Soulshard: Willbender

by pyrowind

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

Real Fantasy Online. The flagship product for the latest generation neural-interface headset. Touting: "The Best NPC AIs", "Better than Life Realism" and "Total Immersion", RFO promises to be a virtual world like no other. But when the line between one's real self and one's digital identity becomes blurred, and the "Gods" have their own agenda, who is the player, and which is the game?

 

Marcus has played any number of VR games, beta-tested dangerous and unstable systems and lived to tell the tale. He even has a certain amount of fame and influence within...certain circles. He usually disdains the idea of pre-orders and their respective "perks" as blatent commerical exploitation, but this time the bonus is too tempting to pass up. The ability to craft your character's backstory and have it integrated into the game's lore is enough for him to sign up for the Early Access program. He isn't interested in being all-powerful. Frankly, he's been there and done that enough to be bored of the whole thing. Instead, he opts to make a character purely for the purpose of having fun. Things aren't quite what they seem however, and his "backstory" and character class have implications he never would have imagined.

 

Author Note: First time posting a story online, and I'd appreciate any feedback. Updates may be slow, as each "chapter" will likely be in the 10,000 word range and I tend to revise several times before being (tentatively) satisfied. If people seem to like this I'll try to establish a regular post schedule.

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pyrowind

pyrowind

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Reviews
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zapking5
Overall

Excellent worldbuilding, characters, and writing. I quite like the references too.

JayQue
Overall

Intricate and interesting story

Ignore the amount of available chapters, each chapter is quite long and is each equal to twice the numbers of chapters as others. Cant wait to see where they take the story next

Bandicoot
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

This is great find on this site.  Full of character development, backstory and even a good hook for a plot, this story really kept my attention.

I found it when it was on chapter 4 and have since, followed it quietly but now, after this last chapter, I am happily forced to give my endorsement for a great twist.

I definately didn't see that one coming. :)

 Character: Hmm..somewhat familar enough to evoke a sense of comfort, but different enough to be interesting.  The backstory that is dutifully doled out and carefully woven in is great.  Having read the first few chapters again, I see I missed a lot of clues that might be foreshadowing.  Lots of great world building on top of it.

Style: No TABLES!  I both hate and adore tables and this story does quite well using them well.  They highlight the points without being obnoxious.

Grammar: no issues of note.  A few very minor quibbles, but I had to squint to find them.

Story: a bit slow at first but engrossing by chapter 3.  And the MC does have a weird backstory without being OP or out of character.  Makes sense to me!

 

All in all, take a chance and a couple of chapters and be prepared to follow this story :)

A Talking Rock
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

I like it... one of my favorites.

ive been reading this story since the first chapter came out(if u look at the time of this review that would be 41 days) and i do think i recomend this book. the release time might seem a little slow but that might also be me considering i read super fast and the chapters might last slow readers like 2 or 3 days. sadly i read them in like 15 minutes(which kinda sucks, meaning that i look for books more than i read them). im posting this review because i feel the story is far enough for me to tell that it should be pretty good and intresting,especially considering i hate sao and this has crazy references to it. and for people who read(red idk) 

Spoiler: Spoiler

 

LVL. 1 SUBSIDY
Overall

First VR story that i actually liked

The first couple chapters really got me hooked. Then the story progressed... mc is actually pretty decent. Good setting, world situation, writing style.

Just read it. 

denkkar
Overall

Unique take on litrpg

CAUTION: may contain traces of spoilers

The game mechanics were quite the surprise. In pyrowind land, the game character plays you. Luckily for the MC, he didn't try a female character! Still, a half-incubus leads to interesting situations.

If that's not enough, it's also very well written. There's pretty good dialog, combat scenes, and humor. Plus you'll find some outrageous word combinations like: “Never doubt brother’s invisible corner of overwhelming appeal.”

TheSwicky
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

You totally feel like reading on and on, lots of background story of the MC himself and lots of worldbuilding. This story having only 3 chapters at the moment should not keep you away as they're incredibly long. Very few grammar mistakes (English is not my mother langue so do not think it's 100% without errors)

DJLawton
Overall

Although this story is discontinued, I believe it is definitely worth reading because of its general quality and insights into humanity's future. 

The cliffhanger at chapter 7 left me thinking about subconscious restrictions, about an other way of saving humanity from its self and about what an ideal world would look like. Would it be chaotic and risky? Orderly and "safe"? Utopia or dystopia? Comspiracy theories too, is my subconscious controlled? Plato's Allegory of the Cave is one thing, but control over the subconscious mind is on a whole other level.

11/10

C. M. Lee
Overall
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Story
Grammar
Character

Loved the setup, hated the wait

Reviewed at: Session 7: Revelations

Great story, well worth the time to read it even though it has gone dormant.

At its core Soulshard: Willbender is a LitRPG piece with feet in both fantasy and speculative fiction. It explores some deep moral questions that most people will shy away from, presents a complex magical system on one hand and even more complex technology on the other. Singularity, grey goo, global warming, relationships, moral and social dilemmas... and so much more.

Character development is extremely well done. From the minor roles all the way up to the main characters we get a clear understanding of who and what they are, what motivates them, what they're capable of. Minor parts that make short appearances in a few scenes have depth that many authors can't write into supporting roles, and the supporting characters are easily as well developed as main characters in a lot of other stories I've read, including some published works.

World building is, if anything, even better than the characters. Have you ever read a story and come away feeling like the world was the literary equivalent of a crappy greenscreen? By analogy this is a CGI extravagnaza any A-list celebrity would be proud to appear in. While we've only seen a few small portions of both worlds the settings are detailed and well delivered. We get enough history to know what brought us to this point without the dreaded "10-page descritpion of the forest approach to Rivendell"-style overload.

Story pacing was good. This is not a boring read, nor does it run too fast to follow in places. There's some variation in the pacing that works well with the action at the time.

I did struggle at times with spelling mistakes, misplaced words and so on but less so than a lot of other stories I've seen online. The few memorable instances had more impact precisely because they were rare. Mostly they felt like leftovers from hurried editing. A couple of good proof-readers may help, but it's unlikely to make a huge difference overall.

Sadly it has been 3 years since the cliffhanger 7th chapter was posted and that's long enough to assume that we're not going to get more. Real life has a way of doing that, and I only hope that somewhere in the "real" world Pyro is working with a copy-editor on a final draft of his manuscript for publication.

Definitely leaving this one in my watch list on the off-chance that Pyro returns to continue the story.

iridescentVaporous
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Compelling characters, interesting plot, and tons of uniqueness. Definitely steals random things from other fantasy novels but does it amazingly.

 

You have to come back man, pretty please with a cherry on top. 🥺 

_________________________________________________________________________________

Compelling characters, interesting plot, and tons of uniqueness. Definitely steals random things from other fantasy novels but does it amazingly.

 

You have to come back man, pretty please with a cherry on top. 🥺 

_________________________________________________________________________________

Compelling characters, interesting plot, and tons of uniqueness. Definitely steals random things from other fantasy novels but does it amazingly.

 

You have to come back man, pretty please with a cherry on top. 🥺

_________________________________________________________________________________

Compelling characters, interesting plot, and tons of uniqueness. Definitely steals random things from other fantasy novels but does it amazingly.

 

You have to come back man, pretty please with a cherry on top. 🥺 +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One +One