magica being needed.

The action is well done. The fighting scenes, and there were a lot, were described with detail, without feeling they held up the scene itself. While at some parts it descended in the simple parry, counter, hit, I felt the action was one of the big highlights.
I also enjoyed the fact that the true history behind your curse is spread over different paths. Some sinister urge on one path was explained in passing in another, revealed in a third.

After the good comes the bad. It was clear the author had a story to tell and told it in several variations. To keep the pacing of the plot, the author severely bottlenecked his paths, where they usually only split near the final pages.

While the first read it was a blast, a reread revealed that most choices had no impact on the progression. If you leave out the fake choices and cinematic scenes, which on their own are a terrific idea I’m sure to steal, you’re met with three main paths. While this allowed the paths to be long, of novel-length individually, the storygame as a whole felt limited.

Overall I felt the feature in such a heavily contested genre was well deserved and I thoroughly enjoyed the read. 7/8.
-- enterpride on 4/10/2020 3:41:03 PM with a score of 0
When I saw mizal's post about this story, I knew I was in for a treat. What I didn't realize at the time was just how good a treat I was going to be getting. This story exceeded my expectations in so many ways. The overarching story was interesting and complex, the characters were well developed, and the quality of the prose left little to be desired. For those of you who have yet to read this amazing story, stop reading now and just do it. There are a great many spoilers ahead.

The fantasy elements are woven quite nicely into the story. From the very start, we know that this world is going to be different from our own. Within the first chapter, we are introduced to the idea of sprits and shades, as well as the magic system, all of which come to play later in the story. The interesting thing about this particular story, however, is that the fantasy elements are not the sole focus of the story. (At least, not until we get close to the end). When they're not relevant to the plot, they kind of fade into the background, allowing the main plot involving the war between the empire and the old kingdom to come into the spotlight. So far as I can tell, there are only three major differences between our world and the world of the story: spirits, magic, and wyverns. While the appearance of other fun fantasy creatures such as are always a delight, I feel that for this particular story, limiting things to these three elements might have been the right choice, as anything more might've distracted from the plot itself.

There are a lot of clever little things that really make this story shine. For one thing, I quite liked the little asides at the beginning of each chapter detailing the player character's thoughts. They provided a nice glimpse into their head, giving us a better picture of the way they think. The little bits of philosophy sprinkled in here were quite fun to read as well. I, for one, like to hear a character's musings on the concept of fate and the like.

Another cool little thing I'd like to point out is the way the first chapter subverted my expectations. I thought for sure we were heading for a tournament arc; you even gave us a choice of what event we'd get to compete in. So imagine my surprise when I was instead thrown headlong into an ambush by this big evil empire. This was almost certianly a more interesting turn of events than what might otherwise have followed: a series of repetitive fights after which I would inevitably have been chosen to join the king's army. I'm sure the author would've pulled it off either way, but I still think he made the right choice.

One last clever little detail I can't help but point out was the use of duplicate links when the player character was possessed. Something about it really helped drive home the fact that there really was no choice in the matter, far more than if there'd been just one.

I only have a couple of minor gripes I'd like to throw out there. There were a few endings I felt didn't quite give much closure. Specifically, the exile and crippled mentor endings. With the exile ending, I would've liked to know what became of the player character after they left the forest. Did they settle down and have kids? Continue fighting the empire? Get consumed by the darkness inside them and kill Kassi? A short epilogue would've answered these questions easily.

The Crippled Mentor ending felt incomplete, because I don't buy that the emperor would stop hunting the player character after they directly defied his orders and killed the men he sent to stop them. How can they be willing to train a little girl, and possibly put her in danger in the process? She'd be guilty by association if they ever found out she was being trained by the player. I understand that this might've been harder to fix though, so I understand why it was left the way it was.

My other problem with this story is that there are quite a few sections without any meaningful choices that don't immediately end the game or simply provide a little extra exposition. It would've been cool to have a little bit of branch and bottleneck in those sections to make us feel like we're still in control. I get that this was a pretty hefty story as it is though, so I understand this is kind of a lot to ask. I also don't want to give the impression that there's no branching at all; there certianly is. A lot of people probably wouldn't even care about this so much; I know I still enjoyed the story regardless, but I figured I'd bring it up for the sake of those who do.

All in all, seriously a great story. I wouldn't be surprised if this one wind up becoming number one for 2020. This is truly some 8/8 storytelling, so I hope it gets the recognition it deserves.
-- jster02 on 3/25/2020 10:05:57 PM with a score of 0
I do not like this game as i found it too repetitive and it was quite boring, please improve.
-- Jay on 3/15/2021 10:12:06 AM with a score of 0
Truly an interesting read , well done .
-- Kromer on 2/10/2021 12:00:14 PM with a score of 0
As a new member of this community, looking in at what writing it has to offer can be a mixed bag, sifting through what appears to be nearly two decades of writing. This is, however, a phenomenal piece of writing. It develops a lot of things well, and really makes the reader feel things, when so often we feel detached from what we read.

The Plot

Not to say it doesn’t have its issues, however. I felt the pacing between the seperate routes in the story was a bit off. One route, while interesting, felt slower to me than it really needed to be, especially in comparison to the other, jam packed with action and reveals one after another This is a work that moves fast, and does not apply the brakes for a second. It bounces between plot threads at a rapid pace. If you’re looking for a more contemplative, plodding story, this is not it. Unfortunately, the story often uses action as a crutch, becoming an excuse to move the plot forward more often than being affected by it. It is well written action, even with its drawbacks. All in all, the plot works for the most part, able to tell a compelling story even with its flaws.

The Characters

The characters are the one part of the story that fell most flat for me, as a reader. They simply aren’t given enough time to develop and pop out as more than just people on the page. The main character is good or evil, well, because they are, without the character themselves backing up this assertion. I appreciated them for what they did in the story, but they were more vehicles for the plot to run through instead of living, breathing characters in my eyes. In the end, though, I can appreciate them for what they are in telling this story.

The Writing

The writing is one of the strongest pieces of this story. I saw no grammatical errors, and the writing is concise, fitting well with the rapid pace this story takes. I have no real issues with the writing style. Good on you!

Conclusion

With that said, I can’t recommend Unbroken enough. The writing is quick and snappy, the story compelling, and the characters likeable. What more can I really add? It’s good stuff y’all.
-- wheelbarrow on 12/25/2020 10:57:22 PM with a score of 0
Interesting plot and way of writing. However, endings leave me quite unsatisfied.
-- Premium on 7/15/2020 10:44:48 AM with a score of 0
Ten outta ten!
-- Kytty on 6/4/2020 6:05:28 AM with a score of 0
As always with comments watch out, because there are spoilers ahead.

At first I want to tell you that this was truly one of the best stories I read on this website. I think the last time I was so captivated in a story was while reading through "Eternal".

As is usual for me, since I am no grammar pro, I did not find any mistakes disrupting the flow. I did spot like 2 typos but nothing that is making your grammar bad at all. I certainly could not achieve such a correctness myself.

I did notice also that some choices had no real consequences on the story itself. They seemed to be there just to tell you different sides of scenes but not to actually have a bigger influence.

The main branches always split of at the end of a chapter. That is nothing bad in my opinion. In fact that is also something I tend to do when I write something here. It makes the general overview of the story easier for me.

The paths themselves were very captivating in my opinion. I was always able to feel myself immersed in the character and also truly feel that internal struggle between the characters beliefs and the dark spirit. Those pages with the same choice twice really gave a feel for that helplessness in your own body you tried to achieve.

The way how you described the magic and also the history behind that dark spirit, by putting the information into different paths, always giving you only part of the full truth within one branch made replaying the game very exciting and made me hunger for more information as soon as I finished one branch.

This story definitely deserves to be featured and you created a great piece of writing with a real novel like feel to it. Well deserved 8/8 from me.
-- LJacko on 5/7/2020 6:57:36 AM with a score of 0
This was amazing! I honestly enjoyed it a lot! It was a wonderful story line and plot. I don't think I have ever read anything like this and would absolutely recommend it to others! :)
-- Kiki on 4/30/2020 7:32:23 PM with a score of 0
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