King of the Mountain
Normal over 30 science teacher is "abducted" and tested by the GREAT GAME as a beta trial inductee. The GREAT GAME will eventually be implemented and remake the world. Our protagonist however is the only one that actually passes the beta test, which was not designed to be survivable, through sheer dumb luck and thus has an extreme head start on all other citizens of Earth. Follow the journey of our hero as he tries to walk a thin line between preparing to save as much of his family and friends as possible while also trying to make sure that he will have enough power to make other people do most of the work while remaining safe and sound.
Poor guy is just a proto-hermit who wants to be left alone but also realizes the importance of others and family. The new reality just complicates things.
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Author's note from chapter 30 was the last nail in the coffin for this one. Up until then I was still hoping that some of the initial creativity would come back, fulfilling the potential that the first few chapters promised. But no, the author actually wrote that getting an unpolished version out fast is more important than actual quality. And that said quality will later be added, like an afterthought.
The problem with this is simply the fact that the story doesn't really have trouble with small, easily fixable things, no. It's the structure of it that is lacking. There is no character building beyond statistics. Well, there is hardly any character at all: even the MC is just a cardboard cutout with a couple of grainy pictures pinned on it to add color, the rest are just placeholders. No personality traits. No quirks. No anything. I mean, a whole village from another world was basically summoned by the MC, who actually expected a culture shock. But there was no evidence of it in the actual events: the MC had an extended bus ride with these villagers, but no conversation happened at all. Nor was any alluded to. Come to think of it, in the story the only conversations that seem to actually happen are those that are actually shown - nothing happens in the background, at least not in regards to the MC. But what we do see from him is nowhere detailed enough to actually justify this.
Then there is the story, first is an overreliance of luck and deus ex machina. Then there is the fact that the author doesn't seem willing to do even the base research needed for some of the topics he mentioned.
For example he created firearms, completely based on magic. He actually declared that he didn't know firearms and that readers should chalk up any discrepancies to "magic"...
Yeah, no one can be knowledgeable about everything, but we live in the age of google. And even if he didn't want to do extensive research, he could have created a system that at least doesn't look like wand waving. I mean, from a purely logical viewpoint, firearms are simply delivery systems designed to withstand the violent release of energy stored in bullets up until then. It is a wasteful system: any energy that goes into the kickback or gets absorbed by the weapon itself is lost, when looking at it from the bullet's point of view.
And the weapon system he created was based on wind magic - air pressure, basically. There was no explanation on the exact method, most likely because there was no exact method created. Just a placeholder. Again. So, all we have to go on are the results:
Repeater firearms, which don't loose power on subsequent shots, that still retain insane bullet speeds. That do not jam - evidently, because they are not first versions. No, the MC, all on his own, rapid developed and tested a completely new type of weapon system, using some sort of untested and - once again - unexplained enchanting system.
How do they store pressurized air, do they even store it, or are they just rapidly pulling in some? What are the limits, how many shots can be fired? How fast? How much mana do they need? Does the weapon itself store mana, or is it a permanent effect? How is it balanced? If anyone can create permanent effect enchanted items that ignore energy costs, how come no one had defenses against it? And in the first place, how were his guns so effective?
He took down dragons with them. He managed to create a weapon that used hardly any mana in the grand scheme of things, given his low level, that used indirect and thus imperfect energy delivery methods - see above - to easily take down high level monsters. Again, balance, anyone?
And this is just an example of this kind of thinking. Wand waving for the "win"!
And the events all feel like the MC is just doing chores. Hardly any emotional attachment, hardly any chance for the reader to get immersed.
The final verdict: a good idea wasted on sloppy background work. At least the grammar isn't terrible.
This story is generally great, especially the beginning was really fun.
But it got hollow, it became a narration of what cool thing happen without fleshing those out. 90% of the story is narration in the style of an inner monologue either planning things or recapping what happened.
And that is what it feels like, like a recap not like a story, there is almost no dialogue, an interaction between characters almost always only gets described on a meta-level but never happens.
Even the dialogue present, are mostly integrated into a meta/recap style description and not a full fletched conversation.
I don't think there were more than a handful situations where there were emotions in character interactions. Simple things like "answered while looking down meekly" go a long way.
Point being you really need to work on giving the characters and interactions more depth and spend more time with interactions even if "the in story time frame" is quite large.
I was quite disappointed that neither after the great tournament nor after his long absence, or the "big" goodbye there was no meaningful interaction with his daughter shown.
Barely some sidenotes of "she got a family and she will work hard to reach the new planet" no emotion at all.
The grammar, on the other hand, is great though there were quite some simple tipping mistakes like missing a letter which could have been easily fixed with e.g Grammarly.
In conclusion, while my 3star score is rather low I still like your story but I also see wasted potential. So I hope that this review can help you develop your next story to its full potential.
Please don't let my or other peoples negative reviews stop you from writing.
I really think your story(s) has great potential in its content and just needs work on the technique and implementation.
I found this story when I was looking for a post-apocalyptic story that wasn’t too dark. And that’s exactly what I found. I can’t explain exactly why I liked this story so much. There are many things this story doesn’t have, such as character development or much depth in general but somehow it still managed to drag me in and not let me go till I had finished. This isn’t a masterpiece but if you are looking for a nice and light post-apocalyptic novel I think this is what you are looking for too.
Excellent story overall. Very few grammatical errors, and the story flows really well. It seems a slight bit rushed at the end, but I'm glad there was timeskips and summaries of grinding instead of trying to describe everything. Looking forward to other works.
This is definitely one of my favorite fictions. I'm pretty upset that its over, and am excited for any eventual sequels.
Words cannot convey how disappointed I am with this story. The potential is there, the premise is ready for the taking, the Defective Hermit shows just how great of a story this one could've been. However, this is not a story, we are not told the great tale of how our brave and courageous MC survives insurmantable odds with his wit and daring, but of some playdough figure with indistinct features going to geometric locations made of some material and doing something that then gives the playdough man titles, and making the playdough man even stronger to fight the stick figures that have big letters above them spelling out enemy and save the stick figures carrying the label allies.
I think you get my point, the author is focusing so much on PROGRESSING the story that he/she/it doesn't TELL the story. Beyond the necessary description of the current place of interest, there is nothing else. Beyond the necessary description that an action is happening or did occur, there is nothing else. I went the last chapter at the moment, chapter 67 if you're curious, and it DOES NOT get better.
After blowing up a cavern, filled with goblins, orcs and trolls, they go to survey the damage. This is literally all that was said about the death and destrucion caused by 500,000 points of mana, with the knowledge that 80,000 was enough to decimate 5 dragons and leave almost nothing behind. 500 traps of 1000 mana each compared to 80 shells of 2000 mana each.
"Gondor quickly had everyone in formation and we approached the area where a cavern used to be. Instead all we could see were large amounts of debris and some Gobbo blood and flesh chunks spread around."
THAT'S IT. Nothing on them climbing through the debris to see the aftermath, about how they even got into the collapsed cavern through their tunnel or on the scroch marks that should've probably been everywhere.
Maybe all they saw was the collapsed cavern, the rocky ceiling having crumbled, with rocks at what used to be the entrace, full of scorth marks, splattered blood and the occasional limb poking though being the only indictation that anything used to be there.
WE DON'T KNOW, cause we were not shown the aftermath, we were told.
If you're reading this author, you need to work on the details of the story, the descriptions of things and places to build the world. What you have is a bunch of plot points on a barely filled out map linked together by string. Look to other stories to see what I'm talking about, like Threadbare or Everybody Loves Large Chests, the world is filled with color and details, the characters brought to life with their expressions and actions.
Do not take this personally, use it to better your writing.
The idea behind this is pretty good. It is a good one. It takes the beaten down "world becomes like a game" but detracts from the mindless action and focuses on the building, preparation, adapting and so forth.
The problem lies in the execution.
First of all, what bothered me the most was a pet peeve of mine and it isn't really a negative thing. It just bothers me personally. The "gag mc". You replace personality with constant joke and gag-humor inner monologues instead of having to write actual emotions.
The first real problem, imo, is that everything happens as if it was a bullet point presentation. "This happens, then the MC goes to X place and does this. He gets what he wants, goes back and starts doing this. After he is done, he does that". There is very little actual description of how things happen. This also leads to several inconsistencies that never get adressed.
When you make a game system novel, you have to pay attention to consistency. The rules that you create, the value of the numbers and so forth. That goes out of the window very quickly by the MC developing skills off-screen that never get explained or even named, Titles that the MC gets left and right with no description of what they do other than the name and the author just throwing bonuses left and right without you even knowing where they come from.
Now, in comes the biggest problem. Everyone other than the MC might as well be an wallpaper. The "system" in this novel, uses the measure of "confusing the minds" of the ordinary people in order to avoid a hassle for the MC.
Example: The MC loses weight and gets in shape because of the stats he gained. The "system" confuses the mind of people around him and close to him (like his daughter) and makes them think his diet and work-out are paying off.
The MC suddenly starts to get millions and millions of dollars. The system not only gets rid of all the pesky bureocracy stuff like taxes, where the money comes from, IRS investigations but it also "confuses" people into thinking that it is perfectly reasonable for a teacher to suddenly get this kind of money with some "I invested in the stockmarket" excuse.
Even when the "game" finally starts, there is very little in the way people close to the MC react. Everyone really takes the whole thing on a stride.
Now here is why this idea of the author is a bad thing. It completely gets rid of what a lot of people read those novels for: Reactions. There are none. The novel takes it away from you entirely.
Tl;DR: The two biggest flaws of this novel are: Too fast paced. Everything happens one after the other with little description or explanation. You are just bombarded with info-dumps.
Too many cheap and lazy replacements for actual writing. Everyone has almost no personality or character because they were basically mind-fucked into idiots by the game system in the initial chapters, which should have been used to build the characters. Even after that, they just get everything handed out to them by the MC one after the other with little to no reaction. Rules, skills, titles and stats just get skipped or made up each chapter.
Story is pretty dope, looking forward to the continuation and hopefully it'll reach the ending and won't be suddenly dropped because I actually like this one out of all the other ones out there.
Thirty-five chapters of the author telling us all the things he'd do in a contrived apocalypse of his own design. Poorly done wish fulfillment, de-rec.
As a reader on Royal Road since it's start, let me tell you how frustrating it is to come upon story after story that's left unfinished, or (sometimes worse) milked for every last drop.
This story is a very good middle.
While "King of the Mountain" does not explore of all its details, and time-skips quite a bit, it is completed. The story flows well and is pretty easy to follow. Sure, it's not as in-depth as it could be, but definitely can keep your attention throughout its 77 chapters.
All-in-all, this is a good lighthearted, and fast paced story that has an ending. It's perfect for a good binge-read, (this was my 2nd or 3rd time since it was finished). Definitely worth the read.