The Voice of the World
Jason Elric used to be an ordinary college student living in the heart of San Francisco. He had a part time job, he played online games with friends he got along moderately well with, and he earned reasonably good grades. The worst he really had to worry about in life was turning in his coursework on time and not being late to class.
Now, though? Now fighting for his life and running from a horde of giant frogs that want to make him their next meal is just another Tuesday.
Thanks to a summoning ritual gone terribly right, Jason has found himself trapped in a world eerily similar to the role playing games games he used to play for fun. Unfortunately for the now ex-college student, everything happening around him is terrifyingly real and if he wants to survive, he’ll have to figure out how to exploit the system for his benefit before it’s too late.
The Voice of the World is the first part of what is planned to be a multi-book, Isekai LitRPG story with crafting elements, set in the fantasy world known as Verdania. This is my first time posting online for public consumption, so bear with me as I work to find a style that people like.
While I may occasionally write scenes that may deal with heavy concepts, expect this story to be primarily light hearted high fantasy. There will be a lot of common fantasy tropes involved, as this story got its start as a simple practice exercise, rather than any plan to actually post it. However, it’s grown on me, so I felt it’s worth sharing after all.
Thus, if you’re looking for more serious/original/unusual stories, you might want to look elsewhere. For the rest of you, feel free to leave suggestions, as well as to point out grammar and spelling mistakes; I’ll do my best to make edits to correct them. I do my own editing currently, and it’s easy to miss things when you know what’s supposed to be there, so such call outs are highly encouraged.
Content TLDR: No harems, probably no romance (unless it makes sense for the story later on) (it did, eventually), definitely no sex (keeping this PG-13 or close to it), limited profanity. Does/Will contain mixes of magic and technology (think Warhammer, Final Fantasy); copious amounts of blue tables; race, gender, and sexual equality concepts; crafting sequences; and (slightly, but not overbearingly) strong protagonists. If you don’t like these things, go elsewhere instead of downvoting people for content instead of writing quality.
Update Time currently varies, due to personal injury, but the goal is 1/week on Wednesdays, with a possible smaller chapter on weekends if time/health permits.
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As of chapter 49:
This is a story which started out strong, but slowly lowered my interest until I was struggling to keep reading and I think I will drop it now. The genre is of my liking, but it evolved into something that I don't appreciate anymore, however other people may still be interested, so I don't want anybody to skip this story due to this review. Anyway after starting writing a fiction of my own I admit that it is indeed difficult to stay on track, and the author is probably doing a better job than I am. I will be a bit spoilerish, but I think that anyone could read what I'm about to say.
1) I always liked the summoning to another world novels. The initial summon is also quite cool, introducing the villains in a peculiar way. That was a thumb up.
2) After a couple of days the main characters already behave as if a world transfer meant little to their lives. It is a bit too unrealistic for my taste, although it could also be the influence of the Voice.
3) Here is my main issue: TIME. The author has an awful taste for the time dilation necessary in a story. From his own admission he tends to finish each chapter with the end of the day in the plot. Considering that many chapters happen in the same day, you can easily realize that as of chapter 49 not much time has really passed by....I think around 3 weeks at most. There simply is not the time for all those things to happen.
4) Level of Strenght is unbalanced. The three main characters are simply too OP. I don't mean to say that they can easily defeat all enemies they find, but their growth rate in not possible in such a story. I think this is due to the previous problem. It is always about Time. After ten days they are already competing with people which have trained a lifetime in that world. Following this trend I expect them to become divinities in a couple of months.
5) The author made a nice job giving the protagonist a support style class, and you can see he put a lot of effort studying the best way to make it work.
6) Info dumping! That is something which ruins a story. I believe the author tried hard to avoid it, but he created quite a complex system and he had to keep pushing new info into our heads because....guess what....he didn't let the story evolve in a reasonable time. In a week we passed from making least healing potions to building mecha suits. The main issue is that Jason and friends keep getting new skills, but we can hardly see them used in real-action situations.
7) Characters look quite bland to me, but that's just my taste. There is nothing really wrong with them, so anyone can go ahead reading and liking them. Anyway this a YA novel, but I am getting a bit old for them, so it is reasonable that I don't appreciate it enough.
8) Arnvale was supposed to be a small frontier city with barely anything worth to see, but somehow it has become a place where anything can be found and incredible characters are making a living there.
9) The grammar is impeccable for someone like me who is not a native speaker. Just a couple of typoes here and there. The style of writing is quite good, although a bit too articulate for my taste.
10) TIME! TIME! TIME! Sorry I said it again. But it really irked me. If the author ever decide to rewrite the story I really suggests him to work on this.
Probably I am a little too severe with my reviews. I am trying to write my own story and I cannot reach this level of quality, however I think this should not stop me from giving a truthful feedback. I consider it helpful for both the author and the future readers.
Very few stories here in RR look as professionally written as this. I believe that most of the more famous ones have more views just because they publish faster. I strongly suggest to at least start reading this. If you don't like the things I didn't like, simply drop it early on.
The biggest weakness of this story from the very start till the end (chapter 46 is as far as the story has been written at the time of this writing) is the style. There are horrendous amounts of what I like to call 'wasteful writing', by which I mean meaningless text that can just be skimmed over. In fact, I'd go as far as to venture a guess that more than half of the content written so far is such 'wasteful writing'.
Examples of such writing would include characters talking in circles about theories about some of the world's mechanics and crafting systems, or comparisons between this world and some games they've played, etc. Especially in the beginning expect to see multiple chapters worth of such roundabout discussions that lead nowhere. Now theorizing in and of itself isn't bad, and relaying the probable world mechanics through character dialogue isn't wrong either, it's the paragraph after paragraph of detailed explanations about these theories that's the problem, they should be summarized. I doubt anyone likes to read such lengthy world theory descriptions anymore than regular infodumps.
In other words, readers who like stories with decent pacing can expect to do a lot of skimming, even if there are ~800 pages of content, I read through it all within the same kind of time frame as I've been reading ~300 pages of content stories on here. I guess there were also a few interludes that I downright just skipped and didn't feel like I missed out on anything, but unlike stories like say worm where you have bloody interludes every 3 chapters or something, this story has very few of them, this is another example of wasteful writing I suppose, but some might disagree that interludes are so horrendous so I'll leave that for you to decide. This story has if memory serves 3 interludes + the prologue so far. A negligible amount.
It's not all bad though, one thing I really like is that while the author generally isn't that good in explaining what his characters or their equipment look like, he makes an effort to dig through and share images he used as inspiration for how they look (shamelessly stolen concept art :D ) which he puts in the notes of applicable chapters where the characters looks change particularly much, to help readers get a better image for each of the main caste. And I have to say, I like his taste.
The story is riddled with minor grammatical errors, generally words are spelled correctly but sometimes the author uses the wrong word here and there, it's an issue that requires an editor to fix but I doubt it will really bother anyone too much unless you're really anal about the grammar being perfect.
As for the story itself and characters, it starts out pretty bad to be completely honest, we have a wish fulfillment themed litrpg system, and mostly generic characters.
The story is about
Edward Jason Elric, who gets summoned to another world and using his uber leet survival skills from real life camping trips he becomes a ranger an alchemist. He then starts his quest for survival gobbling dubious looking mushrooms until he comes across an alien a fellow earthling who started her adventure like every main character before her does. That is, she picked up a nearby sword conveniently buried in the dirt and started swinging it around in a poor imitation of the blender, then to spice things up she started shouting out spell-sounding words like "fireball!" and "waterball!" and "pokeball!" other applicable things like a psychopath until she unlocked the idiot savant knight class and the 'all elemental affinity' skill (well not really, but something more or less the same)
Later on there will be at least one more case where such ridiculousness awards people's silliness (by silliness I mean the equivalent of children roleplaying wizards) with unique classes and other cool things.
So that is what I mean by 'wish fulfillment system' :O they just do random shit and get rewarded with "A for effort! here's your complementary reward for participating!" *insert op shit here*
Luckily however this isn't really what the system is later on, it's more... well... system~y in the future and basically all this nonsense is excused as a form of compensation from the system to make up to them the fact that it dumped them in the middle of monster ridden nowhere half naked due to unfortunate circumstances. But I was seriously close to dropping it until this nonesense ended. I was quite surprised after all that to be honest that the main character wasn't able to figure out how to make himself a minimap or radar by saying something like "voodoo voodoo minimap with radar!" and poof. Thankfully their outrageous luck had an end.
Anyhow, what makes this story most interesting is that the main character is a support/utility/crafting class rather than some kind of human lawnmower that cuts monster heads instead of grass. And the story really focuses progressively more and more on his crafting experiences after the first 10 or so chapters (due to this and more and more overly detailed mostly meaningless descriptions and lengthy conversations however the pace of the story drops kinda hard with this as well, but this is mostly due to the previously mentioned 'wasteful writing', the actual craft grinding is fine and after another 30 chapters or so he's already a world class enchanter and potion crafter, so I suspect the story will start progressing again starting really from the chapter I stopped where they finally start seeing more action equipped with the semi-op gear crafted by the mc.
Overall the story's pacing is fairly down in the gutter for most of what has already been written, but it gets a little better, in later chapters maybe somewhere after the 20 chapter mark or something there have been a few chapters where I read every word from start to finish, but in total? I didn't need to read half of the text to fully grasp and enjoy the content. The author is clearly writing this as practice for his writing skills however, I hope when he finishes it he rewrites it to condense the contents more. The chapters are really long, and if he uses the same length chapters he should be able to comfortably cover all the content so far in just 20 chapters if he applies a bit of summarising and more careful wording to deliver information faster in some conversations as well.
But in the end? After around the halfway point I started to get a bit more excited about the story, the political hellscape they need to navigate, the unknown (well, the known by readers from the highly skimmable prologue) enemy that's hunting them like rabbits, the use of magic to make technologies and weapons beyond what would normally be their means and how that paints targets on their backs. There's a lot of potential for a good story in here, and as I said in the title, it gets progressively better later on, all it needs is to continue that trend.
This story reads like a transcript of someones DnD campaign complete with the players constantly breaking character and metagaming.
It's written in a overly verbose and detailed way that sometime makes for a slow and frustrating read. This is made worse when the story grinds to a halt for yet another discussion of some game mechanic minutiae that isn't really relevant beyond showing the character picking between choice A, B, or C.
All in all it's an OK read. The crafting and the somewhat unique character builds are whats kept me reading.
TL;DR: Skim over the prologue, the actual fiction is much better.
I can't emphasize enough how bad the prologue is when compared with the rest of the story, author really needs to rewrite that horrible waste of time. It's so bad I strongly considered dropping the fiction as a whole, the only thing that kept me reading was curiosity of how the story actually starts.
Worst part is that the prologue is boderline irrelevant to the rest of the novel, a big case of author losing sight of what matters to focus on overarching plots that the reader has no investment in whatsoever.
The fiction description is also somewhat misleading, it seems to describe a 'desperate survival' kind of situation when the fiction is more of a happy go lucky adventure almost all the time, with only bits of survival involved.
The story is about multiple people being summoned to a fantasy world, the MC party meets up rather early on and get along well, the actual threats to their lives don't come endlessly, but only every now and then. MC is going on a more rear line support/crafting 'build' instead of the more common magic swordsman style and I find myself looking forward to how the MC party will grow.
Here's what drags the novel down in my opinion:
- The in-world pacing: By chapter 51 only a handful of weeks have passed and the MC party is already really strong when compared to native people who should have a considerable headstart. Even the characters themselves constantly say "It's been only a couple weeks but felt like months".
- Some contrived developments: This needs a spoiler box to go into detail, but it's enough to say that some coincidences seem rather unlikely.
MC knows survival skills;
Meets two girls and both turn out to not be hetero, while it seems to spice up the girls' characters to the benefit of the story, it is rather unlikely given how much of a minority of the overall population they are, it also seems like an obvious excuse to start a harem since they both have bi inclinations;
It just turns out that the small frontier town they end up in has a legendary blacksmith.
This kind of thing, while not horrible, still seems to bring down the overall quality of the fiction.
- Grammar issues: Not that horrible, but a constant small annoyance.
- Finally my pet peeve, the interludes and the prologue: I feel if you want to write with a focus on non-MC characters, you need to make the reader give a damn first. MCs are so obiquitous at least in part because of how useful they are to anchor the reader to the story, they are both 'friends' with the reader and a target for the reader to empathize with in the alien world of the fiction. Without this anchor, you might as well just say 'some bloke did some thing', as it will have about the same impact to the reader as reading about a character that is a 'stranger' to them.
I like the D&D background and the number crushing that is behind the story.
The characters are sympathic and the story of "surviving in another brutal world" is well done.
the arch-plot of the arch enemy is looming over the MC's heads but we are too early in the game to really be bothered by it.
And it's sad that the story stopped just at the time that the MC trio decided to stop beating around the bushs and to hook up together :)
love the story and the system. if your looking for a support story that decided rules are meant to be worked around you will love the mc he as he macguavers to hero status in a world ruled by the voice
I'm enjoying it. They talk about their skills a little too much for me but a lot of people enjoy that.
STYLE: I like the system you used. It's easy to understand and kinda neat in format. Liked how uses 3rd person POV since it's a great tool to really tell a story.
STORY: It's really good just tone down a bit of simply telling and instead show us, give us an image of what is happening. Imagery would maximize the potential of the story.
GRAMMAR: It's OK. No grammar mistakes as far as I have read but that's maybe simply because I wasn't really critical at finding faults.
CHARACTER: This is where it bugged me the most. I can't enjoy the characters. I mean it's nice to read it but I can't feel a connection to the characters. Lumi, the mc, and etc could die for all I care.
It was a nice read. Thanks for this story.
P.S: I really like the prologue.
What I really love about this story is that the MC is a crafter AND IT'S RELEVANT.
Unlike most other stories with a "crafter" MC, where the MC basically just makes one or two op items and then the subject isn't brought up again for 20+ chapters untill the MC decides to make another op item, this story actually makes the crafting relevant and interesting.
The story itself it good, the characters interesting and there's no grammar mistakes that scream "I AM HERE TO ANNOY YOU AND KILL YOUR BRAIN CELLS".
This review was written at chapter 30
This story has pretty much everything you'd want in a LitRPG (aside from a cover).
The characters are interesting and well-motivated, the system is deep enough to do interesting things but rigorous enough that it doesn't seem like victories are pulled out of someone's ass, and the stakes actually make sense.
The setting is clearly inspired by D&D, which may be intentional given some of the background hints. That being said, it's a little weird seeing some oddly specific D&D terms like "handy haversack" and "tanglefoot bags" tossed around in a completely different system. It's not a dealbreaker, just odd.
Aside from that one minor nit-pick, this is definitely one of the better stories around. Get yourself a cover, man!