Given his first weapon when he was still a child, Edward Lee lived a life full of violence in a nation torn by war.
Tormented by the demons of his past, he believed Death would free him.
But through the games of beings beyond his understanding, his death turned out to be the starting point of a new life in a strange world of magic and monsters, as a young teenager.
Beyond simply finding a way to survive the dangers of his new life, Edward will soon realize that there is still a price to pay for his past actions.
Cover art isn't mine.
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Royalroad is one of the things that I, quite literally, love to hate. You know the feeling right? Browsing through this endless swamp of bad writing, hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel, hoping for something that makes justice to the quality stories you have read before on RR. But you don't find them. And just end up accepting they don't exist, or your standards are just too high. Most of the time, you'll just skip from story to story, never really finding anything quite worth your time - the home to amateur writers also happens to be home to some of the most mediocre stories on all of the internet.
But the build up is all worth it. The painstaking hours going through shit stories make it even sweeter when you finally find one of those. The kind of story you just can't put down until you've read to the latest chapter. And dear author, I'm here to congratulate you. Because at the very least for me, your story is one of those. And you can be damn sure I'll be reading it for a long ass time! Thank you for the fun hours and may many more come!
TLDR: despite being rife with typos, full of the same characters you'll find in literally every story on Royal Road, and some striking similarities to popular video games, this story is significantly better than the sum of its parts.
Be forewarned; unlike many reviewers, I am a writer and editor by trade and profession. I read things on this site during lulls in my day job and try to give new and blooming authors a realistic review of their stories. I am neither subtle nor kind with my criticisms because a reviewer shouldn't be if they care for the authors they enjoy. I save my analogies and subterfuge for my stories, not for people asking for honesty.
That said, let's begin.
Brimstone is good. Full stop. I'll detail its flaws below, but the overall takeaway should be that this is a story that will capture and keep your attention in spite of itself; a gestalt that is, incredibly, so much more than the sum of its parts.
The story suffers from a common ailment, and that is that the author is both new and writing very quickly. The typos, word omissions, continuity confusions and occasional baseless exposition are pretty evident if you take off your rose-tinted glasses and look critically at this thing you enjoy. I giggle every time the author requests that mistakes be pointed out because, honestly, it would take far longer to correct a chapter than it would to read it three or four times and I don't have the time.
Still, in spite of this, the narrative has a nice flow. Pacing is kept relatively high, the grammar is usually pretty solid, or at least not poor enough to distract, and interactions between characters are surprisingly natural.
Why surprisingly? Because the main character is an angsty, aggressive man-boy in a childish body with a magic sword that puts him ahead of all his peers without much effort. I don't want to say he's a carbon copy of Randidly from that dumpster fire of a story, but he's not far off, and that's disappointing. Still, the conversations, especially between Edward and children, are genuine, natural and lacking the unnecessary and borderline-sociopathic edge that Rand-ward tends to when speaking with anyone else.
There are also some ridiculously strong man-beasts, reminiscent of Savage Divinity, who are both stereotypically Eastern and stereotypically stoic/quiet/silently powerful.
The saving grace for me, in the character department, is the ragtag group of kids that become Edward's friends, and specifically the girl in the wheelchair. If more of the characters had this kind of depth and humanity, the story would be much improved, in my opinion.
Style-wise, the story is very much like Randidly Ghosthound. There are chapters where half of the text is a bunch of arcane nonsense about skill scores that will never actually be used beyond gross comparatives. This is something I utterly loathe, but understand. Do we, as readers, need to keep track of the MC as if we're min-maxing a beloved Final Fantasy character? No, not really. Is it helpful that we know exactly how powerful he is when no one else is given statistics to compare to? No, not really. Is this a common trope of the genre and something I should probably bitch about less? Yeah, probably.
One of my real pet-peeves here is that there are "impending disasters" that are straight called Tribulations, just like in Randidly Ghosthound. There are more direct-lifts from this other, inferior story that I think the author should distance themselves from, but that's a deeply personal opinion and should not be a reason to avoid the story for anyone else.
Beyond that, the story is delivered in small bursts of single-character-driven prose that move from terrace-cliff to terrace-cliff, generally within 2000 words or less. That's different than a regular horseshit-cliffhanger in that they're smaller drops that don't enrage you with how precipitous they are to the enjoyment of the story. It keeps the story segmented with very strict delineations, but that's not super problematic for this kind of narrative.
And speaking of story, this is the shining star in an otherwise banal sky. Even with kinda-flat characters and a very common and recognizable style, the world building and slow-roll of the story makes for an engaging experience. There's an almost lovecraftian element to the undermines and labyrinths and dungeons that is very inviting to the imagination.
Yeah, it's almost unavoidably influenced by popular video games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne and The Witcher and such, but it's shuffled and remade in a compelling and original configuration that does it for me in a big way. There's a mystique and a sinister atmosphere at play and I really want to know more.
I recommend this to be read if you've already gone through The Wandering Inn, Savage Divinity, The Iron Teeth, Paladin, and Threadbear. It's one of the most engaging narratives on the site, even if it has room for improvement.
The main character starts fine but becomes op compared to people around him. after a couple of days he passes people who spent years practicing and increasing their classes and even more years practicing before they discovered their classes. I belive more time and hardship should have been experienced by the main character before getting to this point (chapter 68) where even his secondary gun can one shot a mini boss like monster and seeing almost everyone around him as weak.
The setting is what makes this story for me. The moment the maincharacter sees a truck I was cought by suprise, thinking this world will be the normal medivel setting. Great ideas with the shards that people live in and have to pay to cross. Great sense of pressure to leave the first zone with it getting destroyed. Very unique, can't wait to see how it develops.
This story is pretty good. It has a slightly unique setting, it has some interesting characters, and it manages to mash sci-fi and fantasy together into a very comfortable blend. The last one is the one I captivates me the most about this story.
There are some notable weaknesses, however. For example, the protagonist is decidedly young even though he claims to be an old man during his past life. This is incredibly obvious when you observe his monologues, mindset and dialogues. For example, old people are normally very stubborn about how things are done not just because it's been ingrained through decades of experience, but also because humans are biologically inclined to become less and less flexible as they aged. Even if his new body is youthful and his old body's no longer bind him, he should have exhibited some ingrained habits and self-restraint such as watching every step he takes (because a wrong step may mean a day in the hospital), daydream about good old times that don't hurt (his time with his family for example), expect the young ones to help him with something without question or even develop a fear of stairs. But the protagonist shows no such signs at all.
The author tries to remedy this later on by adding slip-ups where the protagonist accidentally calls a kid a kid as if he was their senior, but personally I thought it was a mistake because the order is wrong. Order is very important. He should've made these kind of mistakes way more often from the beginning, then slowly adjust to his younger body, adapt to his new environment and become less restrained. It is also an excellent way to lead into him feeling very confused about his desires to kill and him doubting his own discipline, which isn't a problem during the latter half of his previous life when his body was literally the prison that chained away his desirse.
Moreover, the protagonist was a soldier for a long time. Admittedly, soldiering in Africa probably meant that his methods were far wilder and a lot less disciplined, but the very nature of a soldier is still to follow orders and sets of routines that kept one alive in the battlefield. Again, the protagonist exhibits no such experience. The only time I remember him showing his soldier training is his instinct to avoid open space and find cover when he appeared in the first instant dungeon, but that was all. I was especially aghast by the scene where he wasted an unbelievable amount of time talking to his drone, when a soldier stranded in a completely unknown area should have known that time is of the essential. In fact, why was he even talking to a drone like it was a human? War machines are exactly what they are: tools. It would be perfectly understandable if he gave simple orders like "Fly up" "Scout around" "Circle clockwise within a 100 m radius from here and report back", but never speak to it like it's human because it's ineffective. Even between human soldiers people try to simplify their message as much as possible so that communication is direct and effective, and action can be taken as quickly as possible.
Also, where is his military training? He should've found the sword style he picked up jarring compared to the fighting skills he picked up during his time as a soldier.
That being said, the story is still pretty good. This is the only major problem I have with it so far, and it hasn't developed long enough that I can judge if it has other major problems: for example I would not want to see the protagonist turning evil just for the sake of turning evil. But so far, it's pretty interesting and I wish the author fruitful writing.
Edit: really like what you are doing so im giving this a full mark.
Like the title says, I don't bother logging in but I had to do it to review this fiction. It's just starting so I can't give the story and the character a perfect score yet, even if the MC is promising. What I like about it is the style, it really fits my difficult tastes and is above most of what is on the rrl. I really hope the author keep writing and do not drop it like many of the stories that start well like this one.
Read this if you want a different kind of litrpg.
This one starts off with a decent premise, In a Litrpg what happens to those who are outside the system, but it quickly clutters all of its plot threads by adding too many and resolving too few. Also the main character is a selfish prick.
Honestly some awesome ideas here, I cannot wait to see where he takes it with such interesting and diverse characters. You'll be hooked in the first couple chapters probably.
Has LitRPG elements in play, though has different take(Read below).
It is incredibly difficult to get attributes in this world, and as our MC has gone and gotten quite a few of them I am very very excited to see where he will compare to some of the other characters of the world. Hopefully he doesn't end up being too overpowered, but so far the MCs methodology of handling problems has proven EXCELLENT. Not dissimilar to how I would act. I have high hopes.
Edit: I really don't care if he grows to be overpowered at all, and as of the most recent chapter, the MC is most definitly not overpowered at all. He sure has a long road ahead of him!
How do you balance action and slice of life? How do you create a strong character yet still manage to give the reader tension when he goes through eerie situations and plots controlled by characters behind the scenes? I don't know how but this story embodies that. I am not a good critic. I am a critic but I struggle to point at everything that makes a novel good. I am better at pointing out the flaws of a bad novel. Perhaps, it is enough to read a novel and never get that itch of anger with every bad plot and design that comes your way. Reading this novel gives me so much pleasure because I am never pulled out of the story by some glaring flaw. I get annoyed when real life distracts me from the story instead. I feel guilty that I get to read this for free.
Good story, unique elements brought to the age old reincarnation genre. Grammar and writing flair could use more work, but it isn't entirely unpleasant to read. Overall, very nice for a first fiction and really hoping for regular serial updates! May you find success in your journey.
As of chapter 24: This is a very promising story. Slow paced maybe, but I think this can be polished into a real gem. There is a good style of writing that evokes strong emotions. The way chapter 24 ended, for example, gave me a chill I have rarely experienced from reading altogether, much less a royalroad piece. I think, for what there is so far, this is 5 star material. Full of potential and already strong character + world building. Good stuff.